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Baby Driver is a 2017 action film written and directed by Edgar Wright. It stars Ansel Elgort as a young, musically driven getaway driver seeking freedom from a life of heisting with his lover Debora (Lily James). Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal (among others) appear in supporting roles. Eric Fellner and his Working Title Films partner Tim Bevan produced Baby Driver alongside Big Talk Productions' Nira Park. Sony and TriStar Pictures handled commercial distribution of the film. Baby Driver was financed through a partnership between TriStar and Media Rights Capital.

Baby Driver
Baby Driver poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdgar Wright
Produced by
Written byEdgar Wright
Starring
Music bySteven Price
CinematographyBill Pope
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • March 11, 2017 (2017-03-11) (SXSW)
  • June 28, 2017 (2017-06-28) (US and UK)
Running time
113 minutes[2]
Country
  • United States[2][3]
  • United Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$34 million[4]
Box office$226.9 million[5]

Baby Driver is a longtime passion project Wright had developed for over two decades. He devised the film's blueprint well into his youth, but the experience helming his early projects shaped his ambitions for Baby Driver. Originally centered in Los Angeles, Wright later revised the film's setting to Atlanta in the script. Preserving the city's ethos then became an important aspect of the storytelling. Principal photography took place in Atlanta over four months, from February to May 2016. Production involved the planning of meticulously coordinated stunts, choreography, and in-camera shooting. Critics have examined Baby Driver's subject matter in thematic studies of the film.

Baby Driver premiered at the South by Southwest festival on March 11, 2017, and was released in theaters in North America and the United Kingdom on June 28. It was well received by the media, though the characterization and screenplay drew occasional criticism. The National Board of Review chose the film as one of the top films of 2017. It earned $226 million globally, bolstered by positive word-of-mouth support and fatiguing interest in blockbuster franchises. Baby Driver was a candidate for numerous awards, including three Academy Awards (for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing), two BAFTAs, two Critics' Choice Awards, and a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Elgort), and won several other honors chiefly for technical achievement. The success of Baby Driver has increased studio interest in producing a sequel.

Contents

PlotEdit

Baby is a young carjacker-turned-getaway driver. A car accident in his childhood killed both his parents and left him with tinnitus, for which he constantly listens to music through his earbuds as a form of catharsis. He is indebted to Atlanta-based crime boss Doc, who employs him as the driver for various heists throughout the city. Baby also cares for Joseph, his deaf foster father, and produces remixes of audio he records throughout the day. After a bank robbery with fellow heisters Griff, Darling and Buddy, Baby is informed by Doc that he is one heist away from paying off his debt.

At Bo's Diner, a diner where his mother once worked, Baby meets a waitress named Debora, whom he bonds with over music and driving, and discusses a mutual desire to leave Atlanta on a road trip out west. Later, Doc assigns Baby to an armored truck robbery with heisters J.D., Eddie and deranged loose cannon Bats. The crew narrowly succeeds, and satisfied that his debt to Doc is paid, Baby starts dating Debora and finds legitimate work by delivering pizzas. However, after Doc threatens to harm Debora and Joseph if he refuses, Baby is coerced back into his syndicate.

Baby, now disaffected with Doc's leadership, is assigned to a heist with Buddy, Darling and Bats; the four will steal money orders from a post office in Peachtree Center. They meet with a group of fences to purchase weaponry, but Bats suspects a sting operation and starts a shootout that leaves the fences dead. On the way back, Bats insists they stop at Bo's Diner where Baby and Debora awkwardly pretend not to know each other. Debora is terse in conversation with Bats, but when he reacts by pulling out his gun he is stopped by Baby, who leaves a note telling Debora he will abandon the crew and leave Atlanta with her that night. The crew returns to Doc, who reveals the fences were actually corrupt police involved with his racket, and nearly calls off the heist until the crew insists it continue. That night, Bats discovers Baby's tape recorder and fears he is turning state's evidence; Baby regains the crew's trust when they listen to his remixes, but he cannot escape to Debora.

