Behind the Scenes on Hacksaw Ridge: An Interview With Producer Terry Benedict. The hacksaw ridge

Behind the Scenes on Hacksaw Ridge: An Interview With Producer Terry Benedict

Warfare History Network sat down with Terry Benedict, one of the Producers of the new Mel Gibson film Hacksaw Ridge to ask some questions about the film and its subject, Desmond Doss. The film details the actions of Doss, a conscientious objector who earned his Medal of Honor saving dozens of lives in the Battle of Okinawa. Terry Benedict has spend seventeen years on the project. He was writer, producer, and director of the companion documentary, The Conscientious Objector, which was released in 2004, and is one of few people alive today who knew Desmond Doss and his story intimately. In our interview with Terry Benedict, we ask him: Who was the real Desmond Doss, what makes his story so inspiring and unique, and what responsibilities does a filmmaker have when making a film like Hacksaw Ridge?

Warfare History Network: You’ve dedicated an impressive amount of time to detailing the life of Desmond Doss. How did you become interested in Desmond Doss’ story?

Terry Benedict: I grew up with parents who decided, in their infinite wisdom, that my sisters and I should not have a television until we hit about eleven to twelve years old. So we read voraciously. And like most boys, I was attracted to war stories and loved American history and world history as well. So at some point I went through the Canon of the World War II books, like Guadalcanal Diary and 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and many others. And then I came across The Unlikeliest Hero which was the book about Desmond written by Booton Herndon, which was more of a YA, or young adult, book. I was really enamored with Desmond’s story because it was unlike any other story I had ever read, particularly with its FOCUS on faith. Desmond and I also came from the same Christian denomination, the Seventh Day Adventists. That probably helped as well, because the Adventist world is a pretty small world, especially then.

When you’re growing up, things impact you. The seeds are planted and they just stick with you. Desmond’s story really did have an emotional impact on me. It helped set my moral compass to better understand how faith could work in reality. Even though it might not be terribly pleasant, there was always hope. And it also taught how we could serve our fellow man in difficult circumstances. So that was how I first came across it.

WHN: What inspired you to retell Desmond’s story?

TB: It actually came back around to me well into my film career when I got a phone call telling me that, for decades, producers had been going after Desmond, that he didn’t want his story told, and asking what I thought about it. And I said, ‘well, before any movie gets made, there needs to be a documentary while Desmond’s still alive. His Medal of Honor citation reads like a big fish story that keeps growing and growing, and it just seems very unrealistic. So there needs to be some sort of documentary that’s done that corroborates the voracity of his story’. And that’s what we agreed to do.

But before that even happened, my relationship with Desmond was developing on a personal level. I went to some of the Medal of Honor reunions of the time, and Desmond was really reticent to having his story told by Hollywood. He did want to tell his story to youth, however, and he was very involved in youth programs in the church.

“Your story is so much bigger and has even more value…”

I kept coming back to him with this idea, saying to him ‘Your story is so much bigger and has even more value.’ And the themes of it, of serving your fellow man in the way that he did while standing up for your beliefs, driven by a deep conviction of your faith in God, would be a great encouragement to everyone. Especially when we get into difficult circumstances and just feel like there’s no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.

What Desmond was mainly concerned about was the aspect of his character being compromised, with the glory going to him instead of to God. And so I was standing out in front of a grocery store talking about this and I told him ‘I’ll answer to God first, you second, and everyone will get in line, and I’ll do everything I can to get the essence of your character.’ He had a big grin on his face and he said ‘Ok, let’s do it.’ And that was how it started.

WHN: What kind of a person was the Desmond Doss who you knew?

TB: Well, Desmond was very much ‘What you see is what you get’. When you watch the documentary, you see the real Desmond. It’s a rare opportunity that we are making a movie where there’s a documentary, the quintessential documentary, that you can use as the library of reference to do the film.

For instance, for Andrew Garfield (who plays Desmond in the film), it provided him a lot of information about Desmond as a man, but also some of the mannerisms. I took Andrew into Virginia to show him where Desmond grew up and had him, in a very tactile way, touch and feel these places. I was also there as a reference library for him because I knew Desmond so intimately that he could ask me any questions he had. There was a lot that was not in the documentary, including some very intimate aspects of Desmond’s life that didn’t need to necessarily be shared publically, but would be pertinent to Andrew’s grasp of the layers of Desmond. If you watch both the documentary and the film, you see this seamless transition from the real Desmond to Andrew’s Desmond. It’s very uncanny.

WHN: What can we learn from Desmond’s character?

TB: I think there are a couple of key aspects of his character that we can learn from. One is that Desmond was very humble throughout his whole life and always willing to serve and go the extra mile for anybody. My Dad had a saying that he used to tell us kids when we were growing up: “What kind of world would it be if everyone behaved just like me?” Desmond personified that. When we think about ‘what kind of world would this be if we lived like Desmond? Would it be a better world?’ I think that would be true.

And I think that Desmond did this not just out of compassion, I think he had this unconditional love of humanity. It just leapt out of him. We talk about self-sacrifice. Desmond always was self-sacrificing his whole life. He was an extraordinary individual who personified Christ-like behavior. He wasn’t perfect, he didn’t claim to be perfect, and those of us who knew him knew he wasn’t perfect. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that he was driven and convicted by a philosophy and a theological understanding that he felt he was obligated to do in order to call himself a Christian.

“I Think that too many times in our history we try and evangelize our way of thinking on other people…”

One time I thought I was going to have this long and interesting discussion about ‘How do you justify not killing when the Old Testament is full of all kinds of killing?’ That conversation lasted no longer than 60 second. He said “Terry, God convicted me not to kill. If somebody else is convicted by God to kill, I pass no judgment on that person.” And that was the end of the discussion.

I think that too many times in our history we try and evangelize our way of thinking on other people instead of trying to understand our differences and looking at how we all collectively work together for the greater good.

Desmond proved that you can have a very different way of thinking in the military machine but be an incredible asset to that same military culture. And that’s what the military institution came to recognize. I saw that first hand. When we took Desmond to the Pentagon, there were four-star generals saluting him. He wasn’t even wearing his Medal of Honor, he was just in civilian clothes. As soon as he was introduced, they were saluting him and already knew who he was. He was a living legend in military culture. That’s when I realized that Desmond had an impact to the point that his reputation preceded him. Bring up his name in that culture and they knew exactly who he was. There’s a road named after him in the Butler base in Okinawa.

From what I see from the preview screenings of the film, with standing ovations, and from these kinds of QAs, people are truly touched by his story. And I couldn’t be happier, because the documentary has reached out and touched a lot of people, and will be re-released and reach even more.

Desmond really wanted seeds to be planted of hope, and that hopefully people would turn to spiritual underpinning, and return to a more peaceful, restful life. That they would learn to truly love their brothers and sisters and find ways to serve their community.

WHN: Capturing a time-period authentically is always a challenge in a period piece. What techniques did you use while filming to enhance the authenticity of the depiction of the life of Desmond Doss and the War in the Pacific?

TB: One thing Mel did was to have the whole cast and crew screen the documentary while in pre-production. When I got down to location, everybody was so appreciative of having the documentary as a frame of reference, because it gave them a taste of what life was like back then. I think that, between whole cast and crew, and the filmmaker himself, everyone was on the same page from the get-go.

That was very exciting to see that happen. Getting a movie made is a miracle in and of itself. Getting a great movie put together, that’s capturing lighting in a bottle. Mel did a terrific job doing that, while protecting the purity of Desmond’s story.

People talk about the graphicness of the film, but this is a unique story about a medic. Medics have a very graphic role to fill. It’s not pretty what their job is. When you have bullets and shells hitting bodies, that is not a pretty picture. So it shows the miraculous nature of Desmond’s heroics, and it has to be put in the proper context. And Mel did a great job in creating that context.

WHN: Just as Desmond Doss was an atypical war Hero, the story in Hacksaw Ridge is atypical of a war movie. Whereas the average war Hero, as depicted in cinema and as popularly thought of, earns his place through the lives he takes, Doss’s heroism is in how many lives he saves. With all the violence depicted in cinema, television, and video games these days, do you believe that filmmakers have a responsibility to present these sorts of counter-narratives of heroism through nonviolence?

TB: I think that our obligation as filmmakers is that we’re storytellers. And that we tell stories as authentically and as honestly and sincerely as we can. Personally, my preferred way is to tell the story as an open book and let the audience take away from it what they wish. For me, that’s what’s important. And I think that, in this instance, Desmond’s story was portrayed in a way that it is what it is, in an honest way.

I think people will take away from this film what they want to take away from it, and there’s going to be a discussion. I think some people will say this is an anti-war film, and others will say ‘no, it’s not’. Hopefully what we’ll see is an open and tolerant discussion, to listen to other people’s ideas and beliefs and react in a cooperative way that can work for that greater good.

That’s why Desmond called himself a conscientious cooperator. Because he never saw himself as somebody who would not cooperate.

“Desmond was somebody who was not in their camp, and they themselves had to go through their psychological inventory and reevaluate themselves.”

When I was doing research at the National Archives I came across a study that was done after WWII that was a survey of army infantrymen that found that, when infantrymen had the enemy in their gunsights, only 28% pulled the trigger.

What that said to me was that, even though people bore arms in what was considered a good war, that when it comes down to it, it’s still difficult to kill another human being, even in a war scenario. These discussions should be had because I think if we all understood what we believe in, in very definitive terms, that we would be better able to answer some of these questions and put together a better community.

