The Night Before (2015 film)

The Night Before

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Jonathan Levine
  • Kyle Hunter
  • Ariel Shaffir
  • Evan Goldberg
Story by Jonathan Levine
Narrated by Tracy Morgan[1]
Music by
Cinematography Brandon Trost
Edited by Zene Baker
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • November 16, 2015 (2015-11-16) (New York City premiere)
  • November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[3]
Box office $52.4 million[4]

The Night Before is a 2015 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jonathan Levine, 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.

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.


In December 2001, Ethan Miller (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) loses both of his parents in a car accident. Since that time, Isaac Greenberg (Seth Rogen) and Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie), Ethan's best friends, resolve to spend every Christmas Eve with Ethan. Along the way, the friends learn of the Nutcracker Ball, a tremendous, invite-only Christmas Eve party. Unable to find the party, the friends continue with their tradition. In 2015, the friends decide to end the tradition. Chris has become a famous football player, and Isaac is married, with a baby on the way. Privately, Chris and Isaac worry that Ethan, a struggling musician working at a hotel, is not ready for the tradition to end.

At the hotel, Ethan finds and steals invitations to the Nutcracker Ball. Later, at the friends meet at Isaac's house before going out on their last Christmas Eve together. Prior to leaving, Isaac's wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) gives him drugs to use during the evening, since he has been so supportive. The friends leave to follow their usual tradition, with the intention to go to the party afterward. Their first stop is the Rockefeller Tree. While at the Tree, Isaac reveals the tickets to the ball. Along the way, Chris, in an attempt to impress his teammates, purchases marijuana from their former high school dealer, Mr. Green (Michael Shannon). While making the purchase, Mr. Green shares the weed with Chris, calling it the present. While at a karaoke bar, the friends run into Diana (Lizzy Caplan), who recently broke up with Ethan for refusing to commit, and Diana's friend Sarah (Mindy Kaling). The friends learn that Diana and Sarah will be at the Nutcracker Ball, as well. While at the bar, Isaac begins to be negatively affected by the drugs he took taken, resulting in making a video phone message admitting that he's terrified of having a child. Chris also has his marijuana stolen by a supposed fan (Ilana Glazer) who is a Christmas-hating thief.

Needing more marijuana, the guys contact Mr. Green again, who meets them at Chris' mother's (Lorraine Toussaint) house. This time, Isaac meets Mr. Green for some marijuana. It shows him the future where his daughter is a stripper, and his wife blames him for it. The friends end up having dinner, cooked by Chris' mother, who encourages Ethan to make up with Diana. During dinner, Isaac realizes that he accidentally switched phones with Sarah.

While trying to find Isaac's phone, the same thief steals Chris' marijuana again. The three friends split up, as Chris wants his marijuana back, Isaac wants his phone, and Ethan wants to go to the party. Chris fails to regain his marijuana, after learning about valuing his true friends from the thief. Isaac, hallucinating from the mixture of drugs he keeps consuming, meets his wife and her family during Midnight Mass and vomits in church. Ethan ends up beaten by two drunk pub-crawling Santas, after trying to defend the spirit of Christmas.

Upon meeting back at a subway station, the tension between the friends explodes. Ethan reveals that he and Isaac know that Chris' sudden success and popularity is due to steroids, and Chris reveals that he and Isaac think that Ethan is lost and making excuses for himself.

Despite their revelations, the three friends still go to the Nutcracker Ball. Upon arriving, Chris learns that his teammates did not need the marijuana he struggled to obtain, and they also make fun of him for a video shot of him earlier, with his friends. Isaac retrieves his phone, and learns that Sarah never revealed the video message he recorded. Ethan finds Diana and, in an improvised moment, proposes to her in front of the entire party. While she accepts publicly, in private she declines, saying she only said yes because he put her on the spot, and thinks that the only reason why he proposed is because of his fear of losing his friends.

In shame, Ethan goes to the roof, where he sees Mr. Green. Mr. Green reveals that he created and has hosted the Nutcracker Ball since its inception. Mr. Green shares marijuana with Ethan, calling it the past. Ethan experiences a memory of his friends initiating their yearly ritual. Ethan rejoins his friends, who have been thrown out of the party after an altercation with Chris' teammates.

As morning dawns, the friends reconcile, just as Isaac receives a message from Betsy that she is in labor. Rushing to the hospital, in Mr. Green's conveniently available car, the friends discover that it was a false alarm. Isaac shows his wife the video, who admits afterward that 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 how he acted and for not being ready to commit. Diana admits she missed Ethan and accepts his request to finally meet her parents.

One year later, the friends and their loved ones spend Christmas together, and are revealed to be happy, and still friends. Isaac's baby cannot sleep, so the trio serenades her. It is shown that the story was all told from a book read by Santa, who is revealed to be 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 is distributing.[5]


On August 7, Jillian Bell was cast to play Betsy, the wife of Rogen's character.[9] 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 was taking 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 was taken 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 over to November 25, 2015,[19] and later to November 20, 2015.[20]


Box office

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

In North America, 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).[3] In its second week, the film grossed $8.4 million, finishing 6th at the box office.[22]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 66%, based on 133 reviews, with 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."[23] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 58 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[24] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[3]


  1. Falcone, Dana Rose (November 16, 2015). "Hear Tracy Morgan narrate the beginning of The Night Before in new clip". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  2. "THE NIGHT BEFORE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 26, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 D'Alessandro, Anthony. "'Mockingjay – Part 2' Flying To $104M-$110M, Lowest In 'Hunger Games' Series But Still Great Business". Deadline. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  4. 1 2 "The Night Before (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Siegel, Tatiana; Kit, Borys (February 10, 2014). "Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Reteam With '50/50' Director for 'Xmas'". Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  7. 1 2 Sneider, Jeff (May 13, 2014). "Anthony Mackie in Negotiations to Join Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Christmas Comedy". Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 Ford, Rebecca (August 8, 2014). "Lizzy Caplan Joins Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Christmas Eve Comedy". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  9. 1 2 Yamato, Jen (August 7, 2014). "'22 Jump Street's Jillian Bell Joins Sony Christmas Comedy". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  10. 1 2 3 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.
  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. 1 2 Watch Jason Mantzoukas, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jason Jones Celebrate SantaCon Early
  13. Seth Rogen Gets In The Holiday Spirit On Our ‘The Night Before’ Set Visit - MTV News
  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. 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". 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".
  22. Anthony D'Alessandro. "Katniss Rules Wednesday On Track For $78M-80M 5-Day; 'Good Dinosaur' Eyes $58M-$62M; 'Creed' Punching $39M-$42M". Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  23. "The Night Before (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  24. "The Night Before reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 9, 2015.

External links

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