On the day of the heist, Baby is tense and anxious. After Bats kills a post office security guard, Baby kills Bats by crashing the getaway car, forcing the survivors to flee on foot. Darling is killed in a police standoff, and Baby flees with a vengeful Buddy in pursuit. Baby delivers Joseph to a nursing home and rushes to Bo's to collect Debora, only to find Buddy waiting for him and holding Debora at gunpoint. Baby shoots Buddy and escapes with Debora in a stolen car. They confront Doc at his safehouse, who refuses to help at first but is moved by Baby and Debora's relationship and agrees to lend them money. He escorts them to a parking garage where they are ambushed by surviving fences from the weapons deal. Doc is critically wounded in the ensuing shootout. Suddenly, Buddy, who survived, arrives in a stolen police car, rams and kills Doc, and engages Baby and Debora in a cat-and-mouse pursuit through the parking garage. Baby rams the police car out of the garage and totals it, but Buddy narrowly survives. He incapacitates Baby by firing a gun near his ears but Debora fends him off and Buddy stumbles off the garage, landing to his death.

Baby awakens in the passenger seat of a stolen truck, being driven down a back road by Debora as his mother's singing plays over the cassette player. They encounter a police roadblock to which Baby surrenders despite Debora's pleas, saying that she does not belong in the world of crime. At his trial, Debora and Joseph take the stand in Baby's defense along with other people he helped during the robberies. He is ultimately sentenced by the judge to 25 years in prison, with the possibility of parole. When he is paroled five years later, he finds and reunites with Debora, who is waiting for him with a new car.

CastEdit

Ansel Elgort (left) and Lily James (right) at the Baby Driver Sydney premiere
Baby is the on-call criminal getaway driver with an intense passion for music.[6] Elgort regarded the character as an innocent "younger than his years, deep down".[7] Wright and the producers at Working Title Films began contemplating the lead role well before they obtained funding for Baby Driver. Elgort, John Boyega, and Logan Lerman were among a raft of potential candidates considered for star billing.[8][9] The actor applied for the part because he found the screenplay compelling.[7] He auditioned several times, but was hired based on a taped audition where he lip synced and danced to the Commodores' 1977 single "Easy".[10] Wright felt so strongly that the audition was edited into the final cut of Baby Driver.[10][11] The writer-director explained his selection of Elgort, "There's an element of an old soul in Ansel and that was something I thought connected with what I had already written."[8] Hudson Meek portrays Baby as a child.[12]
Doc is the mysterious kingpin of an Atlanta-based crime syndicate. Spacey's involvement in Baby Driver was formally announced in the press in November 2015.[13]
Debora is a waitress employed at Bo's Diner who later becomes Baby's love interest. James auditioned to play the film's female lead because she felt compelled by the soundtrack and the direction of the script.[14] When asked about similarities between herself and Debora, the actress replied, "I love music. I'm a bit of a dreamer. I think that I'm impulsive. I think the fact that Debora chooses to run off with this guy she barely knows rather than stick around in the middle of this job at a diner [...] I reckon I'm impulsive in that way too. And I'm loyal."[14] Emma Stone was an early candidate for the role during development.[15]
Buddy is the laidback Wall Street banker-turned-thief brought to ruin by a drug habit. His impulsive decisions are the result of a mid-life crisis. Wright envisioned Buddy as a strong male character à la Steve McQueen in The Getaway (1972) and George Clooney in Out of Sight (1998)—suave, handsome, yet much more sinister.[16] The writer-director tailored the character with Hamm, a longtime friend and fan of his work, in mind; he is the only actor in Baby Driver whose character was written specifically for them.[17] The two men first met at a Saturday Night Live afterparty in 2008.[16][18] Hamm took part in a table read several years before Baby Driver was commissioned by a studio.[19]
Bats is Doc's particularly sadistic, ruthless henchman with little regard for the people in his way. Foxx was a casting choice recommended to Wright, although he had reservations and felt the actor would not be enthusiastic in a supporting role.[18] Foxx was fascinated with the film's artistic direction however, and joined the project thanks to the support of Quentin Tarantino.[18] He modeled Bats after a longtime friend he first met at a Los Angeles comedy club in his youth.[20]
Darling is Buddy's young, vivacious wife and the only woman in Doc's heist crew. She and Buddy form an intensely intimate, Bonnie and Clyde-esque pairing.[21] Describing her as a vapid "crook space-cadet woman who has no attachment to reality",[22] Gonzalez took an interest in Darling because she saw her as a strong female character. She said, "I think that she has an inner steel that is very formidable. She's a very protective woman, and whenever she sees her love being threatened, she becomes a lioness."[23] The actress joined the production in December 2015.[24]
Griff is among Doc's thugs responsible for the security of his heist crew. Bernthal believed that criminals were too often stereotyped as incompetent in news media. Therefore, to prepare for his role, the actor consulted with real-life career criminals to get a better grasp on his character and the inner workings of organized crime.[25] He said in an interview, "There's your idiots who hold up a place and get caught because they leave their wallet there, but there's mastermind criminals and they all come in different shapes and sizes and different levels of intellect. I think there are people with real talent and people who take it enormously seriously, and those are the kinds of people I talked to."[25]
Joseph is Baby's disabled foster-father. Casting director Francine Maisler was tasked with hiring a suitable actor to play Joseph.[26] Though Jones was significantly younger than the role called for, he was hired from a handful of prospective actors, most of whom were not deaf.[26] Jones opted not to work with an on-set interpreter until later in production. He also helped Elgort hone his sign language (ASL) with an on-set tutor.[26]

