Collateral Beauty

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Collateral Beauty
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Frankel
Written byAllan Loeb
Produced by
CinematographyMaryse Alberti
Edited byAndrew Marcus
Music byTheodore Shapiro
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 13, 2016 (2016-12-13) (Dubai)
  • December 16, 2016 (2016-12-16) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$36–40.3 million[2][3]
Box office$88.5 million[2]

Collateral Beauty is a 2016 American fantasy drama film directed by David Frankel and written by Allan Loeb. The film stars an ensemble cast of Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren. It follows Howard Inlet, a successful New York advertising executive who suffers a great tragedy, retreats from life where he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time, and Death. Receiving unexpected personal responses, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

Collateral Beauty premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival on December 13, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 16, 2016. It was panned by critics,[4][5] but grossed $88 million worldwide against its net $36 million budget.


Successful advertising executive Howard Inlet becomes clinically depressed after his young daughter's death. Howard spends his time alone, rarely sleeping or eating, and at the office, building domino chains and structures.

Howard's estranged friends and business partners Whit Yardsham, Claire Wilson, and Simon Scott fear for Howard's health as well as their company's future. His behavior has cost them numerous high-profile clients and left them on the verge of bankruptcy. As the majority shareholder, Howard has also undermined their efforts to sell the company.

The trio hire private investigator Sally Price to acquire evidence that Howard is unfit to run the company. This will allow them to take control. Sally intercepts three letters written by Howard which he posted to the abstract concepts of Love, Time, and Death, and presents them to the group.

Whit, Claire and Simon hire a trio of struggling actors – Amy, Raffi and Brigitte – to masquerade as the abstracts respectively in order to confront Howard about his letters. Their plan is for Sally to record these encounters and then digitally erase the actors to make Howard appear mentally unbalanced.

In preparation for their roles, Brigitte, Raffi, and Amy spend time with Simon, Claire, and Whit, who are going through personal problems of their own: Simon is secretly battling cancer; Whit is struggling to connect with his pre-teen daughter Allison after cheating on her mother; and Claire is looking for sperm donors to conceive a child.

After his encounters with "Love", "Time" and "Death", Howard attends a grief support group where he befriends Madeleine, a woman who has lost her own daughter, Olivia, to cancer; which led to the end of her marriage. Madeleine shows Howard a note from her husband, "If only we could be strangers again..." and continues enigmatically "And now we are." Howard also tells her about his recent "conversations" with Death, Time, and Love. Madeleine tells him that on the day Olivia died, an old woman at the hospital had told her to notice the Collateral Beauty, which she has learned to recognize as acts of selfless kindness that follow tragedies.

As the group is discussing the actors' performances, Amy storms out of the room because she feels guilty about manipulating Howard. Whit goes to convince her to return and declares romantic interest in her. Amy rejects him, but agrees to commit to their plan if he will make amends with his daughter. Simon similarly confides with Brigitte about his condition and his fear of death. Brigitte encourages him to share the burden with his family.

"Love", "Time", and "Death" confront Howard again, but he lashes out at them, particularly Love, externalizing the pain he has held inside since his daughter's death. Love tells Howard he owes it to his daughter's existence to love and that he cannot live without it. The next day, Howard attends a meeting with his company's board of directors in which footage of the incidents, with the actors digitally removed, is shown. Howard realizes his mental state and behavior are ruining the company and soon voices his gratitude for all that his friends have done for him, promising to be there in their times of need. He then signs the documents placed before him to enable the sale of the agency.

Simon tells his wife about his health condition; she comforts him. Claire meets with Raffi, and he states she will make a good mother someday. Claire says time has caught up to her, to which he replies that her battle with time isn't over yet, and mentions people who had had a positive effect on his young life. Whit visits Allison at school. Although she expresses anger and initially refuses to speak to him, he expresses his love for her and vows to return every day until she talks to him. Allison reconsiders, and in parting, mentions that "tomorrow is a half day of school".

Howard visits Madeleine on Christmas Eve, and she persuades him to watch a video of her husband playing with their daughter. Her husband turns out to be Howard playing dominoes with their daughter Olivia. Howard breaks down and is finally able to acknowledge his daughter's name and cause of death, and hugs Madeleine while crying. Brigitte is revealed to be the woman who had told Madeleine about the concept of collateral beauty.

Howard and Madeleine walk hand-in-hand through Central Park. Howard turns and sees Amy, Raffi and Brigitte watching from a footbridge, but they vanish as Madeleine turns toward them.



