Passengers (2016 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Morten Tyldum|
|Written by||Jon Spaihts|
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Edited by||Maryann Brandon|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$303.1 million|
Passengers is a 2016 American science fiction romance film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as Aurora Lane and Jim Preston, respectively, with Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne in supporting roles. The plot depicts two people who are awakened ninety years too early from an induced hibernation on a spaceship, transporting thousands of passengers, travelling to a distant colony planet.
The film was originally written in 2007 by Spaihts but was kept in development hell, with multiple actors attached over the years. In December 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment picked up the film's rights, with Tyldum attached to direct. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence were cast as the two leads in February 2015. The film was produced by Village Roadshow Pictures, Start Motion Pictures, Original Film, LStar Capital, Wanda Pictures and Company Films. Principal photography took place at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Atlanta, Georgia from September 2015 to February 2016.
Passengers premiered at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles on December 14, 2016 and was released theatrically in the United States on December 21, 2016, in 2D and RealD 3D by Columbia Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for Pratt and Lawrence's performances, as well as the score, visual style and production values, though criticism was directed at the plot and characters. It grossed $303 million worldwide, becoming the third-biggest original live-action US release of 2016. The film received two Academy Award nominations for Best Original Score and Best Production Design at the 89th Academy Awards.
The Avalon, a sleeper ship transporting 5,000 colonists and 258 crew members in hibernation pods, is on course to the planet Homestead II, a journey lasting 120 years. Thirty years into the journey, an asteroid collision damages the ship and causes its computer to awaken one passenger, mechanical engineer Jim Preston, a person who "fixes things", 90 years too early.
After a year of isolation, with only an android barman named Arthur for company, Jim grows despondent and contemplates suicide. One day, he notices a beautiful young woman named Aurora Lane inside her pod. Jim views Aurora's video file and is smitten by her humorous personality. After struggling with the morality of manually reviving Aurora for companionship, therein robbing her of a life before arriving to a new planet, he awakens her, letting her assume her pod also malfunctioned. Aurora, devastated at having to live out her life on the ship, unsuccessfully attempts to re-enter hibernation. Resigned to the situation, Aurora, a journalist, begins writing a book about her experiences.
Over the next year, Jim and Aurora grow closer, eventually falling in love. Jim intends to propose to Aurora, but Arthur inadvertently reveals the truth to her. Aurora, anguished, alternately berates, shuns, and physically attacks Jim. She furiously rejects Jim's pleas for forgiveness, and the two avoid contact.
Soon after, another pod failure awakens Gus Mancuso, Chief Deck Officer. He discovers multiple failures throughout the ship's systems. If not repaired, the ship will continue suffering critical system failures and the mission may fail. Gus attempts to repair the ship with Jim and Aurora's help but he soon falls critically ill, having been physically damaged by his malfunctioning pod. The Autodoc, the ship's automated medical diagnostics and treatment pod, reveals Gus has a prognosis of only hours to live. Before dying, Gus gives Jim and Aurora his ID badge to access crew-only areas and to repair the ship.
Jim and Aurora discover a series of hull breaches from the asteroid collision two years earlier. The computer module administering the fusion reactor powering the ship has been critically damaged, causing the ship's cascading malfunctions. Jim and Aurora replace the damaged module. When the computer fails to vent the reactor to extinguish a massive reactor fire, Jim has to vent it by opening the vent hatch from the ship's exterior while Aurora assists from inside. She admits she is terrified of losing Jim and being left alone. After venting the reactor, Jim's tether snaps and his damaged spacesuit loses oxygen; Aurora retrieves Jim but has to resuscitate him in the Autodoc.
Afterwards, Jim learns that the Autodoc can function as a makeshift hibernation pod for one person. He can put Aurora to sleep for the remainder of the voyage.
Eighty-eight years later, the ship's crew awaken on schedule, shortly before arrival at Homestead II. They discover a small house amid lush flora and fauna in the ship's grand concourse area. Aurora's book reveals that she chose to stay awake with Jim and live out the rest of her life with him on the Avalon as she continued writing her story.
The movie concludes with a voice over of Aurora reading a passage from her story which is as follows: A friend once said, "You can't get so hung up on where you'd rather be that you forget to make the most of where you are." We got lost along the way. But we found each other. And we made a life....A beautiful life. Together.
- Jennifer Lawrence as Aurora Lane, a journalist and writer
- Chris Pratt as Jim Preston, a mechanical engineer
- Michael Sheen as Arthur, an android bartender on the Avalon
- Laurence Fishburne as Gus Mancuso, the chief deck officer
- Julee Cerda and Nazanin Boniadi as hologram instructors
- Andy García as Captain Norris, the commanding officer of the Avalon
- Aurora Perrineau as Celeste, Aurora's best friend
The original script for Passengers was written by Jon Spaihts in 2007, and had been in development hell for years. In this original script, character Aurora's original surname was Dunn. At one point, the film was set to star Keanu Reeves and Emily Blunt. The film's production budget was a relatively low $35 million, and at various points in its development, actors attached to it included Reeves, Reese Witherspoon, and Rachel McAdams. Brian Kirk was originally scheduled to make his feature directorial debut with the film, with Reeves in the lead. On December 5, 2014, it was announced that Sony Pictures Entertainment had won the rights to the film. In early 2015, Morten Tyldum was chosen to direct the film. Tyldum had always wanted to do a massive sci-fi action movie, but also stressed the importance of a character-driven sci-fi film, rather than a cold and distant one.
