As 2016 continues its quest to destroy everything we love, let your feelings over #JolieSplitt (h/t Dianna) be soothed by Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, America’s Sweethearts, coming to save you, literally, in the first trailer for their movie Passengers. The never-ending cycle of franchise movie advertising has convinced us movies need a full calendar year to advertise, so people were getting edgy that Passengers, due on December 21, hadn’t yet released a trailer. But really, it’s right on time as a holiday movie. September is when we start seeing trailers for the holiday movie season for non-franchise movies, and most of the marketing awareness is raised in the month before release anyway. What’s happening here is called “restraint” and movie marketing has largely forgotten this archaic word.
The movie itself looks pretty solid. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but given that the movie is mostly just the Queen of Doritos Dust and the Lord of Onscreen Farts isolated in space. I was sort of thinking Passengers would be more overtly comedic, perhaps like a sci-fi rom-com, but clearly it’s not. It looks more in the vein of Prometheus, with a dash of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and even a little Armageddon thrown in for good measure. Pratt and JLaw star as people travelling to a space colony, only to be woken from a 120-year hibernation ninety years too early.
The existential implications of spending your life alone on a space vessel are staggering, but Passengers looks a little more invested in action than introspection. Something Is Wrong With The Ship, and it’s up to Pratt and JLaw to save everyone, including Michael Sheen as a malfunctioning robot bartender. There’s space action and space explosions, and even a tease of that space sex scene for which JLaw had to get hammered. I’m into how all of this looks.
But the competition in December is pretty tough. Rogue One opens the week before, though while it’s too early for effective tracking, awareness is a little softer than expected. It’ll make money, but I’m expecting an Episode VII-sized avalanche of cash. The more direct competition is Assassin’s Creed, though animated movie Sing is poised to be a breakout hit, especially with families. People like space movies, but against such stiff competition, Passengers is really going to test the box office power of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Time to find out who the real Movie Stars are.
Attached - Chris Pratt making the promotional rounds for The Magnificent Seven in New York this morning and last night..