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The Magnificent Seven is a 2016 American Western action film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk. It is a remake of the 1960 western film of the same name, which in turn was a reimagination of the Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. The film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgaard. It is the final film of composer James Horner, who died the previous year after composing a part of the score; his friend Simon Franglen completed the music.

Principal photography began on May 18, 2015, in the north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Magnificent Seven premiered on September 8, 2016, at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released in the United States on September 23, 2016, in conventional and IMAX theatres.[3] The film received mixed reviews from critics, although the cast was praised, and grossed $162 million worldwide.

Plot

In 1879, robber baron Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) besieges the mining town of Rose Creek and slaughters a group of locals led by Matthew Cullen (Matt Bomer) when they attempt to stand up to him. Matthew's wife, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), and her friend Teddy Q. (Luke Grimes) ride to the nearest town in search of someone who can help them and come upon warrant officer Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) of Wichita, Kansas, who initially declines their proposal until he learns of Bogue's involvement.

Chisolm sets out to recruit a group of gunslingers who can help him, starting with gambler Joshua Faraday (Chris Pratt). They are later joined by sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), knife-wielding Billy Rocks (Lee Byung-hun), notorious Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), skilled tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio), and Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).

Arriving in Rose Creek, the seven engage in a gunfight with Bogue's enforcer McCann (Cam Gigandet) and his men, shoot dead 22 of them, and drive the corrupt sheriff away with a warning to leave Rose Creek alone. Surmising that Bogue and his forces will return in a week, the seven train the townspeople to defend their home and grow fond of them. Robicheaux, haunted by the horrors of the Civil War and fearing the killing he will be a part of, abandons the group and is replaced by Cullen.

Bogue arrives with an army of mercenaries and attacks the city, which has been rigged with multiple bombs and traps. A massive shootout ensues, during which Robicheaux rejoins the group. McCann shoots and wounds Faraday but is killed by Vasquez. Bogue then unveils his secret weapon, a Gatling gun, with which he decimates the town and kills many of both sides. Realizing they're outgunned, the seven evacuate the townspeople and mount their last stand. Horne is killed by Bogue's Comanche assassin Denali (Jonathan Joss), who is later killed by Red Harvest.

Robicheaux and Rocks are killed by a second round of gunfire. Faraday then rides up to the remainder of Bogue's men and the Gatling gun. After he is riddled with bullets he makes a final attempt to destroy the Gatling gun, by detonating a stick of dynamite destroying the Gatling gun, the rest of Bogue's men, and himself. Bogue flees into town, where he is confronted by Chisolm, who disarms and wounds Bogue. As Chisolm is strangling Bogue, he reveals that Bogue and his men raped and murdered his mother and sisters during a raid several years earlier, in which he himself survived being hanged. Bogue is then fatally shot by Cullen while attempting to shoot Chisolm with a hidden gun in his boot.

In the aftermath, Faraday, Robicheaux, Rocks and Horne are buried in town and honoured by the people of Rose Creek as heroes, while Chisolm, Vasquez and Red Harvest ride off. The film ends with Cullen remarking that their heroism made them legends and that it was "magnificent".

Cast

The Magnificent Seven

Other characters

Production

Development

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When I first said yes, it was on my mind. Absolutely. But once you go in, you just go in. You just say, "OK, I'm going do it and make my version of it." My big lesson so far is that when you do that you have to respect the film's DNA and you have to respect certain elements of the film because when you respect that you're respecting the people that love the film. Sometimes when people see movies they take whatever is going on in their life into the movie theater. And if the movie affects them a certain way, if you don't give them at least that feeling again or that idea again — even if it's done in a different package — then it's difficult to satisfy them. On Magnificent Seven, I kept reminding myself of when I was a 12‑year‑old boy, when I was a kid watching it with my grandmother, what was the feeling I had? How much fun was it? How cool were they? For me, I always had my grandmother in my mind when making a film. Would she enjoy this film?.