That was one of the things I found out during the documentary process when I was interviewing some of the men who served with Desmond. I basically interrogated these guys for eight to ten hours a day when I would go visit them in their homes and record them.

And when they were sharing, not only did it have this cathartic effect for them to be able to get out what they had kept in for so long. And of course their families were very happy because they never knew what these guys had been through. You see in the documentary 92-year-old Jack Glover with tears coming down his face because of how much he loved Desmond. It allowed these guys to work through some very difficult times that they had been through when we talk about ‘well, Desmond didn’t carry a gun but these guys did’. These guys had to go through not just the war experience and the difficulties of the things they went through, they also had to deal with Desmond.

Desmond was somebody who was not in their camp, and they themselves had to go through their psychological inventory and reevaluate themselves. Who were these guys? Who were they really? As men?

That’s what Desmond’s story tends to do, if you watch the documentary or Hacksaw Ridge or both. And that’s the seed planting that really excites me in a way; to see people react and go through their own inventory to see who they are as a human being. Are they like Desmond? Or are they somewhere else on the spectrum? And again, would this world be a better place if I acted or behaved like this.

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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

The true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector to ever earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Metrics

Opening Weekend: 15,190,758 (22.6% of total gross)
Legs: 4.42 (domestic box office/biggest weekend)
Domestic Share: 39.8% (domestic box office/worldwide)
Production Budget: 40,000,000 (worldwide box office is 4.2 times production budget)
Theater counts: 2,886 opening theaters/2,971 max. theaters, 6.6 weeks average run per theater
Infl. Adj. Dom. BO 81,083,243

Latest Ranking on Cumulative Box Office Lists

RecordRankAmount
All Time Domestic Box Office (Rank 1,201-1,300) 1,285 67,209,615
All Time International Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,038 101,814,311
All Time Worldwide Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,070 169,023,926
All Time Domestic Box Office for R Movies (Rank 301-400) 330 67,209,615
All Time International Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 207 101,814,311
All Time Worldwide Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 238 169,023,926

See the Box Office tab (Domestic) and International tab (International and Worldwide) for more Cumulative Box Office Records.

Movie Details

Domestic Releases: November 4th, 2016 (Wide) by Lionsgate
International Releases: May 26th, 2023 (Wide) (Brazil) November 3rd, 2016 (Wide) (Netherlands) November 4th, 2016 (Wide) (Australia) November 4th, 2016 (Wide), released as Pjūklo ketera (Lithuania) November 4th, 2016 (Wide) (New Zealand). Show all releases
Video Release: February 7th, 2017 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating: R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images.(Rating bulletin 2445 (Cert #50531), 10/5/2016)
Running Time: 138 minutes
Comparisons: Best Picture Oscar Nominees, 2017vs. RadioCreate your own comparison chart…
Keywords: World War II, Anti-war, Conscientious Objector, Pacifism, 1940s, 2017 Oscars Best Picture Nominee, Faith-Based Film, War Drama
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Genre: Drama
Production Method: Live Action
Creative Type: Dramatization
Production/Financing Companies: Cross Creek Pictures, Pandemonium, Permut Presentations, Demarest Films, Summit Entertainment, Argent Pictures, Vendian Entertainment
Production Countries: United States
Languages: English

Ranking on other Records and Milestones

RecordRankAmountChartDateDays InRelease
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 3-Day) 236 5,519,615 Nov 25, 2016 24
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 3-Day, Inflation Adjusted) 316 7,081,278 Nov 25, 2016 24
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 5-Day) 218 7,686,083 Nov 25, 2016 24
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 5-Day, Inflation Adjusted) 267 8,064,647 Nov 25, 2016 24
Veterans Day (All Movies, 3-Day) 85 10,630,873 Nov 11, 2016 10
Veterans Day (All Movies, 3-Day, Inflation Adjusted) 123 13,638,699 Nov 11, 2016 10

Box Office

Domestic Cumulative Box Office Records

RecordRankRevenue
All Time Domestic Box Office (Rank 1,201-1,300) 1,285 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Inflation Adjusted Box Office (Rank 1,701-1,800) 1,786 81,083,243
All Time Domestic Non-Sequel Box Office (Rank 901-1,000) 954 67,209,615
Top 2016 Movies at the Domestic Box Office 46 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Based on Real Life Events Movies 45 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Live Action Movies (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,006 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Dramatization Movies 73 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Drama Movies (Rank 101-200) 167 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for R Movies (Rank 301-400) 330 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Lionsgate Movies 27 67,209,615

Weekend Box Office Performance

DateRankGross% ChangeTheatersPer TheaterTotal GrossWeek
Nov 4, 2016
Nov 11, 2016
Nov 18, 2016
Nov 25, 2016
Dec 2, 2016
Dec 9, 2016
Dec 16, 2016
Dec 23, 2016
Dec 30, 2016
Jan 6, 2017
Jan 13, 2017
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 27, 2017
Feb 3, 2017
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 17, 2017
Feb 24, 2017
Mar 3, 2017

Daily Box Office Performance

DateRankGross%YD%LWTheatersPer TheaterTotal GrossDaysNov 4, 2016Nov 5, 2016Nov 6, 2016Nov 11, 2016Nov 12, 2016Nov 13, 2016Nov 18, 2016Nov 19, 2016Nov 20, 2016Nov 25, 2016Nov 26, 2016Nov 27, 2016Dec 2, 2016Dec 3, 2016Dec 4, 2016Dec 9, 2016Dec 10, 2016Dec 11, 2016Dec 16, 2016Dec 17, 2016Dec 18, 2016Dec 23, 2016Dec 24, 2016Dec 25, 2016Dec 30, 2016Dec 31, 2016Jan 1, 2017Jan 6, 2017Jan 7, 2017Jan 8, 2017Jan 13, 2017Jan 14, 2017Jan 15, 2017Jan 20, 2017Jan 21, 2017Jan 22, 2017Jan 27, 2017Jan 28, 2017Jan 29, 2017Feb 3, 2017Feb 4, 2017Feb 5, 2017Feb 10, 2017Feb 11, 2017Feb 12, 2017Feb 17, 2017Feb 18, 2017Feb 19, 2017Feb 24, 2017Feb 25, 2017Feb 26, 2017Mar 3, 2017Mar 4, 2017Mar 5, 2017
Nov 7, 2016
Nov 8, 2016
Nov 9, 2016
Nov 10, 2016
Nov 14, 2016
Nov 15, 2016
Nov 16, 2016
Nov 17, 2016
Nov 21, 2016
Nov 22, 2016
Nov 23, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
Nov 28, 2016
Nov 29, 2016
Nov 30, 2016
Dec 1, 2016
Dec 5, 2016
Dec 6, 2016
Dec 7, 2016
Dec 8, 2016
Dec 12, 2016
Dec 13, 2016
Dec 14, 2016
Dec 15, 2016
Dec 19, 2016
Dec 20, 2016
Dec 21, 2016
Dec 22, 2016
Dec 26, 2016
Dec 27, 2016
Dec 28, 2016
Dec 29, 2016
Jan 2, 2017
Jan 3, 2017
Jan 4, 2017
Jan 5, 2017
Jan 9, 2017
Jan 10, 2017
Jan 11, 2017
Jan 12, 2017
Jan 16, 2017
Jan 17, 2017
Jan 18, 2017
Jan 19, 2017
Jan 23, 2017
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 30, 2017
Jan 31, 2017
Feb 1, 2017
Feb 2, 2017
Feb 6, 2017
Feb 7, 2017
Feb 8, 2017
Feb 9, 2017
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 15, 2017
Feb 16, 2017
Feb 20, 2017
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 22, 2017
Feb 23, 2017
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 28, 2017
Mar 1, 2017
Mar 2, 2017
Mar 6, 2017
Mar 7, 2017
Mar 8, 2017
Mar 9, 2017

Weekly Box Office Performance

DateRankGross% ChangeTheatersPer TheaterTotal GrossWeek
Nov 4, 2016
Nov 11, 2016
Nov 18, 2016
Nov 25, 2016
Dec 2, 2016
Dec 9, 2016
Dec 16, 2016
Dec 23, 2016
Dec 30, 2016
Jan 6, 2017
Jan 13, 2017
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 27, 2017
Feb 3, 2017
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 17, 2017
Feb 24, 2017
Mar 3, 2017

Box Office Summary Per Territory

Territory ReleaseDate OpeningWeekend OpeningWeekendScreens MaximumScreens TheatricalEngagements TotalBox Office ReportDate
Argentina
Australia
Brazil
Bulgaria
China
Czech Republic
France
Italy
Japan
Lithuania
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Poland
Portugal
Russia (CIS)
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Korea
Spain
Turkey
United Kingdom
International Total

International Cumulative Box Office Records

RecordRankRevenue
All Time International Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,038 101,814,311
All Time International Non-Sequel Box Office (Rank 701-800) 711 101,814,311
Top 2016 Movies at the International Box Office 59 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Based on Real Life Events Movies 38 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Live Action Movies (Rank 701-800) 748 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Dramatization Movies 54 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Drama Movies (Rank 101-200) 130 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 207 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Lionsgate Movies 28 101,814,311

Worldwide Cumulative Box Office Records

RecordRankRevenue
All Time Worldwide Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,070 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Non-Sequel Box Office (Rank 701-800) 751 169,023,926
Top 2016 Movies at the Worldwide Box Office 54 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Based on Real Life Events Movies 41 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Live Action Movies (Rank 701-800) 788 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Dramatization Movies 58 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Drama Movies (Rank 101-200) 128 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 238 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Lionsgate Movies 24 169,023,926

Video Sales

Weekly US DVD Sales

DateRankUnitsthisWeek% ChangeTotalUnitsSpendingthisWeekTotalSpendingWeeksinRelease

Weekly US Blu-ray Sales

DateRankUnitsthisWeek% ChangeTotalUnitsSpendingthisWeekTotalSpendingWeeksinRelease

Our DVD and Blu-ray sales estimates are based on weekly retail surveys, which we use to build a weekly market share estimate for each title we are tracking. The market share is converted into a weekly sales estimate based on industry reports on the overall size of the market, including reports published in Media Play News.

