This HuffPost story (yea, I know, it's practically a tabloid these days) caught my eye for two reasons. Hiding movies from critics by getting rid of early screenings is just plain stupid. There is substantial evidence that people ignore negative criticism. Transformers 2 was universally loathed by critics and early screeners, and yet it was a block buster hit. Not many people liked the latest Indiana Jones flick, either, but tons of people went to see it.
Muting critics until after-the-fact isn't going to stop them from trashing your movie, and since nobody pays attention to negative reviews, all it's really doing is proving that studios have embarrasingly thin skin when it comes to criticism. They make actors (think Russel Crowe) look modest and sensible by comparison.
But we all know damn well that positive reviews can help. So yes, cutting off early reviews means having to find out 10 days late that your movie royally sucks. But it also means losing out on the hype if the film turned out well.
So at best, the studios lose whatever they think they've gained. At worse they've lost a heck of a lot more.
The second reason this story caught my eye is because Katherine Heigl is in it. After finally quitting/getting fired from Grey's Anatomy for being a selfcentered ass, this movie is her big chance to prove that she's a true movie star that was being held back by crappy television (so crappy that she won an Emmy.) Of course a studio refusing to show a movie to critics (meaning it sucks and they know it) means the chances for that are next to none.
To the contrary, her first movie to hit theaters post-Grey's is now very likely to bomb.