Next (2007 film)

Next (2007 film)

Promotional poster
Directed by Lee Tamahori
Produced by Nicolas Cage
Todd Garner
Norm Golightly
Graham King
Arne Schmidt
Screenplay by Gary Goldman
Jonathan Hensleigh
Paul Bernbaum
Story by Gary Goldman (screen story)
Based on The Golden Man by
Philip K. Dick
Starring Nicolas Cage
Julianne Moore
Jessica Biel
Thomas Kretschmann
Tory Kittles
Peter Falk
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography David Tattersall
Editing by Christian Wagner
Studio Revolution Studios
Initial Entertainment Group
Virtual Studios
Saturn Films
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) April 27, 2007 (2007-04-27)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70 million
Box office $76,066,841[1]

Next is a 2007 American film directed by Lee Tamahori and stars Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel. The film's original script was very loosely based on the science fiction short story "The Golden Man" by Philip K. Dick. The film was released on April 27, 2007.



Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) can see into his future. He can only see two minutes ahead, with the exception of a vision he once had of a woman walking into a diner. Because there are no details other than the time, he goes to the diner twice each day at 8:09, to await her arrival. He works as a small-time magician in Las Vegas, where he supplements his income with gambling, using his powers to win against the house. He draws the attention of FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore), who has figured out his ability and wants to stop terrorists from detonating a nuclear weapon. Before Ferris can approach Cris, however, his gambling draws the attention of casino security. On his way out of the casino, he stops an imminent robbery, yet is chased by security agents. Using his ability to forecast the actions of his pursuers, he eludes both of them and Las Vegas police. Ferris tracks Cris to his home, but he escapes after foreseeing her arrival. Later that night, the casino's security chief is approached by two of the terrorists, is interrogated about Johnson and is then killed.

The following morning, Cris is at the diner again when he sees Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel), the woman from his vision. It turns out that not only can Cris see the future, but can see the effects of what any number of his actions can do to that future. After envisioning a number of different approaches — all of which fall flat — he meets Liz after intervening when her ex-boyfriend arrives. Knowing that she is heading for Flagstaff, Arizona, Cris charms her into giving him a ride. Ferris follows, while the terrorists decide to kill him. A washed-out road forces Cris and Liz to spend the night in a motel. With the weapon tracked to Los Angeles, Ferris convinces her superiors to let her bring Cris in. The terrorists follow in the hope that the agents will lead them to Cris.

Later that day, Agent Ferris confronts Liz while she is walking near the hotel. Claiming Cris is a dangerous sociopath, she asks her to drug Cris so that they can bring him in peacefully. Instead, Liz warns Cris, who tells her about his secret. When she asks why he will not help the FBI stop the terrorists, he explains his limitations, noting the exception for events involving her. Asking for Liz to wait for him, he tries to escape from the FBI agents waiting to arrest him but is captured after saving Ferris from logs tumbling down the side of a mountain. Unable to kill Cris, the terrorists kidnap Liz instead.

In custody, Cris is strapped to a chair with his eyes held open and forced to watch television until he has a vision that can help the FBI. Expecting him to see a report about the detonation of the bomb, instead he envisions a broadcast from several hours in the future in which Liz is killed by a bomb while strapped to a wheelchair as bait for Cris. Cris escapes from captivity and races to the parking garage where she will be killed. Pursuing Cris to the garage, Ferris promises to help save her as long as Cris will help stop the bomb, and sets up a plan to draw out the terrorists.

Using his ability, Cris helps the FBI track the terrorists to the port where they are based. When they arrive, after a series of exchanges, Cris is able to walk right up to the terrorist leader and avoid being hit, by seeing where the bullets will go and dodging them. After killing the terrorists and saving Liz, they find that the bomb has already been moved. Ferris shows Cris a seismograph hoping that he will see any tremors caused by explosions before they happen. As he stares at the screen he realizes that he has made a mistake and that he was too late; the bomb detonates out at sea and completely destroys the port, as well as the rest of the city.

The timeline reverts back to Cris and Liz in bed at the hotel in Arizona, before Liz goes outside to be confronted by Ferris. Because of Liz's involvement in events, Cris has been able to envision everything that could happen leading to the nuclear explosion. "Everytime you look into the future, it changes."

Cris calls Ferris and offers to help prevent the nuclear disaster, then asks Liz to wait for him.



Gary Goldman and Jason Koornick initially optioned the science fiction short story The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick. Goldman wrote a script treatment that he and Koornick presented to Nicolas Cage's production company, Saturn Films, but Goldman ended up writing the screenplay on spec.

