Along with today's announcement that Robert Zemeckis' “The Walk” will open the 2015 New York Film Festival comes a new trailer for the film, featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as high-wire artist Philippe Petit. While the initial teaser sold the spectacle of the film, this one plays up the procedural that we all saw put forth in “Man on Wire,” Petit and his team's incredible precision job in pulling the whole thing off.
It plays very commercial to me, which leaves me wondering if it will really be an awards play at the end of the day. I was a big fan of Zemeckis' last film, “Flight” – which closed the 2012 New York Film Festival – but it, too, ended up more of a commercial play. It did land an original screenplay nomination at the end of the day as writer John Gatins was inexhaustible on the circuit and Paramount pushed it very hard.
In recent years, Sony has seen great success with commercial material, though. “American Hustle” and “Captain Phillips” both landed Best Picture nominations. “Moneyball,” too. And of course there was “Zero Dark Thirty.” In the wake of last year's email hack scandal, the studio is in a transitional stage, Tom Rothman taking over for the exiting Amy Pascal. This year will also bring Will Smith in “Concussion” (a drama about American football players suffering from major head injuries and life-long debilitating problems as a result of repeated concussions and efforts by the National Football League to deny it) as well as another James Bond film, “Spectre” (“Skyfall” came close to this level of prestige in 2012). With Meryl Streep rocker “Ricki and the Flash” thrown in for good measure.
How will the new Sony position all of this? Time will tell. For now, you can check out the new trailer for “The Walk” above.