Central Intelligence

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Central Intelligence
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRawson Marshall Thurber
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Ike Barinholtz
  • David Stassen
Music by
CinematographyBarry Peterson
Edited by
  • Mike Sale
  • Brian Olds
Distributed by
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (North America)
  • Universal Pictures (International)
Release date
Running time
108 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million[2]
Box office$217 million[3]

Central Intelligence is a 2016 American action comedy film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and written by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. The film stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as two old high school friends who go on the run after one of them joins the CIA to save the world from a terrorist who intends to sell satellite codes.

The film premiered in Los Angeles on June 10, 2016, and was theatrically released in the United States on June 17, 2016. Central Intelligence received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise directed at Hart and Johnson's performances, and with criticism aimed at the script. The film was a commercial success at the box office, grossing $217 million worldwide against its $50 million budget.[4]


In 1996, star athlete Calvin "The Golden Jet" Joyner is being honored at his high school. Halfway through Calvin's speech, a group of bullies led by Trevor Olson throws the nude morbidly obese Robbie Wheirdicht into the gymnasium where the assembly is taking place. Everyone starts laughing except for Joyner and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson, who are the only ones sympathetic towards Wheirdicht; the former going as far as to quickly cover Wheirdicht in his varsity jacket. Wheirdicht thanks Calvin and flees in embarrassment.

Twenty years later, in 2016, Joyner is married to Maggie and works as a forensic accountant but is dissatisfied with his career. Maggie suggests they see a therapist to salvage their deteriorating marriage. At work, Joyner receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone, who invites Joyner to meet at a bar. Bob Stone reveals himself to be Robbie Wheirdicht. Joyner is shocked to see that Wheirdicht has transformed into a muscular, confident man with advanced hand-to-hand fighting skills. Stone asks Joyner to review some online transactions, and Joyner discovers a multimillion-dollar auction with bidders from radical countries, with the final bids to conclude the following day. Stone avoids Joyner's questions and spends the night on his couch.

The next morning, a team of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris arrives at Joyner's house in search of Stone, who escapes without a trace. Harris tells Joyner that Stone is a dangerous rogue agent who brutally murdered his former partner, Phil Stanton. Harris tells Calvin that Bob intends to sell satellite codes to the highest bidder. Soon after, Stone abducts Joyner and explains that he is trying to stop a criminal known as the Black Badger from selling the codes but needs Joyner's skills to find the coordinates of the deal's location. After an attack by a bounty hunter, Joyner flees and calls Maggie, telling her to meet him at the marriage counselor's office. Harris intercepts him and tells him that Stone is really the Black Badger. She warns him to refrain from telling Maggie and gives him a device to alert them to Stone's location. Joyner then arrives for marriage counseling, where he finds Stone posing as the counselor.

Stone convinces Joyner to help him, so he sets up a meeting with Trevor Olson, who is able to track the offshore account for the auction so they can get the deal's location. At first, Olson apologizes for his misdeed in high school, claiming he has found God, only to admit he was lying, laughs in their faces, and bullies Stone again. Harris calls Joyner and threatens to arrest Maggie if he fails to help them detain Stone. Joyner reluctantly betrays Stone, and the CIA arrests him. As Harris tortures Stone to get him to confess, Joyner decides to help Stone escape. Joyner finds that the deal is happening in Boston and helps Stone steal a plane. Midflight, Stone, recognizing that Joyner is struggling with some life decisions, fools him into thinking that they're going to crash after running out of fuel and gets him to admit that he would regret not having any children with Maggie. At an underground parking garage, where the deal is assumed to be taking place, Stone enters alone, while Joyner sees Harris entering a short while later. He assumes that she is the Black Badger and runs after her only to find Stone meeting with the buyer and claiming to be the Black Badger. Stone shoots Joyner, grazing his neck, to keep him safe.Then a fight ensures between Phil Stanton and Stone in which Stone overpowers him and eventually kills him.

In a pre-credits scene, Maggie is pregnant and Joyner has joined the CIA. As a gift for his first day on the job, Stone returns Joyner's varsity jacket from the high school incident, which he had kept. The two friends climb into Stone's truck and drive off to begin their workday.


  • Kevin Hart as Calvin Joyner: A former popular star athlete that went to Robbie's high school, now working as an accountant.
  • Dwayne Johnson as Bob Stone / Robbie Weirdicht: A former bullied, overweight, friendless high school student-turned-big bodied CIA agent.
    • Sione Kelepi as Young Robbie Wheirdicht
  • Amy Ryan as Agent Pamela Harris: A CIA agent who suspects Bob is a rogue agent.
  • Aaron Paul as Phil Stanton: Bob's former partner who is believed to be dead after being killed in action.
  • Danielle Nicolet as Maggie Joyner: Calvin's high school sweetheart now turned wife.
  • Timothy John Smith as Agent Nick Cooper.
  • Megan Park as the waitress in the bar.
  • Thomas Kretschmann as the buyer: A man who wants to buy US satellite codes.
  • Jason Bateman as Trevor Olson: A former high school student who bullied Robbie in the past.
    • Dylan Boyack as Young Trevor
  • Melissa McCarthy as Darla (uncredited): Robbie's high school crush.
  • Kumail Nanjiani as Jared: the airport security guard.
  • Ryan Hansen as Brian Grieves


The script was greenlit by Universal Pictures in 2010, and Thurber was selected to direct and started to write the script together with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. Before production began, Thurber convinced New Line Cinema to buy the script and the studio became the film's domestic distributor through Warner Bros. That year, Dwayne Johnson was cast alongside Kevin Hart.

