Triple 9 (2016)


Introduction

Triple 9 is a 2016 American action thriller film directed by John Hillcoat and written by Matt Cook.

Also known as 999 (US working title) and Triple Nine (alternative spelling).

Refer to Triple 9: Under the Gun (2016), a short documentary on the film.

Outline

An Atlanta criminal crew consisting of former Navy SEALs Michael Atwood and Russell Welch, Russell’s ex-cop brother Gabe, and corrupt detectives Marcus Belmont and Franco Rodriguez, rob a bank to retrieve a safe deposit box. The box contains information that could overturn the recent conviction of a Jewish-Russian Mafia boss. When Michael brings the safe deposit box to the boss’ wife, Irina, she withholds their reward money and gives Michael and his crew another mission, which involves breaking into a DHS office and stealing more data on her husband. To convince them to take the job, the mafia tortures and then dumps a mortally wounded Russell off in front of the crew, forcing Michael to mercy-kill Russell in front of them, traumatizing Gabe.

The group decides to go forward with the job. As they think of ways they can pull it off, Marcus and Franco suggest a Triple 9 scenario, which involves an officer down call that sends all of the police to the location of the incident, with Marcus nominating his new partner, Chris Allen, a Marine veteran, as the cop to be killed. Marcus tries to befriend Chris as they go out on calls together. During one call, Chris attempts to question a local gang member, Luis Pinto, about a gang-related homicide, only for Luis to attack Chris before being detained for his actions. Chris’s uncle, Jeffrey Allen, is a Sgt. Detective in the police force working on the bank robbery case. Jeffrey gets a lead and discovers that Gabe is one of the people involved in the bank robbery. Gabe, still grieving over his brother, tries to stop the heist from happening by following Chris and Marcus around and telling Chris, but is stopped by both Michael and Jeffrey.

On the day of the heist, Marcus takes Chris to an abandoned housing project to meet an informant with information on their homicide case. As they walk around the building, Marcus slips away, and Luis comes in and tries to find Chris. Chris bumps into Gabe who tries to warn him that he is going to die. Luis then charges in and tries to shoot Chris but hits Gabe. As Luis runs away, Chris confronts a critically wounded Gabe. Before Gabe can say anything, Marcus comes in, triggering a shootout between the two. Gabe is killed, and Marcus is shot in the head. Fearing Marcus is dead, Chris makes the Triple 9 call. Thinking his nephew is the officer down, Jeffrey rushes to the scene. Meanwhile, Michael and Franco break into the DHS office and steal the information with little police disruption. Luis flees the projects and is later shot dead by SWAT after barricading himself in a nearby home.

In the aftermath, Marcus survives but is in critical condition. Michael meets with Irina and her henchmen for the exchange. He has a gift for his son to give to him upon their reunion. Irina gives him the money but does not bring Michael’s son as she had promised to earlier. Michael and Irina were earlier revealed to have a family relationship: the mother of Michael’s son is Irina’s sister; nonetheless, Irina refers to Michael as a “monkey.” After being beaten by her henchmen, Michael walks back to his car and triggers a bomb that was wired into his gift, killing Irina and her thugs. As he drives away, Michael is pulled over by Franco, who kills him and steals the money. After investigating Luis’s belongings at the morgue, Chris finds a note in Luis’s wallet, which contained the location where Marcus took him the day of the shooting. Chris later finds out that Marcus met Luis the day of the shooting, letting him know where to kill Chris. Angered, Chris visits an unconscious Marcus to try to get answers but is interrupted by Franco, who invites Chris back to the station to get his account of the shooting. As the two head to the car, Chris receives a call from Jeffrey, who tells him that Franco has been cleaning house and that he might be next. Chris, clutching his holstered weapon, stops and tells Franco that he’ll meet him at the station. Franco, realizing Chris has been tipped of his involvement, agrees to meet Chris there. As the two head out to their respective cars, Jeffrey is seen inside Franco’s car, and they both shoot each other when Franco takes a seat in his car. Franco is killed, and Jeffrey is shot in the abdomen. As Chris makes a Triple 9 call, Jeffrey calmly pulls a joint and smokes it. Jeffrey’s fate is left unknown.