Other cast members include Flea as Eddie,[27] Lanny Joon as JD,[28] Sky Ferreira as Baby's biological mother,[29] Lance Palmer as Baby's biological father,[30] Big Boi and Killer Mike as restaurant patrons,[31] Paul Williams as The Butcher,[31] and Jon Spencer as a prison guard.[31]

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

 
Edgar Wright in 2010

Baby Driver is a longtime passion project Edgar Wright had been developing since 1995, when the writer-director was a struggling 21-year-old filmmaker living in suburban London.[18][8][32] He had relocated to London to finish his first professional film, the low-budget western comedy A Fistful of Fingers, and to contemplate his future in entertainment.[8] Wright's repeated listening to Orange (1994), the then-recently released fourth studio album by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, provided the impetus for Baby Driver.[8] At first he envisioned a high-speed car chase, which then evolved into a full sequence where the getaway driver dances to "Bellbottoms" in his car before the ensuing chase.[32] Though this was ultimately written into the script as the film's opening sequence, Wright's vision was still in its infancy and far from a fully realized project.[18]

On a £25,000 budget, Wright developed the music video for Mint Royale's "Blue Song" in 2003, featuring a backstory gleaned from his early concept of Baby Driver.[33] The video became an unexpected success, and although happy with his work, Wright was frustrated he had cannibalized an idea he felt had enormous potential.[34][18] In retrospect, he admits his music video was a significant undertaking because it provided proof of concept for Baby Driver.[18] The release of Shaun of the Dead the following year was another important catalyst not only for its artistic direction, but for signaling the start of a long-term working relationship between Wright and the producers at Working Title Films, who would assist with Baby Driver's development.[8] By 2007, after signing a multi-picture deal with Working Title, and with a clearer vision of the project, the writer-director met with Steven Price to discuss early musical ideas for Baby Driver.[8] The drafting of a story started around the release of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), but pre-production of the film stalled as Wright's other projects—The World's End (2013) and the then-forthcoming Ant-Man (2015), for which he had already prepared a script with Joe Cornish—took precedence.[8] Work resumed immediately after Wright's departure from Ant-Man, when the studio began assembling their roster of actors and technical staff before shooting.[8] In preparation, Wright spent time with ex-career criminals in Los Angeles and London to develop an accurate depiction of a real-life bank robber's work.[33]

Wright, lead film editor Paul Machliss, and Los Angeles-based editor Evan Shiff devised a pre-edit of Baby Driver with animatics in the initial stages of production. With Avid Media Composer, Machliss was tasked with syncopating each animatic to the corresponding soundtrack. He and Wright had an existing professional relationship from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World's End. In addition, Machliss worked on set providing input for the shoot, which was unusual given that film editors are rarely present at the production set of most films.[35]

FilmingEdit

 
Baby Driver was primarily shot in downtown Atlanta.

Los Angeles was Baby Driver's original setting, but the expensive production costs shooting there were impractical.[36][33] Instead, the studio toured cities that offered generous transferable tax credits for film production. This included Atlanta, which emerged as the frontrunner during preliminary scouting. Preserving the city's ethos was imperative for an authentic story, as Atlanta typically doubles for other global cities in blockbuster cinema.[36][37] Wright spent about a week in the city observing the local scenery and culture to facilitate the necessary revisions to the script. He found Baby Driver's story was better realized in Atlanta because of the city's renown as a logistics hub.[36] Principal photography, which lasted four months from February to May 2016,[38][39] took place mostly in the central business district.[36] Location shots emphasize many of Atlanta's landmarks, cultural institutions, even local media.[40][41] Elsewhere, filming occurred in Gainesville and rural Monroe County, Georgia.[40] Although suburban areas of Atlanta were scouted for main unit filming, Wright preferred the urbanity of the city proper over the suburbs' dense foliage, which he considered an unsuitable backdrop for the film.[33] Baby Driver contributed $30.1 million to the local economy.[42]

