Hotly-anticipated tentpoles such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and buzzed-about awards season contenders like La La Land will be arriving in theaters this December - and thus, they have been making fresh headlines left and right of late. Sony Pictures' expensive sci-fi romance/thriller Passengers (which also opens in December) has been working hard to carve out its fair share of the spotlight too, banking heavily on its shiny cosmic visuals and the combined star power of leads Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, throughout its marketing.
At the same time though, Sony has seemingly struggled to settle on a cohesive approach to selling Passengers to the moviegoing masses. While some of the clips and promos released for the film lean heavily on the romantic story at its core, others have gone in the opposite direction and suggested that Passengers is more of a thrill ride (in space) that features shocking plot twists and turns. The end result is that Sony has, so far, painted a somewhat muddled picture of its big-budget project through its trailers and TV spots alone.
That trend continues with the new trailer that Sony has released online for Passengers. The video (see above) blends the Imagine Dragons song "Levitate" with footage of Lawrence and Pratt's characters in the film being cute together and falling in love, as well as the occasional glimpse of the dangers that they face during their voyage through space. Judging solely by what's shown here, Passengers (arguably) comes off as being a romantic comedy set in outer space - one that, without warning, morphs into a space thriller in the vein of Danny Boyle's Sunshine.
Lawrence and Pratt star in Passengers as Aurora and James, respectively; two passengers who are on a spacecraft headed to a distant mining planet, when their sleeping chambers malfunction and they awaken some 90 years before they're due to reach their destination. The film itself reads as having a genre-blending narrative, which might account for why Sony seems to be having difficulties settling on a single way of marketing it. This also isn't the first time that Sony has (arguably) mishandled the marketing for a movie this year either; see also the studio's troubles promoting the Ghostbusters reboot, for case in point.
Passengers is based on a script by Jon Spaihts (co-writer of Doctor Strange) - one that has made the Hollywood Black List of best unproduced screenplays multiple times - and was directed by Morten Tyldum, the helmsman of the Oscar-winning Alan Turing drama, The Imitation Game. The film has a lot going for it besides its stars, in other words, and it might yet prove to be something special for that reason. Hopefully that will indeed be the case and this movie won't get lost in the winter holiday shuffle (where it face competition from the likes of Rogue One and Assassin's Creed), as a result of its odd marketing.
Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment
- Passengers (2016) release date: Dec 21, 2016