Inside Move: Reel publicity stunt?

'Seek's' twist ending being shipped seperately to exhibs

Sam Arkoff would have been proud.

In what 20th Century Fox is calling an attempt to protect the twist ending of its latest thriller, “Hide and Seek” — but what could charitably be called free publicity through self-generated controversy — the studio said it will ship out the pic’s prints to some 2,800 theaters nationwide without the final reel.

Fox says it has numbered all final reels, which after being shipped separately will be hand-delivered by security guards to theaters on Thursday. Pic bows Friday.

“To ensure everyone’s enjoyment of the film and to prevent ‘spoilers,’ we’ve instituted extraordinary measures,” said Fox exec VP Richard Myerson in a statement released by the studio. “We think it’s worth the effort.”

But at what cost? And what’s wrong with FedEx?

Fox isn’t saying, and some heads of domestic distribution at rival studios sniffed that the move seemed odd. After all, these distrib toppers point out, pics like “The Sixth Sense,” “Identity” and even “Million Dollar Baby” contained twist endings that were kept secret by critics and the public alike.

Popular on Variety

“It could be bullshit, or it could be that they’re really doing it,” said one distrib topper at a rival studio. “Either way, it’s highly unusual. This would cost a fair amount of money, assuming you could even coordinate it all.”