10 Ways Space Travel Could Change In The Future According To Ad Astra

The beautiful interstellar drama Ad Astra does what all good space movies strive to do; it adapts current technological advancements to its narrative and incorporates them into its vision of the “near future”. Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is a Space Command astronaut sent on a perilous mission to Neptune, hoping to discover the fate of his missing father, as well as Project Lima, the research from which has resulted in cosmic rays surging towards Earth and threatening to wipe out humankind.

Reaching Neptune requires a long journey and several stops. He has a lay over at an “airport” on the moon after flying a “commercial” rocket via Virgin Atlantic. He stops off at a Martian colony complete with tranquility rooms to remind him of the natural world he’s been missing for weeks. All the while, his health is constantly monitored, right down to his BPM, because there’s a danger of suffering a mental break being out in space so long. These are some of the many ways that the film posits space travel could change in the future, but read on for several more.


One of the most strident aspects of space travel featured in Ad Astra is its commercialization. In Ad Astra’s near future, space travel will be reminiscent of air travel, undertaken on commercial lines, complete with flight attendants. Like the first air travel on Earth, it will be expensive, and only available for the affluent (or government employees with a Space Command clearance).

RELATED: The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Of All Time, According To IMDB

When Roy McBride begins his top secret mission to Neptune, he must first begin by taking a “Virgin Atlantic” flight from Earth to the Moon, and from there, a rocket ship to Mars. Even before he touches down on a lunar colony, the most surprising thing to viewers will be the price of a blanket and pillow package (they cost $125). No doubt its steep price is adjusted for inflation and the expense of commercialized space flights!


Astronauts today have to undergo a series of psychological evaluations and physical examinations before, during, and after their trips into space. This helps to monitor their physical and mental health, as both can be stressed while on missions that can take months or even years.

Ad Astra opens and closes with Roy McBride’s psychological evaluation, where it’s determined he’s a man that compartmentalizes even the most harrowing situations to suppress his adrenaline and do what needs to be done. His father (and fellow astronaut) Clifford McBride wasn’t able to maintain such decorum, and suffered an extreme mental break from almost two decades in space, which may be the biggest danger of space travel.


Even today, private companies like Elon Musk’s Space X are focusing on being able to launch rockets and land them, a process known as Vertical Takeoff, Vertical Landing (VTVL) and something that was previously only successful for NASA in extremely small scales. The most famous example (and largest) VTVL rocket was Space X’s Falcon 9.

In Ad Astra, we see Roy McBride competently land the Cepheus rocket on Mars by lining it up exactly with the landing pad that looks very much like the launching pad it came from. Today, chemical rockets can’t land because of their lack of fuel, so they’re “shed to ocean” in re-entry capsules after their de-orbit “burn.”


By the time that Ad Astra takes place, we’ll have shortened the distance it takes to travel between planets dramatically. A trip from Mars to Neptune will take 80 days, instead of 80 years. It isn’t explained exactly how this is possible, but a sizable contributing theory is there will be stops along the way.

RELATED: 10 Of The Best Space Travel Movies Of All Time, Ranked

By making “lay overs” on the Moon and Mars, Roy McBride is able to make his trip in a matter of months, rather than a matter of light years. One of the biggest obstacles of space travel has always been fuel, and being able to resupply it at different colonies will greatly reduce astronaut’s need for conservation. A lay over also means less time McBride has to remain hooked up to feeding tubes and muscle-stimulators for a long voyage.


Besides Earth, science fiction aficionados have often thought that Mars would be the next best place to sustain life. Even today, Elon Musk and President Trump want to colonize the Red Planet, and there have been countless science-fiction movies and television series depicting just that.

Ad Astra provides a brief look at life on Mars via a series of underground colonies. There aren’t more than a few thousand people inhabiting them, but they’re able to life relatively fulfilling lives, complete with tranquility rooms that mimic the ocean, wildlife, and topography of Earth.


With the advent of space travel that reaches planets that can sustain human life successfully, there will be a whole swathe of the population born on them that never see Earth. Roy McBride encounters such characters in Ad Astra, and doesn’t seem particularly surprised by the fact.