Wright cited Vanishing Point (1971), The Driver (1978), Point Break (1991), Reservoir Dogs (1993), Heat (1995), among others as significant influences on the film's visual hallmarks and creative direction.[33][34][43] To evoke their aesthetic, one of the production's main goals was to produce Baby Driver using practical filmmaking techniques.[44] This meant planning meticulously coordinated stunts, choreography, and shooting as much of the film in-camera as possible, using visual effects only as an auxiliary.[45][46] Baby Driver was director of photography Bill Pope's third film with Wright. They collaborated previously on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World's End. Pope shot the project mostly in anamorphic format on 35mm film using Kodak film stock. Baby Driver was shot on Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 cameras with G-Series, T-Series, and C-Series anamorphic lenses.[44] Occasionally, to capture more intense stunts, and to achieve unusual camera angles Wright demanded, the filmmakers shot in Super 35 format with specialized cameras.[47] Panavision's Atlanta offices assisted the needs of the production when logistics management became challenging.[44] One action scene in particular, staged in a parking garage on the Atlanta Falcons' training facility, which was only available at night, was difficult to shoot because of the dull lighting.[44] They ended up filming the scene in digital format with the company's refurbished Arri Alexa cameras, which had greater exposure latitude.[44][35]

Visual effectsEdit

Few visual effects were used in Baby Driver as a result of Wright's emphasis on practical filmmaking.[48] The London-based studio DNEG created most of the visual effects, under the supervision of Stuart Lashley and Shailendra Swarnkar.[45] Their work for the film consist of over 430 shots,[47] created with a workforce of 120 specialized artists.[45] The team's work began while viewing early animatics of Baby Driver, which they used as a reference to help conceive the film's audiovisual repertoire.[47] DNEG used Nuke to animate car chase scenes that could not be rendered with in-camera effects. As these scenes were routinely updated with reshoots, the team was tasked with maintenance of the software's control tools so that artists would be readily equipped to work with the latest audio.[47] Molinare also produced effects shots for Baby Driver.[47]

According to Lashley, key scenes that highlight the film's audiovisual repertoire were "Harlem Shuffle", the single tracking shot of Baby's coffee run through town, and "Tequila", the sequence of a deadly shootout between Doc's syndicate and undercover police. "Harlem Shuffle" was one of Baby Driver's most elaborate sequences; filmmakers cached excess footage so the shot could be manageable.[47] The set design of "Tequila" involved precise coordination of the in-camera effects. Once filmed, DNEG supplemented the live-action shots with projectile bullets, sparks, and gunfire flashes, while bearing in mind the imposing drum riffs of the soundtrack.[47] The team found that compositing shots to audio, although suitable for live-action projects, presented unique challenges such as how to convey emotional cues to the viewer.[47]

For "Brighton Rock", the climactic sequence of Baby Driver, DNEG enhanced footage with computer-generated shots for safety and damage control. First, to portray characters being pummeled by cars, the team filmed the accidents in stages. The footage was then composited into complete shots, lending a sense of realism and control.[47] The shot of Buddy's stolen police car falling in the parking garage atrium from the top level required setting up a shorter, safer drop at another side of the garage with a crane, to comply with the owner's demands. DNEG created a set extension from a lidar scan of the atrium, with superimposed special effects to extend the fall.[47]

Stunts and choreographyEdit

Second-unit director Darrin Prescott coordinated the vehicular stunts on Baby Driver with Jeremy Fry, the project's stunt driver, and a team of other professionals.[49][50] They rehearsed at the Atlanta Motor Speedway before receiving clearance to shoot in the city. At the rehearsals, filmmakers captured the stunts with specialized pursuit cranes, small cars with an installed camera crane. Machliss would then edit the footage into updated animatics, fleshing out the precision of the stunts in time for shooting.[50] Fry performed many of the vehicular stunts; the actors were allowed to perform less demanding stunts with the proper training.[51]

