Grimsby (film)

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The Brothers Grimsby poster.png
British theatrical release poster
Directed byLouis Leterrier
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Phil Johnston
Produced by
  • Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Nira Park
  • Peter Baynham
  • Ant Hines
  • Todd Schulman
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited by
Music by
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • 24 February 2016 (2016-02-24) (United Kingdom)
  • 11 March 2016 (2016-03-11) (United States)
Running time
83 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
Budget$35 million[3]
Box office$28 million[4]

Grimsby (released in the United States and Canada as The Brothers Grimsby) is a 2016 action comedy film directed by Louis Leterrier and written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston, and Peter Baynham. The film stars Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Gabourey Sidibe, Penélope Cruz, and Ian McShane. It was co-produced by Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, Four By Two Films, Big Talk Productions and Working Title Films.

Grimsby was released by Sony Pictures Releasing on 24 February 2016 in the United Kingdom and 11 March 2016 in the United States. It received mixed reviews and proved to be a box-office failure, ultimately not recouping its budget.


"Nobby" Butcher (Sacha Baron Cohen) had been separated from his little brother Sebastian for 28 years. During their years apart, Nobby has become an alcoholic football hooligan and has started his own life with his girlfriend Dawn (Rebel Wilson) & their eleven children in the English seaport town of Grimsby.

Sebastian, now known as Sebastian Graves (Mark Strong), has become one of MI6's top agents. After completing an interrogation, Sebastian comes into information regarding philanthropist Rhonda George (Penélope Cruz), who is hosting a benefit called WorldCure and is a potential target for assassination, and is assigned to go. Nobby's friends at the pub also find out that his brother will be at WorldCure and convince Nobby to go there and reconnect with him. At the event, Sebastian sees a hitman, Pavel Lukashenko (Scott Adkins), who plans to assassinate Rhonda with a gun disguised as a video camera. As Sebastian prepares to shoot the camera, Nobby sees him and gives him a hug, accidentally causing him to shoot an AIDS-infected Jewish-Palestinian boy named Schlomo (Yusuf Hofri). The spray of blood lands in Daniel Radcliffe's mouth, infecting him with HIV.

The brothers go on the run from the authorities and other criminals. Despite Sebastian's protests, Nobby convinces his brother that it would be best to hide out at his home in Grimsby. Meanwhile, MI6 believes that Sebastian has gone rogue. MI6 send orders to an assassin named Chilcott (Sam Hazeldine) to track Sebastian down. However, Sebastian calls his handler Jodie (Isla Fisher) and proclaims his innocence.

Chilcott and his men find the two brothers at a pub, but they both manage to escape, though Sebastian is hit with two Lonomia poison darts in the process, in his shoulder and testicle. Though reluctant to do so, Nobby is forced to suck the poison out of both places, saving Sebastian's life.

Sebastian learns from Jodie that Lukashenko was going to make a deal with Joris Smit (Nick Boraine) in a South African lodge and the brothers travel there. Sebastian accidentally injects himself with heroin, mistaking it for the bone strengthening treatment for his broken ankle. Nobby then assumes his brother's identity and goes undercover.

Nobby mistakenly seduces Banu the Cleaner (Gabourey Sidibe), as she wore similar clothing to Joris' wife Lina (Annabelle Wallis) and is interrupted by Joris and his two men. Sebastian arrives in the nick of time and saves Nobby. Lina tells them that Lukashenko bought some sort of virus, but she is fatally shot by Chilcott's men from a distance before she reveals any further information. To outrun Chilcott's men, the brothers are forced to hide inside an elephant's vagina, but end up covered in elephant semen due to several males having sex with the female. They have to take a bath afterwards to wash the mess off.

Sebastian asks why Nobby abandoned him as a baby. Nobby explains that Sebastian's adoptive parents only wanted to adopt one of the brothers but were unable to decide, and he ran away so Sebastian could have a better life. Sebastian apologises to Nobby. The brothers travel to Santiago, Chile, the venue of the football cup final between England and Germany. They realise that the syndicate plans to unleash their weapon upon a football match in the area, but the syndicate captures Sebastian. Rhonda, the real mastermind of the plot, visits the captured Sebastian and tells him her plans to launch the virus – called WorldCure – into the arena via fireworks. Nobby kills Lukashenko and other henchmen on his way before rescuing Sebastian.

