Sandra Bullock Cameos In New Trailer For Brad Pitt’s ‘Bullet Train’

As much as I’m looking forward to David Leitch’s Bullet Train, I am very relieved to finally have a new trailer for the Brad Pitt-and-friends action-comedy. Simply put, the film’s teaser trailer, released in early March attached to The Batman has threatened to become the “new Morbius” in terms of playing in front of every single theatrical movie to the point of deliriousness. That makes sense since it’s big enough to play before the blockbusters but “small” enough (an R-rated actioner based on a novel rooted in star power and high concepts) to play before the smaller-scale and more adult-skewing flicks.

As Paramount’s The Lost City passes $100 million domestic, I’ll reiterate that Bullet Train is the next best hope for old-school movie-movies at the theatrical level. Speaking of which, Lost City’s Sandra Bullock pops up in person, not just as a voice, in this second trailer. I wrote last year that Paramount’s The Lost City and Sony’s Bullet Train were 2022’s best hopes for audiences to rediscover the value in old-school “just a movie” theatrical releases which in turn will convince studios to make more of them for the theatrical marketplace.

I still believe that, and The Lost City’s $104 million domestic gross (and $185.2 million global gross on a $70 million budget) certainly offers cause for optimism. Just as Brad Pitt offered added value to Bullock and Channing Tatum’s The Lost City, Bullock is returning the favor, albeit in a less flashy capacity, in Bullet Train. Considering Leitch co-directed the first John Wick with Chad Stahelski back in 2014, maybe there’s hope that John Wick: Chapter 4 (due next March) will find room for Keanu Reeves’ Speed/The Lake House co-star just for fun. Ditto Winona Ryder, but I digress.

The trailer is a sharper, more disciplined pitch compared to the over-the-top and overly caffeinated teaser from early March. The narrative has turned from “Brad Pitt has to get a suitcase that lots of other folks will kill for” to “Brad Pitt just can’t get off the damn train,” even if there is by default less emphasis on the ensemble supporting cast. It’s a Pitt star vehicle through and through, even if the deluge of known/liked co-stars (Joey King, Bad Bunny, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Masi Oka and Logan Lerman among others) will absolutely add value.

As I’ve said since late 2019, adult audiences still show up for a studio programmer if it has an ensemble cast, a marquee director, a simple high concept, decent reviews and the promise of cinematic escapism. Bullet Train may check all five boxes. Sony has moved the $85 million-budgeted, presumably R-rated Bullet Train all over the calendar, finally settling on August 5 which smartly positions it as the last biggie of the summer. That may give it legs even if it’s merely an adaquate action comedy.

Going back at least to The Fugitive ($183 million domestic from a $23 million debut in 1993) through the likes of The Sixth Sense ($293 million/$26 million), The Expendables ($103 million/$35 million), Guardians of the Galaxy ($333 million/$94 million) and Suicide Squad ($325 million/$133 million) in 2016, an explicitly commercial “last big genre flick” of the summer can leg out just by being the only game in town until after Labor Day. And with August otherwise a dead month (since The Man from Toronto is going to Netflix), Bullet Train will be the last biggie until, at best, New Line’s Salem’s Lot adaptation in mid-September.

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