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Gold (2016 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Gaghan
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyRobert Elswit
Edited byDouglas Crise
Music byDaniel Pemberton
Distributed by
Release date
  • December 30, 2016 (2016-12-30) (United States)
Running time
121 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[3]
Box office$14.9 million[2]

Gold is a 2016 American crime drama film directed by Stephen Gaghan and written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Édgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson, Stacy Keach and Bruce Greenwood. The film is loosely based on the true story of the 1997 Bre-X mining scandal, when a massive gold deposit was supposedly discovered in the jungles of Indonesia;[4][5][6] however, for legal reasons and to enhance the appeal of the film, character names and story details were changed.[7][8]

Principal photography began on June 29, 2015, in New York City, New Mexico and Thailand. The film had a limited release in the United States on December 30, 2016, before going wide on January 27, 2017. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed nearly $15 million against a $20 million budget. The film received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.


In 1981, Kenny Wells helps to run a prospecting company, Washoe, with his father whom he clearly admires. But seven years after his father dies, the business and Kenny are nearly broke after having lost the office, so Kenny and his colleagues now work from his girlfriend's bar.

Kenny, now living with his girlfriend, Kay, has a dream that leads him to Indonesia where he meets up with geologist Michael Acosta. Both are struggling financially, but Kenny manages to convince Mike to go into business to acquire a gold prospect. Kenny then flies back to America and raises the promised money to finance their venture.

Unfortunately, the exploration program struggles and fails to show any gold, so the workers soon leave until Mike persuades them to come back with the promise of freshwater. Kenny contracts malaria and is bedridden for the next few weeks. When he finally wakes up, Mike reveals that they have had a strike and now have a huge gold deposit.

After celebrating, Kenny goes back to America where he sets up a new office for Washoe and is approached by a major Wall Street bank. Mike accompanies Kenny to their meeting and, after a disagreement, decides to bring some of the bank associates to Indonesia in order to show them the mine. This wins the bank over and it invests $20 million in Washoe, leading the venture to become a public company. Washoe proves to be a huge success and increases 70 points in its first day on the stock market.

Kenny's life becomes celebratory as he goes from one party to the next, but Kay, fearing that he will be tricked and cut out, argues with him and then leaves after seeing him flirting with another woman, Rachel Hill. He is interrupted by Mark Hancock, a high-profile executive of a major mining company, who approaches him regarding buying the company. Kenny meets with him the next day and is offered $300 million for a portion of the mine, but his company's name would be removed. Offended by this, Kenny declines the offer and storms out. The next day on his way into the office Mike phones to tell Kenny that the Indonesian Government has closed the mine; it is also revealed that a previous US president sits on the board in Hancock's company and that he is a friend of the Indonesian president Suharto.

Kenny is disconsolate and seems to be defeated, but Mike flies to the US and offers a plan to win their mine back. They manage to convince the president's son to join them in business after Kenny proves himself by stroking a tiger. The mine is reopened with Washoe receiving 15% of what now is a $30 billion business.

Kenny thinks of going back to Kay but, seeing her flirting with another man at her new job, decides against it. Kenny is then told that he has been honored with a golden pickaxe, the greatest prize for a prospector. The evening of the presentation comes, and he goes with Mike, who walks out during Kenny's speech.

The next day something has gone wrong as Kenny drives to his office and has to push his way through an angry crowd of people. It is then announced that Mike had faked the whole mine as he planted gold in the samples using a method called 'salting'. The gold that he planted was in fact 'river gold' that had been seen earlier in the film. Mike had traded freshwater for the people's river gold so that he could fake the gold mine. Mike is reported to have fled.

Kenny is then questioned by the FBI. He retells his story from a chair in his hotel room that he now cannot afford. The FBI agents seem to believe him and state that Mike was later captured by the Indonesian authorities while on the run and then possibly forced to jump out of a helicopter, some 1000 feet above the jungle. The corpse had its hands and face chewed clean off by wild animals, so Acosta's death is never proven. The agents also say that both the Indonesian minister and Mike dumped their stocks before the scandal broke and that Mike possessed 164 million US Dollars when he fled.

Kenny returns to Kay's house where he apologizes and later looks through his mail received since they have been apart. He opens one envelope and finds the napkin Mike and he signed as a contract, reading "50–50". Beneath the napkin is a deposit slip for $82 million to First Bank of Gibraltar, Queens Lane Branch, United Kingdom.