The brothers race back to the arena and spot Rhonda. Chilcott attempts to kill Sebastian, but Nobby's kids throw Schlomo's wheelchair at him, knocking him over and impaling him on a helmet while Nobby goes after Rhonda. Nobby then tries to shoot Rhonda but his gun jams and he realises he must stop the fireworks himself. He sits on one of the fireworks containing the virus; Sebastian sits on the other at the last minute, reaffirming his brotherhood with Nobby. The fireworks go off with the two atop them and the brothers are knocked unconscious upon landing. Nobby's gun goes off and hits Daniel Radcliffe, whose infectious blood spills into Donald Trump's mouth.

The news reports state that Rhonda has been arrested, the Grimsby brothers have "died" after saving the world, and that Donald Trump has AIDS. Schlomo is in custody after "killing" Chilcott. The brothers are actually recovering in the hospital. Jodie visits and gives them new identities, informing them that the virus did not affect them because its antidote is elephant semen. Nobby's family visits them.

In the final scene, eight weeks later, Nobby and Sebastian are on a mission in Jakarta, Indonesia. On a boat, Nobby is approached by a team of gunmen, whom he quickly kills. He reaches Sebastian, who asks him if he has met the team; Nobby realises too late that the gunmen were his team.

In a post-credits scene, the brothers are in a car and stop to ask a man for directions to the stadium. After receiving directions, Nobby shoots the man saying 'leave no witnesses', disturbing Sebastian.




In October 2013, Sacha Baron Cohen was spotted attending a football match between Grimsby Town and Cambridge United. Baron Cohen, who was dressed in a Grimsby shirt, was also spotted talking with Town fans in a nearby pub after the game.[10] It was later confirmed that he was scouting towns for the film, and had also checked out Scunthorpe, Hull and Newcastle in order to find inspiration for his new role.[11] On 3 December 2013, Louis Leterrier was set to direct.[12]


On 24 April 2014, Mark Strong joined the film to play a British black-ops spy and brother of Baron Cohen's character.[5] On 25 April, Annabelle Wallis joined the cast of the film.[9] On 11 June, Ian McShane, Gabourey Sidibe, David Harewood, and Johnny Vegas joined the cast. On 12 June, Baron Cohen's wife Isla Fisher joined him in the film to play a supporting role.[6] The same day, Rebel Wilson joined the cast,[7] and on 9 July, Penélope Cruz joined the film's cast.[8]


Principal photography of the film commenced on 4 June 2014, at North Weald railway station, and around the Epping Forest area in Essex, England.[13][14]

The shooting lasted for six weeks in the UK and then moved to South Africa.[15] On 3 July, comedian Eric Idle tweeted a photo from the set with Baron Cohen.[16]

On 10–11 July, Baron Cohen was filming Grimsby in Tilbury, which was modelled to resemble 1980s Grimsby.[17] On 14 July, Baron Cohen and Strong were spotted filming some scenes for the film in the streets.[18]

A number of residents of Grimsby were upset with Baron Cohen for negative stereotypes portraying their town as a rubbish-strewn, violent ghetto in which drunks urinate from windows and mothers hand children cans of beer in the street.[19]


On 13 February 2014, the film moved from Paramount Pictures to Columbia Pictures, and it was announced that the film would be released in the U.S. on 31 July 2015.[20]

On 21 January 2015, the film's U.S. release date was moved back to 26 February 2016.[21] The film was then scheduled to be released on 4 March 2016, but was again moved back, to 11 March 2016.[22]


Box office[edit]

Grimsby grossed $6.9 million in North America and $21.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $28 million, against a budget of $35 million.[4]

In the United States and Canada, the film opened on 11 March 2016 alongside 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Young Messiah and The Perfect Match. It was originally projected to gross $7–8 million in its opening weekend, however, after grossing just $1.2 million on its opening day, estimates were lowered to $3–4 million.[23][24] It wound up grossing $3.3 million in its opening weekend, finishing 8th at the box office. Deadline Hollywood attributed the film's poor opening to its British content and marketing tactics alienating American audiences, much like Eddie the Eagle several weeks prior, with Forbes adding some possibly saw the film as Baron Cohen "doing the same shtick."[3][25]