Prescott saw Baby Driver as his biggest undertaking because of the complicated stunt work involved.[46] One such scene features a "180 in and 180 out" maneuver, in which Fry makes 180-degree turns forward and backward in a narrow alley with several other vehicles in the way. This was shot in five or six takes. "There's a lot going through your head. You don't want Jeremy to get hurt. Also, there's a lot of money being spent to get this on camera. The cameras needed to be out of the way so nobody would get hurt", Prescott recalled.[46] Another example is the freeway car chase scene midway in Baby Driver's opening sequence.[50][52] The production only had an eight-hour window to shoot because they did not have clearance to shut down I-85. With the limited timeframe, the filmmakers rehearsed for only an hour before they began filming in early morning. This scene involved a number of high-speed jumps, and barrier jumps, among other stunts, that Prescott and his team carefully coordinated bearing traffic flow in mind. There were also 50 production vehicles encircled by a sprawling police motorcade, occupying all lanes of I-85.[50] The choice of the getaway cars corresponded to specifications in the screenplay that they be nondescript and blend in with the surrounding traffic.[52] Though Wright sought a Toyota Corolla based on data about frequently stolen cars, the production used a red Subaru WRX instead after the studio requested a vehicle that "could be a little sexier".[52]

Ryan Heffington oversaw the choreography. He was responsible for synchronizing the movement of the actors and stunt performers in the film's choreographic sequences.[53] Known in the music industry for his work with Sia, Arcade Fire, and other artists, Baby Driver is Heffington's first foray into film.[53] Compelled by the script, the choreographer was unfamiliar with Wright's prior work. He researched it after his initial interview for the job.[54] The two detailed their artistic vision in early conversations, using songs with dramatic tempo changes or structure as templates.[53] By the first day of shooting, Heffington was already supervising the "Harlem Shuffle" sequence, employing 50–60 extras for the set.[54] Choreographing other sets was sometimes less taxing because Elgort and Foxx had prior dance experience.[54] The production played the music as the cast rehearsed each sequence, shot by shot.[47]

Sound designEdit

 
The production premixed audio at the London-based Twickenham Studios, pictured in 2010.

When sound editing supervisor Julian Slater was first approached for Baby Driver, he was sent a copy of the script and a PDF file containing the curated selection of music, along with a rough audio mix.[55] Working closely with music editor Bradley Farmer, the pair dissected each musical cue into a unique tempo map, thereby allowing for synchronization at any given time. This process required frequent pitch scaling of the sounds so they would not be off-pitch.[55] One of their initial responsibilities was to create a sound for Baby's tinnitus.[55] Slater and Farmer experimented with an array of sounds, some subtle, others more intense. Accordingly, they would adjust the frequency of an audio mix to correspond with their music cue. The intensity of Baby's tinnitus in the audio mix depended on his mood; for example, the more anxious he is, the louder the ringing.[55] Managing tempo changes with the sound effects proved troublesome. Slater said, "Bradley showed me to work musically [...] How a gunshot works with a kick drum, but not too obviously. For every layer that happens musically, have another layer that happens non-musically so that you perceive it only some of the time."[55] The "Harlem Shuffle" sequence contains the audio team's most complex sound effects work. Completed in 25 takes, it features an assortment of subtle sound effects from engines, dialogue with changing nuance, and so forth.[56] "Brighton Rock" posed another challenge for the filmmakers because the sequence required a new set of frequencies, altered voices, and other sounds to emphasize Baby's distorted point of view.[55]

The audio department spent eight days recording the car sound effects at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.[56] For onboard recordings (the sounds heard from the perspective of the driver and passengers), sound effect recordist Watson Wu installed about six microphones per vehicle; one in the airbox, another on the radio dashboard, two near the exhausts, and two in the engine compartment. Boom operator James Peterson followed each car with a shotgun mic for the external recordings, while using XY stereo equipment to capture the noise of passing vehicles.[56] The crew premixed their audio at the Twickenham Studios in London, while the final mixing took place at Goldcrest Films' Soho post-production facility.[56]

MusicEdit

Wright and Price exchanged ideas throughout pre-production, selecting ten tracks to shape the project's musical direction.[8] In total, the filmmakers licensed 36 tracks with Right Music, many of which had been written into the script well before filming.[57][58] For certain hip hop and electronic songs written into the script, Wright was unable to acquire the usage rights because they contained uncleared samples.[34][59] At that point, he pursued licensing of the sampled songs in question and used them in the soundtrack instead.[34] Danger Mouse and Kid Koala composed the album's only original tracks, "Chase Me" and "Was He Slow?". "Chase Me" features contributions from Run the Jewels and Big Boi.[53] For "Was He Slow?", which samples some of Spacey's dialogue, Kid Koala produced the song using analog equipment.[60] Columbia imprint 30th Century Records released Baby Driver's soundtrack album on June 23, 2017, on vinyl and CD.[61] A follow-up album containing previously unreleased content was issued on April 13, 2018.[62]

ThemesEdit

 
Baby Driver uses colors to symbolize the personas of the core characters. Baby's muted palette clashes with the bright, vibrant colors worn by Bats, Darling, and Buddy.