The project was first announced by Deadline on April 12, 2011, as a treasure hunt film titled Gold in the vein of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman as a writing sample and developed by Paul Haggis, who showed it to Michael Mann.[18] Mann liked the script and joined as director and producer for his banner Forward Pass, which Haggis would also produce along with Michael Nozik.[18] Later in August 2011, Variety reported that Christian Bale was being eyed for the lead role, and it was one of several projects he had to choose among at the time.[19]

In March 2012, Mann exited the project due to his involvement in the development of the film Big Tuna and an untitled cyber thriller film (later titled Blackhat).[20] On October 17, 2012, Black Bear Pictures came on board to fully finance and produce the film.[21] Black Bear's Teddy Schwarzman and Ben Stillman would produce the film along with Haggis and Nozik through their Hwy61, and Massett and Zinman would also produce the film.[21]

On May 16, 2013, TheWrap reported that Spike Lee replaced Mann to direct the film when Mann left to start production on his untitled cyber thriller film that was eventually titled Blackhat.[20]

On August 22, 2014, Deadline confirmed that Matthew McConaughey would be next starring in the film Gold.[10]

On January 28, 2015, it was announced that the film would be directed by Stephen Gaghan, replacing Lee, and it would be shot in June 2015 in New York City, New Mexico and Thailand, while the film's foreign sales would be handled by Sierra/Affinity.[22] Producers would be Schwarzman and Nozik, along with Massett, Zinman and McConaughey, while Haggis would executive-produce along with Richard Middleton.[22] On February 12, 2015, Sierra/Affinity sold the film to international distributors at European Film Market in Berlin.[23] Édgar Ramírez was added to the cast on March 18, 2015, to play the role of geologist Michael Acosta.[12] On March 30, 2015, The Weinstein Company acquired the film's US distribution rights for $15 million, and the film would release domestically through company's TWC-Dimension label.[24] On May 15, 2015, Michelle Williams was set to star alongside McConaughey, to play his character's wife.[25] Joshua Harto signed-on on June 3, 2015, to play Lloyd Stanton, the businessman's bank account manager.[14] Timothy Simons was added to the cast on June 12, 2015, to play a Wall Street banker who is coaxed by the duo to inspect the potential value of the company in the jungles of Borneo.[9] Michael Landes also signed-on on June 29, 2015, to star in the film.[15] On August 28, 2015, Bryce Dallas Howard was confirmed to cast in the film for the female lead role of Kay, Wells' longtime girlfriend,[13] replacing Michelle Williams.[26] The other cast added included Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Bruce Greenwood, and Stacy Keach.[13] Daniel Pemberton composed the film's score.[27]


Principal photography on the film began on June 29, 2015, in Thailand.[28] From mid-August to mid-September, the film shot in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area, before moving on to Reno, Nevada for exterior scenes.[29][30] Early October, filming began in New York City in Manhattan.[31]


Originally scheduled to open wide on December 25, 2016, it was pushed back to opening wide on January 27, with the December 25 release staying a limited release in order to qualify for awards.[32][33] The film's limited release was then pushed back to December 30, 2016, four days after its presumed date.[1] The Weinstein Company agreed to spend $20 million on marketing the film.[34]


Box office[edit]

The film was a box office bomb, it grossed $7.2 million in the United States and Canada and $7.6 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $14.8 million, against 20 million dollars budget.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Gold was released alongside A Dog's Purpose and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and was projected to gross around $3 million from 2,166 theaters in its opening weekend.[35] It ended up grossing $3.5 million, finishing 10th at the box office.[36] The film dropped 60% in its second weekend, grossing $1.4 million and finishing 14th at the box office.[37]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 43% based on 185 reviews, with an average rating of 5.23/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Gold boasts an impressively committed performance from Matthew McConaughey, but it's just one glittering nugget in an otherwise uneven heap of cinematic silt."[38] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 49 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[39] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave the film a 67% overall positive score.[36]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
2016 20th Hollywood Film Awards Hollywood Ensemble Award Won [40]
2017 74th Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song Nominated [41]
43rd Saturn Awards Best Action or Adventure Film
Nominated [42]
Best Actor Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Nominated


Below is the track listing to the soundtrack for the film:[43]

Track listing
No.TitlePerformed byLength
1."Gold"Iggy Pop3:14
2."Ron Klaus Wrecked His House"Big Dipper5:06
3."This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"Kishi Bashi3:28
4."Spill The Wine"The Isley Brothers6:32
5."I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight"Richard & Linda Thompson3:09
6."Rip It Up"Orange Juice5:21
7."Blue Monday"New Order7:00
9."Atmosphere"Joy Division4:10
10."1880 Or So (Clean)"Television3:39


