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Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt May Be the Last Saviors for Big-Budget Original Films

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | June 17, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | June 17, 2015 |

The summer, so far, hasn’t had immense success with original properties, as San Andreas was skewered by critics (and dropped 52 percent after its first weekend), Tomorrowland will likely lose Disney $140 million, and Cameron Crowe’s Aloha had people questioning whether an original film is even a good idea anymore. (Jupiter Ascending, earlier this year, fared very poorly, as well.)

Sony, however, has decided that it could take a chance on an original property by grabbing the two biggest stars in Hollywood right now and hoping that their combined star power will recoup them their $150 million budget investment.

Much of that $150 million will be going to its two leads, Jennifer Lawrence (who will earn $20 million) and Chris Pratt (who will earn $12 million, up from his original $10 million ask based on the success of Jurassic World).

Star power alone will not make Passengers a success, however. They’ve also grabbed the Oscar-nominated director of The Imitation Game Morten Tyldum to helm the project, and it’s also got space going for it. Two of the biggest original movies in recent memory, Interstellar and Gravity, also took place in space.

The script, from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange), would seem to focus almost entirely on its two leads. It’s about a spacecraft is transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet. The spacecraft has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.

So, it’s also a love story. Set in space. I like the sound of it, but I am a little concerned that Lawrence and Pratt are too similar to have much chemistry. Don’t they seem like they’d be better as brother and sister than a romantic pairing?

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.