Den of Thieves (film)

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Den of Thieves
Den of Thieves poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChristian Gudegast
Produced by
Screenplay byChristian Gudegast
Story by
Music byCliff Martinez
CinematographyTerry Stacey
Edited by
  • Diamond Film Productions
  • Tooley Productions
  • G-BASE
Distributed bySTXfilms
Release date
  • January 19, 2018 (2018-01-19)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[2]
Box office$80.5 million[1]

Den of Thieves (released in some countries as Criminal Squad) is a 2018 American heist action thriller film[1][3] written, directed, and produced by Christian Gudegast and starring Gerard Butler, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Pablo Schreiber, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Evan Jones, Dawn Olivieri, Mo McRae, and Max Holloway. In the film, an elite group of County Sheriff Deputies look to stop a gang of thieves planning to rob the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles.

The film was released in the United States on January 19, 2018, distributed by STXfilms, received mixed reviews and grossed $80 million worldwide. A sequel is currently in development.


In Los Angeles, a team of robbers led by Ray Merrimen makes a violent armed attack and hijacks an armored truck. Police officers arrive on the scene and engage in a shootout with the robbers. Eventually, Merrimen and his crew escape with the empty armored truck.

In the morning, Detective Nick O'Brien investigates the crime scene, having been monitoring Merrimen and his crew for a while. Suspecting a local bartender named Donnie for involvement, Nick finds him at the bar and kidnaps him for interrogation. Donnie reveals Merrimen is planning to rob the Federal Reserve on Friday of that week by covertly removing about $30 million in old bills which are scheduled to be shredded after their serial numbers are deleted from computer records.

At their hideout, Merrimen has one of his crew, Levi, roughly interrogate Donnie to ensure he didn't disclose anything about the plan. Meanwhile, Nick goes to a strip club and finds Merrimen's stripper girlfriend, hiring her for the night to find out where the heist is going to happen. The next morning, Nick makes an effort to see his daughter at her school.

As the day of the heist comes, Merrimen and his crew invade a commercial bank and take hostages. Nick's team arrives outside as the chaos unfolds. The L.A.P.D. negotiator calls and speaks to the bank's manager on behalf of Merrimen. To discourage further time-wasting communications, Merrimen has one of the crew take a hostage to a back room, where he apparently shoots her. The negotiator agrees not to communicate until the robbers' demands (for money and helicopter) are to arrive in over an hour's time. The thieves then blow the vault open and escape through a hole in the floor before Nick's team comes in and finds that the shooting of the hostage was staged. The thieves needed commercial bank cash so they could make a cash drop-off at the Federal Reserve, the only way to get inside the Federal Reserve building.

Donnie is hidden inside a cash dolly delivered to the Federal Reserve building by Merrimen. He triggers an EMP and slips out to collect the targeted old bills that have been earmarked for shredding. He stashes them in bags and throws them in with the refuse, before escaping the cash count-rooms through the air ducts. Assuming an established cover as a Chinese food deliveryman, he retrieves an order of food previously stashed away and makes a delivery to employees who regularly order from the restaurant before exiting the building through the lobby with only minor suspicion. The cash is dispatched from the Federal Reserve building in a garbage truck that removes shredded bills. Nick's team catches up to Donnie and seizes him, beating him until he tells them where Merrimen is going.

Merrimen, Bosco, and Levi try to make their escape with the money bags from the waste truck but hit a traffic jam and are blocked. Nick's team spots them, and after handcuffing Donnie to the car, they attempt to shoot the robbers as they try to escape. A shootout occurs, initiated by Merrimen, killing one of Nick's men. Levi and Bosco are eventually shot dead, but Merrimen gets away. Nick chases and shoots Merrimen, wounding him. Merrimen raises an empty gun to Nick, forcing Nick to shoot him. As Merrimen lies on the ground dying, Nick kneels and consoles him, as Merriman kept true to his word that he wasn't cuffing up and Nick acknowledges Merrimen before he takes his last breath. When Nick inspects Merrimen's SUV, he only finds bags with shredded paper while an FBI associate informs him that all currency was accounted for at the Reserve; he also finds that Donnie has escaped from the car.

Nick later goes to Donnie's bar and sees pictures of him with some of the crew members from the heist, also noticing that employees of the Reserve are regulars since it's nearby. It's revealed that Donnie actually masterminded the heist to keep all of the stolen cash for himself in a second garbage truck. After the passage of some time, Donnie is working in a London bar where several Reserve employees and heist crew members (including the garbage truck driver, one of the Reserve employees who ordered from the Chinese restaurant, and the communications expert from Merriman's crew) are seemingly enjoying their retirement and where Donnie is planning a new heist of a nearby diamond exchange.


