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Really, you have no idea how hard we tried to land a Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 review this week. We fought tooth and large wooden nail for our Twihards, fully aware that you lovers of lupine lust and bloodsucking teen drama were craving details.

To explain how we still missed out on this mangy ménage à trois, let's examine the current state of film screenings. The reality, to which Jonathan Kiefer alludes briefly in his holiday film preview (starting here), is that distribution companies, with maximum profit and sometimes Oscar gold in mind, manipulate all aspects of a film's release date.

Ever noticed sudden date changes on IMDB (The Internet Movie Database), or radical redesigns of the "Coming Soon" section of Kimball's Peak Three website? What a theater (in particular, a small arthouse) wants, and what it can get, are two separate things. It's a similar story when it comes to what a critic wishes to see before deadline, and actually can get in his or her market.

A few weeks ago, one of our reviewers was assured of seeing Twilight before Wednesday, Nov. 16. But in the past days, that changed — perhaps because the powers that be worried it was a supernatural stinker, or perhaps because they were confident about getting your money without the aid of good reviews.

Regardless, critical shutouts — especially for altweekly deadlines — are becoming more common. That in mind, we pledge to keep our stakes sharp and aimed at the corporate heart, on your behalf.

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