Charlie's Angels (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Elizabeth Banks|
|Screenplay by||Elizabeth Banks|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$51.9 million|
Charlie's Angels is a 2019 American action comedy film written and directed by Elizabeth Banks from a story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn. It is the third installment in the Charlie's Angels film series and serves as a continuation of the story that began with the television series of the same name by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts and the two previous theatrical films, Charlie's Angels (2000) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003).
The film stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska as the new generation of Angels who are working for a private detective agency under its leader, Charlie Townsend. Banks and Djimon Hounsou also star as Charlie's assistants, known as Bosleys, while Patrick Stewart stars as John Bosley, Charlie's first assistant, replacing Bill Murray, who portrayed the role in the first film. Other supporting roles in the film are portrayed by Sam Claflin and Noah Centineo. It is also the first installment to feature Robert Clotworthy as the voice of Charlie; Clotworthy replaces John Forsythe, who had voiced the character since the television series, following Forsythe's death in 2010.
Development of the film began in September 2015 when Sony Pictures opted to reboot the series, following the cancellation of the 2011 television reboot. Months later, Elizabeth Banks joined the project as director, producer, and writer. Principal photography began in September 2018 and took place in Germany and Turkey. Following the end of filming, Banks revealed that the film was not a reboot but a continuation of the story. Drew Barrymore, who starred in and produced the previous films, was later announced as an executive producer.
The film was released in the United States on November 15, 2019, by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $51.9 million worldwide.
A team of Angels, led by senior operative John Bosley, capture international embezzler Jonny Smith in Rio de Janeiro and turn him over to American authorities. A year later, the European division of the Townsend Agency is informed that Elena Houghlin, an engineer and programmer employed by entrepreneur Alexander Brock, wants to expose her superiors, namely Brock's head of development, Peter Fleming, for covering up a discovery about how an energy conservation device that she helped invent named Calisto has the potential to trigger fatal seizures when used. She meets with operative Edgar "Bosley" to turn over her findings, but an assassin named Hodak ambushes the meeting and subsequently kills Edgar and leaves Elena to drown. Edgar's protégé, Jane Kano, rescues her and brings her to operative Rebekah "Bosley" with the help of her partner, Sabina Wilson. Meanwhile, John, who has since retired from the agency, discovers that Rebekah has tagged him with the agency's specialized subdermal implant without his knowledge.
Rebekah tasks Jane and Sabina, joined by Elena, with breaking into Brock's corporate headquarters to steal the remaining Calisto prototypes before they can be duplicated. Elena finds one of the devices but is forced to use it to escape, killing a security guard in the process, while the other prototypes are already gone, and Fleming is identified as the thief. Rebekah tracks him to Istanbul, where Jane utilizes one of her old intelligence contacts, Fatima, to locate Fleming. They track him to a remote rock quarry, where the supposedly-imprisoned Smith is revealed to be Fleming's intermediary for selling Calisto. Hodak is also present and kills Fleming before the Angels break up the sale. Rebekah suddenly disappears, allowing Smith and Hodak to escape with the prototypes.
Returning to their safehouse, Sabina shares her growing belief that Rebekah is secretly working against the agency and has been manipulating them to steal Calisto for her own benefit. While the three ponder Sabina's suspicion, safehouse is bombed. Rebekah shows up only to be shot by John, who has come to rescue Elena. Jane and Sabina manage to survive and seek medical help from Fatima. Rebekah reappears and explains that John is the real traitor and that he has spent the last few decades secretly building his own network within the agency after he was passed over to succeed the late Charlie Townsend.
John takes Elena to a party hosted by Brock, who reveals himself as the mastermind behind the attempt to assassinate Elena and, unbeknownst to him, John's plan to weaponize Calisto. Using Elena's colleague Langston as a hostage, John forces her to program a Calisto device to kill both Langston and herself before leaving. The Angels, having deduced his plan due to the information provided by Smith, who is later revealed to have defected to their side, show up and rescue Elena and Langston, Elena having already disabled the Calisto device. Jane exacts revenge by impaling Hodak on a spike, while Rebekah catches up with John and his men. Outnumbered, she has other Angels posing as guests subdue the men, after which Sabina knocks out John with a punch. Brock is arrested for conspiracy, and Jane and Langston start a relationship. Elena is recruited as an Angel by the Townsend Agency after passing a series of rigorous training exercises and receives an official Angels tattoo.
- Kristen Stewart as Sabina Wilson, a wild and rebellious Angel
- Naomi Scott as Elena Houghlin, a engineer, programmer, and creator of the Calisto project
- Ella Balinska as Jane Kano, a former MI-6 agent who became an Angel
- Elizabeth Banks as Rebekah "Bosley", a former Angel who became one of Charlie's assistants
- Djimon Hounsou as Edgar "Bosley" Dessange, one of Charlie's assistants
- Sam Claflin as Alexander Brock, Elena's employer
- Noah Centineo as Langston, Elena's assistant
- Patrick Stewart as John Bosley, Charlie's first and original assistant. The character was portrayed by Bill Murray in the first installment.
- Luis Gerardo Méndez as The Saint, a Townsend Agency employee specializing in weapons and technology
- Jonathan Tucker as Hodak, an assassin
- Chris Pang as Jonny Smith, an international smuggler
- Nat Faxon as Peter Fleming, Elena's superior
- Robert Clotworthy as the voice of Charles "Charlie" Townsend, the owner of the Townsend agency. The character was portrayed by John Forsythe in the television series and previous installments before Forsythe's death.
