UPDATED: A Universal hotline confirms that the studio has cancelled all non-executive employee screenings, saying the popular program’s shutdown continues through July and August until further notice. But there’s some contention about why this occurred. “Because some dumb fuck pirated Wanted at one of the lower lot venues,” a Uni source tells me. I finally have confirmation of the piracy from the studio, which at first told me it never happened and now says a female filmgoer pirated during the Wanted screening and hasn’t been caught yet. Universal maintains that incident was not the reason that the employee screenings were shut down. According to the studio: “We haven’t scheduled our traditional employee screenings for August because we have a resource issue. We are assessing how to go forward in September and fully intend to do so.”
But my insider disagrees. “There was a warning during the screening of Hellboy 2 that it happened. Apparently it happened again, so the studio brass shut it down. It was a nice perk to have, and now it’s ruined because some asshole wants to get famous online.” The employees are pissed, especially because they didn’t get to screen The Mummy 3. (Or is that a blessing, considering the terrible reviews?) They tell me that, to prevent piracy, the studio could use the security scanners already installed at each of the theaters. Says the insider: “I know it would be a pain for employees to be checked for illegal video recorders (heaven forbid!), but [people] would put up with that inconvenience to have the screenings return. We don’t get many perks, and that was a nice one.” Meanwhile, executive staff are still treated to free screenings as before.