New trailer for The Rock and Chris Evans' festive action movie Red One suggests it won't be a wonderful Christmas time

A still from Amazon MGM Studios' upcoming film Red One
(Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

Amazon MGM Studios has released the trailer for Red One, its festive-themed action comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Chris Evans. The new movie, which will be released in theaters on November 15, is hoped to be the beginning of a brand new franchise that reimagines and has fun with various holiday-related mythologies.

The film stars Johnson as Callum Drift, head of security at the North Pole. When Santa Claus – the Red One of the title, played by JK Simmons – is kidnapped, Drift must team up with infamous bounty hunter Jack O'Malley (Evans) to rescue Santa and save Christmas. The trailer's fun, although the sight of multiple evil snowmen with generous buttocks may give you nightmares like one of the best horror movies.

RED ONE | Official Trailer - YouTube RED ONE | Official Trailer - YouTube
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Red One: what we know so far

Amazon MGM Studios clearly has high hopes for Red One: it showed off footage from the movie at Las Vegas's CinemaCon earlier this year, urging attendees not to reveal the plot. But the movie hasn't been without its troubles. 

Red One was originally planned for a 2023 Christmas release. Its delay was blamed on the writer's and actors' strikes, but according to The Wrap there's much more to it than that. The Wrap quotes "insiders" who claim that Johnson would turn up eight hours late to work and act in various unsavory ways on set; that a "perfect storm of problems" sent the budget into orbit; and that the shoot was plagued by problems stemming from the filmmakers' inexperience. And according to entertainment journalist Jeff Sneider, the film didn't come out last Christmas because it was "a big lump of coal... an unmitigated disaster" featuring leads with zero chemistry. 

Amazon has denied the allegations and also says that "our testing has been very strong –  the reaction from CinemaCon speaks for itself".

There's certainly a lot going on in the trailer, which features Krampus, the headless horseman and those aforementioned snow monsters. But visually it looks a lot more scary than you'd expect from the synopsis, and the vibe here seems as much Christmas horror movie – think Violent Night – as it is comedy. 

Horror comedy is a tough genre to pull off, especially if you're trying to create not just one of the best Christmas movies but what one of the trailer's YouTube commenters brilliantly calls "the Christmas Cinematic Universe". And with the release date some way off, it looks like it'll be a while before we know whether The Rock's been cooking up a Christmas cracker or a total turkey.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.