- Hannah Hoekstra as Ingrid, an Angel who works as a secretary at Brock's corporate
- David Schütter as Ralph, the chief of security at Brock's corporate
- Marie-Lou Sellem as Fatima Ahmed, Jane's contact in Istanbul
Making cameo appearances in the film are Hailee Steinfeld, Lili Reinhart, Aly Raisman, and Chloe Kim as newly recruited Angels, Ronda Rousey, Danica Patrick, and Laverne Cox as the Angels' instructors, and Michael Strahan as the Townsend Agency's New York branch "Bosley". Jaclyn Smith also makes a cameo appearance as Kelly Garrett, reprising her character from the television series, marking her second appearance in the film series following that in the second theatrical film.
Sony Pictures Entertainment announced in September 2015 that it was rebooting the Charlie's Angels franchise, and Elizabeth Banks was in talks to direct the film. Banks would also produce the film along with her Brownstone Productions' partner Max Handelman. On December 16, 2015, Sony hired Evan Spiliotopoulos to write the script for the reboot film. Banks was officially announced as the film's director in April 2016, and rewrote the screenplay, which had been rewritten by Jay Basu, along with earlier touch-ups by Craig Mazin and Semi Chellas.
In July 2018, it was announced that Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska would play the leading trio of the fighting team, and Banks would also appear as Bosley, with the film featuring multiple characters named Bosley. Doug Belgrad would also produce the film through his 2.0 Entertainment, along with Elizabeth Cantillon, Banks, and Handelman, while Banks and Jay Basu wrote the screenplay with the early drafts by Craig Mazin and Semi Chellas. In September, Patrick Stewart was cast as the second Bosley. That same month, Luis Gerardo Méndez and Jonathan Tucker joined the cast of the film, with Djimon Hounsou cast as the third Bosley, while Bill Pope was announced as the film's cinematographer. In October 2018, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Chris Pang and Nat Faxon joined the cast of the film.
Principal photography on the film began on September 24, 2018. Filming took place at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany from October 2–7, 2018. In early December 2018, filming took place at the Spice Bazaar, Veliefendi Race Course and in Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey. Filming completed on December 9, 2018.
It was later revealed that the new film would not be a reboot or remake, but rather a continuation that will incorporate the events of the original TV series and the McG-directed films. It was also revealed that Drew Barrymore, who produced and starred in the previous film installments, was to executive produce the film. Producer of the original series and first two films Leonard Goldberg came on board as an executive producer as well.
Musician Brian Tyler composed the film's score, while singer Ariana Grande co-executive produced the soundtrack along with music producer Savan Kotecha and record executive Scooter Braun. Grande collaborated with fellow singers Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey on a song titled "Don't Call Me Angel", which was released as the lead single from the soundtrack on September 13, 2019. A promotional single "How It's Done" by Kash Doll, Kim Petras, Alma, and Stefflon Don released on October 11, 2019. A second promotional single "Pantera" by Brazilian singer Anitta was released on October 23, 2019. The soundtrack and the score were released on November 1 and November 8, 2019, respectively.
Charlie's Angels was released on November 15, 2019, by Columbia Pictures. Prior to this, Sony Pictures Releasing also revealed that the movie would also be released in IMAX format in select theaters. The film's release was originally planned for November 1, 2019, but it was pushed back to avoid competition with Terminator: Dark Fate.
The first theatrical trailer for the film was released on June 27, 2019. A second and final trailer was released on October 11, 2019. While Sony originally intended to spend $100 million to promote the film, the company reduced the overall promotional cost to approximately $50 million in light of the film's underperformance in its opening weekend.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Ford v Ferrari and The Good Liar, and was projected to gross $10–12 million from 3,452 theaters in its opening weekend. However, after making $3.1 million on its first day (including $900,000 from Thursday night previews), it went on to debut to just $8.6 million, finishing in third place. Deadline Hollywood cited the film's mixed critical response and a lack of public interest in the franchise as reasons for the underperformance, while The Hollywood Reporter observed that the film specifically "failed to attract moviegoers over the age of 35," as well as "younger females—its target audience—in enough numbers."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 53% based on 201 reviews, with an average rating of 5.41/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Earnest and energetic, if a bit uneven, Elizabeth Banks's pulpy Charlie's Angels adds new flair to the franchise with fun performances from its three leads." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 69% (including an average 3 out of 5 stars), with 46% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Beandrea July of The Hollywood Reporter commended how the film "honors its precursors while elevating itself beyond them," while Sandra Hall of The Sydney Morning Herald opined that the film exudes a "jaunty feel" as well as incorporates "a few well-placed plot twists, lots of good-humored banter and the usual fun to be had from the Angels' fondness for disguise." Owen Gleiberman of Variety praised Elizabeth Banks' direction as a source of the film's strength, stating that Banks "proves herself to be a filmmaker who can stage fireworks with extreme flair." Writing for The Boston Globe, Tom Russo favorably regarded Kristen Stewart's performance as "a completely unexpected, who-knew mash-up of sexy and offbeat." In concurrence, Mark Lieberman of The Washington Post wrote that Stewart "upstages everyone, from the opening close-up on her gleeful grin to her array of colorful costumes, riotous non sequiturs and unconventional posture choices."
In a mixed review, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone was critical of the film's pacing and comedic dialogue but highlighted Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska as "the angels you need when a movie needs rescuing." Echoing Travers' sentiments is Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune, who commented that the film's characters "have their fun, and we have a reasonable percentage of theirs." Conversely, The New York Post's Johnny Oleksinski noted that the three actresses "click as a unit, but lack much of the exuberance and distinctiveness of their predecessors," which is comparable to The Detroit News's Adam Graham comment regarding how the cast "never gels." Stephanie Zacharek of Time negatively regarded the film as "a shaggy, listless action movie that's too messy to be fun," while The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan deemed the plot "overly complicated." In an even more scathing review, BBC.com columnist Nicholas Barber panned the film, calling it "grimly unimaginative" and "tediously formulaic."
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