Original draft

This first draft had more similarities to the short story, detailing the efforts of a government agency to capture and contain a precognitive mutant.[2]

To provide greater interaction between the opposing parties (as well as create a leading role), Cris was changed from a feral animal whose existence threatened humanity's into a more familiar and understandable social outcast. A romantic subplot was added: the character of Liz Cooper, who in this draft was not only destined to be the love of Cris's life, but a mutant as well (born in Love Canal) and the only woman he has ever met with whom he can have children, herself incapable of procreating with normal humans.

As the original short story had a distinct tone of racist paranoia, the motivation for the pursuit of Cris was changed from an ironclad policy of exterminating mutations to a manipulative Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agent's obsessive search for unconventional assets in the war on terror, though the DHS began exhibiting this paranoia as their efforts to control Cris prove increasingly inadequate.

This script was filled with anti-authoritarian themes, with Cris often speaking clearly and eloquently of how he enjoys his independence. He states plainly that "what I want is freedom. And you don’t get it by giving it up." Though many uses of his gift are detailed by the DHS, Cris lives a simple life as a stage magician, only gambling in an extremely limited fashion.

The DHS is explicitly depicted as a completely unregulated, astoundingly powerful and unapologetically ruthless collection of fanatics, breaking laws without consideration and eager to torture and even murder innocent civilians to achieve their objectives. Forcing Cris's co-operation is just the objective that they are focused on, for it will permit them to achieve countless others. They wax poetic on their plans in using Cris as if he were a piece of machinery, most of which consist of using him as a "timescope"; that is, bolting him into a chair for the rest of his life so his only experiences are ones which are useful to them, a process which they believe would extend the range of his abilities. One agent suggests that they amputate his arms and legs, a suggestion his colleague considers humorous. That is, until she realizes Cris has probably realized the possibility of such an occurrence the instant it was proposed.

However, his enemies are skilled tormentors, and eventually they drive him to the breaking point: when the DHS learns that Liz is pregnant with his child, they coldly decide to have her executed at a pre-determined time, thus pre-emptively proving to Cris their determination to possess him. Even then all his efforts are focused on securing Liz's safety: an objective which the DHS, though only with great difficulty, is able to prevent him from achieving. Then and only then does he make his only counterattack on those who have abused him so relentlessly and thoroughly. He demolishes the Las Vegas DHS headquarters with a barrel of C-4 agents had seized earlier in a warrant-less search. His abilities, of course, ensure that Liz and he are the only survivors.

But one constant throughout the script was the knowledge that Cris is running for his life. The script begins with Cris's seeming infallibility informing him that the authorities will settle for nothing less than total control of his abilities. Cris thus constantly flees the DHS, sure that if he is captured he will be imprisoned for the rest of his life. This theory is never challenged: even as the film ends, Cris believes he is trading his freedom for his son's life.

The only clue as to his motivation for surrendering is a conversation between him and Liz Cooper in which he says that he wants a real family. Liz would never bear his child if he let the bombs go off, but by willingly accepting imprisonment, he might be able to keep the authorities from ever learning of his son's existence – he may be a slave, but he ensures his son will live free. He thus makes the ultimate sacrifice. "Not for millions, not for glory, not for fame. For one person, in the dark, where no one will ever know or see."

Saturn re-draft

Saturn Films had the script extensively rewritten, and in the process almost completely eliminated its anti-authoritarian themes. Though Cris remained a meek social outcast, he is somewhat less sympathetic; he is portrayed as arrogant, and far more prone to applying violent solutions. The DHS's role was replaced with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Despite a scene in which Cris experiences his worst nightmare – spending the rest of his life strapped into a chair with his eyes wedged open – the authorities are portrayed as sympathetic, and Cris as uncooperative and belligerent. Their insistence on his obedience is reduced to the point that the authorities offer their assistance in rescuing Liz (whom they neglect to arrest despite her efforts to sabotage Cris's capture) from the terrorists. This leads to the film's greatest variation from the original draft – a confrontation with the terrorists. No clue is given as to the motivation for the terrorists' detonation of the nuclear device in Los Angeles. The few terrorists who speak in the film, mostly with French and German accents, seem to be under the guidance of an unseen leader who has told them that they must kill Cris since "he says that Cris is the only threat to the plan". During the confrontation with the terrorists, Cris willingly supports the FBI with his abilities in a series of sequences similar to those in the original script, only with the authorities as allies instead of antagonists.

