The 33

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The 33
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPatricia Riggen
Screenplay by
Story byJosé Rivera
Based onDeep Down Dark
by Héctor Tobar
Produced by
CinematographyChecco Varese
Edited byMichael Tronick
Music byJames Horner
Distributed by
Release dates
  • August 6, 2015 (2015-08-06) (Chile)
  • August 20, 2015 (2015-08-20) (Colombia)
  • November 13, 2015 (2015-11-13) (United States)
  • January 22, 2016 (2016-01-22) (Spain)
Running time
127 minutes[3]
  • United States
  • Colombia
  • Spain
  • Chile
  • English
  • Spanish
Budget$26 million[4]
Box office$28 million[5]

The 33 (Spanish: Los 33) is a 2015 biographical disaster-survival drama film directed by Patricia Riggen and written by Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten, Michael Thomas, and José Rivera. The film is based on the real events of the 2010 Copiapó mining disaster, in which 33 miners were trapped inside the San José Mine in Chile for 69 days. The film stars Antonio Banderas as trapped miner Mario Sepúlveda.

It was released in Chile on August 6, 2015 by 20th Century Fox and in the United States on November 13, 2015 by Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment.


In August 2010, a group of 33 miners from Copiapó, Chile, is working in the San José mine when the mine collapses due to the owner's negligence in ignoring warning signs of instability. The collapse blocks the only path into the mine, leaving the miners trapped. They manage to make their way to a rescue chamber, but soon realize they are ill-prepared for a long stay. The radio is not working, the medical kit is empty, and there is very little food.

Mario Sepúlveda emerges as a leader among the miners, taking charge of rationing food and keeping the group from spiraling into violence and despair. The mine company does not attempt to rescue the miners, and their families gather outside the gates of the mine.

The Chilean government intervenes and orders the use of drilling to reach the trapped miners. The first few boreholes miss their target, but eventually, a successful one reaches the rescue chamber. The miners attach a note to the drill bit to let the surface know they are alive. The government sends in food, clothing, and establishes television communication with the surface. A second drilling system is prepared to retrieve the miners one by one.

Over the next several weeks, there is much drama and tension as the rescuers work to free the miners. Finally, after more than two months of being trapped, all 33 miners are successfully rescued. The rescue becomes a source of inspiration and hope for people around the world.




The film is based on the events of the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, also known as the "Chilean mining accident". It is directed by Patricia Riggen and written by Mikko Alanne and José Rivera. Producer Mike Medavoy, who also produced Apocalypse Now, worked with the miners, their families, and those involved to put the film together.[11] On 13 August 2014, it was announced that The 33 would be the first film to receive the Colombian Film Commission's incentive, which includes 40% for film services and 20% for film logistics services of the amount spent in the country.[12]


Juliette Binoche and Antonio Banderas with the former President of Chile Sebastián Piñera in La Moneda Palace, Santiago, Chile.

Antonio Banderas, who portrays "Super" Mario Sepúlveda, is the public face for the miners who sent videos to the rescuers to update them on the miners' condition. The actual Sepúlveda expressed his enthusiasm and approval towards having Banderas in the role.[13] Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro plays Laurence Golborne, Minister of Mining. On 17 June 2013, it was announced that Jennifer Lopez had joined to lead the cast of the film,[14] but later left due to scheduling conflicts with American Idol. She was replaced by Juliette Binoche.[7]

On 10 January 2014, Cote de Pablo joined the cast of the film; she plays the wife of one of the trapped miners.[15] On 27 January 2014, Gabriel Byrne joined the cast of the film, to play the role of Andre Sougarret, the engineering genius who masterminded the miraculous rescue of the 33 trapped miners.[8] Next day on 28 January, Bob Gunton joined the cast of the Chilean miner filming, then shooting in Colombia; he plays the role of Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.[9]


Principal photography began in December 2013 in Colombia.[16] Before shooting began, Riggen interviewed each of the miners and their families.[17] After the shooting wrapped up in Nemocón, Colombia in January, crews started filming again in Copiapó, Chile on 5 February 2014, which was the actual place of the incident.[18] On 18 February 2014, news told that more than half of the filming was done in the salt mine of Nemocón, Colombia, and rescue scenes were being filmed in Tierra Amarilla, Chile.[19] Filming wrapped up on 20 February 2014.[20]


In October 2014, James Horner was hired to compose the music for the film.[21] It was the second of two scores he had completed in 2015, before his death on 22 June of that year.