For example, if our weekly retail survey estimates that a particular title sold 1% of all units that week, and the industry reports sales of 1,500,000 units in total, we will estimate 15,000 units were sold of that title. The consumer spending estimate is based on the average sales price for the title in the retailers we survey.

We refine our estimates from week to week as more data becomes available. In particular, we adjust weekly sales figures for the quarter once the total market estimates are published by the Digital Entertainment Group. Figures will therefore fluctuate each week, and totals for individual titles can go up or down as we update our estimates.

Because sales figures are estimated based on sampling, they will be more accurate for higher-selling titles.

Full Financials

Full financial estimates for this film, including domestic and international box office, video sales, video rentals, TV and ancillary revenue are available through our research services. For more information, please contact us at research@the-numbers.com.

Cast Crew

Supporting Cast

Sam Worthington Captain Glover
Luke Bracey Smitty Ryker
Teresa Palmer Dorothy Schutte
Hugo Weaving Tom Doss
Rachel Griffiths Bertha Doss
Vince Vaughn Sgt. Howell
Richard Pyros Teach
Jacob Warner James Pinnick
Milo Gibson Lucky Ford
Roman Guerriero Young “Hal” Doss
James Lugton Hiker
Kasia Stelmach Hiker’s Friend
Jarin Towney Teenage Boy
Tim McGarry Local Man
Tyler Coppin Lynchburg Doctor
Richard Pratt Flirting Hospital Soldier
Nathaniel Buzolic Harold “Hal” Doss
Laura Buckton Cinema Kissing Sweetheart
Anthony Rizzo Cinema Kissing Soldier
Simon Edds MP Gibbs
Thatcher McMaster Company B Soldier
Charles Jacobs Private Webb
Dennis Kruesler Sergeant Amos
Firass Dirani Vito Rinnelli
Michael Sheasby Tex Lewis
Luke Pegler Hollywood Zane
Ben Mingay Grease Nolan
Nico Cortez Wal Kirzinski
Goran D. Kleut Ghoul
Harry Greenwood Henry Brown
Damien Thomlinson Ralph Morgan
Ben O’Toole Corporal Jessup
Andrew Sears Private Maguire
Jim Robinson Private Bates
Nathan Baird Private Green
Sam Wright Private Dixon
Mikael Koski Private Giles
Troy Pickering Private Tyler
James Moffett Private Lewis
Josh Dean Williams Private Perry
Richard Roxburgh Colonel Stelzer
Andrew Hansch Bugle Player
John Cannon Corporal Cannon
Robert Morgan Colonel Sangston
Helmut Bakaitis Minister
Georgia Adamson Receptionist
Bill Young General Musgrove
Benedict Hardie Captain Daniels
Philip Quast Judge
James Mackay Prosecutor
Ryan Corr Lieutenant Manville
Sam Parsonson 96th Soldier Bob
James O’Connell 96th Soldier Page
Ori Pfeffer Irv Schecter
Craig Reeves Climbing Soldier
Adrian Twigg Soldier — Death Throes
Sean Lynch Popeye
Luke McMahon Stretcher Bearer
Bill Thompson Wounded Soldier
William Temm Firing Japanese Soldier #1
Kazuaki Ono Firing Japanese Soldier #2
Thomas Unger Stretcher Bearer
Eric Taugherbeck Wounded Private O’Conner
Hayden Geens Wounded Private Blake
Edward Ned Law Rescued Private Horvath
Kazuki Yuyama Corpse with Rats #2
Daisuka Takeda Corpse with Rats #3
Raphael Dubois Corpse with Rats #4
Tim Potter Soldier Hank
Santo Tripodi Soldier Carl
Matt Nable Lt. Colonel Cooney
Lawrence Brewer Head Doctor
John Batziolas Rescued Private Schulenberg
Nobuaki Shimamoto Japanese Officer
Hioshi Kasuga Japanese Hanging Soldier
Ryuzaburo Naruse Injured Japanese in Tunnel
Hisataka Uematsu Reacting Japanese Soldier #2
Adam Bowes Rescued Wounded Leg Soldier
Michael Hennessy Rescued Private Moran
Benjamin McCann Rescued Private Saareste
Yukihiro Nagashima Rescued Japanese Soldier
Takehiro Abe Japanese Sniper
Daniel Thone Stretcher Bearer
Nathan Halls Private Tillson
Nicholas Cowey Private Gregan
Charles Upton Scared Military Officer
Yoji Tatsuta Japanese General
Toshiyuki Teramoto Surrendering Soldier
Honsen Haga Japanese General’s Assistant

For a description of the different acting role types we use to categorize acting perfomances, see our Glossary.

Production and Technical Credits

The bold credits above the line are the “above-the-line” credits, the other the “below-the-line” credits.

16 Awards Season: A Final Look at the Oscars

Oscar night turned out to be. interesting at the end. “Interesting” as in “May you live in interesting times.” The big winner of the night was chaos, as there was a mistake with the Best Picture category. (On a side note, I really hope this ends the conspiracy theory that Marisa Tomei didn’t earn her Oscar. Some think her name was announced by accident and they didn’t bother to correct the mistake. They would have obviously corrected the mistake.) On a serious note, Moonlight’s win is amazing. It has likely the lowest budget of the nine Best Picture Nominees and at the moment the lowest box office. That could change with its three wins last night. Additionally, all three wins came from high prestige categories, compared to just two for La La Land. However, La La Land won six Oscars overall, two high prestige, both music categories, and two technical awards, so it too could be seen as the big winner of the night.

16. Awards Season. And the Oscar Goes to. La La Land Moonlight!

It’s Oscar night and we were live blogging the show. Read on the the highlights of what turned out to be a crazy night.

16. Awards Season: Oscars. Nominations. Final Look

It’s Oscar night and we will be live blogging the show. Before that, let’s take a last look at the nominations with a few annotations. Nominees in italics are those that have received the most votes from our readers so far in our Oscar contest (which is open to new entries until noon, Pacific, today—enter now!). Bold films are those films I think will win. Meanwhile, those that are Underlined are those I want to win. Not all categories have underlined nominees, because not all categories have someone I’m cheering for, or because there are two nominees I couldn’t pick between.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Picture

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at the final category: Best Picture. It is not a competitive category with an overwhelming favorite, a long shot with a shot, and then rest have maybe a combined 2% chance of winning.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Director

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Director. It is not a particularly competitive category with a favorite, a long shot with a shot, and then everyone else.

Home Market Releases for February 21st, 2017

Did you know Oscars are being handed out next week? If you didn’t already know that, you would be able to figure that out, as there are five major Oscar nominees on this week’s list. Two of those, Jackie and Moana, are VOD releases, so that limits the choices for Pick of the Week. In fact, only Manchester by the Sea was a contender for Pick of the Week. Unfortunately for that film, I got to the review for Doctor Strange a week early and I’m awarding it the Pick of the Week this week. It is out on VOD right now, but I would wait a week for the Blu-ray Combo Pack.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Leading Actor

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Leading Actor, which is a three-way race this year. This makes it one of the most competitive categories we will be talking about.

16. Awards Season: BAFTA. Winners. La La Lands on Top, Again

The BAFTA winners were announced on Sunday and there were very few surprises to talk about. La La Land again won the most awards with five, while only two other films, Lion and Manchester by the Sea, earned more than one award. They each won two.

Home Market Releases for February 07th, 2017

The winter releases are starting to come out on the home market. Trolls is the biggest such release, but it isn’t the best. It isn’t bad either, but it’s for kids and not adult fans of animation. As for the best, there are a quartet of contenders for Pick of the Week; Loving, The Eagle Huntress, Little Sister, and Two Lovers and a Bear. All four are must haves, while Loving ’s Blu-ray Combo Pack is the Pick of the Week. Meanwhile, Two Lovers and a Bear ’s DVD is the Puck of the Week for Best Canadian Release.

16. Awards Season: SAG. Winners

The Screen Actors Guild were handed out tonight and there were a couple of surprises to talk about. There was no one big winner. Hidden Figures won the most prestigious category, but Fences was the only film with multiple wins.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations were announced starting at 5:18 am Pacific time. Nothing is good that early in the morning. Worse still, it’s a boring year for nominations with very few surprises worth talking about, especially in the biggest categories. Leading the way was La La Land with 14 nominations, tying the record.

16. Awards Season: PGA. Nominations

The Producers Guild of America finally finished announcing their nominations. (They spread out their announcements for reasons I’ve never quite understood.) Most of the films on this list have already earned more than a few previous nominations. We appear to be settling into a predictable Awards Season.

scenes, hacksaw, ridge, interview, producer, terry

16. Awards Season: BAFTA. Nominations

The BAFTA nominations were announced and it should come as no surprise what film lead the way. La La Land with 11 nominations, Nocturnal Animals and Arrival are tied for second with nine nominations a piece.

