Bad Times at the El Royale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bad Times at the El Royale
Bad Times at the El Royale.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDrew Goddard
Produced by
  • Drew Goddard
  • Jeremy Latcham
Written byDrew Goddard
Music byMichael Giacchino
CinematographySeamus McGarvey
Edited byLisa Lassek
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • September 27, 2018 (2018-09-27) (Fantastic Fest)
  • October 12, 2018 (2018-10-12) (United States)
Running time
141 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$32 million[2]
Box office$31.5 million[2]

Bad Times at the El Royale is a 2018 American neo-noir thriller film written, produced and directed by Drew Goddard. The film stars Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Nick Offerman and Chris Hemsworth. Set in 1969, the plot follows seven strangers each hiding dark secrets, who come to a head one night in a shady hotel on the California-Nevada border.[3]

Bad Times at the El Royale premiered at Fantastic Fest on September 27, 2018, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 12, 2018.[4] The film has grossed over $31 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for its acting and Goddard's screenplay and direction, although some reviewers criticized the 141-minute runtime and pacing.[5]


In 1969, Catholic priest Daniel Flynn, singer Darlene Sweet, salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan, and sarcastic Emily Summerspring arrive at the El Royale, where they meet the hotel's only employee, Miles Miller.

Upon checking into the honeymoon suite, Sullivan (in reality an FBI agent named Dwight Broadbeck, sent to investigate the hotel and remove evidence of their operations) discovers a passageway leading into a corridor looking onto one-way mirrors in each of the hotel's rooms, as well as a 16mm camera setup. Broadbeck witnesses an apparent kidnapping in progress in Emily's room; he is instructed to not to interfere with the kidnapping, and to sabotage the guests' vehicles to prevent any of them from escaping. Meanwhile, Flynn invites Sweet to join him for dinner. She sees him drugging her drink and knocks him unconscious with a bottle, running out of the hotel to escape. Miles finds Flynn and reveals to him the secret passageway, afterwards explaining that "management" has instructed him to film the guests and send the footage to them. However, he chose to hold back one particularly incriminating film reel of a recently deceased public figure.

Against orders, Broadbeck attempts to rescue Emily's hostage, who is revealed to be her younger sister, Rose. Emily opens fire on Broadbeck, killing him and accidentally injuring Miles who was watching from behind the mirror. Sweet attempts to escape in her car after witnessing the murder, but Flynn arrives. He reveals that he is really a criminal named Donald O'Kelly, who was imprisoned after a botched robbery ten years earlier. Recently freed on parole, O'Kelly has returned to the El Royale in priest garb to retrieve the money which his brother Felix had hidden there before being killed in a double cross ten years earlier - but owing to his failing memory he can't recall which room it was in. He had attempted to drug Sweet to gain access to her room, believing the cash to be buried there. The two agree to split the cash amongst themselves.

In the lobby, Emily and Rose, having discovered the corridor, interrogate Miles about the surveillance operation. It is revealed that Emily has forcibly removed her sister from a cult led by Billy Lee, a charismatic and sadistic figure responsible for a string of murders in Malibu. However, Rose reveals that she has already called Billy about their location. As O'Kelly and Sweet attempt to leave with the money, Billy Lee and his cultists arrive and hold them hostage along with Emily and Miles.

While interrogating and terrorizing the group, Lee learns of the money and the film, which he realizes is worth much more than the money. In a sadistic game of roulette, Lee kills Emily. Using a brief power outage to his advantage, O'Kelly attacks Lee as the hotel lounge catches fire. During the chaos, Miles reveals that he served as a sniper in Vietnam who killed 123 people. At Sweet's insistence, he picks up a gun and kills Lee and the other cultists. A distraught Rose stabs Miles, but is shot by O'Kelly afterwards. Before Miles passes, Sweet tells O'Kelly to absolve him of his guilt over his actions in Vietnam, which he does. O'Kelly and Sweet retrieve the money and Sweet tosses the film into the fire before the pair flee the hotel.

Not long after, Sweet performs at a show in Reno for the crowd, as O'Kelly proudly looks on.


  • Jeff Bridges as Donald "Doc" O'Kelly / Daniel Flynn, a robber masquerading as a priest.
  • Cynthia Erivo as Darlene Sweet, a struggling soul singer.
  • Dakota Johnson as Emily Summerspring, a woman trying to save her sister from Billy's cult.
    • Hannah Zirke as young Emily
  • Jon Hamm as Dwight Broadbeck / Seymour 'Laramie' Sullivan, an undercover FBI agent posing as a home supplies salesman.
  • Cailee Spaeny as Rose Summerspring, Emily's sister and Billy Lee's accomplice.
    • Charlotte Mosby as young Rose
  • Lewis Pullman as Miles Miller, the concierge and sole employee left at the El Royale, who served as a sniper in the Vietnam War.
    • Austin Abell as young Miles
  • Chris Hemsworth as Billy Lee, a charismatic cult leader and Rose's spiritual guide.
  • Nick Offerman as Felix O'Kelly, Doc's brother and criminal partner.
  • Xavier Dolan as Buddy Sunday, a music producer who fires Darlene due to budget cuts.
  • Shea Whigham as Dr. Woodbury Laurence, a prison doctor who diagnoses O'Kelly.
  • Mark O'Brien as Larsen Rogers, Doc and Felix's accomplice.
  • Charles Halford as Sammy Wilds, Doc's prison cellmate.
  • Jim O'Heir as Milton Wyrick, the presenter at Darlene's show in Reno.
  • Manny Jacinto as Waring "Wade" Espiritu, a member of Billy Lee's cult.
  • Alvina August as Vesta Shears, a singer who replaces Darlene.
  • Gerry Nairn as Paul Kraemer, a reporter.


