Tom Cruise has had a busy few days.

First came the announcement that he was splitting from his wife Katie Holmes, then he turned 50, and now the first trailer has been released for his next film, Jack Reacher.

The film, previously titled One Shot, is based on the hugely popular character from the bestselling crime novels of British author Jim Grant, who uses the pen name Lee Child.

Reacher is a former member of an elite military police unit who has become a drifter, dispensing justice wherever he goes. In the books he is described as a mountain of a man, who talks straight and smashes his way through enemies like a bulldozer.

When the diminutive Cruise was announced as the lead, there was a largely negative online response from fans, who had a strong vision of the character following his appearance in 17 books.

However, Cruise is not one to step back from a challenge and Child endorsed the decision to cast him in the role.

There was also some backlash over the film's title being changed, from that of one of the books to the main character's name, in a transparent attempt to set up a franchise. Fans hope it will not suffer the same fate as John Carter, which failed to appeal to cinema-goers who were unfamiliar with its bland name.

Recent years have seen Cruise's films' success hampered by his increasingly public image, particularly in relation to the cult religion of Scientology. After catching a glimpse of Cruise acting manically in an internal Scientology video, Mission Impossible 3 received a muted response, with disappointing box office takings for one of the better films in the series.

Whether Cruise's latest film is similarly received remains to be seen. Paramount Pictures may have decided to release the Jack Reacher trailer now in the hope of capitalising on Cruise's appearance on the front pages, following the announcement of his divorce.

Jack Reacher, which also stars Rosamund Pike, Werner Herzog and Robert Duvall, is directed by Christopher McQuarrie and will be released on 28 December.