—Director Antoine Fuqua on his approach to the remake.[4]

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Fuqua has loved Western films since he was a young boy, watching them at home with his family. He discovered the genre at the age of 12 and has said that his grandmother was a key influence and inspiration in the remake.[4][5][6] The two of them had a penchant for Western films and would watch them together, including films such as Duel in the Sun (1946), Shane (1953) The Searchers (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), and The Wild Bunch (1969), and the movies of Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, James Cagney, and Humphrey Bogart.[5][7][8] Fuqua tried to stay true to the DNA of Seven Samurai in his remake.[6] The film was reported to be in the planning stages in 2012, with Tom Cruise starring. It was reported that Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, and Matt Damon might join the film.[9] In early 2014, MGM chairman Gary Barber and his cohorts approached Fuqua to read the script by Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto, while Fuqua was making Southpaw.[10] Fuqua said he wanted to remake the film because the subject of tyranny and terrorism still prevails as it did in Seven Samurai. He has said that there is therefore a strong need for people to come and serve, which is what samurai means – "to serve."[11] Fuqua never thought of getting a chance to direct a Western film, and when MGM called him to helm the picture, he hesitated at first, recalling how amazing he thought Seven Samurai and its director, Kurosawa, were. The decision was not easy for him, citing for example of how many people are unaware that Scarface was a remake from the film of the same name released in 1932.[8]

Casting

Fuqua worked to create a diverse cast[12] by incorporating actors of color such as African-American Denzel Washington, Korean Byung-hun Lee and Mexican Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, as well as a woman (Haley Bennett).[13] It is a decision Fuqua says reflects historical reality more than it does any conscious attempt to update the story. "There were a lot of black cowboys, a lot of Native Americans; Asians working on the railroads. The truth of the West is more modern than the movies have been."[14] When Fuqua met studio executives to see the possible actors for the film, he found out that they were all white. He found this to be problematic and wanted instead to make the cast diverse so that the audience could identify with more of the characters.[15] The actors were cast between December 2014 and July 2015.[16][17][18][19] At one point, Jason Momoa was in talks to join the project but had had to leave because he was already booked to play Aquaman.[20] The cast were put through cowboy training before filming commenced.[5] They were sent to boot camps in order to hone their skills.[15] Fuqua further brought the remake up-to-date by changing the names and occupations of the seven, casting a diverse set of actors and making sure the lead female Emma Cullen, played by Haley Bennett, did not conform to stereotypes.[15]

Denzel Washington plays Sam Chisolm ("the Bounty Hunter"), a duly sworn warrant officer from Wichita, Kansas who goes after bad guys.[21] Washington's character was renamed from Chris Adams (played by Yul Brynner in the original film) to Sam Chisolm.[22] It is Washington's first Western film.[23] Washington did not watch Western films growing up since it was the end of the Western era in the movies. Moreover, he and his siblings were barred from going to the cinema since his father was a minister in a church. They instead grew up watching biblical films like King of Kings and The Ten Commandments. However, he has admitted seeing portions of Rawhide and Bonanza shows.[11][23] He did not watch the original film in preparation for this but has watched Seven Samurai.[23] This was an arbitrary decision of his, since he figured that watching the original film would not help him much, "[Not seeing it] allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do. Instead of trying not to do what someone else did."[24][25] As with his previous films, Washington would start off the day by kneeling down and praying, asking for forgiveness for all his wrong-doings, "For me, this is more than just making movies. It is a platform."[11] Fuqua said that Washington, whom he has twice collaborated with, was his first choice to be cast irrespective of which role. The producers were skeptical whether he would take the job since it was a Western film. Fuqua then flew to New York City to negotiate with Washington, who accepted the offer.[4][7]

Chris Pratt plays Josh Faraday ("the Gambler").[26] According to Pratt, Faraday is "a bit of a fox, a trickster. He's a gambler, a drinker. He loves the ladies. But he's deadly in a fire fight."[21] Like Washington, it is also Pratt's first Western film and the first film in which the two have starred together.[23] Pratt began watching Western films at the age of 31 while filming in London and would watch films like The Westerner (1940). He credits Gary Cooper for revitalizing his perspective towards Western films.[11][23] Pratt's character was the toughest to find. Fuqua was well aware of Pratt's penchant towards Western films. He and his team then approached Pratt who called back in a few days singing "Oh Shenandoah," to which Fuqua replied, "He's it. He's Steve McQueen."[4]

Ethan Hawke is Goodnight Robicheaux ("the Sharpshooter"), a former Confederate soldier. Unlike the 1960 version, Hawke's version is more haunted and mature. Fuqua had one idea – to keep picturing Goodnight as if Christopher Walken's character Nikanor "Nick" Chevotarevich in The Deer Hunter was a Civil War veteran; just a shattered person.[27] Hawke was the first person to come on board after the project was finalized.[10] Like Washington, The Magnificent Seven marks the third collaboration between Hawke and Fuqua after Training Day (2001) and Brooklyn's Finest (2009).[27] Hawke stumbled upon Fuqua and Washington during the New York premiere of The Equalizer in 2014 and, upon learning that a remake was in the works, he asked Fuqua to cast him in the film.[27]