Development and casting[edit]

On May 13, 2015, it was announced that Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara would star in the New York-set drama Collateral Beauty, to be directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and written by Allan Loeb.[6] Loeb wrote the script on spec, saying, "It's something that I've meditated on for a couple of years, the idea of someone who's been through a terrible loss, and was angry and twice destroyed and wrote letters to the Universe. I didn't know why or how or what that meant for years, but it wouldn't leave me alone."[7] Michael Sugar and Bard Dorros were set to produce through their Anonymous Content banner.[6] On June 9, 2015, PalmStar Media's Kevin Frakes came on board to produce and fully finance the film, and Likely Story was also on board to co-produce the film, with Loeb also producing.[8] On June 15, 2015, Variety reported that Jason Segel was in talks to join the cast.[9] On July 15, 2015, it was announced that Jackman had exited the project due to his commitment with 20th Century Fox's Logan, and producers were eyeing Johnny Depp to star instead.[10]

On August 4, 2015, Will Smith was cast to play the lead, replacing Jackman, while Smith's Overbrook Entertainment was set to also produce the film.[11] On September 8, 2015, it was announced that New Line Cinema had come on board to handle worldwide distribution for the film, while Mara had left the project.[12] On October 5, 2015, Gomez-Rejon exited the film due to creative differences with the studio.[13] On November 10, 2015, it was announced that David Frankel was nearing a deal to direct the film.[14] On December 1, 2015, Variety reported that Helen Mirren was in early talks to join the cast, with filming expected to begin early 2016 in New York City.[15] On January 14, 2016, The Wrap reported that Edward Norton, Michael Peña, and Naomie Harris were cast in the film, while Rachel McAdams was in negotiations to join as well.[16] Village Roadshow Pictures was set to co-finance the film.[17] On February 9, 2016, Keira Knightley joined the film, and Kate Winslet was also cast the next day.[18][19] Enrique Murciano was spotted filming along with Winslet, while Jacob Latimore also joined the film.[20] On March 10, 2016, Ann Dowd signed on to co-star.[21]


Principal photography on the film began on February 22, 2016, in Queens in New York City[22] and Manhattan.[23] On March 10, 2016, filming took place at the Whitney Museum of American Art.[24]

Music [edit]

The soundtrack includes five songs in addition to the original score by Theodore Shapiro:

"Let's Hurt Tonight" was confirmed to be on the soundtrack album in November 2016.[citation needed] A music video for the song, featuring scenes from the film, was released on December 6, 2016.[25]


Collateral Beauty was released by Warner Bros. on December 16, 2016.[17]

Box office[edit]

Collateral Beauty grossed $31 million in the United States and Canada and $57.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $88.2 million, against a production budget of $36 million.[2]

The film was released alongside Rogue One and the wide expansion of Manchester by the Sea, and was initially expected to gross $11–13 million from 3,028 theaters in its opening weekend, on par with Smith's 2015 drama Concussion.[27] It made $2.4 million on its first day, lowering weekend projections to $7.5 million. It ended up grossing $7.1 million, finishing 4th at the box office and marking the lowest opening of Will Smith's career.[28]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 13% based on 188 reviews, and an average rating of 3.70/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Well-meaning but fundamentally flawed, Collateral Beauty aims for uplift but collapses in unintentional hilarity."[29] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 23 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[30] 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 76% overall positive score and a 55% "definite recommend".[28]

Vince Mancini of Uproxx criticized the film for its misleading trailers and dialogue, writing, "Edward Norton's character tells Keira Knightley's about holding his now-estranged daughter (he's a workaholic!) in his arms for the first time. 'It wasn't that I felt love, it was that I felt like I had become love'."[31] Richard Roeper gave the film one out of four stars, saying, "Collateral Beauty is a fraud. It is built on a foundation so contrived, so off-putting, so treacly, the most miraculous thing about this movie is this movie was actually made."[32]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result Ref.
Hollywood Film Awards November 6, 2016 Hollywood Breakout Performance Award Naomie Harris (also for Moonlight) Won [33]
London Film Critics' Circle January 22, 2017 British/Irish Actress of the Year Naomie Harris (also for Moonlight and Our Kind of Traitor) Nominated [34]
NAACP Image Awards February 11, 2017 Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Will Smith Nominated [35]
Golden Raspberry Awards February 25, 2017 Worst Screen Combo The entire cast of "once respected actors" Nominated [36][37]