  • Gerard Butler as Nicholas "Big Nick" O'Brien, Debbie's ex-husband and a gritty and corrupt LA sheriff who is hellbent on bringing down Merrimen's crew, who plan on robbing the Federal Reserve Bank in Downtown Los Angeles. Butler was required to gain 25-30 pounds in a short period of time for his role.[4]
  • Pablo Schreiber as Ray Merrimen, a Marine veteran, the crew's leader and schemer, one of the robbers who set out in the first scheme in robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of Downtown Los Angeles.
  • O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Donnie Wilson, a bartender and one of the robbers who set out in the first scheme in robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles. He is the skilled driver of the group.
  • Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson as Levi Enson Levoux, a Marine veteran, one of the robbers who set out in the first scheme in robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles. He has a young daughter and a wife.
  • Evan Jones as Bo Bosco Ostroman, one of the robbers who works directly with Merrimen and Enson
  • Cooper Andrews as Mack, one of the robber's crew members. He appears to be a city electrician/telecom employee who uses his access to provide intelligence support by tapping into the LAPD data feeds. He is seen in London celebrating the heist with the other inside men Donnie was secretly working with.
  • Maurice Compte as Benny 'Borracho' Megalob
  • Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau as Tony Z Zapata
  • Dawn Olivieri as Debbie O'Brien, Nick O'Brien's ex-wife who leaves him after discovering he had cheated on her
  • Lewis Tan as Secret Service Lobby Guard #1
  • Jermaine Rivers as Fed Receiving Guard Jackson who stops Ray Merrimen and Levoux as they enter and exit the Federal Reserve facility.
  • Mo McRae as Gus Henderson, a sheriff working under Big Nick
  • Meadow Williams as Holly
  • Brian Van Holt as Murph Connors
  • Max Holloway as Bas, one of the robbers and Donnie's friend.[5]
  • Jay Dobyns as Wolfgang
  • Alix Lapri as Maloa
  • Matthew Cornwell as Joseph, a bank manager
  • Eric Braeden as Ziggy Zerhusen


The film was in development for roughly fourteen years, where director Christian Gudegast and a writing partner had a blind deal with New Line Cinema in 2003. The project was also later supposed to be distributed by the now-defunct Relativity Media at one point as well. Jay Dobyns, who played the character of Wolfgang, was a former Special Agent and undercover operative with the BATFE and served as a consultant for this film.[6]

Filming locations[edit]

Production began in January 2017. Director of photography, Terry Stacey, shot the movie using the Arri Alexa XT Plus digital motion picture camera. Although set in Los Angeles, California, Den of Thieves was primarily filmed in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Aerial shots of Los Angeles included the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island and the skyline of Downtown Los Angeles.


Box office[edit]

Den of Thieves grossed $44.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $35.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $80.5 million, against a production budget of $30 million.[1]

In the United States and Canada, Den of Thieves was released on January 19, 2018 alongside 12 Strong and Forever My Girl, as well as the wide expansions of Phantom Thread, I, Tonya and Call Me by Your Name, and was projected to gross $7–10 million from 2,432 theaters in its opening weekend.[7] It ended up performing above projections, debuting to $15.3 million and finishing third at the box office behind holdover Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and 12 Strong.[2] It dropped 43% to $8.6 million in its second week[8] and another 47% to $4.6 million in its third.[9]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 41% based on 126 reviews, and an average rating of 5.13/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Den of Thieves pays energetic homage to classic heist thrillers of the past; unfortunately, it never comes close to living up to its obvious inspirations."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[2]

Official sequel[edit]

In February 2018, it was announced a sequel was in development with Gudegast signed on to return to write and direct. Additionally, Butler, and Jackson Jr. were in talks to reprise their roles. On May 16, 2019 Entertainment One has come on board to finance Den of Thieves 2: Pantera. [12][13]


  1. ^ a b c d "Den of Thieves (2018)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 19, 2018). "'Den Of Thieves' & '12 Strong' Draw Close To $1M On Thursday Night, But 'Jumanji' Will Win The Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "Den of Thieves (2018) - Christian Gudegast". AllMovie.
  4. ^ "Gerard Butler & Pablo Schreiber Reveal How They Bulked Up for 'Den of Thieves'". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  5. ^ Tabuena, Anton (February 8, 2017). "Holloway lands movie role next to Gerard Butler, 50 Cent". Bloody Elbow. Vox Media. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Giroux, Jack (January 4, 2018). "'Den of Thieves' Set Visit: Making the Impossible Kind of Possible With Curtis Jackson and Gerard Butler". /Film. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  7. ^ Faughnder, Ryan (January 17, 2018). "Afghanistan war film '12 Strong' to battle 'Jumanji' reboot for top box-office spot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  8. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 28, 2018). "Fox Controls Close To 40% Of Weekend B.O. Led By 'Maze Runner' & Oscar Holdovers; 'Hostiles' Gallops Past $10M". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  9. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 4, 2018). "'Jumanji' Poised To Be Dwayne Johnson's Highest Grossing Pic Of All-Time Stateside After Super Bowl Weekend Rebound". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  10. ^ "Den of Thieves (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "Den of Thieves Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  12. ^ Busch, Anita (February 13, 2018). "'Den Of Thieves' Gets Sequel With Gerard Butler, 50 Cent, Filmmakers Reuniting; STXFilms Distributing Worldwide". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  13. ^ Baraheni, Esfandiar (April 30, 2018). "Director Christian Gudegast Talks Den Of Thieves Sequel & New 50 Cent TV Show". Def Pen. Retrieved May 29, 2018.

External links[edit]