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo plays Vasquez ("the Outlaw"), a bandit, robber, and criminal who has been on the run for several months. He does not have anything to lose because he has no family. He describes his character as someone who loves gunfighting.[28]

Martin Sensmeier plays Red Harvest ("the Warrior"), a native Comanche who joins the group.[26][28] Sensmeier auditioned several times in order to get the role. He stayed off social media and studied intently in order to portray his part.[12] Scotty Augere, who previously worked on Dances with Wolves, taught Sensmeier how to ride a horse bareback and would ride with him two hours a day.[12]

Vincent d'Onofrio was cast as Jack Horn, ("the Mountain Man"), on the urging of co-stars Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.[29] For the role, d'Onofrio developed a raw, high-pitched voice to give the impression of a man who'd lived in the wilderness for years without speaking to people, and, when he wanted to test the voice for Fuqua, the director refused to listen, instructing the actor to surprise him with it in his first scene, which resulted in a delighted Fuqua laughing so hard that he almost ruined the scene by interfering with the sound recording.[30]

Byung-hun Lee plays Billy Rocks, ("the Assassin") the knife wielding Asian member of the seven. Director Antoine Fuqua compared the way he handled his knives to a ballet dancer.

Music

James Horner was tapped to write the film's score, but he died (on June 22, 2015), before filming could commence. In July 2015 Fuqua learned that the composer had already begun working on the music before his passing.[31] Horner's friend and score producer Simon Franglen co-composed the score afterward. It was released on September 16, 2016 by Sony Classical, and is the third Horner-score released posthumously.[32]

Filming

Principal photography on the film lasted 64 days, from March 18 to August 18, 2015, in the north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[33][34][35] Other locations include St. Francisville; Zachary, Louisiana; Ridgway, Colorado; and New Mexico.[10][34][35] Filming in St. Francisville was completed between May 18 and May 29, 2015.[36]

The climactic battle between the Seven and a small army led by Bogue took three weeks to shoot; the weather was inclement.[10] Sometimes the cast and crew would wait in the on-set saloon for storms to pass, and, at times when the storm would worsen, the trailer would rock and they would have to leave the set.[10] Since his grandmother was the prime influence on the film, every day after filming, Fuqua would ask himself if she would have fun watching it.[5]

Release

The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2016,[37][38] and served as the closing-night film at the Venice Film Festival on September 9, 2016.[39] The film was originally set to be released on January 13, 2017;[40] however in February 2016, Sony Pictures Entertainment moved the release date this time from January 13, 2017, and then to September 23, 2016.[41]

Marketing

Sony kicked off its campaign on April 20, 2016, by launching the first trailer,[42] and the cast took to their social media platforms to reveal character-by-character.[43] Television advertisement began during the summer when the trailers were paired with the NBA finals and BET Awards as well as the 2016 Summer Olympics. Sony rounded out the campaign with a presence in live sporting events such as National Football League, NCAA Football and local Major League Baseball as well as highly anticipated fall premieres and original programming, like Empire, The Voice, American Horror Story, Fear the Walking Dead and Designated Survivor.[43]

Reception

Box office

The Magnificent Seven grossed $93.4 million in the United States Canada and $68.9 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $162.4 million, against a net production budget of $90 million.[2] The film had a global 2D IMAX opening of $4.3 million from 606 theaters.[44]

North America

In the United States and Canada, The Magnificent Seven opened alongside Storks, and was projected to open to around $30 million, with some estimates going as high as $50 million, which would make it one of the biggest September debuts of all-time.[45][46][47][48] The film opened in 3,674 theaters, including having the benefit of playing in all IMAX theaters for one week and a number of premium large formats and D-Box screens.[49] It made $1.75 million from Thursday previews and $12.7 million on its first day.[50][51] The film went on to gross $35.7 million in its opening weekend of which $2.9 million came from 372 IMAX theaters and managed to top the box office and scored the third biggest Western openers (not accounting for inflation), behind Rango ($38.1 million) and Cowboys & Aliens ($36.4 million).[52] It is also director Fuqua's second biggest opening and Washington's third biggest.[53]

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The Magnificent Seven's robust opening in North America was partly attributed to the presence of Denzel Washington, with 61% of audiences citing him as the prime reason for seeing the film during its opening weekend.[53]

