Aloha (2015 film)

Aloha is a 2015 American romantic comedy film written, produced and directed by Cameron Crowe. It stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride and Alec Baldwin. Its story follows former US Air Force officer, Brian Gilcrest, who returns to Hawaii, when he is rehired by a former boss to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite in Hawaii.

Aloha poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCameron Crowe
Produced by
Written byCameron Crowe
Music byJónsi & Alex
CinematographyEric Gautier
Edited byJoe Hutshing
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
(North America)
20th Century Fox
Release date
  • May 27, 2015 (2015-05-27) (Hollywood premiere)
  • May 29, 2015 (2015-05-29) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$37–52 million[2][3]
Box office$26.3 million[3]

The film was produced by Columbia Pictures and was released on May 29, 2015. It grossed $9.6 million in its opening weekend and $26.2 million worldwide against a budget of $37 million.[4] It was generally negatively reviewed and received a 20% approval rating based on 163 votes on Rotten Tomatoes.[5]


Military contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) returns to Hawaii to organize a traditional blessing for a new pedestrian gate[clarification needed] on behalf of billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray), who intends to develop nearby land into a space center. Following a celebrated military career that ended in shadowy deals in Afghanistan, the now disillusioned Gilcrest is tasked with negotiating a deal with the Native Hawaiians and supporting Carson's launch of a privately-funded satellite. Gilcrest's mission is complicated by his former girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), now married with two children, and his idealistic Air Force liaison, Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), whose wide-eyed fascination with space reminds him of his own childhood sense of wonder.

Gilcrest and Ng travel to meet King Kanahele at his isolated community to negotiate a deal for his participation in the gate blessing ceremony. Along the way, Ng tries to engage Gilcrest in conversation about his life and work but is unable to break through his cynicism. When they meet the king, Ng, who is part Hawaiian, bonds with him and his companions, identifying with their spiritual view of the land and sky. After prolonged negotiations, Gilcrest brokers a deal for the king's participation in exchange for two mountains[clarification needed] and free cell phone service. The next night, Gilcrest and Ng have dinner at Tracy's house, where they meet her husband Woody (John Krasinski) and their two children, Grace and Mitchell. At one point, Gilcrest and Tracy find themselves alone in the kitchen, where she admits that she loved him and had plans to make a life with him before he abandoned her thirteen years ago.

The next evening, they attend Carson's Christmas party, where the commander of Pacific Air Forces General Dixon (Alec Baldwin) tells Gilcrest not to screw up their deal with the Hawaiians. One of the general's men hands Gilcrest a thumb drive containing top secret information for the upcoming satellite launch. During the party, Gilcrest becomes attracted to Ng, who is having fun dancing with Carson. Afterwards, Ng joins Gilcrest in his room while he recounts his experiences in Kabul, where he almost died. He tells her that this was the first night he was truly happy to be living, and the two have sex. The next day, Ng discovers that Carson's satellite will actually carry a nuclear payload. When she tries to resign, her colonel tells her it is a private operation run by Carson and that Gilcrest is aware of the details. Later she confronts Gilcrest in tears for lying to her and the Hawaiians.

Meanwhile, Woody and Tracy confront each other about recent tensions in their marriage, which he believes were caused by Gilcrest's arrival. They agree to separate. The next morning, Tracy shows up at Gilcrest's hotel and reveals that Grace is his daughter. Later that day, after the successful blessing of the new pedestrian gate, Gilcrest learns that the Chinese are attempting to hack the satellite's code to prevent the impending launch. He rushes to the command center and undermines the hackers' efforts. As he watches the satellite enter geosynchronous orbit, he realizes what he's done and its impact on Ng, whom he has come to love. Quickly, he orders a massive sonic upload to be sent to space, and he and Ng hold hands as they watch the satellite explode. Believing Ng's continued association with him will ruin her promising career, he tells her they should not see each other again.

Carson is not pleased with the destruction of his satellite and confronts Gilcrest, who tells him he cannot "buy the sky". General Dixon is also incensed by Gilcrest's actions, threatening to prosecute him.

Gilcrest returns to Tracy's house, where she reads him a moving love letter from Woody. Gilcrest tells her she belongs with her husband and she encourages him to go after Ng. Woody comes home and sees Gilcrest in his house. Woody tells Gilcrest he knows Gilcrest is Grace's father. He asks Gilcrest if he slept with Tracy while he was gone. Gilcrest tells Woody he slept with Ng and not with his wife. Woody goes into the living room where Tracy is cleaning up. She sees Woody and they both run into each other's arms, then are joined by Grace and Mitchell. Gilcrest leaves the house while the happy family reunion continues.