Wright views Baby's moral shift as the thematic crux of the film.[43] According to David Sims at The Atlantic, Baby's initial moral detachment manifests through his reliance on music, which he uses to escape the chaos in his environment, and his own tinnitus.[43] It is only because of his obligation to protect Debora, Joseph, and the impending threat of his heist crew on his livelihood, that Baby is forced to confront reality, no longer able to ignore the mayhem around him.[43] Baby Driver employs some of the conventions of gangster film, chiefly heroic fatalism and uncompromising villainy.[63]

Characteristic of Wright's films, Baby Driver is driven by strong color cues. Colors are used symbolically to represent the personas of the core characters.[64] For example, Baby is dressed in drab colors that reflect his black-and-white perspective of the universe. His muted sensibility clashes with the bright, vibrant colors that symbolize his peers: red is used to represent Bats, purple and pink for Darling, and blue for Buddy.[64] As the film progresses, the pressures of organized crime become overwhelming, and Baby's wardrobe evolves by proxy. He is seen in faint greys and bloodstained white shirts at that point.[64] Costume designer Courtney Hoffman incorporated light grey colors into Baby's wardrobe to illustrate his struggle for freedom from the criminal world.[64] Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times argues Baby Driver is an exploration of identity and personal style, and how said expression dictates one's status in society.[65]

Another principal topic of discussion among critics has been Baby Driver's treatment of race. In their piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books, David Hollingshead and Jane Hu contend that certain aspects of Baby Driver, such as the casting choices and the film's reliance on a "white innocence" narrative, provide a subtext of "racial awareness" as well as commentary about the ethics of cultural appropriation.[66]

ReleaseEdit

TheatricalEdit

The global premiere of Baby Driver took place on March 11, 2017, at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.[67] TriStar took charge of the marketing campaign.[68] Their strategy entailed aggressive social media engagement,[69] a worldwide publicity tour,[8] and the creation of a number of colorful, vintage-style character posters.[70] TriStar and Sony initially scheduled the film for a mid-August release in North America and the United Kingdom,[71] but in an unusual move, the studios expedited Baby Driver's release six weeks early to June 28,[72] as a result of the enthusiastic response from the film festival circuit.[73][74] This was unusual because late summers are seldom competitive, and hence a much more favorable market for lower-budget films.[71][73]

Home mediaEdit

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Baby Driver through video on demand on September 12, 2017,[75] and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray combo formats the following October.[76] The physical releases contain two hours of bonus content including behind-the-scenes footage, production rehearsals, a storyboard gallery, audio commentary, and the music video for "Blue Song".[77] During its first week on sale in the United States, Baby Driver was the number two selling film on DVD and Blu-ray, with 226,657 units sold for $5.6 million.[78] The latest figures show that 595,111 copies have been sold.[79]

The premium cable network Showtime has exclusive US broadcast syndication rights for Baby Driver. It is available to authenticated Showtime subscribers via the network's streaming services.[80]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Baby Driver was a financial success. Although the film's performance faltered in China, it performed strongly in key North American and European markets until the end of its theatrical run.[81][82][74] Baby Driver earned $107.8 million in the United States and Canada and $119.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $226.9 million,[5] making it the 42nd highest-grossing film of 2017,[83] and Wright's highest-grossing film to date.[84] The TriStar–Media Rights Capital partnership recouped their budget with a $51.5 million net profit, factoring in marketing costs and other expenses.[84] Good word-of-mouth support, as well as fatiguing interest in blockbuster franchises, were considered critical to Baby Driver's box office success.[8][85]

