The Gray Man's first trailer just dropped and it's basically a reminder that Netflix is no stranger to bloated production budgets. For starters, Stranger Things season 4 is reportedly costing the streamer $30 million per episode, but even by Netflix’s own big spending standards, The Gray Man represents a seriously significant investment.
The blockbuster is reported (opens in new tab) to have a budget north of $200 million and is widely believed to be the streaming services' most expensive original movie to date. Until now we’d only seen brief snippets of the film, but Netflix just dropped the first full trailer. This two-minute preview gives us our best look yet at how the film’s colossal production budget has been spent, and you can watch it below:
Based on this trailer we can probably assume the majority of the budget wasn’t spent on scriptwriting, as clunky one-liners such as “you want to make an omelet, you gotta kill some people” stand out for all the wrong reasons. Although, Ryan Gosling's snappy retort of “my ego is a little bruised” when Ana de Armas asked if he’s hurt did have this reporter cracking a smile.
Analysis: Where did the $200 million go?
Speaking of the film's impressive cast, we can safely presume a fairly large chunk of the film’s cost went towards paying its A-list stars. After all, an action movie featuring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas doesn’t come cheap. Of course, Netflix is no stranger to paying sizeable amounts for a trio of leading stars, see last year’s Red Notice which brought together Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot as further proof.
This trailer definitely suggests the action thriller won’t be stingy on the spectacle. Thankfully, there’s no poor CGI here on the same level as the uncanny effects seen in the first She-Hulk trailer, but a sequence with Gosling sprinting along the top of a tram as it smashes into a building does look fairly ropey. Plus, we see de Armas fighting in front of a floor-to-ceiling window that looks more like a laptop screensaver than an actual city skyline.
The trailer doesn’t reveal much of the film’s plot, but we know the film is based on the 2009 novel by Mark Greaney of the same name. The official plot synopsis notes, The Gray Man will center on the CIA’s most skilled mercenary (Gosling) being hunted by his former colleague (Evans) after learning dark agency secrets. Expect a globe-trotting adventure and probably some form of MacGuffin that the bad guys want for nefarious purposes.
The Gray Man is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, the same duo responsible for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The pair appear to have a solid working relationship with Netflix and have already expressed a desire to turn The Gray Man into a franchise. The brothers were also producers on Netflix's 2020 break-out hit Extraction, which starred Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. A sequel is in the works and set to release in 2023.
While this trailer may whet the appetite of action movie fans, the question remains if Netflix investing $200 million into a single movie is a wise move for a streaming service that is currently facing pretty intense scrutiny. The list of canceled Netflix shows in 2022 is growing ever bigger, and disappointed viewers may wonder if a few of them could have been saved if The Gray Man’s budget had been trimmed a little bit.
Of course, when the Gray Man does hit Netflix on July 22, it will probably dominate social media conversation and shoot straight to the top of the streamer’s most watchlisted list. However, whether one very expensive movie will be enough to bring back the wave of subscribers who have recently canceled Netflix is another story entirely.
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