According to The Los Angeles Times, the film was released in theaters at a time when the Western genre had been struggling to attract wide audiences and accrue lucrative revenues, as it has shown considerable downfall in interest among patrons since the 1970s. The genre has had several recent box office flops such as The Lone Ranger (2013) and Cowboys & Aliens (2011), but has also found success in films like Django Unchained (2012) and True Grit (2010).[46] Its strong debut in North America was partly attributed to the presence of Denzel Washington, who industry analysts say is one of only a handful of movie stars today who consistently draws large audiences to theaters,[54] and also to Fuqua's direction.[55] Deadline.com pointed out that the production budget of films also plays an important role in determining a film's success. By comparison to other recent Western films, The Magnificent cost $90 million to make before promotion and marketing costs are included. The site pointed out that "the trick is keeping their budgets reasonable", unlike The Lone Ranger which cost a hefty $215 million to make and Cowboys & Aliens cost $163 million.[53] It became a financial recoverer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after the studio lost a great deal of money with Ben-Hur the previous month and became the studio's second hit of the year following the sleeper hit Me Before You released in June this year.[56]

Outside North America

The film was projected to make around $100 million with foreign box office prognosticators expecting a similar $101.6 million total of The Hateful Eight.[44][53] It was released in South Korea (the first market worldwide) on September 14, 2016 and delivered an opening of $5.1 million, finishing in third place at the box office behind local film The Age of Shadows and Hollywood tent pole Ben-Hur.[57] Internationally, it next opened in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Germany, Spain, and Russia.[47] The following weekend, the film expanded to 62 markets and grossed $19.2 million from 63 markets (including Korea). IMAX made up $1.4 million from 234 theaters.[44]

It opened in first place in Russia ($1.8 million) Spain ($1.1 million) and Malaysia ($560,000) and second in the United Kingdom and Ireland ($2.6 million), Germany ($1.4 million) and Brazil ($1.1 million),[44] and had similar openings in Australia ($2.8 million) and France ($1.9 million).[58] China is not yet determined.[44]

Critical response

The Magnificent Seven received mixed reviews, with critics praising the cast but noting the film did not offer much that is original or innovative.[59] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 63%, based on 257 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Magnificent Seven never really lives up to the superlative in its title – or the classics from which it draws inspiration – but remains a moderately diverting action thriller on its own merits."[60] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a score of 54 out of 100, based on 50 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[61] According to CinemaScore polls, audiences gave the film an average "A–" grade, on an A+ to F scale.[62]

IGN critic Terri Schwartz gave the film a 6.7/10 and summarized her review with: "The Magnificent Seven ends up being a bit too predictable to reach its full potential, but the fun the cast clearly had making it allows the movie to be an enjoyable ride while it lasts. Fuqua does his best to update the Western for the modern audience, but doesn't capture what made those films great in the process. The action is big and sleek, the characters are charismatic and the film looks beautiful, but this won't be a movie that stays with you long after you leave the theater.[63]

Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper praised the film by giving a score of 3 stars out of 4, writing: "Over all Template:Sic, this is a rousing, albeit sometimes cheesy, action-packed Western bolstered by Denzel Washington’s baddest-of-the-baddasses lead performance, mostly fine supporting work, and yep, some of the most impressively choreographed extended shootout sequences in recent memory."[64]

James Berardinelli of Reelviews gave a score of 2 stars out of 4, writing: "The original The Magnificent Seven found a perfect balance between moments of grand triumph and the understated, solemn denouement. This The Magnificent Seven has the dour ending without the high points preceding it. With two better versions of this story readily available, why bother with this mediocre re-telling? 'Currently recognizable actors' hardly seems like a good justification."[65]

MTV's Amy Nicholson decried the film, writing: "Fuqua’s made two clean piles separating good and evil, and in doing so, he’s thrown away the film’s point. Now we can trade our conscience for a bucket of popcorn. Today’s The Magnificent Seven is just another superhero flick that spends half its running time assembling a band of bulletproof daredevils. Which makes sense — the original inspired The Avengers, which published its first comic three years after it was a hit."[66]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "The new Seven isn't aiming for cinema immortality. It's two hours of hardcore, shoot-em-up pow and it's entertaining as hell."[67]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Alliance of Women Film Journalists December 21, 2016 Remake or Sequel That Shouldn't Have Been Made The Magnificent Seven Nominated [68]
[69]
Black Reel Awards February 16, 2017 Outstanding Actor Denzel Washington Nominated [70]
Outstanding Director Antoine Fuqua Nominated
Jupiter Awards March 29, 2017 Best International Film The Magnificent Seven Nominated [71]
Best International Actor Denzel Washington Won
Saturn Awards June 28, 2017 Best Action or Adventure Film The Magnificent Seven Template:Pending [72]
Teen Choice Awards July 31, 2016 Choice Movie Actor: AnTEENcipated Chris Pratt Nominated [73]

References

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External links

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Template:The Magnificent Seven Template:Antoine Fuqua

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