In the United States, exit polling showed strong commercial potential across a variety of audiences.[86] CinemaScore polls conducted during opening night revealed the average grade moviegoers gave Baby Driver was A− on an A+ to F scale.[86] Audiences were mostly younger; 52% were under 25 and 57% were men. The main reasons given for seeing the film were its action (44%), the actors (26%), and Wright (16%).[86] Hourly advanced ticket sales eclipsed that of Transformers: The Last Knight.[86] Predictions, while acknowledging the positive media response and word-of-mouth support for Baby Driver, were conflicted about the long-term commercial viability of an economical film in a fiercely competitive market.[86][4] The film made $5.7M on its first day of wide release—including $2.1M from Tuesday-night previews—and scooped another $3.3M the following Thursday.[87] It went on to take second place at the weekend box office with $30M from 3,226 theaters, trailing Despicable Me 3.[88] This return surpassed Sony's expectations for the weekend,[86] and marked the best opening of any Wright-directed film in the United States to date.[88][89] The second week in the United States saw the box office drop by 36.7% to $13M,[90] and Baby Driver grossed another $8.8M the following weekend.[91] By August 14, the film topped $100M domestically.[92] TriStar re-expanded the film's theater presence for the week of August 25, earning $1.2M from 1,074 theaters, a 34% increase from the prior week.[93] Baby Driver completed its theatrical run in North America on October 19, 2017.[5]

Baby Driver was released in 16 international markets between June 28 and July 2, 2017—its overall rank for the weekend was second to Despicable Me 3.[94] The United Kingdom represented the film's largest taking with £3.6M ($4.6M) from 680 theaters.[82][95] It took $1.8M in the second week,[96] and the third week in the United Kingdom saw the box office drop by just 26%.[97] As of the latest figures, Baby Driver earned $16.6M in the United Kingdom.[98] On its opening weekend elsewhere, it earned $3.7M in Australia,[97] $1.7M in Mexico,[99] $1.7M in France,[100] $1.2M in Germany,[101] $1.2M in Brazil,[101] $843,000 in Spain,[96] and $620,000 in Malaysia.[100] During its mid-September opening in South Korea, Baby Driver grossed $3.12M.[102] By September 3, the film's international gross exceeded $102.2M.[103]

Critical responseEdit

"Baby Driver, a new vehicular-action-thriller-jukebox-musical-romance from the British writer-director Edgar Wright, is almost as entertaining as it is hyphen-depleting. This is movie craftsmanship and showmanship of a very high order."

—Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times[65]

The American press considered Baby Driver among the strongest films of 2017.[104] The film was selected by the National Board of Review as one of their top choices for the organization's annual top ten films list.[105] Praise for the actors' performances was widespread in the press,[106][107][63] often singling out Elgort and James for further praise,[65][108][109] with their work described as "star-making" and "radiant".[110][106] The characterization divided journalists: some criticized the depiction of the characters the actors played, often the women, in their reviews.[111][112] Debora was viewed as a somewhat underdeveloped character by Eric Kohn of IndieWire,[113] whereas Empire's Terri White felt that, because of the sparse details of her backstory, she lacked depth and too often has little agency of her own.[114] Richard Brody of The New Yorker considered Baby Driver's dialogue "almost entirely functional", devoid of nuance, resulting in characters who are largely interchangeable despite the best efforts of a diverse cast.[115] Others, such as David Edelstein of New York magazine and the Observer's Thelma Adams, cited character development as one of the film's strengths.[116][117]

Critics praised Baby Driver for its craftsmanship. Comments ranged from "acts as a manifesto on what it takes to realize the potential and forgotten pleasure of the action genre",[48] to "one of the most utterly original films in years",[114] complimenting the technical achievement in the action, choreographic sequences, sound editing, cinematography and soundtrack.[118][107][119][63] Time noted the precision of the choreography,[106] which Edelstein wrote was a "stupendous feat" when speaking about the film's opening sequence.[116] Chris Klimek of NPR called Baby Driver "a rush of a movie" where Wright uses his expertise to create a "genre deconstruction that sings like Freddie Mercury and dances like Freddie Astaire".[120] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian liked the ambient pleasure showcased in many of Baby Driver's choreographic sequences, and drew parallels with the French thriller Diva (1981) because of its artistic direction.[121] Variety's Peter Debruge said Baby Driver fills a niche in contemporary action film through "a mostly clever collection of jokes, sudden narrative U-turns, [...] aptly picked songs", and a strong emphasis on car chases.[122]

