You’d think that a science fiction action movie starring Spider-Man‘s Tom Holland and Star Wars‘ Daisy Ridley, from Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman would be an easy sell. Well, Chaos Walking indicates that’s not necessarily the case.
The pic is an adaptation of Patrick Ness’ 2008 YA novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, set on a planet only populated by men who believe a virus has killed all women (it’s also given everyone psychic powers). A wrench is thrown into the works, however, when Holland’s character encounters Ridley’s – the first female he’s ever seen – and the pair set out to discover the shocking true history of their world.
Sounds fun, right? Lionsgate agreed, announcing the casting in 2016 and beginning principal photography in 2017. It wrapped in November of that year, though executives got cold feet when test audiences hated what they saw and Chaos Walking was deemed “unreleasable.”
Lengthy reshoots followed, which were complicated by Holland having to film Spider-Man: Far From Home and Ridley heading to the UK for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker over the same period. By this point, Fede Alvarez had stepped in to direct and another $15 million was added to the already large budget. Now, years later, Chaos Walking is scheduled to be released in January 2021 and the full trailer has finally dropped.
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While the footage seen here isn’t actually half bad, the sheer amount of red flags around the movie make it extremely unlikely that it’ll be any good. Leaving aside the production complications listed above, the fact that it’s being dumped in the traditional window during which studios release pics they know are crappy doesn’t bode well.
My prediction is that a theatrical run is baked into Holland and Ridley’s contracts and it’ll land on VOD soon after. But who knows, maybe it’ll be a sleeper hit and confound expectations?
Chaos Walking will (finally) reach theaters on January 22nd, 2021.