International Box Office: Beasts have a Fantastic Month

For the fourth and final time, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned first place on the international chart, this time earning 33.1 million in 67 markets. It now has totals of 480.7 million internationally and 679.6 million worldwide. This will be the last weekend the film will spend in first place, but it should last long enough to overtake Suicide Squad on the 2016 Worldwide chart.

scenes, hacksaw, ridge, interview, producer, terry

16. Awards Season: SAG. Nominations

The Screen Actors Guild were the third group to announce their nominations for this awards season. So far there have been three different films earning the most nominations. This could mean the Oscar race will be a lot closer than in past years. This time around Manchester by the Sea led the way with four nominations.

16. Awards Season: Golden Globes. Nominations

The Golden Globes nominations were announced and we are starting to see a few names pop up over and over again. La La Land led the way with seven nominations, but Moonlight was right behind with six and Manchester by the Sea earned five. You will be hearing those three names over and over and over again this Awards Season.

Weekend Wrap-Up: The Holiday Box Office Season has Arrived

The weekend box office was better than anticipated, thanks mostly to Remembrance Day. Doctor Strange fell less than 50%, which is stunning for a big blockbuster like this. Trolls held on even better and Arrival had a surprisingly strong opening weekend. Granted, the overall box office still dropped by 18% to 158 million, but some drop-off is unavoidable the weekend after a blockbuster release. This was 46% higher than the same weekend last year and that is a lot more important. Year-to-date, 2016 has earned 9.49 billion, putting it 5.7% or 510 million ahead of last year’s pace.

Weekend Predictions: Will Any New Release Arrive on Top?

There are a trio of new releases coming out this week, but none of them are expected to challenge for top spot. Arrival is earning stellar reviews, but it is also being released by Paramount and they’ve had a terrible year. Almost Christmas is a Christmas movie aimed at African-Americans. It should do well enough to become a financial success, but it won’t be a major player at the box office. Then there’s Shut In, which is barely opening wide and will very likely miss the top five. It might miss the Mendoza Line. This will leave Doctor Strange with an easy first place, while Trolls should remain in second. This weekend last year, the new releases were pitiful. The best earned less than 10 million. If 2016 doesn’t win in the year-over-year comparison, then we are in serious trouble.

Weekend Wrap-Up: Nothing Strange about the Doctor’s 85.06 million Opening Weekend

Doctor Strange’s opening weekend was off by 0.069% when compared to our prediction. I think that gives us reason to brag. Both Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge beat expectations by a relatively significant margin. Overall, the weekend box office rose 115% from last weekend to 191 million. That’s 18% more than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2016’s lead over 2015 increased to 5.6% or 490 million at 9.28 billion to 8.79 billion. If 2016 can maintain this lead until Rogue One comes out, then 2016 will win in the end.

Weekend Estimates: Doctor Strange’s 85 Million Gives Industry a Much-Needed Boost

After a couple of months of weak box office, and some very disappointing openings, Doctor Strange, Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge are each, in their own way, putting things back on track. Doctor Strange is grabbing the headlines of course, with an impressive 84,989,000 opening projected by Disney on Sunday morning. That’s almost identical to the opening weekend enjoyed by Thor: The Dark World on this weekend back in 2013, and comes without the benefit of being part of an established franchise (putting aside its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Friday Estimates: Doctor Strange Heals the Box Office with 32.56 million

As expected, Doctor Strange dominated the Friday box office chart with 32.56 million. This is 19% higher than Spectre’s opening day was last year, which is great news. Granted, Doctor Strange had much better previews, so the actual 24-hour Friday numbers are much closer. On the other hand, Doctor Strange ’s reviews remain 90% positive, while its CinemaScore is an impressive A. Spectre earned 65% positive reviews and an A- from CinemaScore. If the two films have the same internal multiplier, then Doctor Strange will open with 84 million. However, the Fanboy Effect will likely keep it to just above 80 million. This is still a great start and another smash hit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thursday Night Previews: Strange Trolls the Competition with 9.4 million

Doctor Strange earned 9.4 million during its previews, which is the best preview performance since Suicide Squad pulled in 20.5 million in August. However, August is a very different month, so it would be better to compare this result to other November releases. 9.4 million is better than the 5.25 million Spectre earned, but well below the 16.0 million The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 managed. That leaves us with a lot of mixed signals. The film’s 90% positive reviews are better than all three of those films, so it should have better legs. On the low end, it could earn 65 million, while on the high end, it could still match our prediction of 85 million.

Weekend Predictions: Will Audiences Find Doctor Too Strange?

Doctor Strange is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and arguably the strangest one. It is widely expected to dominate the box office this weekend. Trolls is expected to open way back in second place, but still have a strong showing. The final wide release of the week is Hacksaw Ridge, which appears to be getting lost in the crowd. This weekend last year. Spectre and The Peanuts Movie had a one-two punch that earned a combined 115 million. I think Doctor Strange / Trolls will top that figure giving 2016 the win in the year-over-year comparison.

16 Preview: November

October turned out to be a mixed month. On the one hand, not one movie earned 100 million, or even came close. However, it was also a more steady month than last October and the last two weeks really helped 2016 in the year-over-year comparisons. In November, we have five films with at least a shot at 100 million, three of which should have no trouble getting to at least 200 million. A little while ago, I thought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be the biggest hit of the month, but the buzz took a hit recently. on that below. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange’s reviews are currently 90% positive and that should help it out at the box office. The third very likely 200 million hit is Moana. There is certainly precedent for an animated movie to be a monster hit at this time of year, but there is also a lot of competition. Last November was similar in strength, with five films that earned more than 100 million and two films that earned more than 200 million. None earned more than 300 million, so that’s the goal for this November. If we can get one 300 million and / or three 200 million movies over the month, then it will be seen as a victory.

Hacksaw Ridge Trailer

War drama starring Andrew Garfield, directed by Mel Gibson opens November 4. Full Movie Details.

The true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector to ever earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Synopsis

The true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector to ever earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Metrics

Opening Weekend: 15,190,758 (22.6% of total gross)
Legs: 4.42 (domestic box office/biggest weekend)
Domestic Share: 39.8% (domestic box office/worldwide)
Production Budget: 40,000,000 (worldwide box office is 4.2 times production budget)
Theater counts: 2,886 opening theaters/2,971 max. theaters, 6.6 weeks average run per theater
Infl. Adj. Dom. BO 81,083,243

Latest Ranking on Cumulative Box Office Lists

RecordRankAmount
All Time Domestic Box Office (Rank 1,201-1,300) 1,285 67,209,615
All Time International Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,038 101,814,311
All Time Worldwide Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,070 169,023,926
All Time Domestic Box Office for R Movies (Rank 301-400) 330 67,209,615
All Time International Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 207 101,814,311
All Time Worldwide Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 238 169,023,926

See the Box Office tab (Domestic) and International tab (International and Worldwide) for more Cumulative Box Office Records.

Movie Details

Domestic Releases: November 4th, 2016 (Wide) by Lionsgate
International Releases: May 26th, 2023 (Wide) (Brazil) November 3rd, 2016 (Wide) (Netherlands) November 4th, 2016 (Wide) (Australia) November 4th, 2016 (Wide), released as Pjūklo ketera (Lithuania) November 4th, 2016 (Wide) (New Zealand). Show all releases
Video Release: February 7th, 2017 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating: R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images.(Rating bulletin 2445 (Cert #50531), 10/5/2016)
Running Time: 138 minutes
Comparisons: Best Picture Oscar Nominees, 2017vs. RadioCreate your own comparison chart…
Keywords: World War II, Anti-war, Conscientious Objector, Pacifism, 1940s, 2017 Oscars Best Picture Nominee, Faith-Based Film, War Drama
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Genre: Drama
Production Method: Live Action
Creative Type: Dramatization
Production/Financing Companies: Cross Creek Pictures, Pandemonium, Permut Presentations, Demarest Films, Summit Entertainment, Argent Pictures, Vendian Entertainment
Production Countries: United States
Languages: English

Ranking on other Records and Milestones

RecordRankAmountChartDateDays InRelease
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 3-Day) 236 5,519,615 Nov 25, 2016 24
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 3-Day, Inflation Adjusted) 316 7,081,278 Nov 25, 2016 24
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 5-Day) 218 7,686,083 Nov 25, 2016 24
Thanksgiving (All Movies, 5-Day, Inflation Adjusted) 267 8,064,647 Nov 25, 2016 24
Veterans Day (All Movies, 3-Day) 85 10,630,873 Nov 11, 2016 10
Veterans Day (All Movies, 3-Day, Inflation Adjusted) 123 13,638,699 Nov 11, 2016 10

