Gerard Butler is one of those actors that has made his mark in Hollywood and abroad with significant performances in blockbuster films, as well as tantalizing action thrillers that hit close to home. With starring performances in hit films like 300, The Phantom of the Opera, and Law Abiding Citizen, we can always rely on Butler to entertain us with his charisma and Scottish charm (if not always turning in Oscar-worthy performances). However, some of Butler’s most uproarious films weren’t always the box office stunners we hoped they’d be. Recently, one of Gerard Butler’s most intriguing movies hit Netflix, and according to FlixPatrol, is climbing the trending charts to the #4 spot. That film is director Christian Gudegast’s 2018 action thriller Den of Thieves.
When it was released in 2018, Den of Thieves became another one of Gerard Butler’s box office surprises, grossing $80 million against a $30 million budget. The film starred Butler as Detective “Big Nick” O’Brien, a Los Angeles police officer with a bit of a problem with alcohol. He is part of a special unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tasked with stopping a bank robbery heist on the Federal Reserve Bank. Costarring with Butler was an ensemble cast that included Pablo Schreiber as Ray Merrimen, the leader of the bank robbery crew, O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Donnie Wilson, a robber and expert getaway driver, as well as rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Enson Levoux, another one of the robbers that joins Merrimen’s crew. Most of the bank robbers were former US Marine veterans, part of the United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command, who seize control of an armored truck at the beginning of the film, resulting in a shootout with local police that injures some and kills others. O’Brien is determined to investigate the situation and capture anyone who was involved before the heist at the Federal Reserve Bank takes place in Downtown Los Angeles.
Even though Den of Thieves did decently well at the box office and broke some industry projections at the time, critics were decidedly mixed on the Gerard Butler thriller. As of this writing, Rotten Tomatoes has the film at 42% on its Tomatometer, with an Audience Score sitting at 62%. On Metacritic, the movie has a Metascore of 49 from critics, with a User Score of 6.3, which is generally favored among its 119 user ratings. However, that hasn’t seemed to stop Netflix subscribers from flocking to the film over Mother’s Day weekend. According to Cinema Blend, it’s currently trending at #4, down from the #3 spot one week prior.
As far as preparation for the movie went, Gerard Butler was taking no prisoners and hiding nothing from the camera. The film takes place in Los Angeles but was filmed in Atlanta. As he explained to Extra in a video posted when Den of Thieves was in production, Butler was intent on gaining 25 to 30 pounds for his role as Nick O’Brien, which he allegedly achieved by eating a lot of steak each night and going to the gym every chance he got. Butler’s costar Pablo Schreiber also hit the gym to bulk up for his role as the film’s lead villain, as demonstrated in a photo posted to Instagram back when the two were filming the movie. This photo came out right before the initial release of Den of Thieves, which shows Schreiber putting on extra muscles for his debut as Ray Merrimen in a bit of a behind-the-scenes action pose.
With not a lot of outward display of affection towards the film when it was originally released in 2018, Den of Thieves seems to have stood the test of time when it comes to streaming audiences. An action thriller that is dramatic to its core and a modest box office hit, Gerard Butler’s animal magnetism and box office draw have brought a four-year-old film back into the zeitgeist of American audiences and households everywhere. Despite the lackluster appeal to critics, Den of Thieves remains one of the fan favorites of Butler’s performances, and might just be one of his best movies to date. Thank goodness for Netflix and its power to keep us honest about what is trending right now.