The 33 was released across Latin America through 20th Century Fox starting from 6 August 2015 in Chile. It debuted in Colombia on 20 August 2015, along with the rest of Central America. Brazil was the last, where the film was released on 29 October 2015. Its United States and Canada theatrical releases were handled by Warner Bros. on 13 November 2015.[22] The premiere in Santiago was attended by most of the leading cast, in addition to several of the miners, former President Sebastián Piñera and former minister Laurence Golborne.[23]


On 28 April 2015, Alcon Entertainment acquired North American and the majority of international distribution rights to The 33, with Warner Bros. to distribute it. On the same day, Warner Bros, where Alcon has its output deal, set the film's release date for 13 November 2015.[1]


Box office[edit]

According to Box Office Mojo The 33 grossed $12.2 million in North America and $12.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $24.9 million, against its production budget of $26 million.[24] The data is inaccurate though since Box Office Mojo e.g. for the UK and Germany only has data for the first weekend and data for France is missing completely even though the film has been released in the country.[25][26]

In North America, The 33 opened alongside Love the Coopers and My All American on 13 November 2015 with a very poor performance. In its opening weekend, the film was projected to gross $7–8 million from 2,452 theaters.[27] The film grossed $1.8 million on its opening day and $5.8 million in its opening weekend, finishing below studio projections.[28]

In Chile, the film grossed $1.6 million on its opening weekend, 6 August 2015, showing on 140 screens. This is the second biggest opening for a Chilean film (5% behind Stefan v/s Kramer), despite coinciding with a severe storm that caused flooding in Santiago and other parts of the country and also marked the sixth-highest opening for Fox International Productions.[29] It topped the box office there for five consecutive weekends and became the second highest-grossing Chilean film.[30] The film grossed a total of $4.9 million in Chile.[31]

In Mexico it opened at No. 3 with $1.3 million, but ended up grossing only a total of $3 million there after three weeks in release.[31][32]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 48%, based on 155 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The 33 offers an appropriately inspirational account of real-life heroism, but its stirring story and solid performances are undermined by a flawed focus and an overreliance on formula."[33] On Metacritic, the film received a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[34] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[28]

Scott Tobias of Variety said, "The 33 aims for a comprehensive survey of efforts above ground and below, but winds up looking less like a sober docudrama than a ginned-up Irwin Allen disaster movie."[35]

Chilean critics had mixed reviews. Ana Josefa Silva gave a mildly positive review, saying that the movie "excites and entertains", but that the good rhythm of the first half becomes stalled. She praised the acting, but criticized the use of many clichés, like the heroic young character (Golborne), the "inhumane" politician (Piñera) or the brave, "badass" Latina woman (Segovia).[36] Las Últimas Noticias stated that "while the epic of the rescue is observed thanks to the effective recreation, the agony of the rescued remains in debt in the staging", and also noted the "young and handsome" hero stereotype.[37] La Segunda described it as "a catastrophe film with a life message and sentimental vocation that is not willing to give up to truisms associated with the image that Hollywood has of Hispanic America".[38] El Mercurio gave a negative review, criticizing the absence of people responsible for the precarious working conditions of the miners, although praising the recreation of the mine and the catastrophe.[39]