Supporting Cast

Sam Worthington Captain Glover
Luke Bracey Smitty Ryker
Teresa Palmer Dorothy Schutte
Hugo Weaving Tom Doss
Rachel Griffiths Bertha Doss
Vince Vaughn Sgt. Howell
Richard Pyros Teach
Jacob Warner James Pinnick
Milo Gibson Lucky Ford
Roman Guerriero Young “Hal” Doss
James Lugton Hiker
Kasia Stelmach Hiker’s Friend
Jarin Towney Teenage Boy
Tim McGarry Local Man
Tyler Coppin Lynchburg Doctor
Richard Pratt Flirting Hospital Soldier
Nathaniel Buzolic Harold “Hal” Doss
Laura Buckton Cinema Kissing Sweetheart
Anthony Rizzo Cinema Kissing Soldier
Simon Edds MP Gibbs
Thatcher McMaster Company B Soldier
Charles Jacobs Private Webb
Dennis Kruesler Sergeant Amos
Firass Dirani Vito Rinnelli
Michael Sheasby Tex Lewis
Luke Pegler Hollywood Zane
Ben Mingay Grease Nolan
Nico Cortez Wal Kirzinski
Goran D. Kleut Ghoul
Harry Greenwood Henry Brown
Damien Thomlinson Ralph Morgan
Ben O’Toole Corporal Jessup
Andrew Sears Private Maguire
Jim Robinson Private Bates
Nathan Baird Private Green
Sam Wright Private Dixon
Mikael Koski Private Giles
Troy Pickering Private Tyler
James Moffett Private Lewis
Josh Dean Williams Private Perry
Richard Roxburgh Colonel Stelzer
Andrew Hansch Bugle Player
John Cannon Corporal Cannon
Robert Morgan Colonel Sangston
Helmut Bakaitis Minister
Georgia Adamson Receptionist
Bill Young General Musgrove
Benedict Hardie Captain Daniels
Philip Quast Judge
James Mackay Prosecutor
Ryan Corr Lieutenant Manville
Sam Parsonson 96th Soldier Bob
James O’Connell 96th Soldier Page
Ori Pfeffer Irv Schecter
Craig Reeves Climbing Soldier
Adrian Twigg Soldier — Death Throes
Sean Lynch Popeye
Luke McMahon Stretcher Bearer
Bill Thompson Wounded Soldier
William Temm Firing Japanese Soldier #1
Kazuaki Ono Firing Japanese Soldier #2
Thomas Unger Stretcher Bearer
Eric Taugherbeck Wounded Private O’Conner
Hayden Geens Wounded Private Blake
Edward Ned Law Rescued Private Horvath
Kazuki Yuyama Corpse with Rats #2
Daisuka Takeda Corpse with Rats #3
Raphael Dubois Corpse with Rats #4
Tim Potter Soldier Hank
Santo Tripodi Soldier Carl
Matt Nable Lt. Colonel Cooney
Lawrence Brewer Head Doctor
John Batziolas Rescued Private Schulenberg
Nobuaki Shimamoto Japanese Officer
Hioshi Kasuga Japanese Hanging Soldier
Ryuzaburo Naruse Injured Japanese in Tunnel
Hisataka Uematsu Reacting Japanese Soldier #2
Adam Bowes Rescued Wounded Leg Soldier
Michael Hennessy Rescued Private Moran
Benjamin McCann Rescued Private Saareste
Yukihiro Nagashima Rescued Japanese Soldier
Takehiro Abe Japanese Sniper
Daniel Thone Stretcher Bearer
Nathan Halls Private Tillson
Nicholas Cowey Private Gregan
Charles Upton Scared Military Officer
Yoji Tatsuta Japanese General
Toshiyuki Teramoto Surrendering Soldier
Honsen Haga Japanese General’s Assistant

For a description of the different acting role types we use to categorize acting perfomances, see our Glossary.

Production and Technical Credits

The bold credits above the line are the “above-the-line” credits, the other the “below-the-line” credits.

scenes, hacksaw, ridge, interview, producer, terry

16 Awards Season: A Final Look at the Oscars

Oscar night turned out to be. interesting at the end. “Interesting” as in “May you live in interesting times.” The big winner of the night was chaos, as there was a mistake with the Best Picture category. (On a side note, I really hope this ends the conspiracy theory that Marisa Tomei didn’t earn her Oscar. Some think her name was announced by accident and they didn’t bother to correct the mistake. They would have obviously corrected the mistake.) On a serious note, Moonlight’s win is amazing. It has likely the lowest budget of the nine Best Picture Nominees and at the moment the lowest box office. That could change with its three wins last night. Additionally, all three wins came from high prestige categories, compared to just two for La La Land. However, La La Land won six Oscars overall, two high prestige, both music categories, and two technical awards, so it too could be seen as the big winner of the night.

16. Awards Season. And the Oscar Goes to. La La Land Moonlight!

It’s Oscar night and we were live blogging the show. Read on the the highlights of what turned out to be a crazy night.

16. Awards Season: Oscars. Nominations. Final Look

It’s Oscar night and we will be live blogging the show. Before that, let’s take a last look at the nominations with a few annotations. Nominees in italics are those that have received the most votes from our readers so far in our Oscar contest (which is open to new entries until noon, Pacific, today—enter now!). Bold films are those films I think will win. Meanwhile, those that are Underlined are those I want to win. Not all categories have underlined nominees, because not all categories have someone I’m cheering for, or because there are two nominees I couldn’t pick between.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Picture

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at the final category: Best Picture. It is not a competitive category with an overwhelming favorite, a long shot with a shot, and then rest have maybe a combined 2% chance of winning.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Director

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Director. It is not a particularly competitive category with a favorite, a long shot with a shot, and then everyone else.

Home Market Releases for February 21st, 2017

Did you know Oscars are being handed out next week? If you didn’t already know that, you would be able to figure that out, as there are five major Oscar nominees on this week’s list. Two of those, Jackie and Moana, are VOD releases, so that limits the choices for Pick of the Week. In fact, only Manchester by the Sea was a contender for Pick of the Week. Unfortunately for that film, I got to the review for Doctor Strange a week early and I’m awarding it the Pick of the Week this week. It is out on VOD right now, but I would wait a week for the Blu-ray Combo Pack.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Leading Actor

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Leading Actor, which is a three-way race this year. This makes it one of the most competitive categories we will be talking about.

16. Awards Season: BAFTA. Winners. La La Lands on Top, Again

The BAFTA winners were announced on Sunday and there were very few surprises to talk about. La La Land again won the most awards with five, while only two other films, Lion and Manchester by the Sea, earned more than one award. They each won two.

Home Market Releases for February 07th, 2017

The winter releases are starting to come out on the home market. Trolls is the biggest such release, but it isn’t the best. It isn’t bad either, but it’s for kids and not adult fans of animation. As for the best, there are a quartet of contenders for Pick of the Week; Loving, The Eagle Huntress, Little Sister, and Two Lovers and a Bear. All four are must haves, while Loving ’s Blu-ray Combo Pack is the Pick of the Week. Meanwhile, Two Lovers and a Bear ’s DVD is the Puck of the Week for Best Canadian Release.

16. Awards Season: SAG. Winners

The Screen Actors Guild were handed out tonight and there were a couple of surprises to talk about. There was no one big winner. Hidden Figures won the most prestigious category, but Fences was the only film with multiple wins.

16 Awards Season: Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations were announced starting at 5:18 am Pacific time. Nothing is good that early in the morning. Worse still, it’s a boring year for nominations with very few surprises worth talking about, especially in the biggest categories. Leading the way was La La Land with 14 nominations, tying the record.

16. Awards Season: PGA. Nominations

The Producers Guild of America finally finished announcing their nominations. (They spread out their announcements for reasons I’ve never quite understood.) Most of the films on this list have already earned more than a few previous nominations. We appear to be settling into a predictable Awards Season.

16. Awards Season: BAFTA. Nominations

The BAFTA nominations were announced and it should come as no surprise what film lead the way. La La Land with 11 nominations, Nocturnal Animals and Arrival are tied for second with nine nominations a piece.

International Box Office: Beasts have a Fantastic Month

For the fourth and final time, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned first place on the international chart, this time earning 33.1 million in 67 markets. It now has totals of 480.7 million internationally and 679.6 million worldwide. This will be the last weekend the film will spend in first place, but it should last long enough to overtake Suicide Squad on the 2016 Worldwide chart.

16. Awards Season: SAG. Nominations

The Screen Actors Guild were the third group to announce their nominations for this awards season. So far there have been three different films earning the most nominations. This could mean the Oscar race will be a lot closer than in past years. This time around Manchester by the Sea led the way with four nominations.

16. Awards Season: Golden Globes. Nominations

The Golden Globes nominations were announced and we are starting to see a few names pop up over and over again. La La Land led the way with seven nominations, but Moonlight was right behind with six and Manchester by the Sea earned five. You will be hearing those three names over and over and over again this Awards Season.

Weekend Wrap-Up: The Holiday Box Office Season has Arrived

The weekend box office was better than anticipated, thanks mostly to Remembrance Day. Doctor Strange fell less than 50%, which is stunning for a big blockbuster like this. Trolls held on even better and Arrival had a surprisingly strong opening weekend. Granted, the overall box office still dropped by 18% to 158 million, but some drop-off is unavoidable the weekend after a blockbuster release. This was 46% higher than the same weekend last year and that is a lot more important. Year-to-date, 2016 has earned 9.49 billion, putting it 5.7% or 510 million ahead of last year’s pace.

Weekend Predictions: Will Any New Release Arrive on Top?

There are a trio of new releases coming out this week, but none of them are expected to challenge for top spot. Arrival is earning stellar reviews, but it is also being released by Paramount and they’ve had a terrible year. Almost Christmas is a Christmas movie aimed at African-Americans. It should do well enough to become a financial success, but it won’t be a major player at the box office. Then there’s Shut In, which is barely opening wide and will very likely miss the top five. It might miss the Mendoza Line. This will leave Doctor Strange with an easy first place, while Trolls should remain in second. This weekend last year, the new releases were pitiful. The best earned less than 10 million. If 2016 doesn’t win in the year-over-year comparison, then we are in serious trouble.

