Game Night (film)
Game Night is a 2018 American black comedy film directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein and written by Mark Perez. It stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, and follows a group of friends whose game night turns into a real-life mystery after one of them is kidnapped by apparent burglars. The film's supporting cast includes Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, and Kyle Chandler.
Theatrical release poster
|Written by||Mark Perez|
|Music by||Cliff Martinez|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$117.7 million|
Warner Bros. Pictures released the film on February 23, 2018. It was a commercial and critical success, grossing $117 million worldwide and receiving praise for its dark humor and performances. Plemons, whose performance was highlighted by many critics, was nominated for the Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Married competitive gamer couple Max and Annie are trying to have a child, but their attempts are unsuccessful due to Max's stress surrounding his feelings of inadequacy when compared to his successful, attractive brother Brooks. During Max and Annie's routine weekend game night with their friends Ryan, and married couple Kevin and Michelle, Brooks shows up Max by arriving in a Corvette Stingray (Max's dream car) and sharing an embarrassing childhood story about Max to throw Max off during a game. Brooks offers to host the next game night at a house he is renting while he is in town. Meanwhile, Max and Annie are trying to keep their game nights secret from their neighbor Gary, an awkward police officer left distraught after his divorce from their old friend Debbie, who has since moved away.
When the guests, including Ryan's new date, Sarah, arrive at Brooks' house the following week, Brooks says he has initiated an interactive role-playing mystery game, promising the winner his Stingray. A man dressed as an FBI agent bursts into the home and informs them of the narrative of the mystery, only for two masked men to break in and assault him and Brooks. The guests believe the assault is part of the game, so they just watch and commentate on the struggle. After Brooks is dragged out of the house, the couples begin to solve the mystery using the clues left behind by the actor.
Using his GPS location, Max and Annie track Brooks down to a seedy bar and, using a pistol left behind by Brooks during the struggle (which they believe to be fake), manage to take the keys to the storage closet, where Brooks is being held. After Annie mistakenly fires the gun and shoots Max in the arm, confirming the weapon is real and that they are in actual danger, the three escape. Brooks admits that he actually makes his living buying and selling illegal items on the black market, in particular a Fabergé egg sought by a man known only as "the Bulgarian" and owned by a man using the alias Marlon Freeman. With his captors in pursuit, Brooks exits the moving car to guarantee Max and Annie's escape.
Eventually, the others learn what they have become involved in, avoiding police because of Brooks' warnings about the Bulgarian having moles in the government. Trying to determine the identities of the Bulgarian and Marlon Freeman, they show up at Gary's house, under the false pretense of a game night, in order to use his police computer, where Max discovers the address of Marlon Freeman (real name: Donald Anderton). The group leaves Gary's house and arrives at Anderton's address, where he is hosting an underground fight club. As the others search the house, Ryan spots the egg in a wall safe and is caught trying to steal it. The group escapes with the egg, but accidentally break it. They discover the egg is a worthless fake, but end up finding a list of names that was stored inside of it, realizing this was what the Bulgarian wanted.
The group finds Brooks and his captors on an under-construction bridge and move in to rescue him. Before the captors are able to kill them, the group is saved by Gary, who is then shot in the chest. Max and Annie try to encourage him to pull through by promising to invite him to every future game night. Gary then reveals that he faked the entire scenario in an attempt to trick them into letting him join game night again. He is, however, unaware of the egg, and they are immediately attacked by the real Bulgarian, who captures Brooks after he swallows the list, revealed to be people in the witness protection program. Max and Annie use Brooks' Corvette to drive to the airport and stop the Bulgarian from taking off with Brooks in his jet. They eventually knock the Bulgarian out and dispatch his henchmen, tie him up, and free Brooks.
Three months later, Brooks, now under house arrest for his crimes, has managed to sell the list for $3 million (having also tipped off the witnesses for $20 thousand each). Meanwhile, Annie has finally become pregnant. While the group (including an inept Gary) are continuing their game night, men with guns get ready to storm the building.
