|Paul Blart: Mall Cop|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steve Carr|
|Music by||Waddy Wachtel|
|Cinematography||Russ T. Alsobrook|
|Edited by||Jeff Freeman|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$183.3 million|
Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a 2009 American comedy film directed by Steve Carr and written by Kevin James and Nick Bakay. It stars James as Paul Blart, a mall security guard who must rescue the civilians taken hostage by a group of thugs on the night of Black Friday. The film co-stars Jayma Mays, Keir O'Donnell, Bobby Cannavale, and Stephen Rannazzisi.
Filming began in February 2008 with most of the shooting taking place at the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Massachusetts. The film opened in the United States on January 16, 2009, distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. Against a budget of $26 million, it grossed $31.8 million in its opening weekend and finished with a gross of more than $146 million in North America and a worldwide total of $183 million.
Paul Blart lives in West Orange, New Jersey, with his teenage daughter, Maya, and mother, Margaret. Aspiring to join the New Jersey State Police, he trains at the police academy, but his hypoglycemic medical condition causes him to collapse, therefore failing the exam. To shape up for his career, Blart works as a security guard at the fictional West Orange Pavilion Mall.
Blart patrols the mall on a Segway to assure that things are safe and clean. He also trains Veck Simms, who is new but uninterested in the job. Meanwhile, Blart becomes acquainted with Amy Anderson, the vendor of a new kiosk. He meets her one evening at a party at Joe's American Bar and Grill with other mall employees. Things initially go well, but Blart is sidetracked when he decides to participate in a nacho-eating contest with his friend Leon. The hot and spicy salsa is more than Blart can handle, causing him to inadvertently drink several alcoholic beverages. He ruins the party and makes a wild exit by falling through a window.
Two days later, on the night of Black Friday, an organized gang of thugs disguised as Santa's Village employees begin what appears to be a bank heist inside the mall. They take Amy and other customers in the bank hostage. Simms is revealed as the gang's leader - his mall security job was a ploy to gather intelligence. They are keeping the hostages as insurance for the gang's escape. The crew force shoppers to exit the mall and strategically place motion sensors around each entrance to detect any attempt to enter or exit the building.
Blart takes a break in the arcade and plays "Detroit Rock City" via Rock Band. He eventually walks back out in the mall, and discovers the entire mall is evacuated and under a state of emergency. Upon realizing this, he calls the police, and slips out of the mall to speak with Commander Sergeant Howard. Blart realizes Amy is still inside after spotting her car in the parking lot, and decides to return to the mall to look for her. A SWAT team arrives with Commander James Kent at the helm. Kent, a former classmate and bully from Blart's childhood, takes control of the police units and orders Blart to let them handle the situation. Blart refuses and attempts a rescue. Vastly outnumbered and physically outclassed, Blart takes a stand against Simms' crew using improvised measures to take them down one by one. He discovers credit card codes written in invisible ink on the burglars' arms and realizes that their real plans go beyond robbing the bank.
Maya, unaware of what has happened, shows up at the mall on her way to bring Blart some food, but Simms' remaining henchmen seize her and add her to the hostage group. Blart manages to subdue all of Simms' accomplices and attempts to evacuate the hostages by pulling them up through an air vent. The plan fails when Leon does not fit. Simms enters the room, capturing Blart and forcing him to give up the credit card codes he recorded on his cell phone. Simms flees, taking Amy and Maya with him. As police raid the mall to apprehend the criminals and rescue the hostages, Blart borrows a display minivan and joins Kent in pursuing Simms to the airport, where he is attempting to escape to the Cayman Islands.
