Just as the coming attractions for Super 8 felt like they were ramping the American public up for something pretty big, all of the sudden Paramount has been downplaying their expectations for the film, as well as reports that tracking for the film is "soft."
Hollywood Reporter also ran a story about "what's at stake" with Abrams's career if Super 8 doesn't take off, it could affect other "nonfranchise" projects he has planned for the future.
Super 8 has reportedly cost $50 million dollars, which shouldn't be hard to recoup, but you also get the sense there may be a slight panic that the mystery behind the film isn't working to its advantage.
Abrams joked to Vanity Fair that, "After doing a series of films based on TV shows from the 60s that Leonard Nimoy starred in, I felt like it was important that I do something Leonard Nimoy had nothing to do with." (Yet in one scene, the show In Search Of is on in the background, which Nimoy hosted.)
The fact that Super 8 is not a remake, sequel or reboot could be making Paramount nervous. In a recent article in GQ, "The Day the Movies Died," Mark Harris reported with considerable disgust that Christopher Nolan's Inception, an original film that obviously did quite well, got made because Warner Brothers needed him back for the next Batman.
And it is indeed tough to get an original idea sold because it's harder to market something new from scratch, or so current Hollywood "logic" would have it. About five years ago I met with a well known producer who said if I had any good ideas for a remake, not any good ideas for an original movie of course, to let him know.
I also once wrote a story about a friend, Paul Fusco, who got a screenplay he'd written, Soldiers of the Dead, adapted into a graphic novel, because if it did well, it would be easier to sell the movie out of a previously successful comic, instead of trying to pitch an original idea from scratch.
If Super 8 doesn't take off, Abrams still have enough success under his belt that he should be able to survive the hit just fine, and if takes a little time for Super 8 to build, thankfully with today's social networks word of mouth will grow a lot faster, hence Paramount announcing a preview on the eve of Super 8's release via Twitter.