The woman responsible for the entire Martian colony has only been to Earth once when she was a child. She was born on Mars, but remembers the beauty of Earth’s natural splendor. Television series like The Expanse postulate that eventually, Martians will be so far removed from Earth that they will cease to care about its fate, but she still demonstrates empathy for McBride and his mission.


The way that rockets travel through space is specific: they must continue to accelerate, thereby shortening the amount of time it takes them to reach their destination. It’s how a trip from Mars to Neptune in Ad Astra takes 80 days instead of 80 years.

When the Cepheus ship gets a distress call from a nearby Norwegian medical ship studying Comet 17P/Holmes, it slows down to help out. In order for a chemical rocket to do this, it would take weeks and a huge loss of fuel, then lots more fuel to start up again. This isn’t possible with large ships (yet), but perhaps in the future, there’s been some improvement to ion engines.


One of the biggest misconceptions space enthusiasts may have is that the Hubble Telescope actually goes to the planets it photographs. This rises from the fact that actual probes head off in search of planets all the time, but the Hubble just hangs out above Earth’s atmosphere, capturing images of things really far away.

RELATED: 10 Sci-Fi Masterpieces You’ve Probably Never Seen

In Ad Astra, we see a space telescope orbiting Saturn. Considering the distances involved with that sort of photography, perhaps sometime in the near future, we’ll figure out how to send telescopes into deep space. As evidenced by Clifford McBride’s research, they’d get some amazing shots.


When Roy McBride gets to the moon, he finds it shares a lot of commonalities with Earth. As he strolls through the lunar colony “airport,” he sees commodification, commercialization, and its fair share of fast-food restaurants (though not yet like Total Recall). And then come the space pirates.

As McBride soon learns, the moon is a lawless place. Not only does it have colonies in craters to shield them from meteors, but factions of lunar pirates battle for resources. It’s not the moon buggies (which get destroyed), so we can only guess at what they truly want. Helium-3 for some sort of new nuclear fusion, perhaps?


Back in the ’50s, Project Orion was developed by United States to determine whether or not nuclear bombs could be utilized for space propulsion. Clearly Ad Astra thinks so, because Roy McBride uses an explosion from the nuclear bomb blast destroying Project Lima to surf home.

Apparently in the near future, a specific dampening mass has been created to provide something to protect the crew of the ship, push against, and dampen the effects of instantaneous acceleration. Otherwise, the shrapnel is just tearing through it like a can of tuna.

NEXT: 10 Most Underrated Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films Of The Last 20 Years

2019-10-09 01:10:26

Kayleena Pierce-Bohen

Ad Astra: How Accurate Brad Pitt’s Space Movie Is (& What It Gets Wrong)

Brad Pitt stars in the latest cerebral sci-fi film, Ad Astra – but how scientifically accurate is it? Director James Gray and his production team have put in a tremendous amount of effort with Ad Astra, aiming to create one of the most realistic science fiction movies ever made. They’ve paid particular care with the aesthetics and costume design, avoiding the traditionally “sexy” spacecraft in sci-fi in favor of a utilitarian look where every lever and button had a function. Although astronaut uniforms are futuristic, they’re carefully designed to feel as though they’re just one small step beyond present-day suits.

NASA actually reviewed a copy of the script during production, and gave feedback on the science. In an official press release, Bert Ulrich – NASA’s liaison for film and TV collaborations – noted that they even provided some of the footage of the Moon and Mars. “Sci-fi films like Ad Astra, the Martian, Interstellar, and Gravity take movie audiences out of this world incorporating some of NASA’s most inspirational photography and footage,” he noted proudly in an official NASA statement.

Related: Ad Astra’s Ending Explained (& Why It Isn’t Really A Sci-Fi Movie)

The set designs and costumes may have been remarkably realistic, but the overarching plot has a lot of scientific problems. The pulse itself is scientific nonsense, for all it drives the plot, but to be fair it’s based on science beyond the present day. But as Ad Astra continues, it becomes increasingly inaccurate, and that realistic sci-fi becomes one of the strangest films in the genre.

