Central Intelligence is a 2016 American action comedy film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, and written by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. The film stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as two old high school friends who go on the run after one of them joins the CIA in order to save the world from a terrorist who has an intention to sell satellite codes.

The film premiered in Los Angeles on June 10, 2016 and was theatrically released in the United States on June 17, 2016. Central Intelligence received positive reviews with praise for Hart and Johnson's performances but criticism of the script. The film grossed $217 million worldwide against its $50 million budget.[4]


In 1996, star athlete Calvin Joyner is being honored at his high school. Halfway through Calvin's speech, Trevor Olson and a group of bullies throw a naked Robbie Weirdicht, who was showering, into the hall where the assembly is taking place, embarrassing him. Only Calvin and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson, are sympathetic towards Wierdicht.

Twenty years later, Calvin is married to Maggie and works as a forensic accountant but is dissatisfied with his career. Maggie suggests they see a therapist to salvage their deteriorating marriage. At work, Calvin receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone, who reveals that he is Wierdicht and requests that they meet. Calvin is shocked to see that Wierdicht has transformed into a muscular, confident man. Stone asks Calvin to review a few accounting records. Calvin deciphers the records as multimillion-dollar transactions from an auction, with the final payment set to be made the following day. Stone avoids Calvin's questions and spends the night on his couch.

The next morning, a group of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris arrive at Calvin's house in search of Stone, who escapes. Harris tells Joyner that Stone is a dangerous rogue agent who intends to sell satellite codes to the highest bidder. Soon after, Stone abducts Calvin and explains that he is trying to stop a criminal known as the Black Badger from selling the codes but needs Calvin's skills to find the coordinates of the deal's location. After an attack by a bounty hunter, Calvin flees and calls Maggie, telling her to meet him at the marriage counselor's office. Harris intercepts him and tells him that Stone murdered his partner Phil Stanton and is the Black Badger himself. She warns him to refrain from telling Maggie and gives him a device to alert them to Stone's location. Calvin then arrives for marriage counseling, where he finds Stone posing as the counselor.

Stone convinces Calvin to help him, and Calvin sets up a meeting with Trevor Olson, who is able to track the offshore account for the auction, so they can get the deal's location. At first he apologizes for his misdeed saying he has found God , only to admit he lied and laughs in their faces and bullies Bob again. Harris calls Calvin and threatens to arrest Maggie if he fails to help them detain Stone. Calvin is forced to betray Stone, and the CIA arrests him. As Harris tortures Stone to get him to confess, Calvin decides to help Stone escape. Calvin finds that the deal is happening in Boston and helps Stone steal a plane. At an underground parking garage, where the deal is assumed to be taking place, Stone enters alone, while Calvin sees Harris entering a short while later. He mistakenly assumes that she is the Black Badger and runs after her, but finds Stone meeting with the buyer and claiming to be the Black Badger. Stone shoots Calvin, grazing his neck, to keep him safe.

Phil Stanton arrives, revealing that he is alive, and claims he is the real Black Badger. The buyer attempts to retrieve codes from both Stone and Stanton, but the CIA arrives and a shootout begins, while Calvin grabs both codes and runs outside. He encounters Stone and Stanton, who engage in combat. Unable to decide who is the criminal, Calvin randomly shoots Stone, but Stanton confesses that he is the Black Badger and that Stone is innocent. Calvin causes a distraction that allows Stone to rip Stanton's throat out, killing him. The two deliver the codes to Harris, who then drops them off at their high school reunion, where Calvin reconciles with Maggie. Bob is announced as the Homecoming King, with Calvin revealing to Maggie that he hacked the voting system to ensure Stone's win. Olson attempts to bully Stone a third time, but Stone knocks him out. As Stone delivers his speech, he relives his most embarrassing high-school moment and takes off all his clothes confidently. He walks off stage to unite with his high-school crush Darla McGuckian.

Before the ending credits, Maggie is pregnant and Calvin has joined the CIA. As a gift for his first day on the job, Stone gives Calvin back his varsity jacket from high school, which Calvin had given to him after the senior assembly prank.




The script was greenlighted by Universal Pictures in 2010 and Thurber was selected to direct and started to write the script together with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. Before production began, Thurber convinced New Line Cinema to buy the script and the studio became the film's domestic distributor through Warner Bros.. That year, Dwayne Johnson was cast alongside Kevin Hart.


Principal photography began on May 6, 2015, and took place in Atlanta, Georgia and throughout various Massachusetts locations, including Boston,[6][7] Burlington,[8] Lynn, Middleton,[8] and Quincy. Principal photography ended in July 2015. To promote the film, Johnson and Hart had an Instagram war against each other on the set.[9]


The film premiered at the Regency Village Theater on June 10, 2016. Warner Bros. handles distribution in the United States, where the film opened on June 17, 2016, while Universal covers global distribution, as the film was released between June and July 2016.

