Keanu (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Atencio
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyJas Shelton
Edited byNicholas Monsour
Music by
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • March 13, 2016 (2016-03-13) (SXSW)
  • April 29, 2016 (2016-04-29) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[2]
Box office$20.7 million[3]

Keanu (also known as Cat Boys) is a 2016 American buddy action comedy film directed by Peter Atencio and written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens. The film stars Peele and Keegan-Michael Key in their first film as lead actors following five seasons of their sketch TV series; it also features Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Nia Long, Will Forte, and Keanu Reeves. The plot follows two cousins who infiltrate a gang in order to retrieve their stolen kitten.

Filming began in New Orleans in June 2015. The film premiered at the South by Southwest Festival on March 13, 2016 and was theatrically released in North America on April 29, 2016. It received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $20 million against its $15 million budget.


Assassins named the "Allentown Brothers" enter a Mexican cartel's drug-processing facility and kill everyone, including the boss, King Diaz. They try to take Diaz's kitten, Iglesias, but the kitten escapes. Recently dumped Rell finds the kitten on his doorstep and names it Keanu. Two weeks later, Rell and his cousin Clarence come home from seeing a movie. When they return, Rell’s place has been ransacked and Keanu is missing.

Rell's weed dealer Hulka tells them the "17th St. Blips" gang may have raided Rell's looking for his cat. Hulka sends them to a strip club, where they meet Hi-C, a female gangster, and the gang's leader Cheddar, who mistakes them for the Allentown Boys. Cheddar says he will return the kitten if they act as expert advisors for the Blips on a run to sell a new drug called "Holy Shit". After the sale run, they are abducted by the real Allentown Boys.

Rell and Clarence are tied to chairs and the Allentown Boys prepare to torture them. Keanu frees Rell and Clarence, and they grab their guns. As the Allentown boys approach them, Clarence and Rell unload the guns into them. On their way out, searching for Keanu, they run into the Blips and Cheddar forces them to come along to meet with the Mexican drug cartel the next morning.

There, the Blips meet King Diaz's cousin, Bacon Diaz, offering Clarence and Rell, ‘The Allentown Boys.’ When Bacon also demands "Iglesias", Cheddar refuses and a gunfight erupts between the two gangs. Clarence and Rell shoot their way out of the mansion pursuing Bacon, who has Keanu, only for Rell to be shot in the leg and Clarence shot in the hand.

Rell, who never learned to drive, hijacks Bacon's escape car with Bacon and Keanu in the back. Clarence chases them. It ends at Clarence's front yard where Rell crashes, sending Bacon flying through the broken windshield. Bacon gets up and attempts to shoot Rell, but Clarence runs him over. Again, Bacon gets up, but is shot dead by Cheddar and the Blips.

Hi-C reveals herself as an undercover police officer. She forces the Blips to drop their guns and shoots Cheddar. The police arrive. Hi-C promises to testify for leniency and agrees to go on a date with Rell after they get out of jail. Six months later, Rell and Clarence have three weeks left on their jail sentences. They are respected by the inmates, including the Blips, for killing the Allentown Boys. Hi-C brings Keanu, telling Rell through a visitation phone that Keanu has a rare disease which will cause him to stay a kitten forever.

In a post credit scene, it is revealed that the Allentown Boys, despite suffering multiple gunshot wounds, somehow survived and drive off into the night.



The film was officially announced by New Line Cinema in October 2014, with Peter Atencio directing.[4] Many sites reporting on the film had initially believed it to be a parody of the then recently released John Wick, but according to Atencio the two films were developed independently of each other, and the team was initially unaware of Wick until work on Keanu was already underway.[13] Keanu Reeves himself, who starred in Wick, was eventually in touch with the production, leading a dream sequence in the film to be modified with Reeves providing the voice of the titular kitten.[14] Reeves originally turned down the cameo offer but changed his mind after his sister showed him the film's trailers.

In May 2015, Method Man and Will Forte joined the cast, with Darrell Britt-Gibson being added the following month.[7][9][10] Filming began on June 1, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana,[15][16][17] and concluded on July 10. Seven tabby kittens were used for the shoot. They were trained for three weeks by use of treats, meat flavored baby food and laser pointers, and when not on camera, were allowed to be played with by cast and crew during breaks. Treats were also used to train them to allow themselves to be dressed in lightweight costumes without attempting to remove them. All seven were adopted by the end of production, with Haddish adopting one and naming it 'Catatonic'.[18] Since Key is allergic to cats, he had to take a medication in order to interact with them.[18] Clarence was always meant to be a fan of a White musician, with the writers settling on George Michael as pre-production started. Key added that dancing to his music had him "summon everything I ever did at every school dance from 1985 to 1990".[19] The producers then reached for Michael's managers stating that the musician would not be treated as a joke but "so cool that even drug lords got a tattoo of him", meeting his approval.[20]


A work-in-progress print was screened at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2016.[21]