Ad Astra opens with Brad Pitt’s character, Roy McBride, performing an unexpected free-fall from the International Space Antenna. This is clearly situated on a modified version of the International Space Station, which orbits at an average height of 240 miles above the surface of the Earth, so it makes McBride’s survival pretty remarkable. The world record for the highest parachute jump is held by Google Senior VP, Computer Scientist, Alan Eustace. He jumped from a height of just 25 miles, and had to wear a specially-designed, fully pressurized pressure suit. Presumably Roy is supposed to be wearing something similar, albeit dramatically improved.

Some viewers have complained that Roy should have burnt up in re-entry due to friction from falling, but Ad Astra is actually fairly accurate in this regard. In reality, objects entering our atmosphere burn up because their speed generates a pressure wave, which ionizes the air around them. This generates a shroud of superheated plasma. Roy was fortunate; he must not have built up enough velocity before he hit the atmosphere, meaning he had a chance of survival. Notice that, as he became aware of what was happening, Roy began to spread his arms in an attempt to slow his descent, and timed the parachute release carefully.

Roy is soon told that he must head to Mars in order to send a message to his father, who’s believed to be out near Neptune. This is one of the most curious problems with Ad Astra, though, because the film doesn’t explain why a signal can’t be sent straight from Earth. Presumably the script was intended to imply that communication systems across the Solar System had been too badly damaged by the energy surge; that would explain why Space Force’s commanders feel the need to explain that the underground Martian installation was the only one they have to be undamaged.

Related: How Much Did Ad Astra Cost To Make?

Ad Astra features a superb action sequence set on the Moon, and James Gray has done a sterling job making the whole sequence as scientifically accurate as possible. The scene was shot in the Mojave Desert, a harsh and arid environment that NASA really do use to train their astronauts because of its similarities with the Moon’s surface. Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema used one regular camera and one infrared, explaining to Variety that the infrared camera “brings in pure black skies and very bright overexposed highlights that turn the desert ground into a white and high-contrast look that’s similar to the moon.” VFX combined the two shots to seamlessly blend the colors. Even the guns obey the laws of physics; there are vague sounds, reflecting both the Moon’s atmosphere and the fact the sound waves would also travel through the arm of the person holding the gun.

A side-mission goes horrifically wrong when Roy discovers primates have broken out on a research ship. In the real world, there’s substantial interest in how long-term exposure to space would affect living creatures, and it’s not inconceivable that similar experiments could still be being conducted in McBride’s time. Primates are near enough to human that they’re often used in experiments to simulate an environment’s effect on humans. These creatures probably aren’t particularly healthy; their bodies will have been flooded with cosmic radiation, and the weightless environment has a particularly harsh effect on the eyes, which explains why one primate only reacted to Roy when it heard him.

One of the strangest sequences in Ad Astra sees Roy escape the Mars base and steal aboard the spaceship that’s headed to Neptune to find his father. He gets on board by climbing up the rocket thruster – at the very moment it’s firing. Where some of Ad Astra‘s science is realistic, here it pretty much breaks down completely; leaving aside the incredible heat, the sound waves would have been transmitted through even the thin Martian atmosphere, and they’d have pulverized Roy’s body. There’s absolutely no way Roy McBride would have survived this.

When Roy finally reaches his father, Clifford McBride, he finds he’s just a shell of the man he knew. Clifford has suffered psychologically from the experience of isolation in space, but he’s also suffered physically, with cataracts. Interestingly, NASA has indeed noted that many of their astronauts seem prone to cataracts; it’s unclear why, but it may be something to do with the way the lack of gravity affects moisture in the eyes.

Related: Ad Astra: What Brad Pitt’s New Movie’s Title Means

Roy McBride is certainly inventive; he figures a smart way to get back to his spaceship from the Lima Project, by tugging a chunk of shielding off of the space station and jumping through the rings of Neptune! In reality, this approach wouldn’t have worked. Dr. Nicolas Lee, a research engineer in Stanford University’s department of aeronautics and astronautics, explained to Esquire that the ring’s particles would have easily cut through the metal Roy plate Roy was using. He pointed to the Cassini probe, which headed through the rings of Saturn, and reported impacts with the force of a rifle bullet. “If [Roy] had something like a sixteenth-inch sheet of metal—that’s about one and a half millimeters—he could probably get hit by a half millimeter particle and it would punch through.” It’s also worth noting that, in a zero-gravity environment, the kinetic energy of every impact would have pushed Roy McBride back. As CBR observed, this sequence confirmed that – for all the attempt at realism – Ad Astra became the most ridiculous sci-fi ever.