  1. ^ a b c Hazelton, John (January 2, 2017). "'Gold': Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Gold (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "Gold on DVD: Top 10 facts about the element ahead of Matthew McConaughey film release". Daily Express. June 5, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Seskus, Tony (January 26, 2017). "Matthew McConaughey takes on Bre-X, but the real story behind Gold is crazier than fiction". Calgary Herald.
  5. ^ Gilligan, Melissa. "Bre-X investment scandal hits the big screen in 'Gold' starring Matthew McConaughey". Global News. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  6. ^ Willis, Andrew. "'Gold' misses out on rich story behind real-life Bre-X scandal". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  7. ^ Freeman, Sunny. "Gold: The movie about the Bre-X mining scandal that 'isn't about Bre-X'". The Financial Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  8. ^ Glasner, Eli. "'They couldn't believe it was true:' Bre-X's Hollywood makeover". CBC. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Ford, Rebecca (June 12, 2015). "'Veep' Actor Timothy Simons Joins Matthew McConaughey in 'Gold' (Exclusive)". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (August 22, 2014). "Does TV Hurt Movie Careers? 'True Detective's Matthew McConaughey Coveted For 'The Stand' And 'Gold'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  11. ^ "Bre-X tale rich with Hollywood drama: Jennifer Wells - The Star". Toronto Star. 30 December 2016.
  12. ^ a b Ge, Linda (March 18, 2015). "Edgar Ramirez Joins Matthew McConaughey in Mining Drama 'Gold'". thewrap.com. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Hipes, Patrick (August 28, 2015). "Bryce Dallas Howard Joins Matthew McConaughey In 'Gold'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (June 3, 2015). "Josh Harto Finds 'Gold'; Raul Castillo Joins 'Special Correspondents' – Film Briefs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Sun, Rebecca (June 29, 2015). "Michael Landes Joins Matthew McConaughey in 'Gold' (Exclusive)". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Duggan, Patrick (7 October 2016). "New Trailer For Gold starring Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez and Bryce Dallas Howard". flickeringmyth.com. Aime Cranswick. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  17. ^ "Interview : Danny Winn". 21 October 2017.
  18. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 12, 2011). "Michael Mann Eyes 'Gold' Hunt As Next Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  19. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 24, 2011). "Christian Bale weighs post-Batman projects". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  20. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (May 16, 2013). "Spike Lee Attached to Direct Former Michael Mann Movie 'Gold' (Exclusive)". thewrap.com. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  21. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 17, 2012). "Black Bear Pictures To Finance Mining Scandal Drama 'Gold'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  22. ^ a b McNary, Dave (January 28, 2015). "Berlin: Matthew McConaughey's 'Gold' Starts Shooting in June". variety.com. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  23. ^ Jaafar, Ali (February 12, 2015). "Sierra/Affinity Strikes 'Gold' At EFM—Berlin". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  24. ^ McClintock, Pamela; Kit, Borys (March 30, 2015). "Matthew McConaughey's 'Gold' Lands U.S. Home With The Weinstein Co". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  25. ^ Kroll, Justin (May 15, 2015). "Michelle Williams Joins Matthew McConaughey Mining Drama 'Gold' (EXCLUSIVE)". variety.com. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  26. ^ Babbage, Rachel (August 29, 2015). "Bryce Dallas Howard signs up for Gold alongside Matthew McConaughey". Digital Spy. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  27. ^ "Daniel Pemberton Scoring Stephen Gaghan 'Gold'". Film Music Reporter. September 5, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  28. ^ "On the Set for 6/29/15: Justin Lin Rolls Cameras on 'Star Trek Beyond', Emilia Clarke Wraps 'Me Before You'". ssninsider.com. June 29, 2015. Archived from the original on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  29. ^ Gomez, Adrian (July 30, 2015). "McConaughey brings latest project, 'Gold,' to ABQ". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  30. ^ Gomez, Adrian (January 26, 2017). "McConaughey's latest movie filmed partly in NM". Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  31. ^ "Where you can find Matthew McConaughey filming 'Gold' in NYC". onlocationvacations.com. October 5, 2015. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  32. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 21, 2016). "Matthew McConaughey Movie 'Gold' Stakes Out Christmas Day Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  33. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 21, 2016). "Matthew McConaughey-Starrer 'Gold' Keeps Awards Window But Moves Wide Release To January 27". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  34. ^ Thompson, Anne (30 March 2015). "Weinsteins' Dimension Drops Big Bucks on 'Gold' Starring Matthew McConaughey".
  35. ^ "Box Office: Can 'A Dog's Purpose' Still Win the Weekend After Canine Controversy?". Variety. 24 January 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  36. ^ a b "Is Controversy Impacting 'A Dog's Purpose' At The Box Office?". Deadline Hollywood. 29 January 2017.
  37. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (February 6, 2017). "'Split' Dings 'Rings'; Auds Keep Distance From 'Space'; 'Comedian' Bombs: Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood.
  38. ^ "Gold (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  39. ^ "Gold Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  40. ^ "Mel Gibson to be Honored with Hollywood Director Award". Hollywood Film Awards. October 24, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  41. ^ "Golden Globes 2017: The Complete List of Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. December 12, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  42. ^ McNary, Dave (March 2, 2017). "Saturn Awards Nominations 2017: 'Rogue One,' 'Walking Dead' Lead". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  43. ^ "Various Artists - Gold - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Amazon. Retrieved June 28, 2018.

External links[edit]