Book Club (film)

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Book Club
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBill Holderman
Written by
  • Bill Holderman
  • Erin Simms
Produced by
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byPriscilla Nedd-Friendly
Music byPeter Nashel
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • May 18, 2018 (2018-05-18) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$14.1 million[2]
Box office$104.4 million[3]

Book Club is a 2018 American romantic comedy film directed by Bill Holderman, in his directorial debut, and written by Holderman and Erin Simms. It stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen as four friends who read Fifty Shades of Grey as part of their monthly book club, and subsequently begin to change how they view their personal relationships.

The film was released on May 18, 2018, by Paramount Pictures, and received mixed reviews from critics, but the performances of the film's cast were widely praised and it was a box office success, grossing over $104 million worldwide against its $14 million budget.


Four women have attended a monthly book club for 40 years, bonding over the suggested literature, and have become very good friends:

  • Vivian, who owns and builds hotels, runs into Arthur, a man whose marriage proposal she turned down 40 years before. They begin a flirtation, but she has always refused to settle down because she enjoys her independence.
  • Diane is recently widowed, and her daughters would like her to move closer to them in Arizona because they perceive her to be in danger as she lives alone.
  • Sharon is a federal judge who's been single since she divorced her son's father over 18 years ago.
  • Carol has a successful marriage to Bruce, who has recently retired, but they have recently lacked intimacy.

One day, they read Fifty Shades of Grey and are turned on by the content. Viewing it as a wake-up call, they decide to expand their lives and chase pleasures that have eluded them.

While flying to visit her daughters in Arizona, Diane meets Mitchell and they strike up a relationship, though she is hesitant because of how recently her husband died and because she hasn't dated in decades. Vivian spends more time with Arthur, but her fear of commitment makes her keep him at a distance. Carol is frustrated with her husband's refusal to have sex with her, and by reading the book she realizes they are missing something. Sharon starts an online dating account to start dating again.

They continue to read Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed in their book club, while trying to figure out how to solve their problems. Diane's daughters continue to pressure her to move to Arizona but she doesn't want to leave her friends. She sneaks away to see Mitchell, and when her daughters can't reach her, they send the police out to find her. On discovering her at Mitchell's, they insist she move into the basement of one of their homes, essentially ending her relationship with him. Eventually, Diane tells her daughters that though she is older, she doesn't need to be under surveillance. She packs up her belongings and leaves for Mitchell's, where they resume their relationship.

Arthur asks Vivian to commit to being in a relationship and she declines, despite his assurances that he wants her to continue being independent. Soon after he leaves for the airport, Vivian realizes she's made a mistake and tries to go after him. She misses his airplane, but when she returns to her hotel, she finds Arthur waiting for her and they rekindle their relationship.

Carol, frustrated that Bruce is refusing to have sex with her, tries various ways to entice him, but he's completely oblivious. Eventually she spikes his beer with erectile dysfunction medication, but he becomes angry because that is not what's causing the problem, and they continue to not have sex. Bruce admits that he's been stressed because he retired, and doesn't know what to do with himself. They eventually reconcile after dancing together in a fund-raising talent show.

After a few dates with men she meets online, Sharon decides that it isn't for her. She gives a speech at her son's engagement party, where she realizes that everyone deserves to be in love and happy. She opens her online dating account again, in the hopes of finding someone.


E. L. James and her husband Niall Leonard make a cameo appearance as Carol and Bruce's neighbors.[4]


In May 2017, it was announced Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Candice Bergen had joined the cast of the film, with Bill Holderman directing, from a screenplay by himself and Erin Simms. Holderman and Simms also produced the film, along with Andrew Duncan and Alex Saks, the latter two under their June Pictures banner.[5] In July 2017, Mary Steenburgen joined the cast,[6] and in August 2017, Andy García, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed Begley Jr., Wallace Shawn, Alicia Silverstone, Tommy Dewey and Katie Aselton joined as well.[7][8][9]

Principal photography began in August 2017 around Santa Clarita, California.[10]


In November 2017, Paramount Pictures acquired U.S, UK and France distribution rights to the film.[11] It was released on May 18, 2018.[12]