Mid-credits, Gary's intricate plan for his re-institution into game night is shown. He has collected a series of ID cards featuring the friend group, one of which shows that Ryan is a Harvard alumnus (though it isn't clear whether he had graduated or was kicked out). A running joke through the film is that Michelle had sex with someone whom she thought was Denzel Washington. A post-credits scene shows a flashback of Gary's ex-wife Debbie meeting Kenny (not Denzel) at a gas station.
- Jason Bateman as Max Davis, Annie's husband.
- Rachel McAdams as Annie Davis, Max's wife.
- Billy Magnussen as Ryan Huddle, one of Max and Annie's friends.
- Sharon Horgan as Sarah Darcy, Ryan's co-worker and love interest
- Lamorne Morris as Kevin Sterling, Michelle's husband.
- Kylie Bunbury as Michelle Sterling, Kevin's wife.
- Jesse Plemons as Gary Kingsbury, Max and Annie's neighbor.
- Chelsea Peretti as Glenda
- Danny Huston as Donald Anderton
- Michael C. Hall as The Bulgarian
- Kyle Chandler as Brooks Davis, Max's brother
Additionally, the film's directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein cameo as Carter and Dan, respectively. Kenny (credited as "Not Denzel") is portrayed by Malcolm Hughes, a part-time Denzel Washington impersonator. Jeffrey Wright makes an uncredited cameo as an actor playing Agent Ron Henderson, an FBI Agent.
Producer John Fox had the film's title, and asked screenwriter Mark Perez for story ideas. Perez took inspiration from films like Three Amigos and Tropic Thunder. He pitched the concept to Fox, who liked it. The two pitched the project to Jason Bateman, who also liked it. They then sold the idea to New Line Cinema around 2013-2014. Bateman was initially slated to direct, as well as produce and star in the film. When screenwriters Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley were hired to rewrite Perez's script, it became clear to Bateman that the two would also want to direct the film, so Bateman stepped down.
On May 24, 2016, New Line Cinema hired Goldstein and Francis Daley to rewrite and direct the film Game Night, which Jason Bateman produced through Aggregate Films. While Daley and Goldstein did not receive screenwriter credit, they later said they rewrote "almost all of the original script’s dialogue, totally overhauled the characters — most notably a creepy cop portrayed by Jesse Plemons — and comprehensively reworked the original script’s third act."
In January 2017, Rachel McAdams, Bateman, and Plemons were cast in the film's lead roles. In February 2017, Kylie Bunbury joined the cast, while in March, Lamorne Morris, Billy Magnussen, Kyle Chandler, and Sharon Horgan were also added. In April 2017, Jeffrey Wright was cast in the film as an FBI agent, a role he ultimately played uncredited.
Game Night grossed $69.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $48.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $117.7 million, against a production budget of $37 million.
In the United States and Canada, Game Night was released alongside Annihilation and Every Day, and was projected to gross $13–21 million from 3,488 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $5.6 million on its first day (including $1 million from Thursday night previews). It ended up grossing $16.6 million over the weekend, finishing second, behind holdover Black Panther. The film dropped 38.8% (above average for a comedy) in its second weekend to $10.4 million, and finished 4th, behind Black Panther and newcomers Red Sparrow and Death Wish. It made $7.9 million in its third weekend, $5.6 million in its fourth and $4.1 million in its fifth.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 84% based on 234 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.91/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise — and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists — Game Night might be more fun than the real thing." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews, the film has an average score of 66 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 78% overall positive score.
Writing for Variety, Owen Gleiberman gave the film a positive review, saying "Even at 100 minutes, Game Night pushes its premise to the wall of synthetic escapism. Yet the movie manipulates its audience in cunning and puckish ways. It's no big whoop, but you're happy to have been played."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||December 3, 2018||Best Supporting Actor||Jesse Plemons||Nominated|||
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 10, 2018||Best Comedic Performance||Jason Bateman||Nominated|||
|Best Editing||Dave Egan and Jamie Gross||Won|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||January 13, 2019||Best Comedy||Game Night||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Comedy||Jason Bateman||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Comedy||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
During the film's opening weekend, screenwriter Mark Perez has discussed about the possibility of a sequel. He said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
It would be great to have sequels. Super titles like Game Night or specific titles like that feel genetically built to have sequels... That would mean the movie did well, and that's all I really care about at this stage.
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