The Way Back

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the way back
© 2020 Warner Bros.

Title: The Way Back
Directed By: Gavin O’Connor
Written By: Brad Ingelsby
Release Date: March 6, 2020
Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Janina Gavankar,
Michaela Watkins, Brandon Wilson

Rated: R
Genre: Drama, Sports


Box Office Information

  • Budget: $23 Million
  • Financed by: Warner Bros.
  • Domestic Box Office Gross: $13,590,514
  • Overseas Box Office Gross: $972,895


The Way Back (2020) follows the life of Jack Cunningham, who had been a basketball prodigy in high school, with a full university scholarship. A life destined to be full of promise until he suddenly, for reasons unknown, walked away from the game.

Fast forward years later and Jack’s life has spiraled out of control due to an unspeakable loss. Now drowning in alcohol, his despair has cost him his career, his marriage, and his dreams for the future.

Resigned to his fate, Jack is offered the chance to coach the basketball team at his alma mater. He reluctantly accepts. Jack embarks upon a journey to return the team to its former glory. As the team begins to come together, Jack finally finds the strength to confront his demons and begin filling the voids in his life.

Official Trailer



Having worked together most recently on the 2016 $44 million flick, The Accountant, Director Gavin O’Connor once again puts Affleck through his paces in The Way Back (2020).

Announced on June 11, 2018, the project was originally named The Has-Been – scripted by Brad Ingelsby, the name was later changed to The Way Back.

The Way Back was delayed – having originally been planned to be released on October 18, 2019 – it eventually hit theatres on March 6, 2020.

The movie received largely positive reviews. Affleck was praised for his portrayal of a recovering alcoholic given a second chance at life. Affleck spoke about the part as a form of therapy, given his previous struggles with alcoholism.

The Way Back suffered at the box office due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was only in theatres for a total of two weeks.

The Way Back Box Office Numbers

With a production budget of some $23 million and a worldwide box office 0.6 times the production budget, the movie took $13,590,514 domestically and grossed $972,895 overseas.

The film played to 2,718 theatres in its opening weekend and took $8,170,315 (60.1% of total gross).

The film played to a total of 2,718 theatres domestically and took a domestic share of some 93.3%.

Having ranked third in its opening weekend, The Way Back dropped to seventh in its second and final weekend – with an average weekend domestic gross of $6,795,257 based on an 2.0 weeks average run per theatre.

The Way Back was released to a total of 8 countries internationally, with the main markets being Australia, with a lifetime gross of $451,37, Spain $337,819, and New Zealand $33,891.

It’s a Wrap

The Way Back was released, so to speak, in the eye of the Coronavirus storm. As reported by Deadline, and in the wake of shuttered theatres, the movie joined others in making its way into homes much sooner than expected – with only a two-week run in theatres.

Toby Emmerich, Chairman of Warner, spoke of the decision to go early to digital and what this meant for consumers:

With audiences largely unable to view films in theatrical release under current circumstances, we have decided to provide the alternative of early digital ownership of our currently released titles to people looking for great entertainment options.

Clearly, it was a decision born of necessity that hugely impacted the box office numbers.

But with some tracking services pointing to an opening as low as $6 million – in a range of between $6-$10 million – with its $8 million opening weekend it had exceeded some expectations. It does, however, represent another mid-range miss for Warner.

As far as 2020 Warner dramas go, it fell slightly short of Just Mercy – which legged out at $36 million – but performed better than the likes of The Kitchen (2019) and The Goldfinch (2019).

This continues a southern trend for the drama genre as far as theatres go – and perhaps affirms that it’s best not to make a Drama in a crisis!

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