Weekend Wrap-Up: Nothing Strange about the Doctor’s 85.06 million Opening Weekend

Doctor Strange’s opening weekend was off by 0.069% when compared to our prediction. I think that gives us reason to brag. Both Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge beat expectations by a relatively significant margin. Overall, the weekend box office rose 115% from last weekend to 191 million. That’s 18% more than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2016’s lead over 2015 increased to 5.6% or 490 million at 9.28 billion to 8.79 billion. If 2016 can maintain this lead until Rogue One comes out, then 2016 will win in the end.

Weekend Estimates: Doctor Strange’s 85 Million Gives Industry a Much-Needed Boost

After a couple of months of weak box office, and some very disappointing openings, Doctor Strange, Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge are each, in their own way, putting things back on track. Doctor Strange is grabbing the headlines of course, with an impressive 84,989,000 opening projected by Disney on Sunday morning. That’s almost identical to the opening weekend enjoyed by Thor: The Dark World on this weekend back in 2013, and comes without the benefit of being part of an established franchise (putting aside its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Friday Estimates: Doctor Strange Heals the Box Office with 32.56 million

As expected, Doctor Strange dominated the Friday box office chart with 32.56 million. This is 19% higher than Spectre’s opening day was last year, which is great news. Granted, Doctor Strange had much better previews, so the actual 24-hour Friday numbers are much closer. On the other hand, Doctor Strange ’s reviews remain 90% positive, while its CinemaScore is an impressive A. Spectre earned 65% positive reviews and an A- from CinemaScore. If the two films have the same internal multiplier, then Doctor Strange will open with 84 million. However, the Fanboy Effect will likely keep it to just above 80 million. This is still a great start and another smash hit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thursday Night Previews: Strange Trolls the Competition with 9.4 million

Doctor Strange earned 9.4 million during its previews, which is the best preview performance since Suicide Squad pulled in 20.5 million in August. However, August is a very different month, so it would be better to compare this result to other November releases. 9.4 million is better than the 5.25 million Spectre earned, but well below the 16.0 million The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 managed. That leaves us with a lot of mixed signals. The film’s 90% positive reviews are better than all three of those films, so it should have better legs. On the low end, it could earn 65 million, while on the high end, it could still match our prediction of 85 million.

Weekend Predictions: Will Audiences Find Doctor Too Strange?

Doctor Strange is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and arguably the strangest one. It is widely expected to dominate the box office this weekend. Trolls is expected to open way back in second place, but still have a strong showing. The final wide release of the week is Hacksaw Ridge, which appears to be getting lost in the crowd. This weekend last year. Spectre and The Peanuts Movie had a one-two punch that earned a combined 115 million. I think Doctor Strange / Trolls will top that figure giving 2016 the win in the year-over-year comparison.

16 Preview: November

October turned out to be a mixed month. On the one hand, not one movie earned 100 million, or even came close. However, it was also a more steady month than last October and the last two weeks really helped 2016 in the year-over-year comparisons. In November, we have five films with at least a shot at 100 million, three of which should have no trouble getting to at least 200 million. A little while ago, I thought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be the biggest hit of the month, but the buzz took a hit recently. on that below. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange’s reviews are currently 90% positive and that should help it out at the box office. The third very likely 200 million hit is Moana. There is certainly precedent for an animated movie to be a monster hit at this time of year, but there is also a lot of competition. Last November was similar in strength, with five films that earned more than 100 million and two films that earned more than 200 million. None earned more than 300 million, so that’s the goal for this November. If we can get one 300 million and / or three 200 million movies over the month, then it will be seen as a victory.

Hacksaw Ridge Trailer

War drama starring Andrew Garfield, directed by Mel Gibson opens November 4. Full Movie Details.

The true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector to ever earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Domestic Cumulative Box Office Records

RecordRankRevenue
All Time Domestic Box Office (Rank 1,201-1,300) 1,285 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Inflation Adjusted Box Office (Rank 1,701-1,800) 1,786 81,083,243
All Time Domestic Non-Sequel Box Office (Rank 901-1,000) 954 67,209,615
Top 2016 Movies at the Domestic Box Office 46 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Based on Real Life Events Movies 45 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Live Action Movies (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,006 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Dramatization Movies 73 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Drama Movies (Rank 101-200) 167 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for R Movies (Rank 301-400) 330 67,209,615
All Time Domestic Box Office for Lionsgate Movies 27 67,209,615

Weekend Box Office Performance

DateRankGross% ChangeTheatersPer TheaterTotal GrossWeek
Nov 4, 2016
Nov 11, 2016
Nov 18, 2016
Nov 25, 2016
Dec 2, 2016
Dec 9, 2016
Dec 16, 2016
Dec 23, 2016
Dec 30, 2016
Jan 6, 2017
Jan 13, 2017
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 27, 2017
Feb 3, 2017
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 17, 2017
Feb 24, 2017
Mar 3, 2017

Daily Box Office Performance

DateRankGross%YD%LWTheatersPer TheaterTotal GrossDaysNov 4, 2016Nov 5, 2016Nov 6, 2016Nov 11, 2016Nov 12, 2016Nov 13, 2016Nov 18, 2016Nov 19, 2016Nov 20, 2016Nov 25, 2016Nov 26, 2016Nov 27, 2016Dec 2, 2016Dec 3, 2016Dec 4, 2016Dec 9, 2016Dec 10, 2016Dec 11, 2016Dec 16, 2016Dec 17, 2016Dec 18, 2016Dec 23, 2016Dec 24, 2016Dec 25, 2016Dec 30, 2016Dec 31, 2016Jan 1, 2017Jan 6, 2017Jan 7, 2017Jan 8, 2017Jan 13, 2017Jan 14, 2017Jan 15, 2017Jan 20, 2017Jan 21, 2017Jan 22, 2017Jan 27, 2017Jan 28, 2017Jan 29, 2017Feb 3, 2017Feb 4, 2017Feb 5, 2017Feb 10, 2017Feb 11, 2017Feb 12, 2017Feb 17, 2017Feb 18, 2017Feb 19, 2017Feb 24, 2017Feb 25, 2017Feb 26, 2017Mar 3, 2017Mar 4, 2017Mar 5, 2017
Nov 7, 2016
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Nov 14, 2016
Nov 15, 2016
Nov 16, 2016
Nov 17, 2016
Nov 21, 2016
Nov 22, 2016
Nov 23, 2016
Nov 24, 2016
Nov 28, 2016
Nov 29, 2016
Nov 30, 2016
Dec 1, 2016
Dec 5, 2016
Dec 6, 2016
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Dec 12, 2016
Dec 13, 2016
Dec 14, 2016
Dec 15, 2016
Dec 19, 2016
Dec 20, 2016
Dec 21, 2016
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Dec 26, 2016
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Dec 28, 2016
Dec 29, 2016
Jan 2, 2017
Jan 3, 2017
Jan 4, 2017
Jan 5, 2017
Jan 9, 2017
Jan 10, 2017
Jan 11, 2017
Jan 12, 2017
Jan 16, 2017
Jan 17, 2017
Jan 18, 2017
Jan 19, 2017
Jan 23, 2017
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 30, 2017
Jan 31, 2017
Feb 1, 2017
Feb 2, 2017
Feb 6, 2017
Feb 7, 2017
Feb 8, 2017
Feb 9, 2017
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 15, 2017
Feb 16, 2017
Feb 20, 2017
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 22, 2017
Feb 23, 2017
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 28, 2017
Mar 1, 2017
Mar 2, 2017
Mar 6, 2017
Mar 7, 2017
Mar 8, 2017
Mar 9, 2017

Weekly Box Office Performance

DateRankGross% ChangeTheatersPer TheaterTotal GrossWeek
Nov 4, 2016
Nov 11, 2016
Nov 18, 2016
Nov 25, 2016
Dec 2, 2016
Dec 9, 2016
Dec 16, 2016
Dec 23, 2016
Dec 30, 2016
Jan 6, 2017
Jan 13, 2017
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 27, 2017
Feb 3, 2017
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 17, 2017
Feb 24, 2017
Mar 3, 2017

Box Office Summary Per Territory

Territory ReleaseDate OpeningWeekend OpeningWeekendScreens MaximumScreens TheatricalEngagements TotalBox Office ReportDate
Argentina
Australia
Brazil
Bulgaria
China
Czech Republic
France
Italy
Japan
Lithuania
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Poland
Portugal
Russia (CIS)
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Korea
Spain
Turkey
United Kingdom
International Total

International Cumulative Box Office Records

RecordRankRevenue
All Time International Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,038 101,814,311
All Time International Non-Sequel Box Office (Rank 701-800) 711 101,814,311
Top 2016 Movies at the International Box Office 59 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Based on Real Life Events Movies 38 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Live Action Movies (Rank 701-800) 748 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Dramatization Movies 54 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Drama Movies (Rank 101-200) 130 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 207 101,814,311
All Time International Box Office for Lionsgate Movies 28 101,814,311

Worldwide Cumulative Box Office Records

RecordRankRevenue
All Time Worldwide Box Office (Rank 1,001-1,100) 1,070 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Non-Sequel Box Office (Rank 701-800) 751 169,023,926
Top 2016 Movies at the Worldwide Box Office 54 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Based on Real Life Events Movies 41 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Live Action Movies (Rank 701-800) 788 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Dramatization Movies 58 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Drama Movies (Rank 101-200) 128 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for R Movies (Rank 201-300) 238 169,023,926
All Time Worldwide Box Office for Lionsgate Movies 24 169,023,926

Weekly US DVD Sales

DateRankUnitsthisWeek% ChangeTotalUnitsSpendingthisWeekTotalSpendingWeeksinRelease

Weekly US Blu-ray Sales

DateRankUnitsthisWeek% ChangeTotalUnitsSpendingthisWeekTotalSpendingWeeksinRelease

Our DVD and Blu-ray sales estimates are based on weekly retail surveys, which we use to build a weekly market share estimate for each title we are tracking. The market share is converted into a weekly sales estimate based on industry reports on the overall size of the market, including reports published in Media Play News.