General Dixon soon learns that Gilcrest was telling the truth about the nuclear weapons payload and praises him for what he's done, revealing that authorities will soon be taking Carson into custody. Outside the hotel, Gilcrest finds Ng, who is preparing to leave. He tells her he loves her, is staying in Hawaii and will be waiting for her to return. Later that night, Gilcrest stands outside Grace's hula class and watches her dance. She notices him, he nods at her and she suddenly realizes he is her father. With tears of joy in her eyes, she runs outside and embraces him then returns to her class to continue her hula dancing.



Emma Stone was first to be cast in the film in 2012.[6]

On July 31, 2013, Alec Baldwin joined the cast of the film.[7] There was a casting call for extras on August 29 on Oahu.[8] Cooper went to Hawaii on September 14, twelve days before filming began.[9][10]

On October 7, it was announced that principal photography was still underway in Hawaii.[11] Stone received ground training on how to fly the Piper PA44-180 Seminole airplane from Rob Moore, Chief Instructor Pilot of Galvin Flight Services Hawaii, who later flew the airplane near Ka'a'awa Valley for the inflight shots. Moore acted as the aviation technical advisor. Cooper was filming in downtown Honolulu on December 18 and 19. On February 2, 2015, Sony Pictures stated that the film's final title would be Aloha;[12] the previous working titles were Deep Tiki and Volcano Romance.[13]


The musical score for Aloha was composed by Jónsi & Alex,[14] following Jónsi's collaboration with Crowe on We Bought a Zoo (2011). Originally, Mark Mothersbaugh said in May 2014 that he was going to score the film.[15] A soundtrack album was released on May 26, 2015 by Madison Gate Records and Sony Legacy.[16]


On February 14, 2014, it was announced that the film was scheduled for release on December 25, 2014.[17] On July 21, the release date was changed to May 29, 2015.[18]

The film's first trailer was released on February 11, 2015.[19]

Box officeEdit

Aloha grossed $21.1 million in North America and $5.2 million in other territories for a total gross of $26.3 million, against a $37 million budget.[3]

In North America, Aloha opened simultaneously with the disaster film San Andreas. It made $500,000 from Thursday night showings at 2,275 theaters[20] and an estimated $3.5 million on its opening day from 2,815 theaters.[21] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $9.7 million, finishing 6th at the box office.[22] The film earned $1.65 million in its opening weekend overseas from 7 countries. Australia and New Zealand had an opening weekend combined of $1.5 million[23] and Brazil opened with $240,000.[24] The film went directly to video on demand in the UK[25] and France.[26]

Pamela McClintock at The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the financial losses by the film finished to around $65 million by the time the film ended its global theatrical run, based on a budget of "$37 million-plus".[27]

Critical responseEdit

According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 20% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 161 reviews, with an average rating of 4.31/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Meandering and insubstantial, Aloha finds writer-director Cameron Crowe at his most sentimental and least compelling."[28] At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 40 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[29] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Aloha an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[30]


The film was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards: Bradley Cooper for Choice Movie Actor: Comedy; Emma Stone for Choice Movie Actress: Comedy; and the film itself in the category of Choice Movie: Comedy.[31]

Whitewashing controversyEdit

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans accused the director and studio of whitewashing the cast, and Crowe apologized about Emma Stone being miscast as a character who is meant to be of one quarter Chinese and one quarter Hawaiian descent.[32][33][34]

In June 2015, Crowe responded to the backlash: "I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice. As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud one quarter Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that."[35][36]

Sony Pictures defended the film's portrayal of Hawaiian culture stating, "While some have been quick to judge a movie they haven't seen and a script they haven't read, the film "Aloha" respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people."[37]

Stone later said she regretted letting herself be miscast, and acknowledged whitewashing as a prevalent problem in Hollywood. However, she echoed Crowe's defense of her casting: "The character was not supposed to look like her background which was a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese."[38][39][40]

During the 2019 Golden Globes Awards, host Sandra Oh made a joke that Crazy Rich Asians "was the first studio film with an Asian American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha." Emma Stone interrupted Oh's monologue by shouting in the background "I'm sorry!" in response.[41]