The screenplay drew criticism for dialogue and plot development, chiefly in the film's final scenes.[123] Cineaste's Adam Nayman felt Wright's script was the film's biggest flaw. He attributed the script's mistakes to Wright's inexperience as a solo writer.[124] Adam Graham of The Detroit News said Baby Driver devolved from playful pastiche into a drama "that seems unsure of its footing", undermining the viewing experience,[125] and TheWrap saw the lost momentum as "jarring and uncommon" saying, "rarely do we see a filmmaker start so strong only to end with a whimper".[126] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker felt the film takes itself too seriously and lacked the self-awareness of Wright's other action comedies such as Hot Fuzz (2007).[127]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 352 reviews, with an average rating of 8.03/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone -- proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills".[128] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim".[129]

AccoladesEdit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards March 4, 2018 Best Film Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [130]
Best Sound Editing Julian Slater Nominated
Best Sound Mixing Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists January 9, 2018 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [131]
American Cinema Editors January 26, 2018 Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [132]
British Academy Film Awards February 18, 2018 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [133]
Best Sound Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater Nominated
Casting Society of America January 18, 2018 Big Budget – Drama Francine Maisler and Meagan Lewis Nominated [134]
Chicago Film Critics Association December 12, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [135]
Cinema Audio Society Awards February 24, 2018 Motion Picture — Live Action Mark Appleby, Tim Cavagin, Gareth Cousins, Mary H. Ellis, Glen Gathard and Julian Slater Nominated [136]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 11, 2018 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [137]
Best Action Movie Baby Driver Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society December 7, 2017 Best Use of Music Baby Driver Won [138]
Empire Awards March 18, 2018 Best Director Edgar Wright Nominated [139]
[140]
Best Male Newcomer Ansel Elgort Nominated
Best Thriller Baby Driver Nominated
Best Production Design Baby Driver Won
Best Soundtrack Baby Driver Won
Georgia Film Critics Association January 12, 2018 Best Film Baby Driver Nominated [141]
Best Director Edgar Wright Nominated
Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema Edgar Wright Won
Golden Globe Awards January 7, 2018 Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Ansel Elgort Nominated [142]
Golden Reel Awards February 18, 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Score Julian Slater and Bradley Farmer Nominated [143]
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue / ADR Julian Slater and Dan Morgan Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Effects / Foley Julian Slater, Jeremy Price, Martin Cantwell, Arthur Graley, Rown Watson, Peter Hanson, Zoe Freed and Peter Burgis Nominated
Golden Tomato Awards January 3, 2018 Best Wide Release 2017 Baby Driver 7th Place [144]
Best Action Movie 2017 Baby Driver Won
IndieWire Critic's Poll December 19, 2016 Most Anticipated of 2017 Baby Driver Nominated [145]
Location Managers Guild Awards April 7, 2018 Outstanding Locations in Contemporary Film Doug Dresser, Kyle Hinshaw Won [146]
Outstanding Film Commission Atlanta Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment Won
London Film Critics' Circle January 28, 2018 Technical Achievement Award Darrin Prescott (stunts) Nominated [147]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild February 24, 2018 Feature Motion Picture: Best Contemporary Makeup Fionagh Cush and Phyllis Temple Nominated [148]
National Board of Review January 4, 2018 Top Ten Films Baby Driver Won [149]
New York Film Critics Online December 10, 2017 Best Use of Music Baby Driver Won [150]
NME Awards February 14, 2018 Best Film Baby Driver Won [151]
Online Film Critics Society December 28, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Runner-up [152]
[153]
San Diego Film Critics Society December 11, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [154]
Best Use of Music Baby Driver Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards December 10, 2017 Best Film Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [155]
Satellite Awards February 10, 2018 Best Film Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [156]
Saturn Awards June 27, 2018 Best Action or Adventure Film Baby Driver Nominated [157]
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 21, 2018 Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture Baby Driver Nominated [158]
Seattle Film Critics Society December 18, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [159]
St. Louis Film Critics Association December 17, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [160]
Best Soundtrack Baby Driver Won
Best Scene Baby goes for coffee (opening credits) Runner-up
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 8, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [161]

SequelEdit

The success of Baby Driver has increased studio interest in producing a sequel. Though plans are not yet finalized, discussions of a sequel began in December 2017. Wright intends to develop the script, assuming the project gets commissioned by Sony.[8][162] By January 2019, the writer-director revealed the drafting of a script had begun, which would introduce an ensemble of new characters to advance the story.[163]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit