It was part of an ambitious gambit that left the stars of the futuristic thriller greeting fans in three different countries in a single day, before screening the film at 11:59 p.m. in a sly nod to its title.
But a serious case of jet lag wasn’t the biggest risk the team behind the $175 million adventure were undertaking.
“Most studios aren’t making big, original movies,” Doug Liman, the film’s director, said on the red carpet in New York. “When you look at what’s coming out this summer, they’re all sequels, they’re all based on toys.”
Liman praised Warner Bros. for putting its muscle behind “Edge of Tomorrow” in a summer dominated by Spider-Man, X-Men and giant monsters. He noted the studio also backed such daring blockbusters as “Inception” and “The Matrix,” bold moves that paid off at the box office.
In today’s Hollywood, getting a greenlight for those kinds of costly and creative films is an uphill battle.
“Theyre are not that many [films] that aren’t based on some property or some franchise that already comes with its own built-in audience,” Erwin Stoff, the film’s producer, said at the New York screening. “I think it’s a really hard, risky thing to do today.”
For his part Liman, whose previous credits include “The Bourne Identity” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” is hopeful that audiences still have an appetite for films that are off-beat and defy easy categorization.
“All I can do is make films that I would want to go see and when I first read ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ I was like, ‘wow, this is a really fun, original movie,'” Liman said. “What else do you want when you go to the movies?”
“Edge of Tomorrow” finds Cruise upending his action hero persona by playing a cowardly army spin-master forced into service on the frontlines. This is an impossible mission cinema’s Ethan Hunt is eager not to accept.
“Just take the brand of Tom Cruise and just turn it on its head,” Liman said. “He’s totally gutsy, because he just jumped right at that. In fact, we were sort of topping each other to see how cowardly and how just in over his head we could make him.”
“Action is action — if it doesn’t have story and character, it’s not involving,” Cruise said on the red carpet in the U.K. “The thing with this film, it’s a very ambitious movie. It takes you on a journey, it’s enormously entertaining. The characters are original and engaging, and yet familiar.”
The film pits the star against an alien horde, but throws in another twist — Cruise’s character is forced to live the same day over and over again, each time dying in grisly fashion. Just how many times he’s doomed to repeat his fatal brush with battle is an enduring question.
“We have no idea,” Stoff admitted.