The 5th Wave (film)

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The 5th Wave
5th-Wave poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJ Blakeson
Screenplay by
Based onThe 5th Wave
2013 novel
by Rick Yancey
Produced by
CinematographyEnrique Chediak
Edited byPaul Rubell
Music byHenry Jackman
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • January 22, 2016 (2016-01-22) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$38–54 million[3][4]
Box office$109.9 million[3]

The 5th Wave is a 2016 American science fiction action film directed by J Blakeson, with a screenplay by Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, and Jeff Pinkner, based on Rick Yancey’s 2013 novel of the same name. The film stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Alex Roe, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe, and Liev Schreiber.

Development began in March 2012, when Sony picked up the film rights to the trilogy of novels, with Graham King's production company GK Films and Tobey Maguire's Material Pictures. Filming took place in Atlanta, Georgia, from October 2014 to January 2015. The 5th Wave was released on January 22, 2016, in the United States by Columbia Pictures. It grossed $109 million worldwide against a $54 million budget, and received generally unfavorable reviews from critics for the CGI, storyline, and screenplay, though some praise was given to the acting.[5]


Ohio high-schooler Cassie Sullivan, armed with an M4 carbine, emerges from the woods to raid an abandoned gas station. Upon entering, she hears a male voice calling for help. She finds a wounded man, who points a gun at her, but they ask each other to put their respective weapons down. His other hand is under his jacket—and as he takes it out, she sees a glint of metal and kills him, thinking he was holding a gun, but he was in fact holding a Christian cross; the screen cuts to black to show her backstory.

A colossal alien spaceship is circling Earth, guided by extraterrestrial life referred to as "The Others". Ten days later, The Others unleash their 1st Wave, an electromagnetic pulse that disables all electrical power and communications worldwide, and shuts off the engines of moving vehicles, including planes in mid-flight. The 2nd Wave has The Others manipulate the planet's geology and fault lines, causing earthquakes and megatsunamis that destroy coastal cities and islands, including Hallandale Beach, London, Bangkok and New York City. In Ohio, Lake Erie floods, but Cassie and her younger brother Sam are able to escape by climbing a tree. For the 3rd Wave, The Others modify a strain of avian influenza and spread it across the planet via birds. The population is decimated, with Cassie's mother one of the victims. In the 4th wave, the Others possess common humans and start killing other humans.

Cassie, Sam and their father find a summer camp in use as a refuge in the woods with roughly 300 survivors. A few days later, an Army unit with working vehicles rolls into the camp. The unit's commander, Colonel Vosch, claims there is an imminent threat of a 5th Wave and they will take the children to safety at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, intending to bring the buses back to retrieve the adults. Cassie is separated from Sam, and witnesses the Army massacring all the adults, her father included. Cassie makes her way toward the base, but is shot in the leg by a sniper and passes out. About a week later, she wakes up in the farmhouse of a young man named Evan Walker, who saved her. Cassie leaves towards the base with Evan, but learns that he is an Other, sent years ago as a sleeper agent and merged his consciousness into a human host. The sleepers roam their designated zones, killing human survivors. Evan admits his humanity was reactivated when he saw her, disagrees with the invasion and lets her leave. He warns that Colonel Vosch and the military are possessed by the consciousness of individual Others.

At the base, the military have used deception and technology to convince the rescued children that the humans outside the base have been possessed. They provide military training to the children, forming them into squads to go on kill missions outside the base. Sam has been placed into a squad led by Ben, a boy Cassie had a crush on, along with Ringer, a tough teenage girl, Dumbo and Teacup. While out on a kill mission, Ringer removes her military implant, causing her to register as an Other-possessed human on the squad's scopes. The squad deduces the plan to have them kill real unpossessed humans, making them the 5th Wave. Ben sends his squad into the woods and returns to base, claiming his squad was killed, for the purpose of retrieving Sam, who was left behind. Ben confronts Colonel Vosch about child warriors being the 5th Wave and Cassie kills Sergeant Reznik during her one-on-one indoctrination spiel. Ben and Cassie find each other and leave to find Sam. Evan sets off numerous bombs and advises them to quickly find Sam before the destruction of the entire facility. Colonel Vosch and the surviving military Others evacuate with the human children by military aircraft. Cassie, Ben and Sam escape, with help from Ringer, just as Evan completes the destruction of the base. Ben's squad is reunited, and Cassie ponders the strength of hope as humanity's driving force for survival.




