Prior this point, the X-Men: Days of Future Past trailers have suffered under the burden of having to clearly communicate the specifics of its time travel plot (apocalyptic future, Wolverine sent back to stop it from happening…yeah, yeah, we’ve all seen Terminator, right?). Plus, they wanted to make sure we knew that pretty much everyone we’ve ever liked from the prior X-Men films is going to be in this thing, except the now-dead ones (R.I.P. Jean Grey and Cyclops). The result was some cool tone poems along with expensive-looking visuals. However, from what we’d heard, the trailers were actually a bit misleading since the majority of the film supposedly takes place in the past with the First Class actors, not the future with the original trilogy actors (Entertainment Weekly reports most of the A-listers on the film worked only briefly thus earning lower salaries than normal, though that would also include First Class actors like Jennifer Lawrence as well, right?).
Well, now that Fox is relatively certain we’re all fairly clear on exactly what’s going down with this movie they can give us perhaps the best indication of what to expect.
So, here’s the final full-length trailer:
And here’s the 1-minute, supposedly the film’s opening, which premiered at the MTV Movie Awards:
Perhaps because I’m naturally inclined to this direction or because I’m hyper-aware due to writing Box Office Top 10 wrap-ups for this site every Sunday, but to this point my X-Men fanboy excitement over Days of Future Past has consistently been tempered by worries related to the film’s box office prospects. As its producer-writer Simon Kinberg recently joked in an EW cover story, “I think this is the biggest movie Fox has made that James Cameron didn’t direct,” acknowledging rumors that its $200 million-plus budget ranks Days of Future Past second to only Avatar as the most expensive film produced in 20th Century Fox’s 79 year history. That is a steep investment for a franchise which has grossed $2.3 billion worldwide across 6 films since 2000, keeping in mind that The Avengers grossed $1.5 billion all on its own in 2012. Beyond that, it’s a franchise in clear domestic box office decline since each franchise entry since X-Men: The Last Stand – X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine – finished with a lower domestic gross than the X-Men film that preceded it. Of those three, only The Wolverine truly made up for it with a manageable budget and unexpectedly strong international play.
So, really, although Days of Future Past is indeed based upon Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s beloved 1980 story from the comics it might as well have come about due to a worried Fox executive asking, “Is there some way we could save the X-Men franchise by having the old actors come back to star alongside the First Class actors?” Kingberg is certainly thinking along those lines, telling EW, “The hope is that Days of Future Past will broaden the audience for X-Men such that it will motivate potential spin-offs even more.”
And Fox is doubling down, leveraging its Marvel-controlled properties the same way Sony is. Really, with DC starting its own cinematic universe with Man of Steel, Sony doing so with The Amazing Spider-Man, and Fox looking to do say with Days of Future Past and its upcoming Fantastic Four reboot we will soon have 4 different self-contained comic-book-based cinematic universe: DC, Marvel-Spider-Man, Marvel-X-Men/Fantastic Four, and the actual Marvel one with The Avengers and pals.
The problem, though, is what happens when that thing meant to set-up the future projects fails? It’s kind of like, “What if Iron Man 2, so burdened by having to set-up SHIELD, was not just an artistic but also financial failure?” What if The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Days of Future Past bomb or under-perform? In the latter case, Fox has already committed to three more X-Men films beyond Days of Future Past: a direct sequel in X-Men: Apocalypse (5/27/16), another solo Wolverine title in March 2017, and a mystery project for 7/13/18 (likely either a straight sequel to Apocalypse or X-Men spin-off X-Force or a X-Men/Fantastic Four cross-over). Plus, during the promotional rounds of Days of Future Past X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner has repeatedly indicated a desire to do a spin-off film centered around Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Because Mystique is such a cool character with a rich comic book history from which to draw? Nah, mostly just because she’s played by Jennifer Lawrence.
So, I might actually be just as intrigued to see how well Days of Future Past performs at the box office than I am to actually see how well it holds up as a movie. There’s no reason to expect this thing to be amazing. It’s been a long ass time since Bryan Singer made X2, and the last time an X-Men movie tried to stuff itself with this many mutants it didn’t turn out so well (X-Men: The Last Stand). However, whereas the earlier trailers gave away the concept this final trailer finally gives a sense of this thing as an actual movie, and while there are certainly some odd questions posed by the new footage (how is it that James McAvoy’s Xavier can walk? how on Earth was Magneto ever captured?) it does all smack quite nicely of X2: the good and bad guys all united against a common threat, with Wolverine around making jokes and being as awesome as you’d expect. Plus, the footage from the MTV Movie Awards shows that with that $200 million-plus budget the special effects are going to look amazing, with some really cool Portal (the video game)-like bubbles being created by one of the new mutants.
I will be there opening weekend. I don’t know if seeing these characters together will be cool enough to distract from any story deficiencies/plot holes, the way it was for Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. I also don’t know what a poor box office performance for Days of Future Past might mean for Fox’s long-term plans. I just know I’ll be there.
What about you? What did you think of the final trailer and new footage? Let us know in the comments section.
Days of Future Past is due for a 5/23/14 domestic release.
Source: Final Trailer and 1 Minute of X-Men: Days of Future Past | soipondered.wordpress.com