Horrible Bosses is a 2011 American black comedy film directed by Seth Gordon, written by Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, based on a story by Markowitz. It stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx. The plot follows three friends, played by Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis, who decide to murder their respective overbearing, abusive bosses, portrayed by Spacey, Aniston and Farrell.
Markowitz's script was bought by New Line Cinema in 2005 and the film spent six years in various states of pre-production, with a variety of actors attached to different roles. By 2010, Goldstein and Daley had rewritten the script, and the film finally went into production.
The film premiered in Los Angeles on June 30, 2011, and received a wide release on July 8, 2011. The film exceeded financial expectations, accruing over $28 million in the first three days, making it the number two film in the United States during its opening weekend, and going on to become the highest-grossing black comedy film of all time in unadjusted dollars, breaking the record previously set by The War of the Roses in 1990. The film grossed over $209 million worldwide during its theatrical run.
The film opened to positive critical reception, with several critics praising the ensemble cast, with each lead being singled out for their performances across reviews. The plot received a more mixed response; some reviewers felt that its dark, humorous premise was explored well, while others felt the jokes were racist, homophobic, and misogynistic. A sequel, Horrible Bosses 2, was released on November 26, 2014.
Nick Hendricks (Bateman) and Dale Arbus (Day) are friends who despise their bosses. Nick works at a financial firm for the sadistic David Harken (Spacey), who implies the possibility of a promotion for Nick for months, only to award it to himself. Dale is a dental assistant being sexually harassed by his boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Aniston); she threatens to tell his fiancee Stacy (Lindsay Sloane) that he had sex with her unless he actually has sex with her. Nick and Dale's accountant friend Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis) enjoys working for Jack Pellitt (Donald Sutherland) at a chemical company, but after Jack unexpectedly dies of a heart attack, the company is taken over by Jack's cocaine-addicted son Bobby (Farrell), whose apathy and incompetence threaten the future of the company.