The Night Before (2015 film)

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The Night Before
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Levine
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Jonathan Levine
  • Kyle Hunter
  • Ariel Shaffir
  • Evan Goldberg
Story byJonathan Levine
Music by
CinematographyBrandon Trost
Edited byZene Baker
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • November 16, 2015 (2015-11-16) (New York City)
  • November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$25–33 million[3][4]
Box office$52.4 million[4]

The Night Before is a 2015 American Christmas comedy stoner film directed by Jonathan Levine and written by Levine, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie as three childhood friends who annually reunite on Christmas Eve in search of the best party in New York City. Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell, Mindy Kaling and Michael Shannon also star.

Principal photography began on August 11, 2014, in New York City. Good Universe and Point Grey Pictures produced the film, which Columbia Pictures released on November 20, 2015. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $52 million worldwide.


In December 2001, Ethan Miller (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) loses his parents in a car accident. His best friends Isaac Greenberg (Seth Rogen) and Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie) resolve to spend every Christmas Eve with him. Learning of the Nutcracker Ball, an exclusive Christmas Eve party, but unable to find it, they continue their collective holiday.

In 2015, the friends decide to end the tradition. Chris, now a famous football player, and Isaac, married with a baby on the way, worry that Ethan, a struggling musician working at a hotel, is not ready for the tradition to end.

At work, Ethan steals invitations to the Nutcracker Ball. Before embarking on their last Christmas Eve together, the friends meet at Isaac's house where his pregnant wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) gives him drugs to take later. Following their usual tradition, the friends stop first at the Rockefeller Tree, where Ethan reveals the tickets to the ball. In an attempt to impress his teammates, Chris purchases marijuana from their former high school dealer, Mr. Green (Michael Shannon). At a karaoke bar, the friends run into Diana (Lizzy Caplan), who recently broke up with Ethan, and her friend Sarah (Mindy Kaling), both of whom are attending the Nutcracker Ball. Isaac, negatively affected by the drugs he took, records a video phone message confessing he is terrified of having a child. Chris' marijuana is stolen by a supposed fan (Ilana Glazer), a Christmas-hating thief.

The friends contact Mr. Green again, who meets them at Chris' mother's (Lorraine Toussaint) house, where the friends have dinner. Chris' mother encourages Ethan to make up with Diana, and Isaac realizes he has switched phones with Sarah. While they search for Isaac's phone, the same thief steals Chris' marijuana again. The friends split up, as Chris wants his marijuana back, Isaac wants his phone, and Ethan wants to go to the party. Chris fails to recover his marijuana but learns from the thief to value his true friends. Isaac, hallucinating from a mixture of drugs, meets his wife and her family and vomits during Midnight Mass. Ethan is beaten by two drunk pub crawling Santas after defending the spirit of Christmas.

Meeting back at a subway station, the tension between the friends explodes as Ethan reveals that he and Isaac know Chris' sudden success is due to steroids, and Chris reveals that he and Isaac think Ethan is lost.

Despite their revelations, the friends go to the Nutcracker Ball. Chris learns that his teammates did not need the marijuana he struggled to obtain, and mock him for a video shot earlier with his friends. Isaac retrieves his phone, learning Sarah never revealed his video message. Ethan finds Diana and spontaneously proposes to her in front of the entire party with Miley Cyrus. While she accepts publicly, she declines in private, saying that he only proposed out of fear of losing his friends.

Ashamed, Ethan goes to the roof where he finds Mr. Green, who reveals that he is the creator and host of the Nutcracker Ball. After experiencing a memory of his friends initiating their yearly ritual, Ethan rejoins Chris and Isaac, who have been thrown out after an altercation with Chris' teammates.

As morning dawns, the friends reconcile just as Isaac receives a message that Betsy is in labor. Rushing to the hospital in Mr. Green's car, they discover it was a false alarm. Mr. Green is revealed to be an angel, helping the friends to earn his wings. Isaac shows his wife the video, and she admits she is also scared about raising their daughter. The trio spend Christmas at Isaac's house, after which Chris has dinner with his mother and admits to his steroid use. Ethan goes to Diana's house, where he apologizes for his behavior and not being ready to commit. Admitting that she has missed Ethan, Diana accepts his request to finally meet her parents.

One year later, the friends and their loved ones spend Christmas together. Isaac's baby cannot sleep, so the trio serenade her. It is revealed that the story is told from a book read by Santa, the father of Mr. Green.




