It's a weird time to be a movie fan in the United States. Hollywood still drives global cinema and global cinematic tastes, but over the last few years we've seen a trend: the domestic market, from whence this product comes, has become secondary to the global market. That's really recent; while global markets were always a good source of money (all your favorite action movie stars kept making movies in the 90s because producers could pre-sell rights to their films overseas) they've recently become THE source of money. More and more theaters are being built in foreign markets and foreign dollars eclipse domestic dollars when it's all said and done. If Pacific Rim gets a sequel it's because the movie did really well overseas, and it won't be the only film that didn't make a big domestic impression that gets sequels for that reason. We're looking at a future of movie franchises that nobody in the US cares about but that are motivated by foreign dollars.
What that means in the here and now is that many blockbuster films open first overseas. The US market has become the secondary opening, because we're just not as important. Sometimes foreign markets get these movies days in advance, and sometimes weeks. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is opening internationally this weekend, two weeks ahead of the US opening.
It happens, it's business, I get it. But what isn't being taken into account is the fact that unlike the old days, when movies opened in the US and then took months to open overseas, the world is totally connected now. And so while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't open in the US until May 1, Americans are going to get an earful about the film long before that. The internet doesn't care that you live in London, Timbuktu or Seoul - it allows you to tell me, in Los Angeles, everything you saw in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as soon as you see it. It lets you tell me if the movie's any good, so the buzz (good or bad) will be instantaneous, but it also lets you tell me the big spoilers.
And there are big spoilers in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. They're on the movie's Wikipedia page already, because the film has technically opened in the UK. You can go read it for yourself. But I don't think you're going to have to go read it - I think that the two weeks between now and the film opening in the US means a lot of outlets are just going to jump on these spoilers. I think the hits Vulture or Buzzfeed or The Wrap can get will make it worth them running the spoilers. And since their audience comes from all over the world, they're probably right to do it. There are a lot of people who comment on this site who will be able to go pay to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 right now, while i won't be able to see it until April 30th. Besides, Twitter is going to blow up with these spoilers in the coming days.
The Hollywood distribution system still runs on the concept of regions, a concept that's outdated from a consumer point of view. We live in a region-les world now. I think that even applies within the US - how much was The Raid 2 hurt by its platformed release, meaning it opened in some theaters a solid month after the internet had gotten excited about it? The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is going to do what it's going to do - I don't think the spoiling of the movie in the US will hurt it too badly - but it serves as a sign that this idea of the world being carved into discrete chunks is silly. This site is run out of Los Angeles, is owned by a company in Austin but is read by people all over the world. There's no region in which Badass Digest exists. There's no region in which movie fans live.
I don't see these staggered global release dates changing, though. Get used to being second class movie citizens, Americans. Our time as the most important cinemagoers is over.