In March 2012, Columbia Pictures picked up the film rights to the trilogy, with Graham King and Tobey Maguire attached as producers.[6][7] On April 15, 2014, it was officially announced that Chloë Grace Moretz would star as Cassie Sullivan, and that J Blakeson would direct from a script by Susannah Grant.[8][9] From June through August 2014, Nick Robinson and Alex Roe joined the film as male protagonists Ben Parish and Evan Walker, respectively, while Liev Schreiber was cast as the villain.[10][11] Over the following months, Maika Monroe, Zackary Arthur, Tony Revolori, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, and Talitha Bateman joined the film.[12][13][14][15]


Principal photography began on October 18, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia.[16] Three months later, on January 11, a planned explosion of a bus in downtown Macon, Georgia, for the film went awry when it spread wider than planned, blowing out more than forty windows on Cotton Avenue, collapsing ceilings, destroying store fronts, setting one building on fire, and leaving soot on the brick buildings as well. The production company promised to cover all damages caused by the 3:45 am incident, but the work that was done was done badly and remained incomplete twenty-eight months later.[17][18]

Livett's Launches provided filming support for the scene showing the destruction of Tower Bridge by a tsunami.[19]

Filming officially ended on January 17, 2015.[20]


In April 2015, it was announced that Henry Jackman would compose the music for the film.[21]


Columbia Pictures originally set the film a release date for January 29, 2016.[22] On April 30, 2015, the release date was changed from its original release date of January 29, 2016, to an earlier date of January 15, 2016.[23] However, in December 2015, the release date was pushed back from January 15, 2016, to January 22, 2016.[24][25] It was released on January 14, 2016, in Australia, Germany and the Middle East.[26]


An international trailer for the film was released on Sony Pictures' official YouTube account on September 1, 2015.[27]

The film was released for home media on May 3, 2016. The film was released online on various video sites two weeks prior to this.


Box office[edit]

The 5th Wave grossed $34.9 million in North America and $75 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $109.9 million, against a production budget of $54 million.[4]

The film was released in North America on January 22, 2016, alongside Dirty Grandpa and The Boy, and was projected to gross $10–14 million from 2,908 theaters in its opening weekend.[28] It made $475,000 from its Thursday night screenings and $3.5 million on its first day.[29] It went on to gross $10.3 million in its opening weekend, finishing 6th at the box office.[30]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 15% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 137 reviews, with an average rating of 4.22/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "With unimpressive effects and plot points seemingly pieced together from previous dystopian YA sci-fi films, The 5th Wave ends up feeling like more of a limp, derivative wriggle."[31] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 33 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[30]

Jeffrey M. Anderson of The San Francisco Examiner said of the film, "Every plot turn and every line of dialogue has been borrowed from somewhere else, and everything is utterly, totally predictable", noting how the film "steals material from (but does not stop at) the Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent franchises."[32] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker faulted the film as a "marketing wheeze dressed up as an art form, and stupendously summarized by the image of Cassie hurrying through the woods carrying both an assault rifle and a Teddy bear", adding that the film "appears to have been designed by some crazed Oedipal wing of the N.R.A."[33]

Rob Vaux of the Sci-Fi Movie Page gave the film one star out of five, saying, "The Young Adult adaptation craze hits a low point with this aimless, purposeless alien invasion story that wastes a fine cast."[34][unreliable source?] In the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle wrote, "rarely does a movie that fails so utterly start so well", falling apart ahead of the fifth wave. As to a possible trilogy, "if we’re not really vigilant, and look to the skies, and prepare, they're going to make at least two more of these things. We’ve got to beat back the invasion now".[35] Eddie Cockrell of Variety gave the film a mixed review, saying, "The 5th Wave is an effectively decent post-apocalyptic, young adult, world-in-the-balance survival thriller" with an "arrestingly original spin on trendy genre tropes", although he suggested that fans of the book may have "issues with what has been edited".[36]

Brian Truitt of USA Today gave the film a positive review, stating that it "is an inviting sci-fi invasion" and "nicely stokes the imagination of a new generation of science-fiction movie nerds". He praised Moretz and Robinson as "equally strong" co-leads.[37] Shannon Harvey of The West Australian also gave the film a positive review, writing, "It's actually got a lot going for it, from acting prodigy Chloe Grace Moretz as the kind of tough but fragile heroine you can cheer for to handsome production values, several plot twists".[38] Michael Patterson of Moviepilot gave the film a positive review, calling it a "thrilling story of survival".[39]


Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Chloë Grace Moretz Nominated [40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Windsor, Harry (January 14, 2016). "'The 5th Wave': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "THE 5TH WAVE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. December 20, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "The 5th Wave (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  4. ^ a b FilmL.A. (May 2017). "2016 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study.
  5. ^ a b "The 5th Wave Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Vilkomerson, Sara (May 3, 2013). "Book Review: The 5th Wave". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  7. ^ Dickey, Josh (September 3, 2013). "J Blakeson Set to Direct Sony Young-Adult Sci-Fi Movie "The 5th Wave"". The Wrap. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  8. ^ Marshall, JoJo (April 16, 2014). "Movies Chloe Grace Moretz will be killing aliens in 'The 5th Wave'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  9. ^ Kay, Jeremy (April 15, 2014). "Chloe Grace Moretz to star in alien invasion drama The 5th Wave". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (June 27, 2014). "Nick Robinson, Alex Roe Join Chloe Moretz in 'The 5th Wave'". Variety. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  11. ^ "Liev Schreiber in Negotiations to Play Villain in Chloe Moretz's 'The 5th Wave'". The Wrap. August 6, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "Maika Monroe Joins Chloe Moretz, Nick Robinson in 'The 5th Wave'". The Wrap. August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  13. ^ Ford, Rebecca (October 21, 2014). "'Sons of Anarchy's' Maggie Siff, 'Hart of Dixie' Actress Join 'The 5th Wave'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  14. ^ Ford, Rebecca (September 15, 2014). "'The 5th Wave' Finds Its Sammy (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 30, 2014). "'Grand Budapest Hotel' Actor Tony Revolori Joins Sony's 'Fifth Wave'". Variety. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  16. ^ Lesnick, Silas (October 23, 2014). "Production Begins on The 5th Wave, Starring Chloe Grace Moretz". Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  17. ^ "Movie explosion damages downtown Macon buildings". macon.
  18. ^ "Golden Bough Books Twitter". @edunwody @gafmde @5thWaveMovie we expect gold leafing to start any day now but there's unfinished & substandard work on several storefronts
  19. ^
  20. ^ "'The 5th Wave' Wraps Filming, Chloe Grace Moretz Posts Pics From Set Of Sci-Fi Flick". Fashion&Style. January 17, 2015. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  21. ^ "Henry Jackman to Score 'The 5th Wave'". Film Music Reporter. April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  22. ^ Orange, B.Alan (July 14, 2014). "'The 5th Wave' Starring Chloe Moretz Gets January 2016 Release Date". MovieWeb. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  23. ^ "#5thWaveMovie is coming… even sooner. See it in theaters January 15, 2016". Twitter. April 30, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  24. ^ Truitt, Brian (December 17, 2015). "Exclusive excerpt: Rick Yancey's 'The Last Star'". USA Today. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  25. ^ Kiehne, Lawson (December 22, 2015). "'The 5th Wave', 'Monster High' and More Delayed". Youth Independent News. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  26. ^ MA (Psyboyo) (January 22, 2016). "The 5th Wave (2016)". IMDb.
  27. ^ "The 5th Wave Movie - International Sneak Peek". YouTube. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  28. ^ "'Revenant' Hunts #1 Amid Newcomers, '5th Wave', 'The Boy' and 'Dirty Grandpa'".
  29. ^ "Box Office Thursday Late Nights: 'Dirty Grandpa' Knocks In $660K, 'The Fifth Wave' Crashes In With $475K".
  30. ^ a b "'The Revenant' No. 1, 'Ride Along' Skids On Ice".
  31. ^ "The 5th Wave (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  32. ^ Anderson, Jeffrey M. (January 22, 2016). "'5th Wave' slogs through ridiculous, predictable plot". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  33. ^ Lane, Anthony (February 1, 2016). "The Current Cinema - Tough Girls: "Jane Got A Gun" and "The Fifth Wave"". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  34. ^ "The 5th Wave — Movie Review". Sci-Fi Movie Page.
  35. ^ LaSalle, Mick (January 21, 2016). "The 5th Wave: At least the apocalypse starts well". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  36. ^ Eddie Cockrell. "'The 5th Wave' Review: A Decent Adaptation of Rick Yancey's Novel - Variety". Variety.
  37. ^ Brian Truitt (January 21, 2016). "Review: '5th Wave' is an inviting sci-fi invasion". USA Today. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  38. ^ "The 5th Wave too familiar to be thrilling. - The West Australian". Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  39. ^ Michael Patterson (January 23, 2016). "The 5th Wave: A Thrilling Story of Survival!".
  40. ^ Vulpo, Mike (May 24, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016 Nominations Announced: See the "First Wave" of Potential Winners". E!. Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.

External links[edit]