Focus (2015 film)

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2015 Focus film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced byDenise Di Novi
Written by
  • Glenn Ficarra
  • John Requa
Music byNick Urata
CinematographyXavier Pérez Grobet
Edited byJan Kovac[1]
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • February 11, 2015 (2015-02-11) (London)
  • February 27, 2015 (2015-02-27) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50.1 million[3]
Box office$158.8 million[4]

Focus is a 2015 American crime comedy-drama film written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie. The plot follows a career con artist who takes an aspiring femme fatale under his wing.

The film was released on February 27, 2015. It received mixed reviews from critics but was a success at the box office, grossing $158 million against its $50 million budget.


Seasoned con-man Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) goes to an upscale restaurant, where an inexperienced grifter, Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie), seduces him, and then pretends they've been caught by her jealous husband. When the deception fails, Nicky advises them never to lose focus when faced with unexpected situations. Nicky follows Jess, and convinces her to have a drink with him. Over drinks, he tells her the story of how his father killed his grandfather in a stand-off, explaining the tactic called a "Toledo Panic Button" which means that you shoot your partner to show you're loyal.

Jess follows Nicky to New Orleans, successful in persuading Nicky to take her under his wing, where she is also introduced to Nicky's crew as well, including the obese and profane Farhad (Adrian Martinez) and fellow con-man Horst (Brennan Brown). 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, Nicky gets into a round of increasingly extravagant bets with gambler Liyuan Tse (B.D. Wong), eventually losing all of the money the crew has earned.

To win it back, Nicky asks Tse to pick any player on or off the field and says that Jess will guess the number picked. A distraught Jess scans the field and notices Farhad wearing jersey number 55 and realizes it is another con. They take Tse for millions of dollars. Nicky explains to Jess how Tse had been programmed to pick 55 since he arrived, with subtle, subconscious prompts throughout his day. Afterwards, Nicky, wary of his growing emotional involvement, leaves Jess by the side of the road with her cut. He instructs the driver to take her to the airport. Jess cries as her limo drives off, leaving Nicky to climb into another waiting car.

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 willing to sell Garriga's custom fuel use algorithm EXR. Instead he will sell McEwen a bogus version which will slow their car down during the race. At a pre-race party, Nicky runs into Jess, who is now Garriga's girlfriend. After faking heavy drinking upon seeing Jess, Nicky has a convincing fight with Garriga in public and after being thrown out, 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 narrowly misses catching the two together. Nicky delivers the component to McEwen for three million euros but also sells it to the other teams for similar amounts.

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. Jess is tied up and her mouth is taped shut whilst Nicky is given a beating. Nicky has actually sold the real EXR to all of the various teams. Garriga is convinced that Jess had something to do with Nicky gaining access to EXR and begins to suffocate the gagged Jess by holding her nose. In order to save Jess, Nicky explains that he gained access to EXR through tricking Jess into believing he still had feelings for her. That the necklace he had given to Jess was equipped to secretly record Garriga's password and login information. He explains that Jess was conned and knew nothing about this. However, Jess then reveals that she was only trying to seduce Garriga in order to steal his valuable watch and to make Nicky jealous.

Nicky promises to come clean in order to spare Jess's life but Owens shoots him 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, Nicky notices that Jess 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.[5]

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,[citation needed] and moved over to Buenos Aires on November 19, 2013 for three weeks. The last day of shooting in Argentina was on December 10.[6] Filming wrapped in New York City on December 17, 2013.[7]


The film was released in 2015 in the US and Germany.[8] 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.[9]

Box office[edit]

Focus grossed $53.9 million in North America and $104.9 million in other territories for a total gross of $158.8 million, against a production 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.[10] 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 the United Kingdom ($13 million), Russia ($3.1 million) and Netherlands ($1,765,832).[11][12]

Critical response[edit]

Focus received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 56%, based on 223 reviews, with a rating average of 5.82/10. 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."[13] 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".[14] According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[15]

The Free Press Journal called the film "smart, slick, but shallow".[16]

Home media[edit]

Focus was released on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on June 2, 2015.[17][18]


The soundtrack album was released on February 24, 2015 by WaterTower Music.[19]

  1. "I'm a Manchild" – Uptown Funk Empire
  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. "Sympathy for the Devil" - The Rolling Stones
  8. "Gimme Danger" – The Stooges
  9. "Chorra" – Los Mareados
  10. "La Espada de Cadorna" – Mauro Alberelli, Fernando Diego, Barreyro, Maria Carla Flores, Fermin Echeveste, Manuel Gonzalez Aguilar, Mateo Gonzalez Aguilar and Carlos Maximiliano Russo
  11. "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
  12. "Corazon de Piedra (Te Amo)" – Alenjandro Medina
  13. "White Bird" – It's a Beautiful Day
  14. "Love Makes the World Go Round" – Barbara Lewis
  15. "Focus (Love Theme)" – Nick Urata
  16. "The Windmills of Your Mind" – Ray Conniff and The Singers


  1. ^ "Jan Kovac". IMDb. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  2. ^ "FOCUS (15)". British Board of Film Classification. December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  3. ^ "Focus cost 50.1M to produce". Variety.
  4. ^ a b "Focus (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  5. ^ "Will Smith/Rodrigo Santoro Comedy "Focus" Will be Wrapping Up Filming in Argentina". Filming in Argentina: The blog of San Telmo Productions.
  6. ^ "Will Smith & Margot Robbie Keep Their Distance On Their Last Day Of Shooting In Argentina". Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  7. ^ "Will Smith and Margot Robbie Wrap "Focus"". Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  8. ^ "Warner Bros Dates 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' For 2015 MLK Weekend; Will Smith's 'Focus' Set For February 2015". February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  9. ^ Evry, Max (January 29, 2015). "IMAX to Release Focus, Starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie". Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  10. ^ "Focus daily Gross". Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "Around-the-World: 'Fifty Shades' Approaches $500 Million Worldwide". Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  12. ^ "Focus International Box office Week#1". Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  13. ^ "Focus (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  14. ^ "Focus Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  16. ^ Torcato, Ronita (March 13, 2015). "Movie Review: Focus – Smart, slick, but shallow". The Free Press Journal. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  17. ^ "Focus". 2015.
  18. ^ "Focus". June 2, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2016 – via
  19. ^ "Focus Soundtrack List". Archived from the original on March 1, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2015.

External links[edit]