Game Night (2018)

Bateman and McAdams star as Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks (Chandler), arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game…right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this “game”—nor Brooks—are what they seem to be. Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they’ve ever had … or game over.


Rachel as: Annie
Other cast: Jason Bateman (Max), Jesse Plemons, Kylie Bunbury, Kyle Chandler (Brooks), Billy Magnussen (Ryan), Sharon Horgan (Sarah), Michael Cyril Creighton (Bill), Joshua Mikel (Colin).
Alternative Title: TBA
Directed by: John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Written by: Mark Perez, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Production Status: Waiting for release
World Premiere: February 21, 2018 in Los Angeles
Theatrical Release: February 23, 2018 (US) | March 2, 2018 (UK)
Genre: Comedy/Thriller/Action
Rated: R for language, sexual references and some violence.
Distributor: Warner Bros/New Line Cinema
Run time: 100 min
Production budget: $37 million
Box office: $117.7 million
Producers: Jason Bateman, John Davis, John Fox, Marc S. Fischer (executive producer)
Original Music by: Cliff Martinez
Cinematography by: Barry Peterson

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Production Notes

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 20th Century 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.

Production Process

Principal photography on the film began in early April 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, US. Warner Bros. Pictures had originally scheduled Game Night for release on February 14, 2018, but the date was later pushed back to March 2, 2018, before being moved up to February 23, 2018.

Triva & Facts

  • Rachel McAdams previously worked with two co-stars: Rachel and Jason Bateman previously worked together in “State Of Play” (2009) and she previously worked with Michael Cyril Creighton in “Spotlight” (2015).
  • Prior to filming, the cast members had their own “game night” so they could get to know one another and prepare for the film. They played Clue and Joking Hazard.
  • Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) make a joke about child actors not amounting to much. Bateman was a child actor famous for his roles in Silver Spoons (1982) and Valerie (1986) among others.
  • A tilt-shift lens is used to give several wide aerial shots the miniaturized look of the Game of Life board game.
  • Malcolm X. Hughes plays “Not Denzel”, a character mistaken for Denzel Washington. Denzel Washington played Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992).
  • *SPOILER* At the beginning of the film, when Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are making out on the subway after the trivia night, a scrolling sign in the background reads: “Don’t trust Gary.”
  • Throughout the film, various children’s games are played while trying to navigate the plot. “Simon Says” is played when Annie (Rachel McAdams) is holding the gun to the kidnappers in the bar. “Hot Potato” is played with the egg. “Charades” is played between Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie at the airport. Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury)’s argument, their escape from the locked room, and Annie removing the bullet from Max’s arm, seem to be references to classic board games “Guess Who,” “Jenga,” and “Operation,” respectively.
  • When the kidnappers break into his house, Kyle Chandler says, “the game is afoot”. This is a catchphrase of Sherlock Holmes. Rachel starred in Sherlock Holmes alongside Robert Downey Jr.
  • Quotes from Rachel

    “I actually said that to the (production) guys at one point: ‘Geez, I’m a really good driver! Should we acknowledge that I’m driving like a stunt driver?’ Because it was a stunt driver, for some of it. And they said, ‘Nope, that hasn’t come up in any of the (preview) testing. No one’s ever mentioned that.’ But you’re right . . . I’m a superhuman driver!”
    On how she did much of the driving in the film (The Star)

    Quotes from Cast & Crew

    “I’ve always been a big fan of hers [Rachel McAdams] and was really excited that she was looking to do a comedy. We really thought that we landed a big fish there. She’s been great, and I think she lends a lot of class and pedigree to it […] It was great to get that initial response of interest from her and then we sat down, and we talked. She could not be nicer on top of it all, it was great.”
    Jason Bateman, co-star (Film Ink)

    “Bateman was attached as a producer from the beginning of this and we convinced him to play Max, and then Rachel McAdams came on and we were really psyched. She was our first choice. She hasn’t done a comedy in a really long time and we think that’s criminal, because she’s incredibly funny and in a charming and natural way that the second she came on we also knew we couldn’t just give her the role of the disapproving wife who is the voice of reason. Bateman’s the straight man in this. She gets to be goofy. She gets to flex her comedic muscle and it really gave us the opportunity to see her in a light that we haven’t really seen her in in a long time. I think she’s been offered movies like Spotlight and all these sort of much more dramatic roles, but she always had, I think, this very comedic arsenal. But that’s how Hollywood works. They tend to think of you as the thing you did most recently that did well and that’s what they want you to do. So she’d just come off of doing a super serious movie, Disobedience, and so I think she was ready to do something that was a little lighter.”
    Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, directors (Den Of Geek)

    “One of our favorite memories on set was when we were shooting the bullet removal scene with Jason [Bateman] and Rachel [McAdams]. It was the first time in our shooting schedule where Rachel really got to shine comedically and we were floored by how insanely funny she was”
    John Francis Daley, co-director (Reddit Q&A)

    “We met a couple of days before we started filming,” Horgan says of her co-star. “His parents live in Atlanta, so I was expecting to see him and a bunch of his pals. I got there and Rachel McAdams was there and I’m such a huge fan, so I fan-ed out for a bit.”
    Sharon Horgan (Los Angeles Times)

    “I’m a big fan of Jason [Bateman] and Rachel [McAdams]. “Mean Girls” is one of my favourite films and I did the whole stammering thing around Rachel. After a while you lose the initial shyness, but it never completely goes away.”
    Sharon Horgan (Time Out London)

    Critical Reception

    With its clever, whip-smart script and enthusiastic ensemble cast firing on all cylinders, crime comedy filmmakers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein score big with Game Night. The Game Night poster features the following eight words: “From the guys who brought you Horrible Bosses”. It almost sounds like a warning. But, contrary to those expectations — John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein prove, as a directing duo (they only wrote Horrible Bosses), to be a winning team. – (Empire)

    Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman star in a witty comedy about couple dynamics that turns into a game of dangerous one-upmanship. A visit to “Eyes Wide Fight Club” and an amusing cat-and-mouse chase in pursuit of a Fabergé egg are very funny, and McAdams is on riotously good form as the doggedly ambitious Annie, clearly having a ball in her zestiest comic role since the career-making Mean Girls. – (The Guardian)

    ‘Game Night’ Has a Winning Rachel McAdams and Charades With a Twist … the movie is a pointed reminder that Ms. McAdams is one of cinema’s most accomplished and appealing comic actresses. It’s almost heartbreaking to contemplate how amazing she would be in a new comedy that was more than intermittently O.K. – (NY Times)

    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 $17. 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 Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds an approval rating of 85% based on 256 reviews.

    Awards & Nominations

    ★ 2018 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards – Best Editing
    ★ 2018 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards – Best Ensemble
    ☆ 2018 International Online Cinema Awards – Best Actress for Rachel
    ☆ Critics Choice Award – Best Actress in A Comedy for Rachel

    ★ = win ☆ = nomination | View entire list at IMDB

    Promotional Tour

    Rachel did not attend any events to promote Game Night due to pregnancy. However, she and Jason were interviewed on the set of the film, and a clip can be found in our video archive here.

    View our news archive for the full news feed of this project