This was the script Saturn Films brought to the attention of Revolution Studios. Revolution Studios acquired the screenplay and in November 2004, Revolution Studios hired Lee Tamahori to direct the film, with Cage in the lead role. Filming was to begin in Summer 2005.[3] In December 2005, Moore was cast as the federal agent who seeks people to help prevent future terrorism and uncovers Cage's character as a potential candidate.[4] In November 2005, Initial Entertainment Group negotiated for rights of international distribution of Next, which had a target release date of 2007.[5] In February 2006, actress Jessica Biel was cast as the love interest of Cage's character.[6]

In May 2006, Starz! Entertainment's 14-episode reality television miniseries, Looking for Stars, gave 200 contestants the opportunity to earn a speaking role in Next,[7] which was won by actor Marcus Welch.[8]

Next originally was to be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment (which had a deal with Revolution), set to be released on September 28, 2006, but that studio dumped it in January 2007, and Paramount Pictures subsequently picked it up and released the film on April 27, 2007 .[9]

Box office

The film opened at #3 at the U.S. box office, grossing $7.1 million in 2,725 theaters in its opening weekend.[10] In its eight-week run in the United States, it grossed a total of just $18 million and has a combined worldwide gross of $76 million.[1] Compared to other films based on Philip K. Dick stories, Next grossed less than Minority Report, Total Recall, Paycheck and Blade Runner – but performed better than Impostor, Screamers and A Scanner Darkly.[11]


Next received negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 28% based on 128 reviews (36 "fresh", 92 "rotten").[12] Metacritic gives the film had an average score of 42% based on 23 reviews.[13]

Justin Chang of Variety said the film plays "like the cinematic equivalent of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel" and that the plot is highly reminiscent of 24. Chang also said "What starts out as a mildly diverting thriller blows itself to smithereens in the final reel", describing the climax as a "stunning cheat."[14] James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film 2½ out of 4 stars and said parts of the film are "fascinating" and "compelling" but that "the whole thing ends up collapsing under its own weight." Berardinelli said Nicolas Cage "seems to be going through the motions", "Julianne Moore brings intensity to the part of Callie, although the character is incomplete", "Jessica Biel is appealing" but "the character is unfinished", and that "Thomas Kretschmann is unimpressive as a generic 24-style terrorist." He also said "some viewers will feel cheated by what Next does, and it's hard to blame them."[15] Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald gave the film 2 out of 4 stars and said the film looks like director Lee Tamahori "spent about 12 bucks on his special effects budget." Ogle said the film had a decent premise but "Next begins to seriously embarrass itself and its stars once it rolls to its climax."[16] Toronto Star film critic Peter Howell gave the film 1½ stars out of 4 and called it a "colossal waste of time" and said it is "possibly the most egregious befouling of Dick's work to date." Howell said the roles "seem to be cut-and-pasted from other movies", called the film a "straight-to-DVD wannabe", and said the film "has one of the most infuriating endings ever."[17]

Moira MacDonald of the Seattle Times gave Next 1½ stars out of 4 and said "Late in the movie, Cris shouts at a bad guy, 'I've seen every possible ending here. None of them are good for you.' It's as if he's talking to the audience, and alas, he's right." and "Julianne Moore spends most of her screen time in Lee Tamahori's confused sci-fi thriller Next looking royally pissed off, like she got tricked into making the movie on a sucker bet. You can't blame her; this film's audience is likely to look that way as well by the time the end credits roll."[18] Kalamazoo Gazette critic James Sanford gave the film 1½ stars and said "the only visions Next inspires are flashbacks to better films" like Honeymoon in Vegas, Leaving Las Vegas, The Illusionist, and Hannibal, adding "any film that makes someone wish he or she were watching Hannibal must be pretty awful." Sanford said "Cage performs as if he's on autopilot, Moore looks more miserable than she did as the suicidal housewife in The Hours, and Biel seems fully aware she was hired only to provide a few glimpses of cheesecake." Sanford also remarked, "the ending of this film is not just a colossal cheat, its a hard slap in the face to anyone who has invested his or her time in watching it."[19] Daniel Eagan of Film Journal International said the film "follows a familiar Hollywood pattern in which a few intriguing ideas are swamped by the demands of a big-budget, star-driven vehicle" and that it "won't add any luster to Nicolas Cage's resume." Eagan said "Half of Next is a clever, unpredictable thriller that plays with Dick's customary obsessions with time and reality. The other half is a sloppy, bloated adventure marred by cheesy special effects and some equally cheesy acting" and also that "the script to Next has plenty of [plot jams], one or two egregious enough to demand ticket refunds."[20]