Roy McBride uses the destruction of the Lima Project as a way to get back to Earth, with his rocket propelled by the energy wave. Let’s ignore the physics, which seem impossible but are to do with a matter/antimatter reaction that can’t possibly be simulated by modern science. The most disturbing thing is that Ad Astra implied Roy had been unconscious for the entire journey home, only regaining consciousness when his rocket hit Earth’s atmosphere. His body would have been fine; the film already established that astronauts plugged into nourishment tubes and TENS-like machines to prevent muscles atrophying. But the protracted period of unconsciousness signifies extreme brain damage, and there would have been significant medical consequences from this. Ad Astra ignores this completely.

More: Why Critics Love Ad Astra (But Audiences Are Divided)

2019-09-23 02:09:08

Thomas Bacon

How Much Did Ad Astra Cost To Make? | Screen Rant

Ad Astra is the next major studio genre film on the release calendar, but how much did it cost to make when compared to similar titles? The sci-fi piece from director James Gray has had a long road to the big screen. It was originally announced in 2016 and underwent principal photography during 2017, but kept having its release date pushed back. That was due to a combination of factors, including the extensive visual effects work and the finalization of the Disney/Fox acquisition. Ad Astra is one of the titles Disney inherited from Fox this year.

Whenever a film like this is repeatedly pushed back, it usually spells trouble in regards to its quality. However, that isn’t the case with Ad Astra, which earned positive reviews out of the 2019 Venice Film Festival. It doesn’t look like it will be much of an Oscar contender this year (Ford v. Ferrari is the safer bet for Fox there), but Ad Astra looks like it’s the latest in a growing line of heady sci-fi films worth seeing on the big screen. The studio hopes the encouraging word-of-mouth leads to strong box office returns.

Related: Ad Astra Cast & Character Guide

The production budget for Ad Astra is somewhere between $80-100 million. When compared to other recent space-based films, it’s in the same ballpark as Gravity ($100-130 million) and The Martian ($108 million), though much cheaper than Interstellar ($165 million). Even the lower end of that estimate is more expensive than last year’s First Man, which cost $59 million.

For Fox, this is a hefty investment for a film that’s far from a box office lock. Opening against other newcomers Rambo: Last Blood and Downton AbbeyAd Astra is expected to have a very soft opening weekend, which would essentially spell doom for its chances at turning a profit. Going by the general rule of thumb, Ad Astra needs to earn at least $160-200 million worldwide just to make its money back, so right now the odds are it ends up in the red by the time its run is down. Despite praise for the film (particularly Pitt’s performance), it’s not going to be much of a commercial draw. This probably won’t be a Goldfinch situation for Fox (Pitt and the sci-fi aspect give Ad Astra a boost), but it’ll still be facing an uphill climb.

It’s clear Disney/Fox was hoping Ad Astra would find success in the fall, and the strategy to release it this weekend makes sense on-paper. Next week, the only wide release is animated film Abominable, so Ad Astra had a two-week cushion before Joker debuts to what should be record-breaking numbers. But Gray’s name doesn’t have the same clout as Christopher Nolan or Ridley Scott, and Ad Astra lacks the Best Picture buzz that helped catapult Gravity to $723 million worldwide. In today’s Hollywood, $100 million really isn’t that much for a sci-fi drama, but in Ad Astra’s case, it might be too expensive of a price tag.

More: Ad Astra: What Brad Pitt’s New Movie’s Title Means

2019-09-19 03:09:05

Chris Agar

Ad Astra: What Brad Pitt’s New Movie’s Title Means | Screen Rant

Ad Astra is this fall’s big new sci-fi movie and is already garnering strong reviews, but what does the title mean? Directed and co-written by James Gray, with Ethan Gross also in charge of the script, Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, and Donald Sutherland.

Ad Astra follows astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) who travels to space to find his father, Clifford McBride (Jones), who disappeared on a mission looking for clues about extra-terrestrial intelligence. Roy’s journey will uncover some secrets that threaten the survival of humans on Earth and challenge the nature of human existence and its place in the universe. The story is fully immersed in science fiction and space, and it all starts with the title.