On March 8, 2017, it was announced that 20th Century Fox had bought the spec script Bad Times at the El Royale, written by Drew Goddard, who would also direct and produce the film.[6] On August 23, 2017, Chris Hemsworth and Jeff Bridges were cast in the 1960s-set film, to play two among the several characters who collide at the El Royale hotel, near California's Lake Tahoe.[7] That same day, it was also reported that Tom Holland had passed on a role, and that Beyoncé was being courted for the role of an African-American vocalist. It was also revealed that main roles in the ensemble would include a vacuum cleaner salesman, two female criminals, a male cult leader, and a desk clerk.[8] Later in August 2017, newcomer Cailee Spaeny was added to the cast to play an impressionable Southern girl brought to the hotel,[9] while Cynthia Erivo was cast as the African-American singer who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.[10] In January 2018, Dakota Johnson and Russell Crowe joined the cast.[11] In February 2018, Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, and Mark O'Brien joined the cast,[12][13][14] and in May 2018, Lewis Pullman was also confirmed for a role.[15]

Principal photography on the film began on January 29, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia. In February, it was being shot in Burnaby.[16][17] The El Royale is quite similar in appearance and characteristics to a closed former hotel-casino called the Cal Neva Lodge & Casino.


The first trailer was released on June 7, 2018.[18] The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 27, 2018 and also screened at the San Sebastián International Film Festival.[19][20] It was theatrically released in the United States on October 12, 2018.

Home media[edit]

The film will get a digital release on December 18, 2018, followed by a 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD release on January 1, 2019.[21]


Box office[edit]

Bad Times at the El Royale grossed $17.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $13.6 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $31.5 million, against a production budget of $32 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Bad Times at the El Royale was released alongside First Man and Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, and was projected to gross $8–12 million from 2,808 theaters in its opening weekend, with some predictions going as high as $17 million.[22] The film made $2.8 million on its first day and went on to debut to $7.2 million, finishing seventh at the box office. Deadline Hollywood speculates the film was hurt by its 141-minute runtime, as well as its niche genre and lack of awards buzz.[23] The film dropped 52% in its second weekend to $3.4 million, finishing ninth.[24]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 73% based on 207 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Smart, stylish, and packed with solid performances, Bad Times at the El Royale delivers pure popcorn fun with the salty tang of social subtext."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bad Times at the El Royale". San Sebastián International Film Festival. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  3. ^ Travis, Ben (June 7, 2018). "Bad Times At The El Royale Trailer Breakdown with Drew Goddard". Empire. Archived from the original on 2018-10-13. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  4. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (June 27, 2018). "Fox Dates Amy Adams Pic 'Woman In The Window', Moves Thriller 'Bad Times At The El Royale'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  5. ^ Knight, Lewis (October 12, 2018). "Bad Times at the El Royale review round-up: Critics praise Chris Hemsworth in wacky new film". Daily Mirror. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Busch, Anita (March 8, 2017). "Fox Buys 'Bad Times At The El Royale' From Drew Goddard Who Will Also Direct". Deadline. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  7. ^ Kit, Borys; Ford, Rebecca (August 23, 2017). "Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges to Star in Drew Goddard's 'Bad Times at the El Royale' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  8. ^ Sneider, Jeff (August 23, 2017). "Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth to Star in Drew Goddard's "Bad Times at the El Royale"". The Tracking Board. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (August 24, 2017). "Drew Goddard's 'Bad Times at the El Royale' Adds Newcomer Cailee Spaeny (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  10. ^ Ford, Rebecca; Kit, Borys (August 29, 2017). "Tony Winner Cynthia Erivo Joins Drew Goddard's 'Bad Times at the El Royale' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  11. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 8, 2018). "Dakota Johnson to Star Opposite Chris Hemsworth in Drew Goddard's Thriller "Bad Times at the El Royale" (Exclusive)". The Tracking Board. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm finish filming Bad Times at the El Royale". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  13. ^ White, Peter (2018-03-06). "'Parks and Recreation' Star Nick Offerman Joins Amazon's 'Good Omens'". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  14. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Nick Offerman Joins The Cast Of Thriller Bad Times At The El Royale 🔫 • Celebrity WotNot". 2 February 2018.
  15. ^ "First 'Bad Times at the El Royale' Images Let Us Revel in Shirtless Chris Hemsworth". 29 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Bad Times at the El Royale: Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges & More Filming in Vancouver Area". What's Filming?. January 25, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  17. ^ "Dakota Johnson begins work on Bad Times at the El Royale". Mail Online. February 14, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Marotta, Jenna. "'Bad Times at the El Royale' Trailer: Drew Goddard's 'The Martian' Follow-Up Is An Eerie Ensemble Film Set in 1969". IndieWire. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  19. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray. "Fantastic Fest: 'Bad Times At The El Royale' Set As Closing Night Film, 'MID90S' And 'Under The Silver Lake' Added To Lineup". Deadline. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  20. ^ Rolfe, Pamela. "'Bad Times at the El Royale' to Close San Sebastian Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  21. ^ "'Bad Times at the El Royale' Goes Digital in December". Slanted. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  22. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (October 9, 2018). "'First Man' Takes on 'Venom' and 'A Star Is Born' as October Box Office Goes Galactic". Variety. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  23. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 14, 2018). "'Sony Swings Past $1 Billion As 'Venom' Bites $35M+; 'First Man' Lands Third With $16M+ – Sunday AM". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 21, 2018). "'Halloween' Scares Up Second-Best October Opening With $77M+; Best Debut For Blumhouse & Carpenter Canon; Great Launch For Miramax". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  25. ^ "Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  26. ^ "Bad Times at the El Royale reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 4, 2018.

External links[edit]