The first trailer for director Gavin O'Connor's The Way Back, starring Ben Affleck, is released online. O'Connor and Affleck previously collaborated on 2016's crime drama The Accountant, which grossed a robust $155.1 million worldwide against a $44 million production budget. There was talk the two could reunite for an Accountant sequel, but all's been quiet on that front for the past couple of years. Instead, the two joined forces for sports drama The Way Back, which at various points in its development was known as Torrance and The Has-Been.
In The Way Back, Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star currently struggling with alcoholism. He's recruited to become his alma mater's head basketball coach, looking to turn around what's become a losing program. The Way Back was initially scheduled to come out this fall, but Warner Bros. made the decision to push it back to March 2020. With the film's premiere now only a handful of months away, the studio's kicked off the promotional campaign with the debut of the first trailer.
Today, WB shared the Way Back trailer, as well as the film's official one-sheet. Take a look at both in the space below:
The trailer does a good job of showcasing the broad strokes of the narrative, establishing Jack as a lonely man who frequently drinks and needs to discover some newfound purpose in his life. Viewers have already noted the similarities between Jack and Affleck's own battle with addiction, adding a meta layer to the film that may make it even more emotionally powerful. It'll be interesting to watch Affleck's full performance for that reason, and the glimpses in the trailer hint at a promising turn. Of course, basketball will be a major driving force in The Way Back, with plenty of inspirational speeches and camaraderie between players. O'Connor's well-versed in this genre, previously helming Miracle and Warrior, both of which earned positive reviews. He should be very much in his wheelhouse here.
From the looks of it, The Way Back is going to be an uplifting crowdpleaser that uses sports as a metaphor for the protagonist's life. On-paper, it sounds like it could slip into formulaic territory, but with O'Connor calling the shots, it should prove to be a compelling and entertaining watch. The main reason WB shifted its release date was to help improve its commercial prospects, as The Way Back will now play as counter-programming to Pixar's Onward in March. So, the studio is confident The Way Back will be able to find an audience and be a sizable hit in theaters. Fingers crossed O'Connor and company delivered another poignant sports drama.
Source: Warner Bros.