Related: What Movie Does “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream” Come From?

When the project was announced back in 2016, Gray shared he wanted to make the “most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie”, and because of this he paid attention to all details, included the title. “Ad Astra” is Latin for “to the stars”, and is used in many Latin phrases, the most common one being “per aspera ad astra”, which means “through hardships to the stars”. This phrase has been used in many books, films, and TV shows, such as Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series, Ridley Scott’s The Martian, and Star Trek The Next Generation, just to name a few (and that also follow the space theme). Ad Astra joins these and many more pop culture products that have used this phrase or part of it to further illustrate their theme.

The phrase has its origins with poet Virgil, who wrote “sic itur ad astra” (“thus one journeys to the stars”), as well as Seneca the Younger, who wrote “non est ad astra mollis e terris via” (“there is no easy way from the earth to the stars”). “Ad Astra” has been used as the motto of many organizations, mostly air forces, such as the Ad Astra Rocket Company and the United States Air Force Academy (Class of 2007). It was also the name of a computer game in 1984 which was an outer space shoot-em-up with a 3D perspective – Gray’s Ad Astra is in great company when it comes to its title.

While many other films have added the phrase either as dialogue, motto, or background detail, Ad Astra went on a more direct route by using it as title, which is very fitting not only with its theme but also the story, as both McBrides went to the outer edges of the solar system. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if the phrase will be used within the story or if it’s just the title of the film.

Next: Film Festival 2019 Preview: 12 Biggest Movies With Oscar Chances

2019-09-19 02:09:48

Adrienne Tyler

Ad Astra Cast & Character Guide | Screen Rant

The Ad Astra cast consists of several top-tier actors and actresses, and they’ve come together to bring a new space movie to theaters. The Lost City of Z‘s James Gray directed the 2019 science fiction drama, and co-wrote the screenplay with Ethan Gross.

Ad Astra‘s central storyline involves a pivotal space journey to Mars. When sonic blasts hit Earth, the government enlists Major Roy McBride for an intergalactic research mission to locate his missing father, astronaut pioneer Clifford McBride. In space, secrets are revealed about the past and the future of humanity. Space movies are indeed popular in mainstream cinema, but there’s a difference between a typical Hollywood blockbuster and a James Gray drama. The director’s last two features – The Immigrant and The Lost City of Z – haven’t been successful at the box office, yet they’ve been praised by critics for the high quality of filmmaking. 

Related: Ad Astra: What Brad Pitt’s New Movie Title Means

With his new production, Gray works with a proper blockbuster budget of over $80 million, which allows him more flexibility when executing crucial spaced-themed sequences as well as acquiring top talent for the Ad Astra cast.

Brad Pitt As Major Roy McBride

Brad Pitt stars as Ad Astra‘s protagonist, Major Roy McBride, the son of the famous (and missing) American astronaut Clifford McBride. At Mars, he attempts to solve a mystery that could save or destroy humanity.

Pitt first emerged with a breakthrough performance in the 1991 road trip classic Thelma & Louise. In the ’90s, David Fincher films like Se7en and Fight Club showcased Pitt’s versatility, while the 21st century Ocean’s franchise underlines his natural charisma and charm. Though Pitt is a well-known movie star, he’s also a three-time Oscar nominee for his acting work (12 Monkeys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Moneyball). Pitt also co-founded the production company Plan B Entertainment, which has funded Best Picture winners like The Departed, Moonlight, and 12 Years a Slave. In 2019, Pitt co-starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Tommy Lee Jones As Clifford McBride

Cinema veteran Tommy Lee Jones plays Roy McBride’s enigmatic father in Ad Astra., Clifford McBride. He travels to Neptune to search for alien life and seemingly disappears. Educated at Harvard University, Jones has received numerous acting accolades over the past 40 years. In the ‘90s, he delivered iconic performances in blockbusters like JFK, Batman Forever, and Men in Black, and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Fugitive. Jones portrayed Colonel Chester Phillips in Captain America: The First Avenger, and headlined the main cast for the Coen brothers classic No Country for Old Men. 