Principal photography began on May 6, 2015, and took place in Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout various Massachusetts locations, including Boston,[5][6] Burlington,[7] Lynn, Middleton,[7] Winchester and Quincy. Principal photography ended in July 2015. To promote the film, Johnson and Hart had an Instagram war against each other on set.[8]


The film premiered at the Regency Village Theater on June 10, 2016. Warner Bros. handled distribution in the United States, where the film opened on June 17, 2016, while Universal covered global distribution, as the film was released between June and July 2016.

Central Intelligence was released on Digital HD on September 13, 2016, before being released on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on September 27, 2016.[9]


Box office[edit]

Central Intelligence grossed $127.4 million in North America and $89.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $217 million, against a budget of $50 million.[3] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $52 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.[10]

Central Intelligence opened on June 17, 2016, alongside Finding Dory and was projected to gross around $30 million from 3,508 theaters in its opening weekend.[2] The film grossed $1.8 million from its Thursday previews and $13 million on its first day.[11] The film went on to gross $35.5 million, finishing second at the box office behind fellow newcomer Finding Dory ($135.1 million).[12]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 71% based on 184 reviews with an average rating of 5.76/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson make for well-matched comic foils, helping Central Intelligence overcome a script that coasts on their considerable chemistry."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 75% overall positive score and a 55% "definite recommend".[12]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film two out of four stars, writing, "If you're expecting the story threads to cohere, you're in the wrong multiplex. Central Intelligence always takes the lazy way out. You go along for the ride because Hart and Johnson promise something they can't deliver: a movie as funny as they are."[15] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized the film as a "shambolic high-concept farce that doubles as a cautionary tale of where studio comedies go wrong," writing, "In spots as indifferent and self-indulgent as any latter-day Adam Sandler production ... , [Intelligence] switches back and forth from snail-paced to incoherently over-stuffed on a moment's notice, with no in-between mode."[16] Keith Phipps of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, saying, "It all adds up to the sort of breezy, undemanding comedy that fits nicely into the summer months, and plays beautifully in endless cable repeats."[17]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Critics' Choice Awards Best Comedy Central Intelligence Nominated [18]
Best Actor in a Comedy Dwayne Johnson Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Comedy "Trailer 1" Nominated [19]
Best Comedy Poster "Big Johnson Teaser" Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite BFFs (Best Friends Forever) Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart Won [20]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedic Movie Central Intelligence Nominated [21]
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor Kevin Hart Won
Dwayne Johnson Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Central Intelligence Nominated [22]
Choice Summer Movie Actor Kevin Hart Won
Dwayne Johnson Nominated


  1. ^ "Central Intelligence (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. June 4, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "'Finding Dory' To Have Shark-Size Appetite At Weekend B.O.; Second Best Opening This Summer After 'Civil War' – Preview". Deadline Hollywood.
  3. ^ a b "Central Intelligence (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  4. ^ "'Central Intelligence' Review Roundup: Critics Think Dwayne Johnson & Kevin Hart Have Chemistry, But Script Lacks". IndieWire.com.
  5. ^ "Kevin Hart on Instagram". instagram.com. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Erik Christianson, Jon (March 31, 2015). "Calling All Film Junkies: Movies Filming in Boston During Summer 2015". thevoiceofdowntownboston.com. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart spotted filming 'Central Intelligence' in Massachusetts". onlocationvacations.com. May 5, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  8. ^ Bui, Hoai-Tran (July 6, 2015). "Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart ruin each other's videos in hilarious dueling Instagrams". USA TODAY. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Hunt, Bill. "New Force Awakens 3D details, plus Central Intelligence, Suicide Squad, new Olive Signature & more".
  10. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (March 20, 2017). "No. 20 'Central Intelligence' Box Office Profits – 2016 Most Valuable Movie Blockbuster Tournament Underway". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  11. ^ "'Finding Dory' Set to Break the Animated Opening Weekend Record". BoxOfficeMojo.com.
  12. ^ a b "'Dory's Record Animated Pic $136M+ Opening Is Also Second Best For June After 'Jurassic World'". deadline.com.
  13. ^ "Central Intelligence (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  14. ^ "Central Intelligence reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  15. ^ "Central Intelligence – Review". RollingStone.com.
  16. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy. "The action-comedy Central Intelligence is a dud with a few good laughs". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  17. ^ Ryan, Mike (June 16, 2016). "Kevin Hart And Dwayne Johnson Make A Natural Team In 'Central Intelligence'". Uproxx. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  18. ^ "La La Land Leads with 12 Nominations for the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards". Critics' Choice. December 1, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  19. ^ "The 17th Annual Golden Trailer Award Nominees". GoldenTrailer.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  20. ^ "NICKELODEON ANNOUNCES 2017 KIDS' CHOICE AWARDS NOMINATIONS | Nick Press". NickPress. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  21. ^ "People's Choice Awards Nominees 2017 — Full List". Deadline. November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  22. ^ Goodman, Jessica (July 31, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016: See the full list of winners". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2016.

External links[edit]