Among the differences between the film and the real life story, Alex Vega was not the first man to be rescued, but Florencio Ávalos. Also, Vega's wife was not pregnant at the time. In the film, the Fénix capsule arrives empty at the rescue chamber, but actually there was a rescuer inside of it. The capsule did not get stuck with a miner inside; André Sougarret did not order the end of the rescue works before the contact with the miners; and María Segovia never slapped Laurence Golborne in the face.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Alcon Acquires Chilean Mine Disaster Pic The 33". Deadline Hollywood. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  2. ^ Jafar, Ali (25 August 2015). "Tomas Jegeus Tapped To Run Fox International Productions". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  3. ^ "THE 33 (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  4. ^ McClintock, Pamela (10 November 2015). "Box-Office Preview: Angelina Jolie Pitt's 'By the Sea' Opts for Limited Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  5. ^ "The 33 (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Antonio Banderas is in Chile to shoot "The 33"". Voxxi. 10 February 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Juliette Binoche, James Brolin Round Out Cast of Chilean Miners Movie The 33". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  8. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (27 January 2014). "Gabriel Byrne Joins Mining Disaster Pic The 33". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Chilean Miner Pic The 33 Adds Bob Gunton". 28 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  10. ^ Balaguera, Jorge (9 December 2013). "El actor Juan Pablo Raba será Darío Segovia en Los 33" (in Spanish). RCN Radio.
  11. ^ "Antonio Banderas & More Join Chilean Miner Disaster Drama The 33". 20 May 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  12. ^ Noonan, Kevin (13 August 2014). "Chilean Miner Film The 33 First to Receive Colombian Tax Incentive Benefit". Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Antonio Banderas To Play Chilean Miner, Mario Sepulveda, In The 33". 20 May 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  14. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (17 June 2013). "Jennifer Lopez to Star in Chilean Miner Drama The 33". Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Cote De Pablo Joins Chilean Miner Movie The 33 In First Post-'NCIS' Gig". 10 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  16. ^ Kay, Jeremy (27 December 2013). "The 33 begins production". Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  17. ^ Shattuck, Kathyrn (4 November 2015). "Patricia Riggen, Director of 'The 33,' on Shooting in a Mine". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  18. ^ Mango, Agustin (8 February 2014). "Miner Drama The 33 Begins Filming in Chile". Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  19. ^ "The 33, with Antonio Banderas, filming in Chile". 18 February 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  20. ^ "ON THE SET FOR 2/24/14". 24 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  21. ^ "James Horner Scoring The 33". 18 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  22. ^ Anna Marie de la Fuente (23 July 2015). "Fox Sets Release Dates for Antonio Banderas Pic 'The 33′ Across Latin America". Variety. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  23. ^ Bahamondes, Pedro (2 August 2015). "Estrellas, glamour y trozos de historia: así fue la gala y avant-première de Los 33" [Stars, glamour and pieces of history: so was the gala and avant-première of The 33]. La Tercera (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  24. ^ "The 33 (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  25. ^ "The 33". Box Office Mojo.
  26. ^ "Un film racontant leur épreuve divise les 33 mineurs chiliens". Franceinfo. 6 August 2015.
  27. ^ "Will 'Spectre' Dominate the Box Office in Its Second Weekend?". 10 November 2015.
  28. ^ a b "Bond Still The Man With The Golden Gun In No. 1 As 'Spectre' Targets $34.4M; 'By The Sea' Drowning". Deadline Hollywood. 15 November 2015.
  29. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (9 August 2015). "'Rogue Nation' Flies Higher In 2nd Frame With $65.5M; 'Fantastic Four' No. 2 With $34.1M Bow – Intl Box Office Update". Deadline Hollywood. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  30. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (8 September 2015). "'Terminator', 'Hitman' Lead Sluggish Frame; 'Compton' Tops 5 Markets – International Box Office Final". Deadline Hollywood. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  31. ^ a b Tartaglione, Nancy (14 September 2015). "'Maze Runner: Scorch Trials' Ignites $26.7M; 'Rogue Nation' Tops With $91.4M, Crosses $600M WW – Intl B.O. Update". Deadline Hollywood. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  32. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (30 August 2015). "'Terminator', 'Mission: Impossible' Each Cruise Past $300M; 'Compton' Tops In UK, Germany – Intl Box Office Update". Deadline Hollywood. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  33. ^ "The 33". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  34. ^ "The 33 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  35. ^ Tobias, Scott (24 October 2015). "Film Review: 'The 33'". Variety. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  36. ^ Silva, Ana Josefa (6 August 2015). ""Los 33": Emoción, Entretención y Clichés" [“The 33”: Emotion, Entertainment and Clichés]. (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  37. ^ Muñoz, Leopoldo (6 August 2015). ""Los 33"". Las Últimas Noticias (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  38. ^ Nazarala, Andrés (5 August 2015). "Tan lejos, tan cerca" [Faraway, So Close]. La Segunda (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  39. ^ Martínez, Antonio (7 August 2015). ""Los 33"". Wikén magazine (El Mercurio) (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 4 November 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  40. ^ González, Nicolás (7 August 2015). "10 diferencias entre la película "Los 33" y lo que realmente ocurrió en la mina San José" [10 differences between the movie “The 33” and what really happened in the San José mine]. El Líbero (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.

External links[edit]