Sony Pictures' distribution head said, "[We] certainly wanted more... we tried to crack the code on it, but it just didn't happen for us."[26] After its opening weekend, the film was deemed a box office bomb by numerous publications.[27]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 37%, based on 137 reviews, with an average rating of 4.80/10. The site's consensus reads, "The Brothers Grimsby showers viewers with a steady stream of Sacha Baron Cohen's edgy humor, but too many gags hit the wrong side of the line between audacious and desperate."[28] Metacritic gave the film a score of 44 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[29] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[30]


  1. ^ "GRIMSBY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Grimsby (2016)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Friday Box Office: '10 Cloverfield Lane' Adds $9M To Its Mystery Box, 'Brothers Grimsby' Bombs". Forbes.
  4. ^ a b "The Brothers Grimsby (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (24 April 2014). "Mark Strong Joins Sacha Baron Cohen in Sony Comedy 'Grimsby'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (12 June 2014). "Isla Fisher Joins Husband Sacha Baron Cohen in Sony's Spy Spoof 'Grimsby'". Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Rebel Wilson Joins Sacha Baron Cohen in Sony's 'Grimsby' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Penelope Cruz Joins Sacha Baron Cohen in Spy Comedy 'Grimsby' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  9. ^ a b Tartaglione, Nancy. "Annabelle Wallis Joins Sacha Baron Cohen Comedy 'Grimsby'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen watches Grimsby Town at Blundell Park". Grimsby Telegraph. 9 October 2013. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Louis Leterrier to direct Sacha Baron Cohen in Paramount's spy spoof 'Grimsby'". Grimsby Telegraph. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  12. ^ Kit, Borys (3 December 2013). "Louis Leterrier to Direct Sacha Baron Cohen in Spy Spoof 'Grimsby'". Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie Grimsby is currently shooting in Epping Forest". Radio Times. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  14. ^ Reason, Matt (4 June 2014). "Sacha Baron Cohen filming at North Weald Station for new film Grimsby". Archived from the original on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Shooting begins on new Sacha Baron Cohen film Grimsby". Grimsby Telegraph. 4 June 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  16. ^ Idle, Eric [@EricIdle] (3 July 2014). "So who did I bump into on my walk today but my LA neighbour? He's here filming. I love coincidence" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 October 2020 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "Sacha Baron Cohen in Tilbury shooting new film". 10 July 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  18. ^ Ellis-Petersen, Hannah; Child, Ben (14 July 2014). "Grim outlook for Grimsby as Sacha Baron Cohen sets comedy in town". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  19. ^ Galvin, Nick (15 July 2014). "Sacha Baron Cohen film outrages residents of UK town of Grimsby". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  20. ^ Fleming, Mike. "UPDATE: Sacha Baron Cohen Hails Leo's 'Wolf' Hooker Anus Coke-Snorting in Paramount Re-Up, As 'Grimsby' Moves To Sony". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Southpaw Set for July 31st Release; Sacha Baron Cohen Comedy Pushed to 2016". Collider. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  22. ^ Evry, Max. "The Brothers Grimsby". Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  23. ^ "'Zootopia' Turnstiles Still Spinning, But '10 Cloverfield Lane' Also A Hot Destination – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. 10 March 2016.
  24. ^ Mendelson, Scott. "Friday Box Office: '10 Cloverfield Lane' Adds $9M To Its Mystery Box, 'Brothers Grimsby' Bombs". Forbes. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Why 'The Brothers Grimsby' Is Sacha Baron Cohen's Grimmest Box Office Yet". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  26. ^ Lang, Brent. "Box Office: 'Zootopia' Rules With $50 Million, Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Brothers Grimsby' Bombs". Variety. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  27. ^ "Box Office: 'Brothers Grimsby' Flopped Because It Looked Like A Bad Movie". Forbes. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  28. ^ "The Brothers Grimsby (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  29. ^ "The Brothers Grimsby reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (14 March 2016). "'Zootopia' Beats '10 Cloverfield Lane' At Box Office, 'Brothers Grimsby' Grim". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 October 2017.

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