Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ivan Reitman|
|Produced by||Ivan Reitman
|Written by||Rajiv Joseph
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Sheldon Kahn
Dana E. Glauberman
|Distributed by||Summit Entertainment
|Box office||$29.5 million|
Draft Day is a 2014 American sports drama film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Kevin Costner. The premise revolves around the general manager of the Cleveland Browns (Costner) deciding what to do when his team acquires the number one draft pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
On the morning of the 2014 NFL Draft in New York City, Chris Berman, Jon Gruden, Mel Kiper Jr., and other analysts discuss the consensus first overall pick: Wisconsin quarterback Bo Callahan, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver Jr. must decide how to use the seventh overall pick to improve his consistently losing team, but has other issues. He recently learned that his secret girlfriend Ali Parker, the team's salary cap analyst, is pregnant with his child. His father, Sonny Weaver Sr., coached the Browns before Weaver Jr. fired him, and died a week before the draft. His mother is upset at him for missing the reading of Weaver Sr.'s will.
The Seattle Seahawks hold the first overall pick, which general manager Tom Michaels offers to trade to the Browns. Weaver declines, but before leaving for the draft team owner Anthony Molina—dissatisfied with current quarterback Brian Drew—orders him to accept. The Browns give their three first-round draft picks over the next three years for the top pick. Many Seahawks fans want Callahan, however, and express their displeasure with picket signs at CenturyLink Field and on social media, demanding Michaels' firing.
The unexpected chance to obtain Callahan excites Browns fans. Most in the Browns' front office agree despite the high price; Drew and head coach Vince Penn are the exceptions. Penn agrees that Callahan is excellent but does not want to teach a rookie quarterback his system offense, and prefers running back Ray Jennings of Florida State. Drew, who led the team to a 5–1 start the previous year before injury, fears losing his job. The trade leaks after a tweet by linebacker Vontae Mack of Ohio State, another possible choice for Weaver with the seventh pick. Mack wants to play for the Browns, and fears not being chosen in the first round. He advises Weaver to rewatch the game in which he sacked Callahan four times. Teams contact Weaver for possible transactions based on the trade; one from the Houston Texans implies that Mack may not remain available to the Browns in the second round.
The only flaws in Callahan are possible character issues: a Cleveland staffer tells Weaver that none of Callahan's teammates attended the star's birthday party during his senior year, and Callahan allegedly lied to the Washington Redskins about reading the team's playbook. When the draft begins that evening at Radio City Music Hall, the Browns have ten minutes to make the first overall pick. Weaver abruptly chooses Mack; Roger Goodell's announcement of the selection amazes the league and the front office. While a relieved Drew believes that his job is safe, Molina angrily flies back to Cleveland to confront Weaver. Callahan has an anxiety attack, and leaves the theater until his agent persuades him to return. The pick surprises Penn as much as it does the others, but he discovers that Weaver had written himself a note that morning to pick Mack "no matter what," thus ensuring he would finally put together a team of his own making.
Weaver's unexpected choice disrupts the draft. Rumors spread about Callahan as other teams avoid him, and the Seahawks will be able to select him with the seventh pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the sixth pick; the team's first two choices are no longer available, but its general manager is wary about Callahan because of the rumors. Weaver persuades the Jaguars to trade the sixth pick for the next three years of the Browns' second-round draft picks. Molina arrives and confronts Weaver over choosing Mack; he convinces Molina to let him do his job. Weaver calls Michaels, who wants Callahan, and receives all of their three first-round draft picks back plus the Seahawks' punt returner David Putney. The Seahawks choose Callahan with the sixth pick, and are able to sign him for $7 million less than if the team had made him the first overall selection, and Weaver selects Jennings for Penn with the seventh pick.
Weaver and a visibly pregnant Parker attend the opening day of the 2014 season at FirstEnergy Stadium. Weaver laughs as he overhears retired Browns stars Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar congratulate Molina for doing "a hell of a job" with the draft. The team, including Mack, Jennings, and Drew, runs onto the field.
- Kevin Costner as Sonny Weaver, Jr.