Ruth Negga As Helen Lantos

In Ad Astra, Ruth Negga portrays a martian, a human born on Mars. Helen’s parents were on Clifford McBride’s spacecraft. Negga played Raina in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She previously collaborated with Pitt for the action blockbuster World War Z, albeit in a minor role as a W.H.O. Doctor. Negga headlines the main cast for AMC’s Preacher, and previously earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the 2016 drama Loving. 

Liv Tyler As Eve McBride

Liv Tyler stars as Roy McBride’s ex-wife in Ad Astra, Eve McBride. In The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, Tyler portrayed Arwen Undómiel. She’s the daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, and also an accomplished fashion model. From 2014 to 2017, she was part of the main cast of HBO’s The Leftovers. Tyler starred as Bruce Willis’ daughter in the 1998 space blockbuster Armageddon. In the MCU, she portrayed Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk.

Donald Sutherland As Colonel Pruitt

Donald Sutherland portrays an intergalactic liaison, Colonel Pruitt. He once knew Roy McBride, and serves as a space guide for his son, Roy. A famous actor, Sutherland portrayed President Snow in The Hunger Games movie franchise. He’s the father of actor Kiefer Sutherland, and has starred in classics like M*A*S*H, Don’t Look Now, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. On television, he recently played J. Paul Getty in the FX series Trust. 

Natasha Lyonne As Tanya Pincus

Ad Astra features Natasha Lyonne as a Mars customs officer named Tanya Pincus. Known for portraying quirky characters, Lyonne starred as Nicky Nichols in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and currently stars in the acclaimed Netflix series Russian Doll. She starred in the 1998 cult classic The Slums of Beverly Hills, and later portrayed Jessica in the American Pie movie franchise. 

Jamie Kennedy As Peter Bello

A versatile comedy actor, Jamie Kennedy has a supporting role in Ad Astra as Peter Bello. In 1996, Kennedy became a familiar face in mainstream cinema after appearing as Sampson in Romeo + Juliet and Randy Meeks in Scream. During the early 2000s, he starred in the popular hidden camera show The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.

The Rest Of Ad Astra’s Cast

LisaGay Hamilton as Adjutant General Amelia Vogel: During the late ‘90s and early 2000s, LisaGay Hamilton starred as Rebecca Washington on ABC’s The Practice. She made her film debut in the 1985 music classic Krush Groove, and recently portrayed Condoleeza Rice in Adam McKay’s 2018 film Vice. Hamilton also played Celia Jones on Netflix’s House of Cards.

John Ortiz as General Rivas: A popular character actor, John Ortiz currently stars as Taino Osorio in FX’s Mayans MC. Since the early ‘90s, he’s appeared in notable films such as Carlito’s Way, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Gangster. Ortiz plays Arturo Braga in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, and had a role as Dr. Powell in Bumblebee.

Kimberly Elise as Lorraine Deavers: Over the past 20 years, Kimberly Elise has won four NAACP Image Awards for Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Close to Home, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, and For Colored Girls. She made her film debut in the 1996 crime film Set It Off as part of the main cast with Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, and Vivica A. Fox.

John Finn as Stroud: An American performer, John Finn has been a character actor in both film and television since the ‘80s. He portrays Earl Sutton on AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Next: 2019 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

2019-09-18 03:09:48

Q.V. Hough

Does Ad Astra Have An End-Credits Scene? | Screen Rant

Does Ad Astra have an end-credits scene? Directed by James Gray (We Own the Night, The Lost City of Z) from an original script he co-wrote with Ethan Gross (Fringe), Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as Major Roy McBride, an astronaut who travels to the outer edges of the solar system in an attempt to locate his long-missing father, Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones), and uncover the truth behind a mysterious threat that puts humanity’s very survival on earth at risk. Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, and John Ortiz help to fill out the film’s cast in supporting roles.

Gray’s space adventure premiered at the Venice Film Festival in late August, earning positive reviews for its ruminative storytelling and dazzling yet realistic space sequences, as well as Pitt’s introspective performance. It served as the happy ending to Ad Astra‘s relatively difficult journey through post-production, which included multiple releases date delays and concerns about how the Fox project could be impacted by Disney’s purchases of Fox’s assets in March. Of course, it remains to be seen how Ad Astra fares at the box office, considering that Gray’s films are traditionally well-received, but little-viewed.

