Second Act (film)

Second Act is a 2018 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal and written by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Justin Zackham. It stars Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, Treat Williams and Milo Ventimiglia, and follows a woman in her 40s who pursues a second chance at a corporate career, after a friend creates her a fake resume and credentials. The film was released in the United States on December 21, 2018. It received mixed reviews from critics with praise of Lopez's performance but criticised the story and the script and grossed over $72 million worldwide.

Second Act
Second Act.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Segal
Produced by
Written by
  • Justin Zackham
  • Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas
Music byMichael Andrews
CinematographyUeli Steiger
Edited byJason Gourson
Distributed bySTX Films
Release date
  • December 21, 2018 (2018-12-21) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$16 million[1]
Box office$72.3 million[1]


Maya Vargas (Jennifer Lopez) is the assistant manager of the Value Shop store where she has worked for the past 15 years. During that time she dramatically improved sales, customer relations, and general store culture through her intuitive and innovative methods. She awaits a store visit by an executive of her company, Mr. Weiskopf, anxiously hoping to be promoted to manager. Her boyfriend Trey (Milo Ventimiglia), co-workers, and several regular customers all assure Maya she’s guaranteed the promotion, but instead she’s passed up in favor of Arthur (Dan Bucatinsky), a non-local company employee with an MBA from Duke. Mr. Weiskopf explains that while he values Maya’s dedication and success, she only has a GED and no college degree, which makes her ineligible for the promotion by company policy.



In June 2017, Jennifer Lopez signed on to star.[2] In October 2017, Leah Remini, Annaleigh Ashford, Vanessa Hudgens, Dan Bucatinsky and Freddie Stroma joined the cast of the film.[3][4][5][6] In November 2017, Milo Ventimiglia, Treat Williams, Larry Miller, Dave Foley, Charlyne Yi and Alan Aisenberg were added as well.[7][8][9][10][11]


Principal photography began on October 23, 2017, at Food Bazaar Supermarket in Queens, New York, and continued in The Bronx and Manhattan, including Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in Grand Central Terminal.[12] Filming wrapped on December 15, 2017.[13]


On September 21, 2018, Sia was announced as the composer for the original song "Limitless" for the film's soundtrack, produced by Jesse Shatkin and performed by Lopez. On October 9, 2018, Lopez performed the song at the American Music Awards.[14]


Second Act was initially scheduled to be released in the United States on November 21, 2018, but in September 2018, following "incredible" test screenings, its distributor STXfilms moved it to December 14,[15] and then again to December 21, 2018.[16]

The studio spent $19–30 million on promotion and advertisements for the film.[17]


Box officeEdit

Second Act grossed $39.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $33 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $72.3 million, against a production budget of $16 million.[1] In order to break-even, the film needed to gross an estimated $30–40 million.[17]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Aquaman, Welcome to Marwen and Bumblebee, and was projected to gross $9–13 million from 2,607 theaters over its five-day opening weekend.[18][19] The film made $2.5 million on its first day, including $515,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $6.5 million for the weekend, finishing seventh at the box office. It then grossed $1 million on Monday and $3 million on Christmas Day, for a five-day total gross of $10.6 million.[17] In its second weekend, the film increased by 11%, grossing $7.2 million.[20]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 45% based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 5.07/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Second Act proves Jennifer Lopez remains as magnetic as ever on the big screen; unfortunately, the movie's muddled story isn't always worthy of her gifts."[21] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[22] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: "Even though Second Act shouldn't work, it does (sort of). It's got flow, a certain knowing ticky-tackiness about its own contrivances. You know you're watching a connect-the-dots comedy, but the dots sparkle. And Lopez gives her first star performance in a while. Age has enriched her talent; she brings curlicues of experience to every scene."[23] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, saying: "Good cast, nearly hopeless script. Second Act hinges on a significant reveal around the midpoint, and it's a lulu in the worst way—preposterously coincidental, outrageously contrived."[24]

Lopez's performance in the film earned her a nomination for Best Actress at the 2019 Imagen Awards.[25]


  1. ^ a b c "Second Act (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  2. ^ Busch, Anita (June 22, 2017). "Jennifer Lopez Boards STX's 'Second Act' With Director Peter Segal". Deadline Hollywood.
  3. ^ Busch, Anita (October 10, 2017). "Leah Remini Has Joined Jennifer Lopez In STXfilms' 'Second Act'". Deadline Hollywood.
  4. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 17, 2017). "Vanessa Hudgens & Annaleigh Ashford Board Jennifer Lopez-Starring Film 'Second Act'". Deadline Hollywood.
  5. ^ Hipes, Patrick (October 26, 2017). "Dan Bucatinsky Joins Jennifer Lopez-Starrer 'Second Act'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 27, 2017). "Skyler Bible Joins 'First Man'; Freddie Stroma Cast In 'Second Act'; Jonathan Goldsmith Boards 'Mamma Mia' Sequel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 1, 2017). "'This Is Us' Star Milo Ventimiglia Joins Jennifer Lopez In 'Second Act' From STX". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  8. ^ Busch, Anita (November 3, 2017). "Treat Williams, Larry Miller Join Cast Of STXfilms' Romantic Comedy 'Second Act". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  9. ^ Lee, Ashley (November 7, 2017). "Dave Foley Joins Jennifer Lopez Rom-Com 'Second Act' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  10. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 8, 2017). "Charlyne Yi Boards 'Second Act'; Molly Ringwald Cast In YA Film 'Kingfish'; Robert Scott Wilson Joins 'Relic'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  11. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 13, 2017). "Evan Handler Cast In 'Foster Boy'; Alan Aisenberg Joins 'Second Act'; Nicholas Galitzine Boards Pippa Bianco film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  12. ^ Siegler, Mark. J. Lo’s new movie closes down steakhouse. New York Post, November 20, 2017. [1] Retrieved November 21, 2017
  13. ^ Calvaro, Liz (December 15, 2017). "Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens Celebrate Final Day of Shooting 'Second Act' -- Watch". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  14. ^ Lyndsey Havens (September 10, 2018). "Jennifer Lopez Performs 'Limitless' at the 2018 American Music Awards: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  15. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (September 10, 2018). "Jennifer Lopez Romantic Comedy 'Second Act' Heads To The Heart Of The Holiday Season". Deadline. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  16. ^ "Second Act". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 26, 2018). "'Aquaman' Unwraps $22M+ On Christmas For $105M+ Cume; 'Holmes & Watson' Opens To $6M+; 'Vice' $4M+". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  18. ^ McClintock, Pamela (December 18, 2018). "'Box Office Preview: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns' to Lead Christmas Crush". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 18, 2018). "'Aquaman' Darting To $120M+ In Competitive Christmas 5-Day Corridor – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 30, 2018). "'Aquaman' Sailing To $52M+ 2nd Weekend; $189M+ Cume Pacing Ahead Of 'Doctor Strange' & 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  21. ^ "Second Act (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  22. ^ "Second Act reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  23. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (December 20, 2018). "Film Review: Jennifer Lopez in 'Second Act'". Variety.
  24. ^ Phillips, Michael (December 20, 2018). "'Second Act' review: Jennifer Lopez scams her way to the top, 'Working Girl' style". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  25. ^ Pederson, Erik (July 1, 2019). "Imagen Awards Nominations: 2019 Field Includes Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Lopez & Pedro Almodovar". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 22, 2019.

External linksEdit