Cast

  • Casey Affleck as Chris Allen.
  • Anthony Mackie as Marcus Belmont.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Michael Atwood.
  • Clifton Collins Jr. as Franco Rodriguez.
  • Woody Harrelson as Jeffrey Allen.
  • Aaron Paul as Gabe Welch.
  • Kate Winslet as Irina Vlaslov.
  • Gal Gadot as Elena Vlaslov.
  • Norman Reedus as Russell Welch.
  • Teresa Palmer as Michelle Allen.
  • Michael K. Williams as Sweet Pea.
  • Michelle Ang as Trina Ling.
  • Terence Rosemore as Joshua Parks.
  • Terri Abney as Leah Green.
  • Alexandr Babara as Ben Feldman.
  • Anthony Belevtsov as Yussel Gotlib.
  • Luis Da Silva as Luis Pinto.
  • Ian Casselberry as Gomez.
  • E. Roger Mitchell as Smith.
  • Blake McLennan as Felix.
  • Michael Harding as Walter Sims.
  • Labrandon Shead as Sergeant Pete Nelson.
  • Armando Alonzo as Emilio.
  • Karen Kaia Livers as Shanice.
  • Jon Eyez as Ispuk Member.
  • Carlos Alcaine as Fernando “Termite” Rivera.
  • Kurt Yaeger as Wounded DHS Guard.
  • Christina Simonds as Christina.
  • Igor Komar as Vassili.

Production

Development

The project was first announced in August 2010 with director John Hillcoat circling Matt Cook’s crime drama script Triple Nine, set to star Shia LaBeouf, with Steve Golin attached to produce. Cook’s script was included in Black List scripts of 2010. Hillcoat confirmed his direction of the film later in May 2012; the casting of LaBeouf and Nick Cave scoring the music for the film were also confirmed. Later, Cave left the project and Atticus Ross came on board to compose the score for the film. In February 2014 Open Road Films acquired the US distribution rights to the film and Worldview Entertainment came on board to finance the film after the exit of Panorama Media.

Casting

The film went through many casting changes. Shia LaBeouf was initially attached to star in the film but later left the project and was replaced by Charlie Hunnam. In December 2013, Hunnam also left the project and was replaced by Casey Affleck. In August 2013, Cate Blanchett and Christoph Waltz were in talks to join the cast but later dropped out and instead Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson came on board. Casting completed in March 2014, as Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Gal Gadot, Teresa Palmer, and Clifton Collins Jr. rounded out the cast.

Hillcoat talking about filming schedule said that, “It’s a challenge, arranging everyone’s schedules and trying to accomplish something with eight main characters. I’ve never worked on something quite like this.”

Filming

Principal photography began on 28 May 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. On 05 June, filming took place at St. Regis in Buckhead, Atlanta, with Winslet. Filming took place at Centennial Olympic Park Drive, Atlanta from 23 to 25 June 2014. In early July, filming moved to Decatur, scenes were shot from 09 to 12 July 2014 in the 200 block of Kings Highway. Additionally stretches of Ansley Street and Kings Highway were also be used as establishing shots. Scenes were also shot on White Street, South East of Westview Cemetery, Atlanta. On 17 July 2014, a scene was shot in Atlanta with real paramedics, SWAT officers and police officers along with the principal cast. Due to heavy rain, some scenes remained unfinished while shooting at Centennial Olympic Park, where filming again took place from 05 to 06 August 2014. After that, filming was wrapped.

Music

Atticus Ross composed the music for the film along with his wife Claudia Sarne, brother Leopold Ross and Bobby Krlic. Talking about the music of the film, Ross said that “he [Hillcoat] had a particular vision for the music on this movie which was very raw sounding electronics; with bizarrely a saxophone in there. With this film, it was difficult because we were trying to get the story right and one would write the music, but then the scenes would change around and it all becomes redundant. So it was quite a bit of work.” A foreboding version of This Little Piggy was featured in the trailer of the film.

Release

On 27 August 2014, Open Road set the film for a nationwide release on 11 September 2015. But on 10 June 2015 it was announced the release date of the film has moved from 11 September 2015 to 04 March 2016. In October 2015, the release date was moved up to 26 February 2016.

Promotion

The first trailer for the film was released on 05 October 2015.

Box Office

Triple 9 grossed $12.6 million in North America, and $13.3 million in other territories, for a total gross of $25.9 million, against a production budget of $20 million.

In the United States and Canada, pre-release tracking suggested the film would gross $7-9 million from 2,205 theatres in its opening weekend, trailing fellow newcomer Gods of Egypt ($12-15 million projection) but similar to Eddie the Eagle. The film made $2.1 million on its first day and $6.1 million in its opening weekend, finishing 6th at the box office.

Home Media

Triple 9 was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 31 May 2016.

