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An unlikely franchise-starting actioner plots an implausible streaming heist

Mediocre box office and lukewarm reviews? Please, have a sequel.

den of thieves
via STXFilms

As a general rule of thumb, franchises are born when an opening installment finds either widespread acclaim from critics and audiences or turns a hefty profit at the box office, ideally both. Christian Gudegast’s Den of Thieves arguably accomplished neither of those things, but a second installment in the freshly-minted Gerard Butler series is nonetheless on the way.

To be fair, it was hardly a flop, but the crunching action thriller’s $80 million box office haul on a $30 million budget was hardly spectacular. Throw a 42 percent Rotten Tomatoes score into the equation, and it’s hard to see who (if anyone) was desperately clamoring to see more from Butler’s Big Nick.

Den of Thieves

However, the answer may be the voluminous numbers of streaming subscribers who can’t seem to stop themselves from revisiting the Scotsman’s back catalogue on-demand. Having already conquered Netflix at least twice over, Den of Thieves has now set up shop on Prime Video and immediately found a spot on the platform’s worldwide charts per FlixPatrol, which includes a Top 10 finish in the United Kingdom.

The story is fairly standard stuff, with Butler’s elite law enforcement unit doing battle with a rogue band of ex-military personnel who use their elite-level training to orchestrate and execute a string of implausible bank heists. Full of grunts, growls, furrowed browns, and dripping machismo, it’s easy to see why the film has found a fanbase in the aftermath of it initial release, because there’s always going to be a huge market for fitfully entertaining genre flicks that deliver a bang for their buck.

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Scott Campbell

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