Natalie Portman plays a biologist who finds herself in a strange new world in the latest theatrical trailer for the sci-fi drama/thriller, Annihilation. The film is the second directorial effort from author-turned screenwriter-turned filmmaker Alex Garland, following his debut on the Oscar-winning artificial intelligence flick Ex Machina.
Based on the novel of the same name written by Jeff VanderMeer and published in 2014, Annihilation tells the story of a scientific expedition to a mysterious environmental disaster zone that has been dubbed "The Shimmer". Led by a psychologist played by Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), the mission team also includes a surveyor, as well as a linguist, an anthropologist, and a biologist named Lena (Portman). However, this isn't the first time that a group of highly-qualified individuals have ventured into "The Shimmer" - a place where the laws of nature no longer apply - and it soon becomes clear to Lena just how dangerous this "disaster zone" really is.
Paramount Pictures has now released the second trailer for Annihilation online, with Portman's character and her drive to learn what happened to her husband (played by Oscar Isaac) in "The Shimmer" at the center of the action. While the new trailer dives deeper into the story than the Annihilation teaser before it, both previews emphasize the movie's surreal visuals and horror/thriller aspects over everything else. For more on that, watch the new Annihilation trailer in the space above.
It was reported last week that Paramount is finalizing a deal for Netflix to take over the international distribution of Annihilation, with Paramount still handling the film's theatrical release in the U.S., Canada, and China. The change in distribution is in part a response to poor test screenings of the film, which reportedly caused producer David Ellison (Terminator Genisys) to become concerned that the current cut of the movie is "too intellectual" and "too complicated" to appeal to a broad audience. When fellow producer Scott Rudin (Lady Bird) refused to force Ellison's recommended changes on the film, Paramount decided to seek out a new international distributor over its concerns about Annihilation's box office prospects.
Both studio and producer concerns about Annihilation's commercial prospects are understandable, in a business sense. While Ex Machina was a critical darling, it was only a financial success because of its low production cost ($15 million) and had niche appeal at the global box office. Paramount did enjoy both critical and commercial success with Denis Villeneuve's similarly cerebral, mid-range budgeted, sci-fi offering Arrival two years ago, but that film was more the exception that proves the rule. Based on the trailers, Annihilation has a darker edge and hews closer to something like Andrei Tarkovsky's sci-fi mystery Solaris than Arrival anyway - and though that's intriguing news for cinephiles, it's probably not an encouraging comparison for anxious studio investors.
Garland also wrote the adapted script for Annihilation, in addition to calling the shots. Joining Portman and Leigh in the cast are Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Tuva Novotny (Borg/McEnroe), David Gyasi (Interstellar), and Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange), as well as Ex Machina costar Sonoya Mizuno.
Source: Paramount Pictures
- Annihilation (2018) release date: Feb 23, 2018