Trivia

  • Shia LaBeouf was originally cast, but had to drop out. Charlie Hunnam was then cast, but then was later replaced by Casey Affleck.
  • Michael B. Jordan was originally cast in the role of Marcus Belmont, but he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
  • Cate Blanchett was cast in the role of Irina Vlaslov, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
  • The police code “999” that the film is named after does not exist.
    • In real life, Atlanta police use “Signal 63” to indicate an officer down/needs help.
  • Norman Reedus has a dogs paw tattoo on his hand, this is the emblem of the private military contractor company Blackwater.
    • Reedus and Eofor’s backgrounds in the movie is as ex special forces soldiers that had worked for the private company in Iraq.
    • Blackwater was banned from operating in Iraq after an incident in which a number of civilians were killed.
    • It has subsequently rebranded itself a number of times but remains a shadowy presence in the Middle East and Africa.
  • At one point in the film, a road sign proclaiming “ZOMBIES AHEAD” can be seen.
    • Norman Reedus appeared on The Walking Dead (2010), which was also filmed in and around Atlanta, Georgia. (E. Roger Mitchell appeared on The Walking Dead (2010)).
    • Woody Harrelson starred in the zombie comedy Zombieland (2009).
    • Teresa Palmer also starred in Warm Bodies (2013) which is a love story involving a zombie.
  • The Red Band trailer was two minutes and nineteen seconds, which was the original date the film was going to be released, 19 February.
    • However, the film release date was pushed back to 26 February.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • John Hillcoat.
  • Producer(s):
    • Marc Butan … producer.
    • Maria Cestone … executive producer.
    • Molly Conners … executive producer.
    • Matt Cook … co-producer.
    • Bard Dorros … producer.
    • Isabel Dos Santos … executive producer.
    • Meryl Emmerton … co-producer.
    • Michael Flynn … co-producer.
    • Kimberly Fox … executive producer.
    • Steve Golin … executive producer.
    • Paul Green … executive producer.
    • John Hillcoat … producer.
    • Sarah E. Johnson … executive producer.
    • Anthony Katagas … producer.
    • Peter Lawson … executive producer.
    • Tom Ortenberg … executive producer.
    • Jonathan Pavesi … co-producer.
    • Adriana Randall … co-producer.
    • Keith Redmon … producer.
    • Andrew C. Robinson … co-executive producer.
    • Joan Schneider … line producer: UK.
    • Jared Underwood … co-executive producer (as Jared D. Underwood).
    • Christopher Woodrow … producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Matt Cook.
  • Music:
    • The Haxan Cloak … (as Bobby Krlic).
    • Atticus Ross.
    • Leopold Ross.
    • Claudia Sarne.
  • Cinematography:
    • Nicolas Karakatsanis.
  • Editor(s):
    • Dylan Tichenor.
  • Production:
    • Worldview Entertainment.
    • Anonymous Content.
    • MadRiver Pictures.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Open Road Films (2016) (USA) (theatrical).
    • Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) (2016) (Non-US) (theatrical).
    • Cathay-Keris Films (2016) (Singapore) (theatrical).
    • Constantin-Film (2016) (Austria) (theatrical).
    • Entertainment One (2016) (Belgium) (theatrical).
    • Entertainment One (2016) (Netherlands) (theatrical).
    • Hishow Entertainment (2016) (China) (theatrical).
    • M2 Pictures (2016) (Albania) (theatrical).
    • Mars Distribution (2016) (France) (theatrical).
    • NOS Audiovisuais (2016) (Portugal) (theatrical).
    • OctoArts Films (2016) (Philippines) (theatrical).
    • Parakeet Film (2016) (Ukraine) (theatrical).
    • Presidio (2016) (Japan) (theatrical).
    • Roadshow Films (2016) (Australia) (theatrical).
    • Spentzos Films (2017) (Greece) (theatrical).
    • Wild Bunch (2016) (Germany) (theatrical).
    • Ascot Elite Entertainment Group (2016) (Switzerland) (all media).
    • Batrax Entertainment (2016) (Non-US) (all media).
    • DeAPlaneta (2016) (Spain) (all media).
    • Elevation Pictures (2016) (Canada) (all media).
    • Entertainment One (2016) (Netherlands) (Blu-ray).
    • Entertainment One (2016) (Netherlands) (DVD).
    • Film & TV House (2016) (Non-US) (all media) (multi-territory).
    • Film1 (2017) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited).
    • GEM Entertainment (2016) (Non-US) (all media).
    • IPA Asia Pacific (2016) (Thailand) (all media).
    • KVH Media Group (2016) (World-wide) (all media) (ships).
    • Netflix (2018) (Netherlands) (video) (VOD).
    • Roadshow Entertainment (2016) (Australia) (Blu-ray) (DVD).
    • Sabay MVP (2016) (Cambodia) (all media).
    • Universum Film (UFA) (2016) (Germany) (Blu-ray).
    • Universum Film (UFA) (2016) (Germany) (DVD).
    • Veronica (2021) (Netherlands) (TV).
  • Release Date: 16 February 2016 (Los Angeles, US, Premiere).
  • Running Time: 115 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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