For example, if our weekly retail survey estimates that a particular title sold 1% of all units that week, and the industry reports sales of 1,500,000 units in total, we will estimate 15,000 units were sold of that title. The consumer spending estimate is based on the average sales price for the title in the retailers we survey.

We refine our estimates from week to week as more data becomes available. In particular, we adjust weekly sales figures for the quarter once the total market estimates are published by the Digital Entertainment Group. Figures will therefore fluctuate each week, and totals for individual titles can go up or down as we update our estimates.

Because sales figures are estimated based on sampling, they will be more accurate for higher-selling titles.

Full financial estimates for this film, including domestic and international box office, video sales, video rentals, TV and ancillary revenue are available through our research services. For more information, please contact us at research@the-numbers.com.

Hacksaw Ridge

Common Sense Media reviewers include writers, editors, and child development experts. They’re trained in creating high-quality parenting advice based on best practices in child development.

True story of pacifist soldier has extreme war violence.

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won’t—find in this movie.

Have integrity, and stick to your convictions. Som

Raised in a religious but violent home, young Doss

Extremely graphic war violence. Men are killed and

Kissing, sometimes passionately. Doss and Dorothy

Doss’ father is an abusive alcoholic. Wounded

Parents need to know that Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a pacifist who enlisted in World War II but refused to carry a weapon or kill, preferring to save wounded men as a medic. Director Mel Gibson doesn’t shy away from showing extremely graphic war violence…

Violence Scariness

Extremely graphic war violence. Men are killed and maimed, all realistically shown. Soldiers are hacked into pieces by explosions. Warring soldiers hold a live grenade between them and grab onto each other until the grenade explodes, killing them both. Bullets hit soldiers in the head, legs, torsos, and more; lots of blood. Soldiers bayonet each other, and men on both sides are lit on fire (while alive) by flame-throwing weapons. Some slit enemies’ throats. Piles of human entrails are seen on the battlefield. A man’s foot is impaled with a knife. Rats gnaw at dead bodies. About to be defeated, a Japanese commander eviscerates himself with a knife, after which his head is cut off. Two young brothers fight, punching each other; one hits the other in the head with a large brick. An alcoholic father beats his children and wife and threatens the latter with a gun. Their grown son intervenes and points the gun at his father. A woman slaps a man after he kisses her, demanding he ask her first. A needle is inserted into the arm of a man giving blood. Doss’ hands are rubbed raw and bloody from lowering wounded soldiers down the ridge by pulley. During the second battle, Doss kicks a live grenade back at the Japanese.

Sex, Romance Nudity

Kissing, sometimes passionately. Doss and Dorothy prepare to go to bed on their wedding night; she’s clothed, he shirtless. Soldiers are advised to “wear a hat” (a condom) if they plan to have sex. Non-sexual nudity includes a soldier doing pull-ups while naked and being forced to run an obstacle course naked by his sergeant (no graphic nudity).

Language

“St,” “bitch,” “ass,” “numb nuts,” “t-tty,” “hell,” “damn,” “crap,” and “Jesus Christ” as an exclamation. American soldiers refer to the Japanese as “Japs” and “Nips.”

Drinking, Drugs Smoking

Doss’ father is an abusive alcoholic. Wounded soldiers get morphine for their pain. Adults smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a pacifist who enlisted in World War II but refused to carry a weapon or kill, preferring to save wounded men as a medic. Director Mel Gibson doesn’t shy away from showing extremely graphic war violence. Bullets pierce flesh in slow motion, explosions toss men in the air, bleeding leg and arm stumps are shown, throats are slashed, soldiers bayonet each other to death, and men are graphically gutted, disembodied, and beheaded, with entrails and ligaments left hanging. Doss is also beaten by his fellow soldiers during basic training due to his refusal to carry a weapon. And his superior officers jail and put him on trial. Doss kisses and marries a nurse; they’re seen (him shirtless, her clothed) on their wedding night. Doss’ father is an abusive alcoholic. Adults smoke cigarettes and use language including: “st,” “ass,” “tties,” “bitch,” and the racist terms “Japs” and “Nips.” Ultimately, though the movie’s message is one of courage, integrity, and sticking to your convictions. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.

The hacksaw ridge

Andrew Garfield stars as pacifistic WWII Hero Desmond T. Doss, who saved 75 men at the Battle of Okinawa without ever firing a weapon. more

Andrew Garfield stars as pacifistic WWII Hero Desmond T. Doss, wh.

Starring: Andrew Garfield Sam Worthington Luke Bracey

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Hacksaw Ridge

Andrew Garfield stars as pacifistic WWII Hero Desmond T. Doss, who saved 75 men at the Battle of Okinawa without ever firing a weapon.

Starring: Andrew Garfield Sam Worthington Luke Bracey Teresa Palmer Hugo Weaving

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Hacksaw Ridge. Trailer

Andrew Garfield stars as pacifistic WWII Hero Desmond T. Doss, who saved 75 men at the Battle of Okinawa without ever firing a weapon.

Starring: Andrew Garfield Sam Worthington Luke Bracey Teresa Palmer Hugo Weaving

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‘The End of the Battle & Interview w/ the Real Desmond Doss’ Scene | Hacksaw Ridge

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Mel Gibson, Andrew Garfield And Bill Mechanic On The 15-Year Ordeal To Scale ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Mike Fleming Jr

Editors Note: This story originally ran on December 1, 2016.

When Mel Gibson and Andrew Garfield gather to speak on their WWII film Hacksaw Ridge, each has jetted into LA from Europe where they are making other movies. Gibson left the set of The Professor and the Madman, a movie he’s starring in with Sean Penn. Garfield was deep into developing the semi-schizophrenic character he was about to start playing in Under the Silver Lake, but it doesn’t take much time for them to snap back into Desmond Doss mode.

The moment they received a sustained standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, Gibson and Garfield put themselves into the awards season race with Hacksaw Ridge, capping a remarkable 15-year ordeal to bring to the screen the story of the first conscientious objector to win the Medal Of Honor. That medal was pinned on Doss by President Harry Truman for courage under fire that included pulling 75 wounded men to safety one night during a siege gone horribly wrong in the Battle of Okinawa in the waning days of WWII.

Watch on Deadline

The clock started on the drama when producer David Permut brought Terry Benedict, who had befriended Doss while making a documentary about him, to Bill Mechanic’s Pandemonium offices. Benedict’s documentary took Doss and a few of his surviving platoon-mates back to Maeda Escarpment. It was the site of the bloodiest battle in the Pacific, where the army medic’s heroism stunned soldiers who labeled Doss a coward for his unwillingness to pick up a rifle—or even to fight on Saturday, which fell on the Seventh-day Adventists Sabbath day. Benedict, who had been granted feature rights by Doss and his church, brought to his meeting with Mechanic an appearance by Doss on This is Your Life that left the producer pulling out his checkbook to buy the property.

He figured there would be a short path to the screen. After all, the biggest problem was that Doss’ heroics were so extreme they had to be downplayed in the movie simply because audiences wouldn’t have believed the full extent. That included the level of cruelty his commanding officer and fellow enlisted men displayed toward Doss as they tried to drum him out of the army on a Section Eight discharge for mental instability. But it most profoundly played out when Doss proved himself the bravest man in Japan on a day when the medic and his men were overrun by the Japanese forces, driven down from the high ridge, leaving dead and wounded soldiers behind by the score. The Japanese had designs on killing and torturing the injured, but Doss had ideas of his own. Using his faith as his guide, he dodged and evaded the enemy and dragged his own men to a cargo net, lowering them to safe ground below with a long rope.

The Cast Of “Hacksaw Ridge” | BUILD Series

“At the point where Desmond is injured by a grenade and they are pulling him out on a stretcher, what actually happened was that some other soldier was wounded and Desmond rolled off the stretcher,” Mechanic says. “He was just blown up by a grenade, but he treats this other guy, and he is out there for another five hours sitting there. He gets shot twice and straps on a rifle butt as a splint. When they don’t come get him, he crawls. There were things that left us thinking, ‘who would believe that?’”

Turns out Doss had 17 pieces of shrapnel in his body and his arm was shattered. The key to the story was the fact that, while Doss might have used part of a rifle as a splint, he held true to his vow to never raise a weapon to kill the enemy.

How could such a heroic WWII tale remain untold on the screen for over 70 years?

