5 Things to Know Before Seeing 'Atomic Blonde'

6:30 AM 7/27/2017

by Ashley Lee

THR highlights who Charlize Theron plays, why those stunts are so impressive and whether this is the beginning of a franchise.

  • What’s It About?

    Charlize Theron stars in the Focus action movie as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 operative who is called in to Berlin five days before the Berlin Wall falls. She then joins a colorful world where spies have gone rogue. Sofia Boutella, James McAvoy, John Goodman and Toby Jones are also featured in the David Leitch film, based on the graphic novel The Coldest City.

  • What’s the Big Deal?

    Though dressed in vintage designer clothing, Theron’s heroine does a lot of fighting in the flick. "Charlize did 98 percent of her own action including fighting, running and those kinds of things. When it comes where she has to fall down stairs or swing from a height — that she can't do insurance-wise," said the film's stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave. She also cracked four teeth and had to undergo multiple dental surgeries throughout production.

  • Will There Be More?

    Atomic Blonde could be the beginning of Theron’s own action-packed franchise. Though nothing is finalized, screenwriter Kurt Johnstad teased to THR, "I'm prepared for a sequel. Charlize was really looking for a character-driven action movie and I told her, 'I'm going to write this script like your character is a guy, and every guy is going to wish they were your character. I'm going to create your Bourne franchise.' I see it as three movies. It might be more."

  • How Are the Reviews?

    The movie, which debuted at SXSW earlier this year, currently holds at 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. THR’s critic called it “a fun but disposable espionage film. … As enjoyable as Atomic Blonde can be at times, its main utility may be its demonstration that Theron deserves better than this.” Still, he noted that “genre fans will likely be so taken by the main event that they forget any storytelling disappointment leading up to it: A long sequence in the third act, in which Lorraine fights her way through an apartment house's stairwell, is one for the ages, a bring-the-pain endurance test in which opponents seem nearly impossible to kill. Theron punches through it with a fierceness to match Min-sik Choi in Oldboy or Matt Damon in the Bourne franchise.”

  • Is It a Hit?

    According to tracking, Atomic Blonde should open to $20 million-$22 million for Universal's specialty label Focus Features and Sierra/Affinity. Some box-office observers believe the $30 million pic could easily overperform, considering Scarlett Johansson's Lucy debuted to $44 million in late July 2014.

    This weekend, Atomic Blonde opens opposite Sony's animated The Emoji Movie, as well as the limited releases of Annapurna's real-life drama Detroit and Paramount and Participant Media's documentary An Inconvenient Sequel.