Mortdecai (film)

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Mortdecai poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Koepp
Screenplay byEric Aronson
Based onDon't Point that Thing at Me
by Kyril Bonfiglioli
Produced by
CinematographyFlorian Hoffmeister
Edited by
Music by
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • January 23, 2015 (2015-01-23)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$60 million[2]
Box office$47.3 million[3]

Mortdecai is a 2015 American action comedy film directed by David Koepp and written by Eric Aronson. The film is adapted from the novel series Mortdecai (specifically its 1972 first installment Don't Point that Thing at Me) written by Kyril Bonfiglioli. It stars Johnny Depp in the title role and also features Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Paul Bettany and Jeff Goldblum. Released by Lionsgate on January 23, 2015, Mortdecai was a box office bomb, grossing $47 million against its estimated $60 million budget, and was critically panned.[4][5]


Lord Charlie Mortdecai, an 'art dealer' and swindler, is accosted in Hong Kong by one of his victims, a gangster named Fang. Jock, Mortdecai's faithful manservant, extricates his master before they can be killed.

Returning to London, Mortdecai and his wife, Johanna, consider ways to pay off their crushing tax debt. At the same time in Oxford, a painting by Francisco Goya becomes the target of an elaborate theft, resulting in the murder of an art restorer. Inspector Alistair Martland is put on the case. He, in love with Johanna since college, puts pressure on Mortdecai to assist him. Martland believes the prime suspect to be Emil Strago. Mortdecai agrees to help in exchange for 10% of the insurance money.

Mortdecai interviews people affiliated with the art world, including Spinoza, an art smuggler. While they argue, Strago arrives and shoots at them, killing Spinoza; Mortdecai escapes unharmed, although he accidentally shoots Jock in the process. Johanna meets with 'The Duke', who knows the thief and says that the painting conceals the location of a hoard of Nazi gold. Mortdecai is kidnapped by thugs working for a Russian named Romanov because they think that Mortdecai has the painting. Romanov threatens torture unless Mortdecai surrenders it, but he escapes through a window with Jock.

Martland sends Mortdecai to America to meet with potential Goya buyer Milton Krampf. Planning to sell his beloved Rolls-Royce to the American, he tries to see if Krampf is involved with the theft. After Mortdecai arrives in Los Angeles, Krampf shows him that the Goya was smuggled into the US in the Rolls after it had been stolen from Strago and stashed there.

Krampf invites Mortdecai to the party, where he will show the Goya. Jock and Mortdecai try to steal it during the party, as do Krampf's daughter Georgina and Strago. She attempts to seduce Mortdecai while Strago steals the painting. Johanna arrives with Martland and catches her husband with Georgina. Mortdecai flees to help Jock steal the painting, but finds Krampf has been murdered by Strago and the painting is gone. Strago is caught, but Georgina helps him escape with the painting. Mortdecai, Jock, Martland and Johanna find them in a motel where Martland sets fire to the Goya, causing the building to explode. It is revealed that the painting was a fake; The Duke has hidden the real one.

The Mortdecais retrieve the painting, putting it up for auction. The sale attracts Fang and Romanov, whose thugs Mortdecai and Jock waylay. In the auction room, Strago attempts to kidnap Johanna while Mortdecai bids up the 'Goya'. Sir Graham eventually wins it for Romanov and Martland apprehends Strago during the commotion. Sale proceeds pay off their debt, but they are still broke.

The painting is revealed to be another fake, and Romanov plots his revenge whilst his thugs begin to torture Sir Graham.

In the closing scene, the Mortdecais share a bubble bath while admiring the real Goya.



Principal photography and production began in London on October 21, 2013.[7][8]

Parts of the film were shot on location at Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire in the UK,[9] where Depp, Munn, and Bettany filmed scenes in Hedsor House's Boudoir and Bridal Suites.

Scenes were also shot on location at the National Art Library in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.[10]

The Goya painting is a pastiche or modern version of the 1805 Portrait of the Marchioness of Santa Cruz (Madrid, Prado Museum).