Orlando Sentinel critic Roger Moore gave the film 3 out of 5 stars and said "who says preposterous junk can't be fun?" Moore said "this sloppy little time-travel variation is a crowd-pleasing hoot, thanks mostly to Cage turning on the charisma and showing off his gift for hangdog understatement" and that the Groundhog Day-like attempts to woo Jessica Biel's character are "hilarious." Moore concluded "It's all so stupid and ends so perfunctorily that you can't call Next good, or even as good as the dopey Déjà Vu...but it does score over [Déjà Vu] in one important criterion. It's just fun."[21] Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe gave the film 2½ out of 4 stars and called it a "watchably absurd popcorn flick" and that the film "bears almost no resemblance" to the original short story "The Golden Man", the short story it was adapted from. He described Moore's performance as "enjoyably curt" and said "alongside Cage's spontaneity, Biel seems humorless and earnestly dull." Morris said the film is fun "until it turns crass" and concluded, "when you're being toyed with that cheaply, you forget how much you admire Nicolas Cage's shamelessness and start to resent the movie's."[22] Diana Saenger of ReviewExpress gave the film 3½ stars and said "Next boasts a fresh plot with a tricky twist ending that can be misconstrued if you don't pay close attention and then pause to think about it." Saenger reported that it was Nicolas Cage's idea for Cris to be a magician, and that it was his suggestion that his wife be part of the scene where a woman comes out of the audience to be part of the magic show. Saenger remarked that people complaining about the twist being a rip-off probably didn't understand it and said it made perfect sense and concluded "I liked the surprise twist and found Next very entertaining."[23]

The film was subject to the heckling of Bridget Jones Nelson and Michael J. Nelson in an October 2007 installment of Rifftrax.[24]

Next received two Razzie Award nominations including Worst Actor (Nicolas Cage) and Worst Supporting Actress (Jessica Biel).


Sections of the film were filmed in the San Bernardino Mountains in California. Mountain Locations used in production of the film included Crestline, Running Springs and Big Bear Lake. The hotel featured in the film, "The Cliffhanger", is actually a restaurant in the Crestline area that has remained closed for some time. The restaurant, located on a cliff, overlooks the City of San Bernardino. In order to make the restaurant look more like a hotel, a facade was attached to the building. The facade is the section of the motel where Johnson and Liz Cooper were staying. Interior shots were filmed elsewhere. Following the end of production, the facade was removed. However, remnants of the signage placed and the paint works conducted remain intact. The property has been fenced off and a for sale sign has been posted. Running Springs served for scenes shot in the town. Scenes (in which a vehicle was rolled off the side of a cliff) shot in Big Bear Lake were shot at a campground. Due to the terrain located on the side of the cliff the Cliffhanger is located on, the producers decided to finish the scenes at the campground in Big Bear Lake.[25]


  1. ^ a b "Next (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Cohen, David S. (2004-11-11). "Revolution turns to Sci-Fi". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  4. ^ Cohen, David S. (2004-12-06). "Moore Mulls Her 'Next' Pic". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  5. ^ Cohen, David S.; Laporte, Nicole (2005-11-02). "Initial's Boarding 'Next'". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  6. ^ Fleming, Michael (2006-02-22). "Biel Ready for 'Next' Project". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  7. ^ Riddell, Robert (2006-05-24). "'Looking' for action". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  8. ^ "Marcus Welch Wins Looking for Stars". Reality TV Magazine. 2006-09-12. Archived from the original on 2007-02-04. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  9. ^ Gray, Brandon (2007-04-29). "Disturbia Tops Idle Weekend". Box Office Mojo ( Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  10. ^ "Next (2007) - Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  11. ^ "Philip K. Dick Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  12. ^ "Next (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  13. ^ "Next (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  14. ^ Chang, Justin (2007-04-26). "Next Review -". Variety. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  15. ^ Berardinelli, James. "Review: Next". ReelViews. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  16. ^ Ogle, Connie (2007-04-27). "Prediction: You'll Want Your Money Back". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  17. ^ Howell, Peter (2007-04-27). "'Next': Lousy Timing". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  18. ^ MacDonald, Moira (2007-04-27). "Yeah, 'Next!' Is What We Say, Too". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  19. ^ Sanford, James. "James Sanford Reviews Next". Kalamazoo Gazette. Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  20. ^ Eagan, Daniel. "Next". Film Journal International. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  21. ^ Moore, Roger (2007-04-27). "Who Says Preposterous Junk Can't Be Fun?". Orlando Sentinel. pp. 2. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  22. ^ Wesley Morris (2007-04-27). "Cage's Star Power Saves Next". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  23. ^ Saenger, Diana. "An Entertaining Escape". Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  24. ^ Jones, Bridget; Nelson, Michael J. (October 2007). "Next on Rifftrax". Archived from the original on 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  25. ^ Paramount Pictures Corporation, Next DVD

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