It has been a tough few months for Messrs Pitt and Smith at the box office. The former saw his glossy, Robert Zemeckis directed spy thriller, Allied, stiff with little over $100m globally. Whereas one-time guaranteed $40m+ opening weekend megastar, Will Smith, got caught up in the Suicide Squad fall-out, despite being one of the best things about the chaos. He followed that up with Christmas clunker, Collateral Beauty, which was laughed out of the multiplexes for its misplaced attempts at Frank Capra-style seasonal joy.
Now, both are attempting something of a career resurrection through Netflix, with trailers for their respective movies hitting the internet in the past few days. As a filmmaking studio, the streaming service has been relatively hit and miss (Beasts of No Nation and 13th are balanced out with the four-film Adam Sandler deal), their feature output not nearly as impressive as their scripted hourlongs (Stranger Things, Narcos).
First up was the former Fresh Prince with Bright. A film directed by his Suicide Squad shot-caller, David Ayer, who’ll be at home with the tale of two beat cops after the excellent End of Watch. The difference here is that Smith and his partner, played by the ever dependable Joel Edgerton, are steering their red and blues through a fantasy flecked reality.
The trailer has plenty of mood, giving off something of a Hellboy vibe. With a reported budget of $90m, and a supporting cast that includes Noomi Rapace and Edgar Ramirez, here’s hoping that Ayer’s vision can match the ambition shown in him by Netflix. Our interest is piqued.
On the other end of the scale, Brad Pitt is aiming for the Men Who Stare at Goats and Whisky Tango Foxtrot audience, if there is such a thing, with his war comedy, War Machines. It’s Wag the Dog-style satire based on the people running the campaign in Afghanistan, which will hope to escape every comparison we’ve just mentioned.
The trailer is a strange concoction of Pitt gurning, and jokes we’ve heard numerous times before, but the appearance of Will Poulter and Tilda Swinton give us hope that this will target the funny bone when it’s released on May 27th.
Images: Netflix US & Canada