Fist Fight

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Fist Fight
Fist Fight.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichie Keen
Screenplay by
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyEric Alan Edwards
Edited byMatthew Freund
Music byDominic Lewis
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures[1]
Release dates
Running time
90 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$22–25 million[3][4]
Box office$41.1 million[5]

Fist Fight is a 2017 American comedy film directed by Richie Keen and written by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser. The film stars Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell with Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani and Dennis Haysbert in supporting roles.

When school teacher Andy Campbell causes another teacher's termination, he is challenged to an after-school fist fight.

The film premiered in Los Angeles on February 13, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on February 17, 2017. It grossed $41 million worldwide and received negative reviews from critics. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 30, 2017.


On the last day before summer vacation, students devise an elaborate Senior Prank. Faculty members are trying to survive the chaotic day as best they can, but only the history teacher Ron Strickland is fierce enough to intimidate the students into behaving. Meanwhile, English teacher Andy Campbell is awaiting news of the birth of his second child with his wife Maggie. While teaching, Campbell is pulled aside by his school counselor friend Holly, to inform him of rumors of downsizing of all departments. Given his pregnant wife and child, this renders Campbell extremely anxious.

After preventing Campbell from walking into a paint trap, Strickland asks for his assistance in using an outdated AV system which keeps turning off after a couple of seconds. Campbell catches a student named Neil secretly using a remote control app on his smartphone to turn off the VCR. An infuriated Strickland grabs the phone and smashes it. Neil, using another classmate's phone, turns the TV off again and it enrages Strickland, who grabs a fire axe and destroys Neil's desk, sending the class screaming and panicking from the room.

Both Campbell and Strickland are brought to Principal Richard Tyler's office to discuss the matter. Strickland warns Campbell to keep his behavior a secret, but after Tyler threatens to fire them both if no one steps forward, Campbell tells the truth, resulting in the loss of Strickland's job. In retaliation, Strickland challenges Campbell to a fist fight after school.

Campbell is convinced that he physically does not stand a chance against Strickland, and tries to set matters straight by asking Neil to share a false testimony to Principal Tyler in order to clear Strickland's name and have him reinstated. Neil agrees on the condition that Campbell buy him a MacBook Pro. After doing so, Campbell runs into Maggie and his daughter Ally who remind him to arrive promptly that afternoon for Ally's father-daughter talent show. Neil's false account is enough to convince Principal Tyler to reinstate Strickland.

Campbell and Strickland receive an emergency call from Holly. The two meet up with her in a mock United Nations debate room and discover she tricked them into coming there so they could talk through their issues, with Holly acting as mediator. When Campbell tells Strickland that he was able to get him his job back, Strickland is further enraged, stating that Campbell should have told him about this plan before acting, and citing the mishandling of the school system. The fight is still on.

Campbell tries to call 9-1-1 for help, but after telling the operator that he's a teacher and that another teacher wants to fight him, she hangs up on him after laughing at the situation. After seeking the advice of Holly and Coach Crawford, Campbell resolves to have Strickland removed from the campus before the day's end. As a last resort, Campbell threatens Neil into giving him the drug MDMA. As Principal Tyler finds his Toyota Prius vandalized and parked in the school's lobby, Campbell plants the MDMA in Strickland's satchel. Campbell calls the police in the hopes of having Strickland arrested, but the attempt is botched and both teachers are incarcerated.

The two teachers share a cell with other inmates, and Campbell goes across the cell and tricks an enormous inmate into giving Strickland a beating, but only when signaled. Campbell then returns to Strickland in order to trick him into giving the signal, but Strickland instead tells Campbell that the fight is called off after everything that they have been through the day. When the inmate nonetheless attacks Strickland, Strickland easily knocks him out. Upon realizing Campbell's actions, Strickland declares the fight back on. The two are then released after the police discover the drug used to frame Strickland was only aspirin.

Campbell heads back to the school to meet up with the school board, Tyler, and Superintendent Johnson, but learns that his colleagues have all been fired. Impatient after being told to wait for nearly an hour, Campbell barges into the meeting and learns that he is one of the few to remain at his position. However, Campbell stands his ground and voices his complaints about the public school system not receiving the respect and materials it truly needs. Campbell heads over to Ally's talent show, where Ally's rendition of Big Sean's "I Don't Fuck with You" inspires him to finally stand up to Strickland.

In the school parking lot, Campbell and Strickland confront each other and engage in a frenzied fight that is dragged throughout the school and sees both men gaining the upper hand at different moments. Campbell briefly knocks Strickland out with a fire extinguisher and celebrates only to be sucker-punched by Strickland after he gets up. Strickland then answers Campbell's phone and learns that Maggie is about to give birth, at which point he shows mercy on Campbell and drives him to the hospital - thus ending the fight on friendly terms.

That summer, Tyler arrives at the Campbell household to tell Campbell that the publicity and public outcry the fight generated has put the Department of Education in a position where they need to put more effort and money into their schools, and must rehire Campbell and Strickland. Campbell accepts on the condition that the rest of his colleagues be reinstated as well. As the new school year begins, the faculty return to their respective positions. Campbell and Strickland, now best friends, are ready to enforce learning with Campbell being much more assertive towards the students.

In a post-credits scene, Crawford is seen flirting with the 911 operator in person. After rapping for her, Crawford realizes that he doesn't know her name.


  • Ice Cube as Ron Strickland, a tough and hot-headed history teacher and Campbell's colleague.
  • Charlie Day as Andrew "Andy"/"Light Roast" Campbell, the main protagonist, a mild-mannered English teacher.
  • Tracy Morgan as Coach Crawford, a comical gym teacher.
  • Jillian Bell as Miss Holly, a lecherous guidance counselor under the influence of various vices.
  • Christina Hendricks as Ms. Monet, an intense drama teacher who wants Strickland to beat Campbell.
  • Kumail Nanjiani as Officer Mehar, the school security guard who dislikes profanity.
  • Dean Norris as Richard Tyler, the disgruntled and pompous principal of the Roosevelt High School.
  • Austin Zajur as Neil, a mischievous student at Roosevelt High School.
  • Dennis Haysbert as Superintendent Johnson, the superintendent of the school district that Roosevelt High School is in.
  • JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Maggie Campbell, the devoted, loving and pregnant wife of Andy.
  • Alexa Nisenson as Ally Campbell, Andy and Maggie's daughter
  • Kym Whitley as 911 Operator
  • Max Carver as Daniel
  • Charlie Carver as Nathaniel
  • Stephnie Weir as Suzie


In December 2013, it was announced that New Line Cinema was developing Fist Fight, a comedy from writers Van Robichaux and Evan Susser.[6] On June 9, 2015, Ice Cube and Charlie Day were cast in the film, which 21 Laps Entertainment produced, along with its Shawn Levy, as well as Billy Rosenberg and Max Greenfield.[7] On July 10, Richie Keen was confirmed to direct the film, while Dan Cohen was set to also produce.[8] On September 15, 2015, Jillian Bell and Dean Norris were also cast in the film,[9] and on September 21, 2015, Tracy Morgan, JoAnna Garcia, and Dennis Haysbert joined the cast.[10] On September 25, 2015, Christina Hendricks was added to the cast,[11] and Kym Whitley was later confirmed to appear.[12]

Principal photography on the film began on September 28, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia,[13][14] and ended on November 23, 2015.[15]


Box office[edit]

Fist Fight grossed $32.2 million in the United States and Canada and $8.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $41.1 million.[5]

In North America, the film opened on February 17, 2017, alongside A Cure for Wellness and The Great Wall, and was initially projected to gross $15–20 million from 3,184 theaters in its opening weekend.[16] After grossing $600,000 from Thursday night previews and $3.8 million on its first day, projections were lowered to $10–12 million. The film went on to open to $12.2 million, finishing 5th at the box office.[3]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 25% based on 134 reviews and an average rating of 4.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Fist Fight boasts a surplus of comedic muscle but flails lazily, and far too few of its jokes land with enough force to register."[17] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 37 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[19][20]

Writing for, Glenn Kenny gave the film of 3 out of 4 stars, saying: "Fist Fight stands up, at least a little bit, for storytelling".[21] In contrast, Richard Roeper gave the film zero out of four stars and wrote that he disliked the film enough to wish for a technical malfunction to disrupt the showing.[22] British film critic Mark Kermode called it "Shoddily written, screechingly performed, crude, crass, endurance-testing... It's utter, utter, utter rubbish."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Film releases". Variety Insight. Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  2. ^ "Fist Fight (15)". British Board of Film Classification. January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Another Holiday Weekend Where Holdovers Reign & New Studio Releases Tank: Presidents' Day B.O." Deadline Hollywood.
  4. ^ "2017 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study: 23. August 8, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Fist Fight (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (December 12, 2013). "New Line Engages In 'Fist Fight' Pitch With 'New Girl's Max Greenfield". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 9, 2015). "Charlie Day & Ice Cube Put on the Gloves For 'Fist Fight' At New Line". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (July 10, 2015). "Ice Cube, Charlie Day's Comedy 'Fist Fight' Finds Director". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (September 15, 2015). "Jillian Bell and Dean Norris Join Ice Cube and Charlie Day in 'Fist Fight' (Exclusive)". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  10. ^ Pedersen, Erik (September 21, 2015). "Tracy Morgan, JoAnna Garcia Swisher & Dennis Haysbert Put Up Dukes For 'Fist Fight'". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (September 25, 2015). "Christina Hendricks in Talks to Join Ice Cube, Charlie Day in 'Fist Fight' (Exclusive)". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Pedersen, Erik (September 25, 2015). "Kym Whitley Joins 'Fist Fight', by WB and TCF 'LBJ' Adds 2 New Cast Members, Louis Gossett, Jr. Enlists In 'Operation Insanity'". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "On the Set for 10/2/15: Renee Zellweger Starts on 'Bridget Jones' Baby', Clint Eastwood Rolls Cameras on Tom Hanks Starrer 'Sully'". October 2, 2015. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "'Fist Fight' Starring Ice Cube Casting Call for High School Students". September 22, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "On the Set for 12/4/15: Gal Gadot Grabs Her Lasso for 'Wonder Woman', Brad Pitt Wraps 'War Machine', 'Resident Evil' Team Finish Final Chapter". SSN Insider. December 4, 2015. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  16. ^ "Matt Damon's 'Great Wall' poised for soft U.S. opening against 'Lego Batman' and 'Fifty Shades'". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ "Fist Fight (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  18. ^ "Fist Fight reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  19. ^ McNary, Dave (February 19, 2017). "Box Office: 'Lego Batman' Flies High Over 'Great Wall,' 'Fist Fight'". Variety.
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 20, 2017). "Holdovers Reign Over Presidents Day Weekend, But Why Did The New Releases Tank?". Deadline Hollywood. CinemaScore crowds gave the movie a B, which is under the B+s earned by Day’s Horrible Bosses movies and Cube’s Ride Along (A) and Ride Along 2 (B+).
  21. ^ Kenny, Glenn (February 17, 2017). "Fist Fight Review". Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  22. ^ "Don't subject yourself to mean, humor-free 'Fist Fight'". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  23. ^ Mark Kermode (March 3, 2017). Fist Fight reviewed by Mark Kermode. YouTube. Retrieved April 4, 2022.

External links[edit]