Metro described its plot as bearing a strong resemblance to the EC Comics story "50 Girls 50" by Al Williamson, first published in the July–August 1953 issue of Weird Science, in which two passengers of a colony spaceship are awoken from hibernation early and fall in love.
The cast – Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne – were announced between February 2015 and January 2016. Lawrence was paid $20 million against 30 percent of the profit after the movie breaks even and Pratt was paid $12 million.
Principal photography on the film began on September 15, 2015 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Filming occasionally took place for full days with a bulk of the shooting involving the two leads only. Rodrigo Prieto was cinematographer, and Maryann Brandon was film editor. Filming concluded on February 12, 2016.
Thomas Newman composed the musical score for Passengers. Spaihts said that he wrote Passengers while listening to Newman's previous scores. Also, Imagine Dragons recorded a song, "Levitate", for the film's soundtrack. It was released on November 29, 2016.
In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment set the film's release date for December 21, 2016, in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. The film was concurrently released in 3D and RealD 3D formats, with the international rollout running through Christmas and the New Year, to January 12, 2017.
At CinemaCon 2016, Passengers was featured by Sony Pictures chairman Thomas Rothman, alongside Lawrence and Pratt during Sony's presentation. A teaser trailer of unfinished footage was presented afterwards. The first official images of the film were released on August 12, 2016.
Passengers was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 14, 2017, and was made available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on March 7, 2017. On March 14, 2017, Passengers: Awakening, a virtual reality experience based on the film launched for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Passengers grossed $100 million in the United States and Canada and $203.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $303.1 million, against a net production budget of $110 million. It was the second-highest grossing original live-action Hollywood release of 2016, after La La Land.
Passengers opened alongside Sing and Assassin's Creed, and was initially expected to gross around $50 million from 3,478 theaters over its first six days of release, although the studio was projecting a more conservative $35 million debut. After making $1.2 million from Tuesday night previews and $4.1 million on its first day, projections for the six-day opening were lowered to $27 million. It went on to gross $15.1 million in its opening weekend (a six-day total of $30 million), finishing third at the box office behind Rogue One and Sing. It became the third-biggest original live-action domestic release of 2016 behind Central Intelligence ($126 million) and La La Land ($149 million).
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 30% of 255 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review and an average rating of 5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Passengers proves Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence work well together – and that even their chemistry isn't enough to overcome a fatally flawed story." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 41 out of 100 based on 48 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 77% overall positive score.
Mick LaSalle of The San Francisco Chronicle gave the film three out of four stars. He stated "despite the confinement and the limited cast, Passengers has moments of intense drama that take the actors to places of extreme feeling." James Dyer of Empire gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, stating the film is "as surprisingly traditional as it is undeniably effective." He described the film as "Titanic amongst the stars" and "a touching, heartfelt tale of loss and love for the Gravity generation." Peter Keough of The Boston Globe gave the film two and a half out of four stars, stating "perhaps as a well-written play for a cast of three, Passengers might have been first class. Instead, it's just another mediocre thrill ride." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called the film an "appealing sci-fi romance" but criticized the final act as an "anticlimax". He gave the film three out of five stars.
Rebecca Hawkes of The Telegraph described the film as not a romance but "a creepy ode to manipulation", describing the action as a "central act of violence" that is softened and justified. Andrew Pulver of The Guardian called it an "interstellar version of social-media stalking" with "a fantastically creepy start" that, contrary to romantic comedies that manage to "plane down" the nastiness of stalking tactics, presents them in a way where "it's gruesomely inescapable". Alissa Wilkinson of Vox called it "a fantasy of Stockholm syndrome, in which the captured eventually identifies and even loves the captor" and "a really disturbing wish fulfillment fantasy".
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||February 26, 2017||Best Production Design||Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena||Nominated|||
|Best Original Score||Thomas Newman|
|Art Directors Guild Awards||February 11, 2017||Excellence in Production Design for a Fantasy Film||Guy Hendrix Dyas||Won|||
|Golden Trailer Awards||June 6, 2017||Best Action||Sony Pictures Entertainment||Nominated|||
|Best Motion Poster|
|Saturn Awards||June 28, 2017||Best Science Fiction||Passengers||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Chris Pratt|
|Best Actress||Jennifer Lawrence|
|Best Music||Thomas Newman|
|Best Production Design||Guy Hendrix Dyas|
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