  1. ^ "ALOHA (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. May 27, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  2. ^ FilmL.A. (June 15, 2016). "2015 Feature Film Study". p. 23. Archived from the original on July 4, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Aloha (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  4. ^ "Aloha". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Aloha (2015), retrieved February 10, 2020
  6. ^ "Emma Stone to Star in Cameron Crowe's DEEP TIKI". Collider. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "Alec Baldwin Joining Cameron Crowe Pic". July 31, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  8. ^ "Casting call for Cameron Crowe film held on Oahu". August 29, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  9. ^ "Even With a Shirt on His Head, Bradley Cooper Is Still Hot". September 16, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  10. ^ "Cameron Crowe Starts Filming The 'Untitled Hawaii Project'". October 7, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  11. ^ "Cameron Crowe Begins Shooting His Next Hawaiian Romance Movie". October 7, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (February 2, 2015). "Cameron Crowe's Romantic Comedy Titled 'Deep Tiki'". Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Lee, Esther (December 15, 2014). "Sony Hack: Cameron Crowe, Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone's New Movie Dubbed "Ridiculous" by Amy Pascal". Us Weekly. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  14. ^ "'Aloha' Soundtrack Announced". Film Music Reporter. April 21, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  15. ^ "Mark Mothersbaugh to Score Cameron Crowe's Untitled Hawaii-Based Comedy Drama". Film Music Reporter. May 15, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "Sony Pictures And Madison Gate Records/Legacy Recordings Say Deep Tiki With Extraordinary Soundtrack To Much Anticipated New Film Available May 26". KCEN-TV. April 21, 2015. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  17. ^ "Cameron Crowe's Next, Starring Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper, Set for This Christmas -". Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  18. ^ Lussier, Germain (July 21, 2014). "Cameron Crowe's Untitled Hawaii Project Delayed Until 2015". Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  19. ^ Ge, Linda (February 11, 2015). "Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone Say 'Deep Tiki' in First Trailer for Cameron Crowe Dramedy". TheWrap. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  20. ^ Dave McNarry (May 29, 2015). "Box Office: 'San Andreas' Shakes Up $3.1 Million Thursday Night". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  21. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (May 29, 2015). "The Rock Rolls Over His Previous Solo Bows With Est. $46.5M 'San Andreas' Opening – Late Night Friday B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  22. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for May 29-31, 2015". Box Office Mojo. February 6, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  23. ^ Nancy Tartaglione; Anita Busch (June 8, 2015). "'San Andreas' Has Seismic $97.7M Frame; 'Spy' Crosses $50M – Intl B.O. Final". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  24. ^ Nancy Tartaglione; Anita Busch (June 8, 2015). "'Jurassic World' Crushes All-Time Offshore Opening Record; 'San Andreas' Rocks On; Eyes On 'Spy' – Intl BO". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  25. ^ "Aloha UK Theatrical Release Cancelled, Cameron Crowe's Rom-Com Comes Straight to VOD". Final Reel. October 5, 2015. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  26. ^ Anne Demoulin (July 17, 2015). ""Welcome Back", avec Emma Stone et Bradley Cooper, ne sortira pas en France" (in French). 20 Minutes. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  27. ^ Pamela McClintock (September 4, 2015). "Summer Box-Office Flops: 'Tomorrowland,' 'Fantastic Four' Top List". The Hollywood Reporter. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  28. ^ "Aloha (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  29. ^ "Aloha Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 29, 2015). "The Rock Rolls Over His Previous Solo Bows With Est. $46.5M 'San Andreas' Opening – Late Night Friday B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  31. ^ "2015 Teen Choice Award Winners – Full List". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. August 16, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  32. ^ Variety Staff (June 2, 2015). "Cameron Crowe on Casting Emma Stone: 'I Offer You a Heart-Felt Apology'". Variety. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  33. ^ Gajewski, Ryan (May 23, 2015). "Cameron Crowe's 'Deep Tiki' Criticized for Depicting "Whitewashed" Hawaii". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  34. ^ McNary, Dave (May 27, 2015). "Sony Defends 'Deep Tiki' After White-Washing Criticism". Variety. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  35. ^ Child, Ben (June 3, 2015). "Cameron Crowe apologises for casting Emma Stone as 'part-Asian' in Deep Tiki". The Guardian. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  36. ^ Rachel Shabi (June 14, 2015). "Why Hollywood is still so bad at diversity". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via Yahoo! News.
  37. ^ "Sony defends 'Aloha,' says it respects 'spirit and culture' of Hawaii". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  38. ^ Rosen, Christopher (July 16, 2015). "Emma Stone says she understands Hollywood whitewashing after Aloha controversy". Entertainment Weekly.
  39. ^ Robinson, Joanna (July 15, 2015). "Emma Stone Says Her "Eyes Have Been Opened" by Aloha Controversy".
  40. ^ Smith, Nigel A. (July 17, 2015). "Emma Stone says Aloha casting taught her about whitewashing in Hollywood". The Guardian.
  41. ^ Respers France, Lisa (January 7, 2019). "Emma Stone yelled 'I'm sorry' after Golden Globes whitewash joke and we are here for it". CNN.

External linksEdit