Related: Ad Astra: What Brad Pitt’s New Movie Title Means

For those who are wondering, Ad Astra does NOT include an end-credits scene. In fact, the film doesn’t leave the door open for a sequel at all, and even concludes with the words “The End” appearing on-screen.

Ad Astra‘s lack of a credits scene isn’t surprising, all things considered. Gray has yet to dip his toe into the pool of franchise moviemaking, and his latest offering (which the filmmaker has likened to the novel Heart of Darkness) is no different. There have been exceptions where similarly standalone films have included clips after and/or during their credits in the past (see last year’s Vice for a recent example), but they’re still pretty rare otherwise. It’s a testament to Pitt’s star-power that Ad Astra was able to secure the budget it did (roughly $80-88 million), despite being based on an original concept that isn’t designed to give rise to a sequel or more.

As mentioned, though, there’s no guarantee that Ad Astra will ultimately turn a profit, even after its showing in Venice. Around this time last year, for example, the biographical space drama First Man was also riding high after its launch in Venice, only to fizzle out at the box office. On the other hand, acclaimed space movies like Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian have all become big hits over the last six years, so there’s clearly an audience for Gray’s new film. And with Pitt being fresh off the sucess of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, that may be enough to give Ad Astra the boost it needs to cover its costs.

NEXT: Watch the Ad Astra IMAX Trailer

2019-09-17 05:09:23

Sandy Schaefer

First Look At Brad Pitt In Sci-Fi Film Ad Astra Revealed

Brad Pitt heads to outer space in the first look image from James Gray’s sci-fi film, Ad Astra. Gray has never been a director content to stick with one genre himself, having thus far made everything from crime-thrillers (We Own the Night) to period romances (The Immigrant) and, most recently, a historical adventure in the form of his critically acclaimed The Lost City of Z adaptation. The storyteller is already signed on to try his hand at the spy genre next, via a movie adaptation of the Terry Hayes espionage novel, I Am Pilgrim.

First, however, Gray will travel to the edges of our solar system with Ad Astra, a Heart of Darkness-esque tale that follows space engineer Roy McBride (Pitt) on an expedition to track down his father (Tommy Lee Jones), who went missing while searching for alien life near Neptune. Written by Gray and Ethan Gross (Fringe), Ad Astra is further bolstered by a cast that includes Ruth Negga (Preacher), Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games), John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island) and Kimmy Shields (Insatiable).

Related: Humanity Embraces Its Alien Overlords in the Captive State Trailer

While Ad Astra is currently scheduled to hit theaters in early January 2019, there’s been speculation that 20th Century Fox (which is backing the film) will elect to give the movie a late December limited release, in order to qualify for next year’s Oscars ceremony. While nothing has been made official on that front as of yet, the first image from Ad Astra has made its way online in the meantime, ahead of the film’s first trailer. Take a look in the space below:

Ad Astra was shot by Interstellar cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, which explains why this screenshot has a lighting scheme and color palette reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s own cinematic space odyssey. Gray’s films otherwise sounds rather different from Nolan’s, as far as their premises and themes are concerned. Indeed, the former tends to focus on telling stories about characters searching for some greater meaning and/or purpose in their lives, whether that means traveling to a new country (The Immigrant) or finding a civilization hidden from the rest of the world (The Lost City of Z). Ad Astra and its search for alien life (and Pitt’s father) narrative is in keeping with the rest of Gray’s oeuvre, in that sense.

As for Ad Astra‘s chances of getting a late December limited release – that’s beginning to seem less and less likely now. Fox already has two fall releases (The Hate U Give and Widows) that are generating positive buzz following their world premieres at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, so the studio may decide to focus its efforts on giving those movies an awards season push, along with this November’s anticipated Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. In that event, Ad Astra may be left to hit theaters in early 2019 and try to appeal to the same high-minded sci-fi loving audience that turned out to see Annihilation this past winter.

MORE: Read Screen Rant’s Fall 2018 Movie Preview

Source: 20th Century Fox [h/t Imgur]

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2018-09-14 08:09:56 – Sandy Schaefer