Home media[edit]

Book Club was released on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD in August 2018.[13][14]


Box office[edit]

Book Club grossed $68.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $35.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $104.4 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Deadpool 2 and Show Dogs, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 2,781 theaters in its opening weekend.[15] It made $4.7 million on its first day, including $625,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $13.6 million, finishing third, behind Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War; 80% of its audience was female while 88% was over the age of 35.[16] It dropped just 25% in its second weekend to $10.1 million, finishing fourth,[17] and continued to hold well in its third weekend, grossing $6.8 million and finishing fifth.[18]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 54% based on 186 reviews, and an average rating of 5.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Book Club only intermittently rises to the level of its impressive veteran cast; fortunately, they're more than enough to bring pedestrian material entertainingly to life."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it 4 out of 5 stars.[16]


In June 2019, Mary Steenburgen confirmed news of a sequel.[21][22] In September 2019, producer and co-writer of the film, Erin Simms, offered further confirmation. The script was written, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic filming was put back to mid 2021 and the film is expected to be released in 2022. It is expected that the characters Diane, Vivian, Sharon, Carol, Mitchell, Arthur, Bruce, Jill and Adrianne will all reappear.[23] In May 2022, Variety announced that the sequel, titled Book Club: The Next Chapter, had begun production with Keaton, Fonda, Bergen, Steenburgen, Garcia, Johnson, and Nelson reprising their roles from the first film. Focus Features will replace Paramount as domestic distributor, with Universal Pictures distributing internationally.[24] In July 2022, Deadline confirmed that the sequel's release date was set for May 12, 2023.[25]


  1. ^ Harvey, Dennis (May 16, 2018). "Film Review: Book Club". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  2. ^ Film and Television Tax Credit Program Program 2.0 (PDF) (Report). California Film Commission. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Book Club (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  4. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (May 31, 2018). "Book Club review – simulated sexcom for the over-60s". The Guardian. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  5. ^ Hodderhose, Diana (May 4, 2017). "Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda & Candice Bergen Joining 'Book Club' — Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  6. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 10, 2017). "Mary Steenburgen Gets Final Spot In 'Book Club'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 9, 2017). "Andy Garcia Joins Diane Keaton In 'Book Club' From June Pictures". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 15, 2017). "Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss & More Board Bill Holderman's 'Book Club'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  9. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 21, 2017). "Alicia Silverstone, Tommy Dewey & Katie Aselton Cast In 'Book Club'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Amanda N'Duka (August 15, 2017). "Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss Cast In 'Book Club'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 3, 2017). "Paramount Makes Splashy $10 Million AFM Deal For June Pictures' 'Book Club'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Shanley, Patrick (February 2, 2018). "Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton Comedy 'Book Club' Gets Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  13. ^ "Comedy 'Book Club' Due on Digital Aug. 14, Disc Aug. 28 – Media Play News". Media Play News. July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "[SOON] Book Club on Netflix, Redbox | DVD Release date".
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 15, 2018). "'Deadpool 2' To Kick Up Potential $350M Opening Around The Globe – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  16. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 20, 2018). "'Deadpool 2' Swinging In As Second-Best Opening For R-Rated Pic With $125M". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 26, 2018). "Why Is 'Solo' Flying So Low At The B.O.? Memorial Day Opening Now At $114M+". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 3, 2018). "'Solo' Hits Asteroid With $29M-$30M; 'Action Point' Condemned To $2M+: Post-Memorial Day Blues At The B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "Book Club (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  20. ^ "Book Club Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  21. ^ "We're Not Dreaming, Book Club 2 is Happening". Vulture. June 12, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  22. ^ Muller, Marissa G. "Book Club Is Officially Getting a Sequel". W Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  23. ^ Simms, Erin (September 21, 2019). "Ah thank you! Always tough to kill your darlings. Looking good for the sequel". @Erinsimms9. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  24. ^ Lang, Brent (May 31, 2022). "'Book Club 2' Starts Production With Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen". Variety. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 28, 2022). "'Book Club 2 – The Next Chapter' Sets Mother's Day Release". Deadline. Retrieved July 29, 2022.

External links[edit]