“Suppose we were going to shoot a scene in a typical room. We can now, if we want to, add elements to that scene to make it more visually arresting. We could light the ceiling on fire by using CGI. We could enhance the experience by projecting it in 3-D. Does any of this have anything to do with story, or character? No. But, it would look great in the trailer.” Those are comments made by filmmaker Billy Ray from his keynote speech at the 2012 Academy Nicholl Fellowship awards (via Medium). It’s a reality screenwriters are facing in an increasingly blockbuster world—your movie sometimes needs to have more sizzle than steak, and it’s a fact Christopher McQuarrie has become quite cognizant of.
While Tom Cruise recently revealed he’s got an idea for a sequel to “Edge Of Tomorrow,” McQuarrie is a lot more cautious about the development of a followup. And he cites the tough time Warner Bros. faced marketing the movie, from the title, to even the basic structure, which isn’t easily encapsulated in a two minute trailer. And he says that the next time around, he would write with the knowledge that a marketing team is going to need to package the picture.
“It all comes down to Warner Bros. and Doug Liman and Emily Blunt saying yes,” McQuarrie told Uproxx, about a sequel. “The idea is there. At worst, it’s the kernel of an idea – which is, on one hand, great, but on the other hand, I know what a nightmare that is. I know that I’ll be in the void trying to figure that out. And even then when it came out in the press after Tom had mentioned it, right away, there were people on social media saying, ‘Don’t do it, it should never have a sequel, etc., etc.’ And I’m just laughing because I’m like, ‘You guys don’t even know what we are talking about! You have no idea!’ “
And McQuarrie underscores how he’d change his approach with the followup. “What I’ve learned, having made ‘Mission[:Impossible — Rogue Nation‘], is what I would write into the movie to make that movie an easier sell. ‘Edge of Tomorrow‘ was incredibly difficult to market. From the look of the film[…]to the title of the film, whatever the title was, whether it was ‘All You Need is Kill‘ or ‘Edge of Tomorrow’—and God help us figuring out what the title of the sequel is. ‘The Edge of the Day After Tomorrow‘? I don’t know,” he said. “But the humor in the film took a good 35 minutes to really dawn on you – the movie really sneaks up on you and takes this sudden left turn. The movie didn’t have the moments that a trailer needs to tell you, ‘This is the experience you’re going to have.’ ‘Jack Reacher‘ was a really tough movie to market and we were constantly struggling… ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ didn’t have a presence on social media until the weekend it came out, then people go, ‘Oh my God, it’s really good’ … it was too little, too late.”