It was not for lack of trying. Hal Wallis campaigned for the rights, even bringing Audie Murphy with him to persuade Doss. They were sent packing because the last thing the humble Doss wanted was to glorify his achievements. It was only in his later years, following the death of his wife, that Doss relented to the call from his church that the time felt right for his story to be told.

scenes, hacksaw, ridge, interview, producer, terry

“He didn’t want to publicize himself, didn’t really want a movie made of his life and it wasn’t until he was in his 80s that his friends convinced him that his story had to live past him,” Mechanic says. “We brought on Robert Schenkkan to write it, sold it to Walden Media, with an eye toward protecting the religious content. Not to dial it up or down, just tell the story as it was.”

Nothing came easy, not even landing Gibson to make his first directing project in a decade. The script by Schenkkan—the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright behind The Kentucky Cycles who wrote four episodes of the WWII miniseries The Pacific—was strong, but Gibson wouldn’t bite. He turned it down twice. Mechanic, who, while a top Fox exec, acquired the foreign rights on Braveheart that got the Best Picture winner financed, immediately thought of the filmmaker.

“I felt that Desmond was, in a way, like William Wallace without the sword,” he says. “One was violent and the other non-violent, but they were both men prepared to die for what they believed in. I pitched the film to people as a different form on Braveheart and sent it to Icon. They said they loved it, but it was a no. I sent it again, same thing.”

Gibson suggests that it took time for the script to rattle around his head before the visuals changed his mind. But he was carrying the shrapnel of a series of self-inflicted public outbursts, the most serious of which came in the back of a cop car in Malibu when a drunken Gibson spouted anti-Semitic remarks that left him persona non grata. Mechanic thinks that for whatever reason Gibson was too preoccupied to take his overtures seriously. “I don’t think he ever really read it closely because on the third approach he committed in one day.”

“I passed on Braveheart. I kind of liked it and thought, maybe…I don’t know,” Gibson says. “One reason or another. Then it’s like what happened [here]. The wheels start going around and you start visualizing it.”

Braveheart was initially offered to Gibson as an acting role alone. But he was looking to step up after doing the small character piece The Man Without a Face. “I started visualizing it, a lot. I would think about how cool could this be? You’d have a shot list in your head and visualize what you wanted to see. Two years later, I’d finished a movie and someone said, ‘What do you want to do next?’” Gibson remembered Braveheart. Hacksaw Ridge reverberated the same way, “I looked at it again and I just saw it with new eyes,” he adds.

By then, Garfield, fresh off The Amazing Spider-Man, was being eyed for the lead. Even though Gibson isn’t a fan of superhero movies, he’d seen the British actor’s work in films like The Social Network, where he played Mark Zuckerberg’s estranged college pal Eduardo Saverin. The empathy that Garfield exudes more than just about any other actor of his age convinced Gibson and he was in.

But, although Walden Media sparked to the faith-based heroism, the company set the budget very tight, and ultimately dropped out when the filmmakers could not meet the contractual requirement to make a PG-13 film. “Braveheart was 50% more expensive than this movie and that was 23 years ago,” Mechanic says. “We got the budget down but I just didn’t think there was a chance in hell this was anything less than R. Mel doesn’t have it in his being to take that script and not show it on screen. That defined who Desmond Doss was. His beliefs aren’t real until he proves it on the battlefield. Anyone could say, ‘I’m not going to pick up a weapon.’ Put yourself in a situation when you’re the only guy out there and 1000 Japanese soldiers are coming after you. That’s when your beliefs are tested. Without that violence, to me it’s not a story.”

That meant starting from scratch and piecing together a budget for a 40 million movie only made possible by shooting in Australia with nearly the entire cast down under — Garfield and Vince Vaughn were among the few exceptions, and while Gibson is American, he was born in Australia. It was his first movie back home in 30 years after starting his career there with films like Gallipoli and Mad Max.

Even though Cross Creek Pictures came in for a piece, the lack of a big visual effects budget required inventiveness with the requisite explosions, with charges that could detonate practically under the noses of actors playing the soldiers. “We just didn’t have any money and that was the single biggest obstacle,” says Mechanic. “Mic Rodgers, our stunt guy and one of the few guys we brought in from outside Australia, had done all Mel’s pictures and he brought in this technology. He’s up on the battlefield with our head stuntee, who has this camera, and Mic is demonstrating the bomb. It goes off about a foot away from him and you see dirt, but no Mic. He was gone. The stuntee is like, ‘Holy shit, I just blew up my boss.’ It was the funniest thing as Mic got up.”

It was this technology that made the action achievable at this budget level. “It was supplemented by digital effects, but all that stuff was real and stunt-driven,” Mechanic notes.

All the financial wizardry still left them short as they ended with battle scenes. Mechanic says he and Gibson personally covered the costs needed to get the required shots.

Gibson stopped short of playing Doss’ father — a violent drunk who eventually would help his son in his fight against the army to be sent into battle. He said he would have played the part if no one better emerged. But putting Gibson in that role might have been a bit too on the nose given the circumstances that kept him from behind the camera the last decade, even though he has been sober now for longer than that. He found Hugo Weaving. “The guy killed me,” Gibson says. “I thought he was great. He became the obvious choice to do that part. You get somebody like Hugo, you use that guy. I can’t do what he can do.”

The shoot was arduous. “I don’t know if I was ever frightened because I had that Desmond energy inhabiting that character,” Garfield says. “I don’t know if Desmond had the time to be frightened, whether he turned that into physical action or a prayer, but it was thrilling to have the physical things happening around us as actors and extras. And stunt guys were dealing with all these box bombs and explosions with mud flying. There were times where it got tricky, especially when we were trying to achieve something intimate while mud was landing in the back of your throat.”

Gibson adds, “You’re trying to play a moment and being hit by that stuff, it’s just awful. I remember in a film I did years ago, the wind is blowing this filthy sand into my eyes while I’m trying to emote. You watch it back and think it worked out okay, but you are just having a miserable fucking time trying. You’ve just got to try to relax because any skill requires that.”

Garfield came to Hacksaw Ridge after completing an equally difficult shoot on the Martin Scorsese-directed Silence. He said that film was harder, partly because the shoot was solitary and he starved himself to look the part of a Jesuit priest. “This was a new thing for me with Mel, and the way he works, and the feeling that he creates on set, and the feeling he creates within the company,” Garfield says. “It feels like you’re a traveling theater company and that’s Mel’s background as well; drama school in Sydney. I did mine in London and started in theater and it felt like a company of traveling gypsies. There was a real joy on the set, amidst the trickiest, most harrowing stuff we had to do.”

Garfield says the cast bonded like a battalion might. “You have to laugh to keep from crying as you imagine what those guys went through. There’s an absurdity you’re witnessing on a daily basis where, if you truly let the reality deeply in, it’s going to destroy you. That is when the psyche cracks and the PTSD sets in.”

“There was something so spirited and joyful and loving about the Hacksaw experience; not that those things weren’t present on Marty’s movie. But Silence was much more isolating, where on a personal level the primary relationship is between my character and a god that may or may not be there; a silent god. I was isolated, hungry, lonely and celibate for six months. It was absolutely fucking fascinating. But [on Hacksaw], having the brothers and the wife and a great leader in Mel, and maybe the odd beer on the weekend, made it ever so slightly easier.”

Many of the visual flourishes that make Gibson’s films singular come in the moment. Garfield recalls an 11 p.m. text from Gibson saying he was planning to change a big scene in which Doss is doused in water, scheduled for the following day. “I was anxious because you like to have a framework, and you’ve already laid that out. But you just totally trust it because he’s operating from this deep guttural instinct, not dissimilar to where Desmond was operating from within his life. Mel is very, very in touch with his primal nature and that still, small voice inside. He’s a very emotional filmmaker, a very visceral, physical filmmaker.”

Says Gibson of the seminal ‘baptism’ scene: “I just wanted a moment where it was like this kind of transition, this cleansing moment. And it became literally that. He comes off the hill and he’s all covered in blood and mud, and I needed that moment where you just FOCUS in a kind of spiritual or ethereal, lyrical way. It was something I cooked up on the spur of the moment, and we threw it together. You have these moments of clarity that are hard because they’re not on the schedule and the budget is so tight. But you just go, ‘oh no. I have to fit this in.’”

Another scene, in which Doss covers an injured soldier—all except his eyes—in dirt to conceal him from Japanese soldiers, was the same. “You think, that guy’s eye, in the ground, now that would be a cool image. And then you’ve got no choice but to find a way to do it.”

It fell to Mechanic to explain each of these detours to the bond company. But when he ran Fox, Mechanic was also the point person for James Cameron as he mounted Titanic. Coming through Hacksaw Ridge has left him feeling that the market for literate movies is as bad as any time he can remember.

“The business is in a very weird place,” he says. “To me, this is the worst of times. It’s probably the lowest ebb of motion pictures ever, maybe since the late ’60s led to the ’70s films. I keep waiting for the phoenix to rise, or for the whole thing to fucking crumble, and then maybe we can pick back up and get real movies made again. But to me, this is a period of just abject terrible movies. Nobody cares, and there is no alternative. Studios, right now, are manufacturers. Like Detroit. They’re manufacturing cars, looking for this year’s model of the Chevy. Other than a Dark Knight, which breaks the rules, we’re in a business where almost all the quality is being pushed into tiny little pictures, and I’m not interesting in making little pictures. Mel is not a perfect person, but he has improved on each of his pictures, and Andrew is the finest young actor of his generation. I had this experience on Titanic, and on Braveheart, and here, also. When you look in the eye of Jim Cameron, and when you look in the eye of Mel Gibson, it makes you feel, okay, we’re putting all our money on this guy.”

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