Talk about a 180 degree turnaround. After initially releasing a teaser that did everything possible to position David O. Russell's "The Fighter" as the next uplifting sports drama, Paramount Pictures debuted a new preview during the season finale of "Mad Men" tonight that made the prestige buzz around the picture much, much clearer.
Very few journalists have seen "The Fighter" but the film made its way around the town's screening rooms when Relativity, which financed it, was looking for a studio to release it earlier this year (and before they brought on Overture's marketing and distribution team). The feedback was that it was a very good film that was much more art house or "prestige" than a commercial slam dunk. Perhaps recognizing "Mad Men's" sophisticated audience, Paramount decided to finally show the film's true style and impact in this new preview. At the moment, this is just for "Mad Men," but reaction to it might make Paramount reconsider (as any studio would).
The true story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), "The Fighter" deals with his rise at a late age to that of a contending boxer under the tutelage of his older brother (Christian Bale) who suffers on and off from a drug addiction.
While no one can fault Amy Adams (who plays Ward's girl friend) and Wahlberg's work in the film based on the previews, it's becoming increasingly clear Bale and Melissa Leo (Ward's mother) are the standouts. The literally dominate this preview even with Wahlberg getting a majority of the screen time. The style is also much less glossed over as a "studio" movie to what we expect is Russell's true work on the film.
Needless to say, this sort of previews will make the media and industry take "The Fighter" much more seriously as an Oscar contender.
You can watch the preview embedded above and then the original trailer below. Does it change your opinion on the film? Share your thoughts.
"The Fighter" opens nationwide on Dec. 10.