After a brief scuffle, Blart overpowers Simms and puts him in handcuffs. Moments later, however, Kent pulls his gun on Blart, revealing that he was in cahoots with Simms. Kent demands the phone containing the codes from Blart, who refuses and destroys the phone. Before Kent can retaliate by shooting Blart, Chief Brooks of the mall security team arrives and shoots Kent in the arm. Kent and Simms are arrested, and Amy and Maya are returned safely. For his bravery and assistance, Howard offers Blart a job with the New Jersey State Police. Blart declines, preferring to remain in mall security. Blart and Amy are eventually married in the mall, where they exchange vows on a set of black and white Segways.
Production began in late February 2008 in Boston.Principal photography took place at the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Massachusetts after being denied a permit from Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey. From late February until mid-April, the mall and its stores were decorated with Christmas decorations, and there was a large prop ball-pit in the main foyer of the mall near the Sears branch, and a Santa's Village at the opposite end near the Macy's branch where the mall usually puts its own Santa's Village. Interior filming took place mostly at night. Some of the aerial stunts, such as Blart being attacked in the scenic elevator, were performed at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, MA, as the Burlington Mall's construction did not allow for some of these stunts.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 32% based on 114 reviews, and a weighted average of 4.6/10. The website's critical consensus states that the film "has some laughs, but its plot is flimsy and lacking in any sustained comic momentum." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 39 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film one star out of four, panning the concept and juvenile humor.James Berardinelli was also unimpressed by the juvenile tone, but praised the character of Paul Blart as a refreshing change from Adam Sandler's typical roles and called the film "a passable choice for watching at home, when viewers tend to be less demanding."Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave it three stars out of four, praising the film's "wholesome" comedy.
The film ranked #1 at the domestic box office with $9,791,368 from 3,144 theaters for an opening day average of $3,105. During the film's entire three-day opening weekend, the film remained at the top spot, grossing a total of $31,832,636, with a per screen average of $10,125, outgrossing its $26 million budget. It grossed $39,234,238 over the entire four-day MLK weekend, for a four-day average of $12,479. The film was the second best opening of all-time for the MLK weekend, behind 2008's Cloverfield. The film stayed at number one in its second weekend, grossing another $21,623,182, dropping just 32%, and boosting the ten day income to $64,923,380. In its third weekend it dropped to second place with $13,872,751, a 36% decline from the last weekend, for an average of $4,327 from 3,206 theaters, bringing the seventeen day gross to $83,247,655. In its fourth weekend, it dropped to fifth place with $10,884,825, a drop of 22% from the last weekend, for an average of $3,435 from 3,169 theaters, and bringing the 24-day tally to $96,886,687. In its fifth weekend (President's Day weekend), it dropped to sixth place, making another $10,983,319 over the three-day span, actually increasing 1%, for an average of $3,704 from 2,965 theaters, and bringing the 31-day total to $109,787,819, having broken the $100 million mark on Friday February 13. Over the four-day President's Day weekend, it made $13,574,027 for an average of $4,578, and bringing the 32-day cume to $112,388,524. The film closed on Monday, May 25, 2009, with a final domestic gross of $146,336,178, with the three-day opening weekend making up 21.75% of the total gross (26.81% for the four-day opening weekend). The film had as of 2009 made $36,625,591 internationally, bringing the total worldwide gross to $183,293,131, against a modest $26 million budget.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and UMD on May 19, 2009. The DVD sold 1,817,747 copies, making US $29,411,146 for the week of May 24, 2009, having only been out for six days, and it ranked #1 for DVD sales that week as well. For the week of May 31, 2009, it again made #1 on the US DVD Charts as it sold an additional 553,681 copies and making US $9,921,964 for a total of 2,834,826 units sold with earnings of US $46,676,902 as of November 1, 2009. As of November 1, 2009, when combined with box office results and total DVD sales, the film has grossed a total of US $227,126,523.
Sony expressed interest in producing a sequel to the film in January 2009. In early 2014, it was confirmed that the studio was moving forward, and shooting began in April 2014.Andy Fickman was hired to direct the sequel, while Kevin James co-wrote the script with Nick Bakay and returned to star in the leading role. The sequel was titled Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and was released on April 17, 2015.