We don't quite think the was the rim job David Fincher had in mind in describing the Benjamin Button experience, but there you have it: Its "first major unveiling" at the DGA last night was marred by projection problems—one channel was out, giving the print a "brown and grainy look." D.P. Claudio Miranda could barely sit still as he saw his baby steep in the color-correction equivalent of raw sewage. In Contention was there, and delivers a report of what followed:

Publicists put the call into director David Fincher, who was on his way to the theater for a post-screening Q&A, and he made the decision: pull the plug. The audience was understandably agitated. “Come on, it looks beautiful,” one chimed in. But they all knew Miranda would have felt terrible showing his film in that fashion (and talking to some who’d see the film already, there was a considerable difference, as well as a sound quality issue afoot). “Don’t do it,” another guy said, siding with Miranda and clearly a below-the-line guy that gets it.

As unfortunate as the timing was for this technical snafu, a passion project "18 years in the making," as producers Kathy Kennedy and Gary Marshall introduced it, deserves nothing less. All the more so when it comes from the hands of an obsessive perfectionist like Fincher, who famously went with a bullhorn from theater to theater screening a slightly-too-blue print of Zodiac, and announced to audiences, "*BEEEP* GO HOME NOW. THIS NOT HOW THE KILLINGS HAPPENED. I REPEAT, YOUR ZODIAC EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED."