Focus (2015 film)

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2015 Focus film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by Denise Di Novi
Written by
  • Glenn Ficarra
  • John Requa
Music by Nick Urata
Cinematography Xavier Pérez Grobet
Edited by Jan Kovac[1]
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • February 27, 2015 (2015-02-27)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50.1 million[3]
Box office $154 million[4]

Focus is a 2015 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Rodrigo Santoro, the film was released on February 27, 2015.[5]


Seasoned con-man Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) goes to a nightclub, where a very inexperienced grifter, Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie), attempts to seduce him and later pretends that they've been caught by her jealous husband, in order to con Nicky. Seeing through their deception, Nicky exposes their plan and advises them never to lose focus when faced with unexpected situations before leaving. Jess finds him in another nightclub a few days later and convinces Nicky to become her mentor by detailing all information she acquired on him, including that his father, Bucky Spurgeon, was forced to shoot Nicky's grandfather after a con gone wrong, a ploy known as the "Toledo Panic Button."

Nick takes Jess to New Orleans, where she is introduced to Nicky's crew. She picks a few pockets as a test, and soon Nicky and Jess develop a romantic relationship, upsetting Nicky, who was taught by his father to never become emotionally involved with anyone in their line of business. At the 17th Associated Football Franchise of America Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome between the Chicago Rhinos and the Miami Threshers, Nicky and Jess con a compulsive gambler, Liyuan Tse (B.D. Wong) out of all his money, after making Tse pick a player's number, 55, from the game---a number that he was psychologically programmed by Nicky and his crew to pick which would be the same number worn on the Chicago sideline by a person Jess would easily recognize: Farhad (Adrian Martinez), a member of the crew. Nicky later explains that Jess was the "little blind mouse" who was not supposed to know until later that Nicky was running a game on Tse the whole time. Afterwards, Nicky gives Jess her share but reluctantly sends her away, leaving her heartbroken.

Three years later, Nicky is in Buenos Aires, working for billionaire motorsport team owner Rafael Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro). Garriga needs to beat a team headed by Australian businessman McEwen (Robert Taylor) to win the championship. Nicky will pretend to be a disgruntled technician on Garriga's team and will sell a bogus component to McEwen, slowing their car down during the race. At a pre-race party, Nicky runs into Jess, who is now Garriga's girlfriend. Nicky has a convincing fight with Garriga in public and is recruited by McEwen to provide the component.

Nicky begins pursuing Jess again, and they eventually rekindle their relationship. The head of Garriga's security entourage, Owens (Gerald McRaney), is suspicious and follows Nicky and Jess. Nicky delivers the component to McEwen for three million euros but also sells it to the other teams for similar amounts. While he is waiting for Jess at his hotel room, he receives a text saying "You're burned leave now" meaning he is exposed and should leave immediately.

Nicky and Jess attempt to return to the United States together. However, they are caught by Garriga's men and taken to Garriga's garage, where Nicky pleads for Jess's life and is beaten by Garriga. Nicky explains his game. It involved wooing Jess (again) enough to plant a necklace on her with a device that would remotely read Garriga's keystrokes on his laptop, thus giving Nicky the password to download the specs for the component onto his own laptop. In other words, Jess was the "little blind mouse" in Nicky's con once again. However, Jess then reveals that she was only trying to seduce Garriga in order to steal his valuable watch, and afterward Owens shoots Nicky in the chest, causing a horrified Garriga to leave. Owens then reveals himself to be Nicky's father, Bucky, and assures Jess that he avoided any major arteries. He simply employed the "Toledo Panic Button." Bucky then tapes up Nicky's wounds and draws excess blood out of his son's chest with a metal plunger so that he can breathe again. They flee the garage in Garriga's vehicle.

Bucky drives Nicky and Jess to the hospital to treat Nicky's punctured lung and departs with Nicky's money as a reminder of the consequences of losing focus. After he leaves, Jess reveals that she snatched Garriga's watch before he left the warehouse, and a smiling Nicky and Jess then go into the hospital together.



Apollo Robbins served as a consultant, conceiving and choreographing original sleight-of-hand maneuvers. Directors Ficarra and Requa stated, "Apollo is the foremost expert in his field and is an inspiration to us." The directing duo and production designer Beth Mickle made a scouting trip to Buenos Aires in June and a second trip with producers Denise Di Novi and Mark Scoon, in which they finally settled to shoot in the neighborhoods of San Telmo, Puerto Madero, Barracas, Retiro, Recoleta and Palermo, as well as Ezeiza Airport and a few hotels.[6] Neil Smith spoke at the Digital Cinema Society forum dropping several hints as to the identity of a film being edited in Final Cut Pro X in a December 2013 presentation. This would make Focus the largest production yet completed in Apple's editing program.


Principal photography began on September 14, 2013 in New Orleans, and moved over to Buenos Aires on November 19, 2013 for three weeks.[7] The last day of shooting in Argentina was on December 10.[8] Filming wrapped in New York City on December 17, 2013.[9]


The film was released on February 27, 2015.[5] On January 29, 2015, WB and IMAX Corporation announced that they would digitally re-master the film into the immersive IMAX DMR format, also for release on the same date.[10]

Box office[edit]

Focus grossed $53.8 million in North America and $100.1 million in other territories for a total gross of $154 million, against a budget of $50.1 million.[4]

The film grossed $6.4 million in its opening day, $7.6 million on its second day and $4.6 million on its third day, totaling $18.7 million in its opening weekend, while playing in 3,323 theaters (a $5,623 per-theatre average), finishing first place at the box office.[11]

The film was also released in the theatres of 39 markets of other territories in same weekend of its North America release, and grossed an estimated $12.2 million. Its biggest territories were UK ($13 million), Russia ($3.1 million) and Netherlands ($1,765,832).[12][13]

Critical response[edit]

Focus has received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes has reported a 56% approval rating, based on 181 reviews, with a rating average of 5.8/10. The site's consensus reads, "Focus may have a few too many twists and turns, but it nearly skates by on its glamorous setting and the charm of its stars."[14] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 56 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]

Film review blog Movie Metropolis praised Smith and Robbie's performances but criticised the lack of depth given to the rest of the story, which the reviewer felt was struggling with what genre it was trying to be.[16] On a similar note, critic David Palmer of The Reel Deal gave the film 5/10, saying, that "two likable leads and some colorful locations do not make a great movie, but they certainly help to elevate an otherwise average one."[17]

The Free Press Journal called the film "smart, slick, but shallow".[18]

Home media[edit]

Focus was released on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on June 2, 2015.[19][20]


The soundtrack album was released on February 24, 2015 by WaterTower Music.[21]

  1. "I'm a Manchild" - Uptown Funk Empire (Bruno Hovart)
  2. "Sofa Rockers (Richard Dorfmeister Remix)" - Sofa Surfers
  3. "Please!" - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  4. "Wind It Up" - Stooges Brass Band
  5. "You Don't Have to Worry" - Doris & Kelley
  6. "Meet Me in the City" - Junior Kimbrough
  7. "Gimme Danger" - Iggy & the Stooges
  8. "Chorra" - Los Mareados
  9. "La Espada de Cadorna" - Mauro Alberelli, Fernando Diego, Barreyro, Maria Carla Flores, Fermin Echeveste, Manuel Gonzalez Aguilar, Mateo Gonzalez Aguilar and Carlos Maximiliano Russo
  10. "Gerli Hood" - Ivan Diaz Mathe, Jorge Estenbenet, Sebastian Martinez, Francisco Olivero, Daniel Michel, Juan Manuel Meyer and Gala Iglesias Brickles featuring Camilo Costaldi Lira and Alberto Manuel Rodriguez
  11. "Corazon de Piedra (Te Amo)" - Alenjandro Medina
  12. "White Bird" - It's a Beautiful Day
  13. "Love Makes the World Go Round" - Barbara Lewis
  14. "Focus (Love Theme)" - Nick Urata
  15. "The Windmills of Your Mind" - Ray Conniff and The Singers


  1. ^ Jan Kovac Filmography -- IMDb
  2. ^ "FOCUS (18)". British Board of Film Classification. December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Focus cost 50.1M to produce". 
  4. ^ a b "Focus (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Warner Bros Dates ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ For 2015 MLK Weekend; Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ Set For February 2015". 20 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Will Smith/Rodrigo Santoro Comedy "Focus" Will be Wrapping Up Filming in Argentina". Filming in Argentina: The blog of San Telmo Productions. 
  7. ^ "The Fresh Prince of Polo: A casual Will Smith hangs out with Argentine model during break from filming new movie Focus". Mail Online. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Will Smith & Margot Robbie Keep Their Distance On Their Last Day Of Shooting In Argentina". Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Will Smith and Margot Robbie Wrap "Focus"". Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  10. ^ Evry, Max (January 29, 2015). "IMAX to Release Focus, Starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie". Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Focus daily Gross". Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Around-the-World: 'Fifty Shades' Approaches $500 Million Worldwide". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Focus International Box office Week#1". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Focus". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Focus Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ ""Reasonably Accomplished" Focus Review". Movie Metropolis. February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  17. ^ ""Some Charm, Little Brain in 'Focus'"". The Reel Deal. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  18. ^ Torcato, Ronita (13 March 2015). "Movie Review: Focus – Smart, slick, but shallow". The Free Press Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Focus". 2015. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Focus Soundtrack List". 

External links[edit]