Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg have teamed up twice before on true story films based on recent harrowing experiences. The first of these collaborations was 2013's Lone Survivor, which achieved a good deal of critical and commercial success. Their latest, Deepwater Horizon, may not be able to match the box office prowess of the aforementioned war drama, but it earned positive reviews and praise for being effective and gripping (read our take here). It's safe to say that the two have found a niche together, since they have another movie inspired by real events coming out this year: Patriots Day.
The film centers around the Boston Marathon bombing that took place in April 2013, an attack that killed three people and left 264 others wounded. In it, Wahlberg stars as Sgt. Tommy Saunders. Rounding out the supporting cast are A-listers such as J.K. Simmons, John Goodman, Michelle Monaghan, and Kevin Bacon. Distributor CBS Films hasn't done much in the way of marketing, but that changes now with the release of the first trailer. You can watch it above.
The preview is officially classified as a teaser, and looks to establish the tone and basic plot of the movie. Outside of Saunders having brief interactions with his wife Carol (Monaghan) and a marathon runner, the footage shown consists of shots of Boston and the horrifying aftermath of the bombing, as the police and other officials try to make sense of the situation. A somber instrumental version of the song "America the Beautiful" plays over the second half of the trailer, highlighting the theme of American people coming together and uniting in times of great adversity. The studio also unveiled the first poster, which you can see below:
Patriots Day will cover both the time leading up to the Boston Marathon and the days after, when a widespread manhunt for the terrorists took place. It is one of two dramas about the bombing coming through the pipeline - the other being Stronger starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a runner who lost both of his legs in the attack. The noticeable difference between the two projects is that Berg's film covers the actions of the Boston police department and does not focus on an individual marathon participant, so there should be room for both films. Some viewers may recall that Casey Affleck was to headline a third marathon bombing film called Boston Strong, but late last year it was merged with Patriots Day when CBS Films purchased the rights.
Berg's latest is set up for a platform release, opening in a limited number of theaters in December 2016 before expanding wide on January 13, 2017. Typically, that strategy is used for possible awards contenders, and Patriots Day certainly has potential to be an Oscar player thanks to its talented cast and emotionally-charged story. Things are getting a bit crowded on the awards circuit now with Martin Scorsese's Silence and Ben Affleck's Live by Night getting qualifying runs at the end of the year, but Patriots Day could emerge as one to watch. Even if it comes up short in a quest for gold, it still looks like another respectful, well-crafted drama from Berg and Wahlberg, and that's arguably what's more important.
Patriots Day opens in limited U.S. theaters on December 21, 2016 before expanding nationwide on January 13, 2017.
Source: CBS Films