Does Ad Astra have an end-credits scene? Directed by James Gray (We Own the Night, The Lost City of Z) from an original script he co-wrote with Ethan Gross (Fringe), Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as Major Roy McBride, an astronaut who travels to the outer edges of the solar system in an attempt to locate his long-missing father, Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones), and uncover the truth behind a mysterious threat that puts humanity's very survival on earth at risk. Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, and John Ortiz help to fill out the film's cast in supporting roles.
Gray's space adventure premiered at the Venice Film Festival in late August, earning positive reviews for its ruminative storytelling and dazzling yet realistic space sequences, as well as Pitt's introspective performance. It served as the happy ending to Ad Astra's relatively difficult journey through post-production, which included multiple releases date delays and concerns about how the Fox project could be impacted by Disney's purchases of Fox's assets in March. Of course, it remains to be seen how Ad Astra fares at the box office, considering that Gray's films are traditionally well-received, but little-viewed.
For those who are wondering, Ad Astra does NOT include an end-credits scene. In fact, the film doesn't leave the door open for a sequel at all, and even concludes with the words "The End" appearing on-screen.
Ad Astra's lack of a credits scene isn't surprising, all things considered. Gray has yet to dip his toe into the pool of franchise moviemaking, and his latest offering (which the filmmaker has likened to the novel Heart of Darkness) is no different. There have been exceptions where similarly standalone films have included clips after and/or during their credits in the past (see last year's Vice for a recent example), but they're still pretty rare otherwise. It's a testament to Pitt's star-power that Ad Astra was able to secure the budget it did (roughly $80-88 million), despite being based on an original concept that isn't designed to give rise to a sequel or more.
As mentioned, though, there's no guarantee that Ad Astra will ultimately turn a profit, even after its showing in Venice. Around this time last year, for example, the biographical space drama First Man was also riding high after its launch in Venice, only to fizzle out at the box office. On the other hand, acclaimed space movies like Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian have all become big hits over the last six years, so there's clearly an audience for Gray's new film. And with Pitt being fresh off the sucess of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, that may be enough to give Ad Astra the boost it needs to cover its costs.
- Ad Astra (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019