Warner Bros. originally scheduled the film for release on April 22, 2016,[22] but in January 2016 the film was moved back a week to April 29, 2016.[23]


Box office[edit]

In the United States and Canada, Keanu opened alongside Mother's Day and Ratchet & Clank, and was projected to gross $10–14 million from 2,658 theaters in its opening weekend.[2] The film made $3.5 million on its first day, including $560,000 from Thursday night previews. The film went on to gross $9.5 million over the weekend, finishing third at the box office, behind The Jungle Book ($43.7 million) and The Huntsman: Winter's War ($9.6 million).[24] In its second weekend, the film grossed $3.3 million (a drop of 65.2%), finishing 5th, behind Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million), The Jungle Book ($24.5 million), Mother's Day ($11.1 million) and The Huntsman: Winter's War ($3.9 million).[25]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based on 182 reviews, with an average rating of 6.40/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Keanu's absurd premise and compulsively watchable starring duo add up to an agreeably fast-paced comedy that hits more than enough targets to make up for the misses."[26] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[27] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[24]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Trailer Awards Best Comedy "Take It" Won [28]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Keegan-Michael Key Nominated [29]
Jordan Peele Nominated

Potential sequel[edit]

In a March 2017 AMA on Reddit, Jordan Peele stated that "if we do a Keanu 2, I promise you we will do twice as many deaths as there are in John Wick 2."[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KEANU (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 8, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Verhoeven, Beatrice (April 26, 2016). "Disney's 'The Jungle Book' to Lead Third Weekend in a Row Ahead of 'Keanu'". The Wrap. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "Keanu (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Bowles, Scott (October 20, 2014). "Key & Peele's First Feature Film To Start Production Next Spring". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  5. ^ Fouch, Haileagh (January 21, 2016). "Key and Peele Star in Keanu Movie Red-Band Trailer". Collider. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Callender, Samantha (January 27, 2016). "Interview: Tiffany Haddish Talks Homelessness, Comedy & the Power of Affirmations". The Source. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (May 12, 2015). "Method Man Joins Key and Peele Comedy". Variety. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  8. ^ Hipes, Patrick (June 16, 2015). "Nia Long Cast In Key & Peele Movie 'Keanu'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Kit, Borys (May 28, 2015). "Will Forte to Co-Star With Key and Peele in Comedy 'Keanu' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (June 3, 2015). "Josh Harto Finds 'Gold'; Raul Castillo Joins 'Special Correspondents' – Film Briefs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Ford, Rebecca (June 23, 2015). "Rob Huebel Joins New Line Comedy 'Keanu'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  13. ^ Ghahremani, Tanya (April 14, 2016). "Is 'Keanu' A Parody Of Keanu Reeves' 'John Wick'? Not If You Ask, Well, Everyone Who Worked On It". Bustle. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  14. ^ Galuppo, Mia (April 27, 2016). "Keanu Reeves Lends His Voice to 'Keanu' Kitty". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  15. ^ Panosian, Diane (June 1, 2015). "On the Set for 6/1/15: James Gunn Starts Shooting 'The Belko Experiment', Michael Keaton Begins Mcdonald's Biopic 'The Founder' & More". Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Scott, Mike (May 28, 2015). "Key and Peele's NOLA-shot 'Keanu,' Tom Cruise's 'Mena' get release dates". Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  17. ^ "Key and Peele's New Movie 'Keanu' Open Casting Call". June 2, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Ford, Rebecca (April 20, 2016). "'Keanu' Kitten: How a Cat in a Hat Was Trained to Act for Key and Peele's Movie". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  19. ^ Keegan-Michael Key is the resident 'Keanu' dance machine
  20. ^ ‘Keanu’ Movie’s Obsession With George Michael ‘A Golden Opportunity,’ Says Singer’s Manager
  21. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (March 13, 2016). "SXSW: Key & Peele's Unfinished 'Keanu' Gets Late-Night Screening Complete With Flying Kittens". Deadline Hollywood.
  22. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 27, 2015). "Warner Bros Dates Catnapping Pic 'Keanu' & 'Going In Style' Remake For 2016". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  23. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 12, 2016). "Warner Bros Moves Key & Peele Starrer 'Keanu' Back One Week - Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  24. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony; Busch, Anita (May 2, 2016). "'Jungle Book' Still Hot in Third Weekend with $35M–$36M; 'Mother's Day' Has Edge Over 'Keanu'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 8, 2016). "Disney's Spoils Of 'Civil War': $61M+ Saturday As 'Captain America' Heads To $181.8M". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  26. ^ "Keanu (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  27. ^ "Keanu reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "The 17th Annual Golden Trailer Award Nominees". Archived from the original on June 13, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  29. ^ Goodman, Jessica (July 31, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016: See the full list of winners". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  30. ^ "Jordan Peele here. Writer/Director of GET OUT in theaters this month. Let's talk • r/IAmA". reddit. February 10, 2017.

External links[edit]