Why It Could Succeed
The Wachowskis are on a short list of directors that you have to pay attention to when they release a new project. Every film that they’ve made has been ambitious and if anything, Jupiter Ascending is sure to be a spectacle. Coming off the great, but not entirely successful, Cloud Atlas, I’m interested in their return to sci-fi. Warner Bros continues to have faith in the Wachowskis, and I think that should bode well for the movie if WB is giving them large budgets for original sci-fi material in a world of sequels and adaptations. If this movie hits, the sky could be the limit come awards time.
Regardless of how you personally feel about C-Tates or Mila Kunis, it’s hard to say that they aren’t bankable and likable stars. Headlining a big scifi film could certainly drive the ticket sales for the movie as well as allow them to really let loose. Also, Doona Bae is in this movie.
Why It Won’t Succeed
For every Matrix and Cloud Atlas, you get a Speed Racer or Matrix sequel, meaning that despite the visionaries that the Wachowskis are, they aren’t immune to making a terrible movie. Jupiter Ascending, despite having star power and a large budget, could easily fall in that bad pile of movies. More importantly, the summer movie season is harsher than most on movies. The second critics or fans see blood in the water (i.e. bad reviews or even the mere appearance of a movie not being good) a movie’s prospects of being successful plummet because there’s always another big movie coming around the corner to steal the spotlight.
Also, though Kunis and Tatum are likable, they are both actors whose performances can fluctuate wildly. Both of their best roles came in smaller scale films with strict directors at the helm. Will they be drowned in the spectacle or try to go too big and give a cartoon performance?
Finally, those 4 Oscars for the Matrix seem like a lifetime ago, and none of their other films have really gotten serious Oscar contention. Though the Academy has recognized sci-fi movies lately, have any of them had half wolf-half human hybrids saving janitor workers who are apparently queen’s of the galaxy? Might be a tough sell, even for the more open Academy.