On April 23, 2014, Lionsgate announced that the film would be released on February 6, 2015.[11] On September 24, 2014, the release date was shifted to January 23, 2015.[12]

Marketing and promotion

A photo from the film featuring Depp was revealed on May 8, 2014.[13] Four character posters - featuring Depp, Paltrow, McGregor, and Munn with mustaches - were released in November 2014. A promotional tie-in for the film was done by The Art of Shaving, whose store windows showed posters of Depp displaying their razors with the slogan "Handsome Doesn't Just Happen".

The first trailer for the film was released on August 12, attached to The Expendables 3. The second trailer was released on November 12 and was attached to Dumb and Dumber To, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Horrible Bosses 2, Top Five, and The Gambler.[14]


Box office

Mortdecai grossed $7.7 million in North America and $39.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $47.3 million, against a production budget of $60 million.[3]

The film was released in North America on January 23, 2015. The film was projected to gross around $10 million from 1,586 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $1.5 million its first day and went on to gross $4.2 million in its opening weekend, finishing 9th at the box office.[15] In its third week the film was pulled from 2,395 theaters (a 90.4% drop), the 10th biggest theater drop in history at the time.[16]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 12% based on 112 reviews and an average rating of 3.50/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Aggressively strange and willfully unfunny, the misguided Mortdecai sounds a frightfully low note in Johnny Depp's post-Pirates filmography".[17] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 27 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[18] On Twitter, Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph characterised the film as "The Crap Budapest Hotel", elaborating in his review: "Mortdecai: mort de cinéma, more like".[19] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[20]

In January 2015, Christopher Rosen of The Huffington Post said that Mortdecai "seems destined to be rated as the worst film of 2015, and deservedly so".[21]


Award Category Nominee Result
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor Johnny Depp Nominated
Worst Actress Gwyneth Paltrow Nominated
Worst Screen Combo Johnny Depp and his glued-on mustache Nominated


  1. ^ "MORTDECAI (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  2. ^ FilmL.A. (June 15, 2016). "2015 Feature Film Study". Archived from the original on July 4, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Mortdecai (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  4. ^ "'Mortdecai' Is One Of Johnny Depp's Worst Flops Ever". January 25, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  5. ^ Stephanie Garcia (January 26, 2015). "Mortdecai becomes Johnny Depp's fifth consecutive movie to flop at the box office - News - Films". The Independent. London. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  6. ^ "Watch Johnny Depp In 'Mortdecai' Movie Trailer [VIDEO] Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Munn, Ewan McGregor Costar In New Comedy". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Principal Photography Begins for Mortdecai, Starring Johnny Depp". October 21, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  8. ^ "Mortdecai Starring Johnny Depp Begins Production in London". October 21, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  9. ^ "Hedsor House used in the film Mortdecai (2015)". Hedsor House. 2015. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "I'm sure I've seen that Library before (2014)". Victoria and Albert Museum. 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  11. ^ Lesnick, Silas (April 23, 2014). "Lionsgate Sets Mortdecai, Starring Johnny Depp, for February 6, 2015". Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  12. ^ Lang, Brent (September 24, 2014). "Johnny Depp Comedy 'Mortdecai' Shifts to January 2015 Release Date". Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  13. ^ DAVIS, EDWARD (May 8, 2014). "First Look: Johnny Depp Gets Mustachioed & Debonair In Spy Thriller Comedy 'Mortdecai'". Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  14. ^ Anderton, Ethan (August 12, 2014). "Johnny Depp Doesn't Need Help with His Bags in 'Mortdecai' Trailer". Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "Mortdecai (2015)". Box Office Mojo. February 19, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  16. ^ "Biggest Theater Drops". Box Office Mojo.
  17. ^ "Mortdecai (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  18. ^ "Mortdecai Reviews". Metacritic.
  19. ^ "Mortdecai, review: 'psychotically unfunny'". Daily Telegraph. January 22, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  20. ^ "Home - Cinemascore".
  21. ^ "Mortdecai Might Be 2015's Worst Movie". Huffington Post. January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015.

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