Masterminds (2016 film)

Not to be confused with the 90's Patrick Stewart action-comedy Masterminds.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jared Hess
Produced by
Written by
Music by Geoff Zanelli
Cinematography Erik Wilson
Edited by
Distributed by Relativity Media
Release dates
  • September 26, 2016 (2016-09-26) (TCL Chinese Theatre)
  • September 30, 2016 (2016-09-30) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[2]
Box office $23.3 million[3]

Masterminds is a 2016 American comedy film based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo Robbery in North Carolina. Directed by Jared Hess and written by Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Emily Spivey, the film stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis.

It premiered in Los Angeles on September 26, 2016, and was theatrically released in the United States on September 30, 2016, by Relativity Media. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $23 million.



On February 1, 2013, Jim Carrey joined the cast.[8] On June 10, 2013, Owen Wilson joined the cast of the film.[9] On December 3, 2013, Zach Galifianakis joined the cast to replace Carrey after he dropped out.[10] On May 16, 2014, Kristen Wiig joined the cast,[4] and on June 25, 2014, Jason Sudeikis was added as well.[6] On June 30, 2014, Ken Marino, Kate McKinnon, Devin Ratray, Leslie Jones, Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Ross Kimball joined the cast.[5] On July 10, Jon Daly joined the cast of the film to play an FBI agent.[7]


The title used in media coverage was Untitled Armored Car.[11] Principal photography began on July 7, 2014, in Hazelwood, North Carolina in the Asheville area.[12][13] On July 29, Galifianakis was spotted in a prisoner's costume, during filming in the streets of downtown Asheville, which were made over.[14] The BB&T Center building, also the location of the production office, was transformed into the "Park Street Citizens Bank", with a Loomis Fargo burgundy truck parked outside of the entrance. The crew also shot the film on the steps of Buncombe County Courthouse, inside of the Buncombe County Jail, and in front of the Mediterranean Restaurant.[11][14]


The film was released in the United States on September 30, 2016.[15] The film was previously scheduled to be released on August 19, 2015, a date which, in July 2015, Relativity rescheduled to October 9, 2015.[16] The company pushed back the date because it was facing a financial crisis.[17] However, the film was then pulled from the October 9, 2015 release date[18] before being rescheduled to September 30, 2016,[19] on which date it was released.[15]


Box office

Masterminds grossed $17.4 million in North America and $4.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $22 million, against a budget of $25 million.[3]

In the United States, the film was projected to gross around $10 million from 3,024 theaters in its opening weekend.[20] It ended up grossing $6.6 million in its opening weekend, finishing 6th at the box office and was an improvement over Relativity's first post-bankruptcy release, The Disappointments Room, which opened to $1.4 million the previous month.[21]

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 31% of 74 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Mastermind's great cast and stranger-than-fiction true story are largely wasted on a scattershot comedy with a handful of funny moments and far too much wackiness."[22] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 47 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine gave the film one-and-a-half out of four stars, mainly criticizing its lack of good jokes: "The laughs evaporate almost as soon as they land, and some (make that most) of them don't land at all.... Masterminds owes us our two hours back."[25] On the other hand, Matt Zoller Seitz of gave the film three out of four stars, stating that "If smart dumb comedies hold a place in your heart, you'll like 'Masterminds.'" Although he acknowledged the film's weakness in its length, structure, and pacing, he emphasized that "Most of the time in these kinds of films the notes of sweetness, naivete and regret feel forced.... Here, though, you believe the sweetness, because Hess and his cast sell it with poker faces."[26] Richard Brody of The New Yorker also gave praise to the film, writing that "Yes, the comedy is funny—even when it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, it’s sparklingly inventive and charmingly loopy—but, above all, it has the religious intensity and spiritual resonance that marks all of Hess’s other films, and it extends his world of ideas into wild new realms, extends his vision into darker corners of existence than he had formerly contemplated." He also observed the filmmaking of Hess as "suggest[ing] a kinship with the transcendental cinema of Robert Bresson and Carl Theodor Dreyer.... his images belong to a similar realm of astonishment, even if his are frankly comedic where theirs are irreconcilably tragic."[27]


  1. "MASTERMINDS (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. August 3, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  2. Doty, Meriah. "Was 'Masterminds' the Last Straw for Relativity?". TheWrap. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Masterminds (2016)". The Numbers. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Kristen Wiig Joins Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson in Relativity Comedy (Exclusive)". 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Yamato, Jen (2014-06-30). "Ken Marino, 'SNL's Kate McKinnon, More Join Jared Hess Heist Comedy". Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  6. 1 2 Fleming, Mike (2014-06-25). "Jason Sudeikis To Play Hit Man In Jared Hess Heist Comedy". Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  7. 1 2 Sneider, Jeff (July 10, 2014). "Jon Daly Joins Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig in Armored Car Heist Comedy". Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  8. Fleming, Mike (2013-02-01). "Jim Carrey Joins 'Napoleon Dynamite' Helmer For 'Loomis Fargo'". Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  9. "Owen Wilson Joins Jim Carrey in the Formerly-Titled Loomis Fargo". 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  10. "Zach Galifianakis in Final Negotiations to Join Owen Wilson in Relativity Heist Comedy (Exclusive)". TheWrap. 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  11. 1 2 Motsinger, Carol (July 30, 2014). "Galifianakis movie will extend filming in Asheville". Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  12. Motsinger, Carol (July 8, 2014). "First look at Asheville area Galifianakis movie set". Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  13. Toppman, Lawrence (July 8, 2014). "'Loomis Fargo' shooting in North Carolina this summer". Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  14. 1 2 Motsinger, Carol (July 29, 2014). "Comedy filming already transforming downtown Asheville". Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  15. 1 2 Detroit Free Press, 'Masterminds' turns real crime into goofy fun, by Katie Walsh, page 2C, 29 September 2016
  16. Rainey, James (July 7, 2015). "'Masterminds' Pushed to October by Struggling Relativity Studios". Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  17. Lang, Brent (July 20, 2015). "Relativity Moving Release of 'Kidnap' With Halle Berry (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  19. Pederson, Erik (December 4, 2015). "Relativity Dates Five Films For 2016 Including 'Kidnap' & 'Masterminds'". Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  20. "'Miss Peregrine' To Punish Competition At Weekend Box Office – Preview".
  21. "'Miss Peregrine' Enrolls Moviegoers On Thursday Night – Box Office". Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  22. "Masterminds (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  23. "Masterminds reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  24. "CinemaScore".
  25. Travers, Peters (30 September 2016). "'Masterminds' Review: No Amount of 'SNL' Alumnae Can Save This Mess". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  26. Seitz, Matt Zoller (30 September 2016). "Masterminds Movie Review & Film Summary". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  27. Brody, Richard (29 September 2016). "Jared Hess's Spiritual Gross-Out Comedy, in "Masterminds"". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved 4 October 2016.

External links

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