SXSW Super Secret Screening guaranteed to surprise

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The highly anticipated movie “The Hunger Games,” based on the wildly popular dystopian novel of the same name, seems a likely candidate for the secret screening at this year’s SXSW film festival.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Every year, the Super Secret Screening is one of the most anticipated and discussed events of SXSW, and this year is no different. Last year, many guessed we’d be seeing “The Tree of Life,” “The Hangover Part II” or “Sucker Punch,” and we were instead surprised by the micro-budget indie film “Another Earth,” which goes to show how my guess is about as good as anyone else’s.

However, this year, the secret screening is early in the fest and has landed a midnight slot, which hopefully means it’ll be something really special. Joss Whedon is sticking around Austin on Saturday for his panel, “A Conversation With Joss Whedon,” and SXSW certainly does seem like the perfect crowd to premiere “The Avengers” to, doesn’t it?

While “The Avengers” is a bit of a long shot, far more likely is “The Hunger Games,” which has been building a lot of momentum in the run-up to its release a week after the festival ends. Lionsgate is going to be screening this one all over the country in coming weeks and SXSW would be a great way to introduce the finished product to audiences.

Also feasible is “Family Guy” mastermind Seth MacFarlane’s live-action debut, “Ted,” which stars Mark Wahlberg as a grown man who can’t seem to get rid of his childhood teddy bear because it speaks to him (in MacFarlane’s voice, no less). There hasn’t been a lot of buzz or publicity around the film, which releases this summer, and MacFarlane’s panel Sunday morning sure would be interesting if he’d premiered his new opus the night before.

But again, SXSW is unpredictable. It could be any of those films, or it could be something completely unexpected. For all I know, we could be sitting down to watch John Hawkes wear an iron lung in “The Surrogate.” But no matter what, it’ll certainly be something worth seeing and will have the festival abuzz for the rest of the week.

Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: Midnight secret screening bound to shock film viewers