As studios consider delaying films—particularly the kind of high-profile films that rely on star-studded press tours to drum up audience interest—one movie that is for sure coming out is Gran Turismo, due next month.
The film stars Archie Madekwe, David Harbour, and Orlando Bloom, and is both based on the popular video game of the same name AND the life of driver Jann Mardenborough. In 2011, Jann became the youngest winner of GT Academy, a competition series that offered video game champs the opportunity to transition into real, live racing. Jann went on to finish third in his class during the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans race, and he is still a professional race car driver today.
The film comes from director Neill Blomkamp, which explains why it physically looks so good. It’s also edited by Eddie Hamilton, who edited Top Gun: Maverick and is Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible editor, so you know the racing scenes are going to look slick. August is the tail end of the summer movie season, and usually provides a somewhat softer landing for films studios are 100% confident in, though given the popularity of the games, I’m not sure why Sony is worried about this one. Except, of course, that it’s both Barbenheimer Summer and Hot Strike Summer, and it’s been a rough go at the box office since May.
But Gran Turismo looks okay-ish. I think the “based on the game” AND “based on a true story” marketing is confusing to people, because Jann Mardenborough is not a household name, and his story is pretty unbelievable. You would expect someone going from avid gamer to champion to be an e-sports success story, not a professional race car driver. So it’s a big ask of the audience up front, to go with both epithets, and I wonder if it would have been better to just rely on the name recognition of the games to sell the movie, and let people discover “wait, that’s a TRUE STORY” later. At any rate, this is Neill Blomkamp’s first real movie since 2015’s Chappie (I do not acknowledge the pandemic-era horror movie, Demonic). I hope this does well just for Blomkamp’s sake, so we can finally get that District 9 sequel.
Here is Orlando Bloom on vacation with Katy Perry earlier this week.