‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Trailer Teases Olivia Wilde’s Erotic Fantasy
Well, this is a nice surprise. Exactly a week after its buzzy debut at CinemaCon, Warner Bros. has released the first teaser trailer for Don’t Worry Darling. Yes, Olivia Wilde’s presentation made news for other reasons when a process server snuck on stage and served Wilde some legal documents related to her divorce from Jason Sudeikis.
For the record, celebrities are hard to serve. In another life, I did that job as a side gig and can recall throwing documents at representatives of a “very important person” and then racing out of the building before they could hand them back. Moreover, Sudeikis had no way of knowing that the runner would interrupt her big CinemaCon moment, and honestly, nobody in attendance thought it was anything beyond an unsolicited script or other harmless malfeasance. Anyway, that’s my “hot take” on last week’s Vegas “scandal.”
For what it’s worth, Warner Bros.’ big CinemaCon presentation put a lot more emphasis on the non-superhero films, which makes sense since those (relatively speaking) sell themselves as opposed to the more challenging “just a movie” likes of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (whose sizzle reel was downright spectacular, taking me from “I’ll see this because it’s my job” to “Great shades of Elvis, this looks great!”) and Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling.
To be fair, Dwayne Johnson did show up to promote DC Super-Pets and Black Adam, while James Wan showed up to introduce a brief (too brief, boo!) sizzle reel for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and a few Shazam: Fury of the Gods cast members showed up to take questions from host Aisha Tyler before introducing that film’s brief teaser. The last joke in the Fury of the Gods teaser made me laugh out loud, and thank Zeus that WB came to their senses and moved it to December 21.
Anyway, Don’t Worry Darling is one of Warner Bros.’ few “not a pure IP flick” arriving in 2022. WB released a deluge of “just a good movie” offerings like Blinded By the Light, The Kitchen, The Good Liar, Motherless Brooklyn and The Way Back in 2019/2020 to mostly empty theaters. Whether King Richard or In the Heights would have played better in non-Covid circumstances (give or take the HBO Max availability), it’s hard to fault WB for pivoting more to superheroes and horror films (like the upcoming Salem’s Lot in early September) after the last three years.
The film, directed by Olivia Wilde following the acclaimed Booksmart in summer 2019, is surprisingly less straight-up Fatal Attraction/Sliver and more something in line with The Stepford Wives or Get Out. With a cast including Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan and Kiki Layne, it’s the kind of movie that is destined to be obsessed upon by Film Twitter and those who mourn the loss of the mainstream erotic thriller. Will regular audiences show up too?
I certainly hope so, and WB is at its best when marketing unconventional biggies (Magic Mike, Gravity, American Sniper, Crazy Rich Asians, Joker, etc.) into mainstream theatrical hits. The grim irony is that its opening weekend, September 23, will now be shared by the rerelease of James Cameron’s Avatar, but that’s a conversation for a different post. It was just six years ago when The Girl On The Train could earn $173 million worldwide on a $45 million budget. In late 2018, A Simple Favor earned $98 million on a $20 million budget. There still should be a marketplace for this kind of star-studded film.
It even has the five elements (marquee director, all-star ensemble, easy elevator pitch, presumably good reviews and the promise of cinematic escapism) that usually meant success for a studio programmer in pre-Covid times. At the risk of stating the obvious, if you want Warner Bros. Discovery to offer up more than just DC superhero movies and New Line horror films, Don’t Worry Darling (which, to be fair, may fall into the New Line horror flick categorization) is a pretty good opportunity to vote with your wallet.
Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) are lucky to be living in Victory, the experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is unquestioning commitment to the Victory cause. But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice can’t help questioning what they’re doing in Victory, and why. Just how much is Alice willing to lose to expose what’s really going on in paradise?