On February 10, 2014, it was announced that Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt would reunite in the film, following 50/50, in which they co-starred. On May 13, Anthony Mackie joined the cast.[7] Jonathan Levine, director of 50/50, directed The Night Before from his own script.[5] Good Universe and Point Grey Pictures produced the film, which Sony's Columbia Pictures distributed.[5]


On August 7, Jillian Bell was cast to play Betsy, the wife of Rogen's character.[10] On August 8, Lizzy Caplan joined the cast to play Diana, a love interest of Gordon-Levitt's character.[8]


Principal photography on the film began on August 11, 2014, in New York City.[8][14][15] On August 14, filming took place around 112th street and Broadway in NYC.[16] On August 22, Rogen was spotted filming scenes outside a church in Manhattan.[17] On January 5, 2015, filming took place in and around Rockefeller Center, where the crews were taking some shots of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.[18]


The film was originally scheduled to be released on December 11, 2015, but Sony moved the release date to November 25, 2015,[19] and later to November 20, 2015.[20]

Box office[edit]

The Night Before grossed $43 million in North America and $9.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $52.4 million, against a budget of $25 million.[4]

In the United States, The Night Before opened alongside The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Secret in Their Eyes on November 20, 2015. In its opening weekend, the film was projected to gross $12–13 million from 2,960 theaters.[21] The film made $550,000 from its Thursday preview screenings and $3.6 million on its first day. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $9.9 million, below expectations, and finished fourth at the box office behind Mockingjay – Part 2 ($102.7 million), Spectre ($15 million) and The Peanuts Movie ($13.2 million).[22] In its second week, the film grossed $8.4 million (a drop of 15.2%), finishing 6th at the box office.[23]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 68% based on 158 reviews, and an average rating of 6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics."[24] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[25] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[22]


  1. ^ "The Night Before (2015)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "THE NIGHT BEFORE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 26, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  3. ^ FilmL.A. (June 15, 2016). "2015 Feature Film Study" (PDF). Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "The Night Before (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Siegel, Tatiana; Kit, Borys (February 10, 2014). "Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Reteam With '50/50' Director for 'Xmas'". Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  6. ^ XxPiNkTwiLighTxX (August 25, 2014). "The Night Before - Seth Rogen ( Behind the Scenes )" – via YouTube.
  7. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (May 13, 2014). "Anthony Mackie in Negotiations to Join Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Christmas Comedy". Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Ford, Rebecca (August 8, 2014). "Lizzy Caplan Joins Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Christmas Eve Comedy". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Jagernauth, Kevin (July 28, 2015). "Watch: Xmas Gets Red Band In Trailer For 'The Night Before' With Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Anthony Mackie". Indiewire. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Yamato, Jen (August 7, 2014). "'22 Jump Street's Jillian Bell Joins Sony Christmas Comedy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  11. ^ Presno, Caroline (November 25, 2014). "Selma's Lorraine Toussaint on Motherhood, a Childhood of 'Silent, Dark Terror' and Award Season Buzz". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Watch Jason Mantzoukas, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jason Jones Celebrate SantaCon Early".
  13. ^ MTV (August 11, 2015). "Seth Rogen Gets In The Holiday Spirit On Our 'The Night Before' Set Visit - MTV News" – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Day 1!!!!". August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  15. ^ "ON THE SET FOR 8/11/14: 'JURASSIC WORLD' WRAPS, 'THE LAST FACE' STARTS". August 11, 2014. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  16. ^ Christine (August 14, 2014). "Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt's Untitled Christmas Movie begins filming in NYC". Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  17. ^ Christine (August 25, 2014). "Photos of Seth Rogen filming in New York City on Aug. 22". Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Untitled X-Mas Project, starring Seth Rogen & Joseph Gordon Levitt, is filming at Rockefeller Center today". January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  19. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (October 14, 2014). "Predictable Move: Sony Slots Untitled Xmas Pic For 11/25/2015". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  20. ^ McNary, Dave (September 29, 2015). "Seth Rogen Comedy 'The Night Before' Moved up Five Days to Nov. 20". Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  21. ^ "Katniss To Set The World On Fire As 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2' Shoots For $285M-$305M Global Debut – B.O. Preview". Deadline Hollywood.
  22. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony. "'Mockingjay – Part 2' Flying To $104M-$110M, Lowest In 'Hunger Games' Series But Still Great Business". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  23. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro. "Katniss Rules Wednesday On Track For $78M-80M 5-Day; 'Good Dinosaur' Eyes $58M-$62M; 'Creed' Punching $39M-$42M". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  24. ^ "The Night Before (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "The Night Before (2015) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 9, 2015.

External links[edit]