Home media

Central Intelligence was released on Digital HD on September 13, 2016, before being released on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on September 27, 2016.[10]


Box office

Central Intelligence grossed $127.4 million in North America and $89.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $217 million, against a budget of $50 million.[3] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $52 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.[11]

Central Intelligence opened on June 17, 2016, alongside Finding Dory, and was projected to gross around $30 million from 3,508 theaters in its opening weekend.[2] The film grossed $1.8 million from its Thursday previews and $13 million on its first day.[12] The film went on to gross $35.5 million, finishing second at the box office behind fellow newcomer Finding Dory ($135.1 million).[13]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 70% based on 171 reviews with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson make for well-matched comic foils, helping Central Intelligence overcome a script that coasts on their considerable chemistry."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 75% overall positive score and a 55% "definite recommend".[13]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film two out of four stars, writing "If you're expecting the story threads to cohere, you're in the wrong multiplex. Central Intelligence always takes the lazy way out. You go along for the ride because Hart and Johnson promise something they can't deliver: a movie as funny as they are."[16] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized the film as a "shambolic high-concept farce that doubles as a cautionary tale of where studio comedies go wrong," writing: "In spots as indifferent and self-indulgent as any latter-day Adam Sandler production ... , [Intelligence] switches back and forth from snail-paced to incoherently over-stuffed on a moment’s notice, with no in-between mode."[17] Keith Phipps of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, saying "It all adds up to the sort of breezy, undemanding comedy that fits nicely into the summer months, and plays beautifully in endless cable repeats."[18]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Critics' Choice Awards Best Comedy Central Intelligence Nominated [19]
Best Actor in a Comedy Dwayne Johnson Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Comedy "Trailer 1" Nominated [20]
Best Comedy Poster "Big Johnson Teaser" Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedic Movie Central Intelligence Nominated [21]
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor Kevin Hart Won
Dwayne Johnson Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Central Intelligence Nominated [22]
Choice Summer Movie Star: Male Kevin Hart Won
Dwayne Johnson Nominated


  1. "Central Intelligence (12A)". (June 4, 2016). Retrieved on June 5, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "'Finding Dory’ To Have Shark-Size Appetite At Weekend B.O.; Second Best Opening This Summer After ‘Civil War’ – Preview"..
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Central Intelligence (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on October 14, 2016.
  4. "‘Central Intelligence’ Review Roundup: Critics Think Dwayne Johnson & Kevin Hart Have Chemistry, But Script Lacks"..
  5. "Phil Reeves". IMDb.
  6. "Kevin Hart on Instagram".. Retrieved on May 2, 2015.
  7. "Calling All Film Junkies: Movies Filming in Boston During Summer 2015", (March 31, 2015). Retrieved on May 2, 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart spotted filming ‘Central Intelligence’ in Massachusetts", (May 5, 2015). Retrieved on May 6, 2015. 
  9. "Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart ruin each other's videos in hilarious dueling Instagrams", USA TODAY (6 July 2015). Retrieved on 26 May 2016. 
  10. Hunt, Bill. "New Force Awakens 3D details, plus Central Intelligence, Suicide Squad, new Olive Signature & more"..
  11. Mike Fleming Jr (March 20, 2017). "No. 20 ‘Central Intelligence’ Box Office Profits – 2016 Most Valuable Movie Blockbuster Tournament Underway".. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved on March 21, 2017.
  12. "'Finding Dory' Set to Break the Animated Opening Weekend Record"..
  13. 13.0 13.1 "'Dory's Record Animated Pic $136M+ Opening Is Also Second Best For June After ‘Jurassic World’"..
  14. "Central Intelligence (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on June 2, 2018.
  15. "Central Intelligence reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved on June 30, 2016.
  16. "Central Intelligence – Review"..
  17. "The action-comedy Central Intelligence is a dud with a few good laughs". The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 20 June 2016.
  18. Ryan, Mike (June 16, 2016). "Kevin Hart And Dwayne Johnson Make A Natural Team In ‘Central Intelligence’". Uproxx. Retrieved on June 16, 2016.
  19. "La La Land Leads with 12 Nominations for the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards".. Critics' Choice (December 1, 2016). Retrieved on December 1, 2016.
  20. "The 17th Annual Golden Trailer Award Nominees".. Retrieved on October 27, 2016.
  21. "People’s Choice Awards Nominees 2017 — Full List". (November 15, 2016). Retrieved on November 15, 2016.
  22. Goodman, Jessica (July 31, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016: See the full list of winners".. Time Inc.. Retrieved on August 1, 2016.

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