The First Babylon Trailer Damien Chazelle’s Babylon was released by Paramount. It’s a rare red-band trailer with actual nudity and strong language but no violence in the context of the story of Hollywood’s risky switch from silent to talkies in the 1920s. Fans of Singing in the Rain and The Artist may attest that it is well-traveled ground. But that’s a longer discussion.
Many pre-Hays Code movies were racier and more progressive than a lot of what passes for adult cinema nowadays. The image resembles a coke-fueled party film. People like Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Diego Calva, as well as Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, Jean Smart, and Tobey Maguire, are always there, working on movies, attempting to make history, and otherwise indulging in a variety of vices. It appears to be on a level playing field with the other films that Chazelle has directed.
The first Babylon Trailer
Watch the Official Trailer of BABYLON (Uncensored)
The movies Whiplash, La La Land, and First Man all deal with the sacrifices that are necessary to do great things. Sometimes, boring and less-than-glamorous aspects of creating great art or history, and the way that success in your area may feel like an ordinary job.
Whiplash, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Birdman, and Selma were just a few of the Oscar-nominated films that explored (to borrow Malcolm McDowell from a late-season one episode of Heroes), “the push-pull between having an important life and having a happy life.” I am unable to speculate on the quality of Babylon’s final product. The fact that it will debut in select theatres on Christmas Day and then expand to more locations on January 6 is a strong indication that it has the potential to become a big smash during the Oscar season of the COVID era. It will have been three arduous years since the year 1917.
It was nearly entirely uncontested when it was released in early 2022. Which played a significant role in why Spider-Man: No Way Home was able to increase its domestic gross from $260 million in the middle of December to $804 million (or $812 million when accounting for the latest reissue). It wasn’t only that movie companies held out on releasing their more anticipated films, delaying Morbius until early April and leaving Scream as the only major release in theatres during the month of January.
It was also the fact that we didn’t have any Oscar season smashes in late 2021, and we surely didn’t have any that would continue to pile up gross receipts at the beginning of 2022. House of Gucci came the closest, collecting $52 million domestically off of a $22 million launch weekend around Thanksgiving. but the majority of its business was completed before Christmas. The Last Duel, Last Night in Soho, West Side Story, King Richard, and Licorice Pizza were all films that failed to perform well at the box office or, at most, were just moderately successful. By the middle of December 2021, all of them had been made available to the general public.
What we did not get at the beginning of 2022 were the platform releases that occurred in late December. These releases rode a tsunami of positive reviews, attention from awards, and consumer excitement to a successful broad release in January. Consider, only in the past ten years, films like “Zero Dark Thirty” (2013), “American Sniper” (2015), “La La Land” (2017), “Hidden Figures” (2017), and “1917” (2020). But of course, those are simply the most important ones.
Okay, so it’s not 2010/2011 anymore. As a result, we have no reason to believe that movies such as Little Fockers and Tron: Legacy will be joined at the box office by the likes of Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit, and The King’s Speech, all of which have the potential to earn significant sums of money. But World War I action-drama directed by Sam Mendes began with $37 million and is on its way to making $159 million domestically. This was just two months before COVID became a problem on a worldwide scale. That release was on par with The Revenant in 2016, Gran Torino in 2009, and Lone Survivor in 2014 in terms of its success.
If at least a few of the year’s major Oscar contenders are successful at the box office, this may be an indication that the film industry is on the road to recovery. The passion plays The Whale directed by Darren Aronofsky and featuring Brendan Fraser as an obese guy in a performance that has the potential to win an Academy Award, will not, in my opinion, be a box office smash. Nor The Son, Empire of Light, nor Armageddon Time, regardless of the quality that is presumptively associated with them.
However, if there were more “fun” entertainment available, more people would go to the theatre. Take, for example, the semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans directed by Steven Spielberg and released on Thanksgiving, the caper Amsterdam directed by David O.Russell.
And starring Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor Joy, and John David Washington, and the drama She Said directed by Maria Schrader and released on November 18 and focuses on the reporters who brought down Harvey Weinstein. Due to the fact that Babylon will be using the strategy of “platform in December, go wide in January,” the film has a chance of following in the footsteps of A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, and Million-Dollar Baby, regardless of whether or not it wins any awards.
Or, on the other hand, it is possible that an R-rated, three-hour raunch fest will prove to be too much for the kind of older viewers who do not like to watch R-rated movies that have true R-rated content (beyond an F-bomb or two). It is why Harvey Weinstein fought to acquire a PG-13 rating for Judi Dench’s Philomena in late 2013, and that is why Lionsgate eventually released a PG-13 cut of Johnny Depp’s Mortdecai on DVD. Both of these decisions were made because of the reasons stated above. It’s not as if Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was a quick and clean adult-oriented form of entertainment.
Even, if it did deliver the taboo goods in a high-quality or crowd-pleasing package. I don’t know, and it’s quite unlikely that I will know until we find out whether or not anyone attends The Woman King, Amsterdam, or The Fabelmans over the next three months. This next Friday marks the beginning of the campaign for the Academy Awards, at least in terms of general moviegoers. First, let’s put our fingers crossed that anyone goes to see Sony’s fantastic action film starring Viola Davis.