Kristen Stewart has a lot on, at the moment. In a couple weeks she’ll be at Venice, then TIFF, for Seberg, and then she’ll make her official return to the mainstream with Charlie’s Angels. And then, in January, when she might be campaigning for trophies, she has a classic January movie burial with Underwater, which just dropped its first trailer. It is currently registering an 8.0 on the Yikes Scale. Assuming Stewart is actually in the award mix with Seberg, could this Norbit her? 

The gist is that a group of people are trapped in a deep-sea station and that drilling into the ocean floor has woke something up, and that thing is now eating them. If this sounds familiar, yes, it is basically the plot of The Meg. The difference is that in Underwater, the disturbed monster appears to be aliens and not a giant shark. The director, William Eubank, is a sci-fi guy, having previously made Love and The Signal, both movies about people isolated in extreme sci-fi situations. Underwater has that same vibe of isolation, peril, and sci-fi mystery. I’m a little wary of Underwater because Eubank’s previous movies are style over substance. They look great, they have interesting setups, but then they can’t deliver on the actual story. Also, getting dumped in January is a huge red flag. Might need to pull out the Bad Movie Bingo card for this one.


Another huge red flag? TJ Miller. Underwater was shot in 2017—by the time it comes out, it will be almost three years since filming so… plenty of time to replace him with Christopher Plummer. No but seriously, I am surprised he’s so prominent in this trailer, but then, it’s not like anyone not named “Weinstein” is being held accountable for their sh-tty behavior, so why would the people marketing this movie be embarrassed to be saddled with him? The people marketing Underwater probably don’t want to be saddled with this movie at all. 

This is a Fox movie hoovered up by Disney in the merger, and that January dump date is par for the course for how Disney is treating Fox movies now under their banner. They’re not investing in these movies, and they’re all flopping as a result. You could argue that the movies are not good—a massive marketing campaign for Dark Phoenix is just more money flushed away—but it really doesn’t matter even if they ARE good. Disney just isn’t going to spend money on Fox releases. They’ve been shuttering projects in development, cutting marketing spending on releases, and tightening the belt on anything that needs additional photography. They’re also publicly shaming Fox for poor performance this year, which is a bit hypocritical since they’re pretty well ensuring Fox can’t succeed. It seems obvious Disney is setting the stage to close down Fox entirely and strip-mine it for that sweet, sweet IP, and thus dies a legacy studio. Underwater is another chip in Fox’s crumbling support base.  


Attached - Kristen Stewart out in LA last week after having lunch with friends.