- Jennifer Garner as Ali Parker
- Denis Leary as Vince Penn
- Frank Langella as Anthony Molina
- Tom Welling as Brian Drew
- Ellen Burstyn as Barb Weaver
- Sam Elliott as Coach Moore
- Chadwick Boseman as Vontae Mack
- Rosanna Arquette as Angie
- Russ Brandon as himself
- Terry Crews as Earl Jennings
- Arian Foster as Ray Jennings
- Griffin Newman as Rick the Intern 
- Patrick St. Esprit as Tom Michaels
- Chi McBride as Walt Gordon
- W. Earl Brown as Ralph Mowry
- Kevin Dunn as Marvin
- Sean Combs as Chris Crawford
- Josh Pence as Bo Callahan
- Wallace Langham as Pete Begler
- Christopher Cousins as Max Stone
- Patrick Breen as Bill Zotti
- Pat Healy as Jeff Carson
- Roger Goodell as himself
- Jon Gruden as himself
- Jim Brown as himself
- Bernie Kosar as himself
- Chris Berman as himself
- David Ramsey as Thompson
- Rich Eisen as himself
- Ray Lewis as himself
Crowd reactions of fans at the actual 2013 NFL Draft, as well as Cleveland Browns fans at local bars, were filmed. Cameos with real-life NFL figures such as league commissioner Roger Goodell and ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman were filmed before and after the draft took place. The rest of the film began filming on May 8, 2013.
2014 NFL Draft
As in the film, the Cleveland Browns made splashes at the draft, trading up to select quarterback Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick. The team also made several deals, trading away their fourth pick to the Buffalo Bills but for their ninth pick, as well as their 2015 first round pick. They later traded up to the eighth pick to draft Justin Gilbert. Finally, after watching Manziel drop farther than projected, they again traded up for the 22nd pick. Chris Berman, who played himself in the fictionalized draft, commented at the 2014 NFL Draft that the events surrounding the Cleveland Browns were more exciting than the film. Unlike the film, the Browns selected the much-hyped Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, as opposed to passing on Bo Callahan, the fictionalized first pick favorite.
Draft Day has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 61%, based on 145 reviews. The site's consensus reads, "It's perfectly pleasant for sports buffs and Costner fans, but overall, Draft Day lives down to its title by relying too heavily on the sort of by-the-numbers storytelling that only a statistician could love". On the aggregated review site Metacritic, the film has a score of 54 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
On the contrary, Jack Hamilton of Slate was harshly critical. "The 'filmmaking' here consists of making sure the camera is pointed at people who are explaining the film's plot to one another, preferably while they are wearing logos and standing in front of more logos," he wrote. He suggested the NFL's involvement had made the film too upbeat. "[It] isn't so much a movie as a movielike infomercial for the kinder, gentler NFL ... In the wake of labor strife, off-field scandals, and the ongoing CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) crisis, the NFL is doubling down on its fantasy of paternalism, and Draft Day is that fantasy's porn film."
Former Green Bay Packers vice president Andrew Brandt criticized Draft Day as "lacking any true depiction of how an NFL team operates leading up to and during the draft", and less realistic about the business of sports than Jerry Maguire and Moneyball.
The film grossed $9,783,603 in its opening weekend, finishing in fourth place at the box office behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Rio 2, and Oculus (the latter two also being new releases).
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- McClintock, Pamela (13 April 2014). "Box Office: 'Captain America: Winter Soldier' Trumps 'Rio 2' With $41.4 Million". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
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- "Production Begins on Sports Dramedy DRAFT DAY; Sean Combs and Terry Crews Join the Cast". Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- Venable, Nick (13 May 2013). "Smallville's Tom Welling Hits The Gridiron In Ivan Reitman's Draft Day". cinemablend.com. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- Patten, Dominic (14 May 2013). "Sam Elliott Joins Ivan Reitman’s ‘Draft Day’". deadline.com. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "Check Out the Trailer and Poster for Draft Day, Starring Kevin Costner". comingsoon.net. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "Draft Day (2014)". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "Draft Day reviews". metacritic.com. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- Hamilton, Jack (April 10, 2014). "Draft Day movie: Kevin Costner and Roger Goodell star in the NFL’s version of Moneyball". Slate. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
- Brandt, Andrew (2014-04-16). "‘Draft Day’ Reality Checks". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for April 11-13, 2014". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- Official website
- Draft Day at the Internet Movie Database
- Draft Day at Box Office Mojo
- Draft Day at Rotten Tomatoes
- Draft Day at Metacritic