'Ford v Ferrari' by Alumnus James Mangold ’99 is a Box Office Success

Felix Van Kann
December 06, 2019

Ford v Ferrari, the newest film by alumnus James Mangold '99, crossed a major box office milestone by surpassing $200 million in global ticket sales. It has grossed a total of $216 million to date, $103 million of which come from international markets while $113 million were earned on the domestic market. 

Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari follows American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles who battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

According to Variety’s Rebecca Rubin, these numbers prove that “the 20th Century Fox’s racing drama joins a number of this year’s original films — including Lionsgate’s Knives Out, Universal’s Us, Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, STX’s Hustlers and Paramount’s Rocketman — that helped prove fresh ideas can still be a theatrical draw in an era where superhero adventures and remakes of popular movies reign supreme.”

Writer-director James Mangold is known for a string of box-office hits. He graduated from the Columbia University film program in 1999 with an MFA in directing. After graduating, he worked for Disney as a screenwriter, earning writing credits on Oliver and Company. Mangold’s first feature, the independent film Heavy, won the best directing prize at the Sundance Film Festival. His biopic Walk the Line, which depicts the rise to stardom of Johnny Cash, starred Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for her performance as June Carter Cash. His next film, 3:10 to Yuma—a remake of a 1957 Western—garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations. The film starred Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.

Other films include the action-comedy Knight and Day, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz; Cop Land, whose all-star cast featured Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, and Robert DeNiro; Girl Interrupted, which won Angelina Jolie an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her supporting role in the film; Kate & Leopold, starring Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan; and the thriller Identity, starring John Cusack. He also produced and directed pilots for the television series Men in Trees (which ran from 2006 to 2008), NYC 22 (2011–2012) and Vegas (2012–2013).

In June 2011 Mangold was hired to direct the X-Men movie The Wolverine. Along with screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie, Scott Frank and Mark Bomback, Mangold adapted the screenplay based upon Frank Miller and Chris Claremont's Japanese Wolverine saga and entered production in Japan and Australia in July 2012. A box office success, The Wolverine grossed $414,828,246 worldwide, with a budget of $120 million. Following the box office success of the film, Mangold signed on to direct the sequel, Logan (2017). Logan premiered on March 3rd, 2017 in the United States to critical and commercial acclaim. The final chapter in Hugh Jackman’s career-defining performance as the mutant Wolverine, Logan took in over $87 million in its opening weekend, making it the fourth best R-Rated domestic opening of all time.

In February 2016, Mangold signed on to direct Walt Disney Pictures’ Captain Nemo. Mangold is directing the upcoming adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel The Force, and has just been confirmed by Sony as the director for the remake of the 2015 French action movie Disorder.