  1. ^ "Collateral Beauty (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. November 21, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Collateral Beauty (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "FILM TAX CREDIT – QUARTERLY REPORT CALENDAR YEAR 2017: SECOND QUARTER JUNE 30, 2017" (PDF). Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  4. ^ D'Allessandro, Anthony (December 18, 2016). "How Critics' "Schoolyard Assault" On 'Collateral Beauty' Turned Ugly For Will Smith Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  5. ^ Jackson, Danielle (December 13, 2016). "Collateral Beauty reviews: Will Smith movie slammed by critics". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (May 13, 2015). "Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara to Star in Indie Drama 'Collateral Beauty'". The Wrap. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  7. ^ Hogan, Brianne (December 16, 2016). "Collateral Beauty: A Holiday Fable". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  8. ^ Ford, Rebecca (June 9, 2015). "Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara's 'Collateral Beauty' Finds Financing With Palmstar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 15, 2015). "Jason Segel Circles 'Collateral Beauty' With Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (July 15, 2015). "Hugh Jackman Leaves Drama 'Collateral Beauty'". Variety. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  11. ^ Jaafar, Ali (August 4, 2015). "Will Smith To Join Cast Of 'Collateral Beauty'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  12. ^ Ford, Rebecca; Kit, Borys (September 8, 2015). "New Line Acquiring Will Smith's 'Collateral Beauty' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  13. ^ Jaafar, Ali (October 5, 2015). "'Collateral Beauty' Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon Exits Project Over Creative Differences With Studio". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  14. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 10, 2015). "Will Smith's 'Collateral Beauty' Lands Director David Frankel". Variety. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 1, 2015). "Helen Mirren in Talks to Join Will Smith in 'Collateral Beauty' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  16. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 14, 2016). "Rachel McAdams to Join Will Smith in 'Collateral Beauty'". The Wrap. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  17. ^ a b McNary, Dave (February 8, 2016). "Will Smith's 'Collateral Beauty' to Open Against 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'". Variety. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  18. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 9, 2016). "Keira Knightley Joins Will Smith in 'Collateral Beauty'". Variety. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  19. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 10, 2016). "Kate Winslet in Talks to Join Will Smith in New Line's 'Collateral Beauty' (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  20. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 26, 2016). "'Sleight' Star Jacob Latimore Joins Will Smith in 'Collateral Beauty'". The Wrap. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  21. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 10, 2016). "Victor Garber Joins 'Rebel In The Rye'; Ann Dowd Cast In 'Collateral Beauty'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  22. ^ "'Collateral Beauty', starring Will Smith and Kate Winslet, filming begins in NYC". OLV. February 23, 2016. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  23. ^ "In Photos: 'Collateral Beauty' filming on location in NYC". OLV. February 29, 2016. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  24. ^ "In Photos: 'Collateral Beauty' filming in NYC". OLV. March 11, 2016. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  25. ^ a b "OneRepublic debut music video for Let's Hurt Tonight". December 9, 2016.
  26. ^ [user-generated source]
  27. ^ "'Rogue One' Looks to Deliver One of the Top 15 Openings of All-Time". Box Office Mojo.
  28. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 19, 2016). "'Rogue One' Flying To $152M+ Weekend; 'Collateral Beauty' A Career B.O. Low For Will Smith: PM Update". Deadline Hollywood.
  29. ^ "Collateral Beauty (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  30. ^ "Collateral Beauty Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  31. ^ Mancini, Vince (December 15, 2016). "'Collateral Beauty' Is A 96-Minute Coldplay Lyric Come To Life". Uproxx. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  32. ^ Roeper, Richard (December 15, 2016). "'Collateral Beauty' goes about its tearjerking in contrived ways". The Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  33. ^ "Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris and Lily Collins to be Honored". Hollywood Film Awards. October 21, 2016. Archived from the original on October 25, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  34. ^ Lodge, Guy (December 20, 2016). "'Moonlight' and 'Love and Friendship' Lead London Film Critics' Circle Nominations". Variety. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  35. ^ Hill, Libby (December 14, 2016). "'Moonlight,' 'Birth of a Nation' and 'Loving' score big with NAACP Image Award nominations". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  36. ^ "'Batman v. Superman,' 'Hillary's America' considered worst-of-the-worst at RAZZIES". 6abc Philadelphia. February 25, 2017.
  37. ^ Shanley, Patrick (January 31, 2017). "Razzie Awards: Founder and Head Razzberry Opens Up About Show's History, Bill Cosby and Oscar's "Self-Importance"". The Hollywood Reporter.

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