When the Bough Breaks (2016 film)

When the Bough Breaks

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jon Cassar
Produced by
Written by Jack Olsen
Music by John Frizzell
Cinematography David Moxness
Edited by Scot
Unique Features
Distributed by Screen Gems
Release dates
  • September 9, 2016 (2016-09-09) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[2][3]
Box office $30.7 million[3]

When the Bough Breaks is a 2016 American psychological thriller film directed by Jon Cassar and written by Jack Olsen. The film stars Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, Theo Rossi and Jaz Sinclair. Filming began on February 2, 2015 in New Orleans. The film was released on September 9, 2016, received negative reviews and has grossed $30 million.

Plot summary

A young married couple, John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall) desperately wanted to have a baby, but were unable to conceive. After attempting all other options, the couple hired a beautiful young woman named Anna (Jaz Sinclair) who agreed to become a surrogate mother for the Taylors. Everything seemed fine until Anna started to develop a fixation with John as the pregnancy moved further along. Anna's growing obsession interferes with what was a plan by her and her boyfriend, Mike, to scam the couple by demanding money. When Mike pushes Anna to demand money, she kills him. The family found themselves toying with Anna whose psychotic and dangerous fixation with the soon-to-be father also moved along to become a deadly obsession. They then attempted to fight their way against Anna's psychopathic game to regain thorough control of their life.



On October 29, 2014, Sony's Screen Gems hired Jon Cassar to direct the thriller When the Bough Breaks, which Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne were set to produce.[7] On November 18, 2014, Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall were cast to play the lead roles.[4] On December 16, 2014, Jaz Sinclair signed on to also star in the film.[5] On January 8, 2015, Theo Rossi was added to the film.[6]


Production was first set to begin in late January 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.[8][9] Filming began on February 2, 2015 in New Orleans,[10] and was confirmed by Screen Gems on February 11.[11] Filming was taking place on St. Charles Avenue in early March, and was scheduled to end in mid-March 2015.[12]


On March 30, 2015, Screen Gems announced that the film was slated to be released on September 16, 2016.[13] On April 13, 2016, Sony Pictures released the first trailer for the film.[14] In May 2016, the release date was moved up to September 9, 2016.[15]

Home media

When the Bough Breaks will be released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on Blu-ray and DVD on December 27, 2016, with a digital release on December 13, 2016.


Box office

In the United States, When the Bough Breaks was released on September 9, 2016, alongside The Disappointments Room, Sully and The Wild Life, with the studio projecting it to gross $10–12 million from 2,246 theaters in its opening weekend. Some publications, however, had the film opening to $16–20 million, with some going as high as $25 million.[2][16][17] The film grossed $5.3 million on its first day and $15 million in its opening weekend, finishing second at the box office.[18]

Critical response

When the Bough Breaks was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 6%, based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Shallow, clichéd, and silly instead of suspenseful, When the Bough Breaks offers nothing domestic thriller fans haven't already seen before – and done far better."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 28 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[21]

Many critics compared When the Bough Breaks to made-for-television films typically produced by Lifetime.[22][23][24] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times criticized Jon Cassar's direction, suggesting that "Hollywood needs to give the reductive, crazy, sex-obsessed female character a permanent rest."[25]

Influx Magazine film critic Steve Pulaski gave the film a lukewarm review, praising Morris Chestnut's performance and the film's innocuous premise and execution, but stating the bulk of the film's issues rest on the PG-13 rating. He explained, "The film is shortchanged to a PG-13 rating, ostensibly in efforts not to exclude the teenage audience as well. Just a thought - this isn't the kind of film that attracts very many young teens to begin with, so all that's happening is you're diluting material that makes it less enjoyable for the target audience."[26]

In a review for Rogerebert.com, Nick Allen criticized the film's premise as "morally tasteless," writing, "Despite the story’s initially completely baffling but welcome focus on characters for a change, the movie is baffled by the requirement of motivation, instead wanting to honor ideas of obsession while finding a way to get some dead body insert shots into the mix."[27]


  1. "AMC Theatres: When the Bough Breaks". AMC Theatres. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Box Office: Tom Hanks' 'Sully' Set to Land With Moderate $25 Million". Variety.
  3. 1 2 "When the Bough Breaks (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 Yamato, Jen (November 18, 2014). "Morris Chestnut Inks 3-Picture Deal With Screen Gems; Set For Thriller Opposite Regina Hall". deadline.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  5. 1 2 Kroll, Justin (December 16, 2014). "Jaz Sinclair Joins Screen Gems Thriller 'When the Bough Breaks'". variety.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  6. 1 2 Yamato, Jen (January 8, 2015). "'Sons Of Anarchy's Theo Rossi Joins 'When The Bough Breaks'". deadline.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  7. Kroll, Justin (October 29, 2014). "'24' Helmer Jon Cassar to Direct 'When the Bough Breaks' for Screen Gems (EXCLUSIVE)". variety.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  8. Hasselle, Della (January 29, 2015). "Central Casting Louisiana looking for extras for Morris Chestnut film". midcitymessenger.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  9. Scott, Mike (December 12, 2014). "'Elvis and Nixon' and 'When the Bough Breaks' to shoot in NOLA; paid extras being sought". nola.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  10. "On the Set for 2/2/15: Eddie Redmayne Starts on The Danish Girl, Martin Scorsese Begins Lensing Silence & More". ssninsider.com. February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  11. "Production Begins on When the Bough Breaks". comingsoon.net. February 11, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  12. "'When the Bough Breaks', starring Theo Rossi, filming in New Orleans". onlocationvacations.com. March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  13. Lesnick, Silas (March 30, 2015). "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Gets February 19, 2016 Release". comingsoon.net. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  14. Sony Pictures Entertainment (13 April 2016). "WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS - Official Trailer (HD)". Retrieved 16 September 2016 via YouTube.
  15. "Theatrical Movie Schedule Additions and Changes". Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  16. "'Sully' and 'When the Bough Breaks' to choke 'Don't Breathe' at the box office". Los Angeles Times.
  17. "Clint Eastwood's 'Sully' Launches Fall Awards Season, But Can 'Bough' Break At No. 1? – B.O. Preview". Deadline.com.
  18. Anthony D'Alessandro (September 7, 2016). "'Sully' Soaring, 'Bough' Breaks To Mid-Teen, 'Wild Life' Snoozing, 'Disappointments' DOA". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  19. "When the Bough Breaks (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  20. "When the Bough Breaks reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  21. "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  22. Rife, Katie (September 9, 2016). "When The Bough Breaks is enjoyable trash, but trash nonetheless". A.V. Club. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  23. Leydon, Joe (September 9, 2016). "Film Review: 'When the Bough Breaks'". Variety. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  24. Callahan, Dan (September 9, 2016). "'When the Bough Breaks' Review: Hide the Pets, It's Another 'Fatal Attraction' Ripoff". The Wrap. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  25. Genzlinger, Neil (September 9, 2016). "Review: 'When the Bough Breaks,' Blame a Scary Pregnancy Surrogate". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  26. Pulaski, Steve. "When the Bough Breaks (2016) Review". Influx Magazine. Influx Magazine.
  27. Allen, Nick (September 9, 2016). "When The Bough Breaks Movie Review (2016)". Rogerebert.com. Retrieved September 10, 2016.

External links

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