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Dev Patel's Movie 'Monkey Man' Makes $10.1 Million in Just 3 Days, Covers Costs"

Monkey Man, Dev Patel's first movie as a director, was made with a modest budget of $10 million.

Dev Patel's Monkey Man, an India-based revenge thriller released by Universal Pictures, opened in 3,029 North American theaters with an estimated $10.1 million.

Monkey Man Vaults to Second Place in Box Office Debut

Patel's first-time directing and acting venture, "Monkey Man," had a successful start despite its low budget. The film, a gritty action flick with political undertones, cost around $10 million to produce. Originally slated for release by Netflix, it was later picked up by Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions after Netflix passed on it.

"Monkey Man," a thrilling action movie released in 2024, marks the directorial debut of Dev Patel. He also had a hand in writing the screenplay along with Paul Angunawela and John Collee. The film features a talented cast including Patel himself, along with Sharlto Copley, Pitobash Tripathy, Vipin Sharma, Sikandar Kher, Adithi Kalkunte, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ashwini Kalsekar, Makarand Deshpande, Jatin Malik, and Zakir Hussain.

"Monkey Man" premiered at the South by Southwest festival on March 11, 2024, and hit theaters in the United States and Canada through Universal Pictures on April 5, 2024. Critics loved the film, praising the performances, thrilling action scenes, engaging script, impressive cinematography, and overall technical quality.

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In a village deep within an Indian forest, a boy named Kid resides with his mother Neela. She fills his imagination with stories of Hanuman, a revered figure in Hindu mythology. However, nearby in the city of Yatana, a cruel spiritual leader named Baba Shakti schemes to seize the villagers' land. To carry out his plan, he dispatches Rana Singh, a corrupt police chief.

When Rana arrives, he unleashes a brutal attack on the village, massacring its inhabitants. Neela manages to hide Kid, but tragically, she falls victim to Rana's violence. Kid witnesses his mother's murder, leaving him scarred both emotionally and physically as the village is engulfed in flames.

Years later, Kid survives in Yatana by fighting in an underground boxing club called "Tiger's Temple." He wears a mask and is paid to lose while getting hurt. Kid plans revenge on Baba, a powerful leader, and Rana, a corrupt policeman who frequents a brothel called "Kings." To get close to Rana, Kid steals from the brothel owner, Queenie, and gets a job there. He befriends Alphonso, a gangster.

Kid helps Alphonso win bets and gets promoted to a waiter, allowing him to approach Rana. Kid learns about Sita, a prostitute who warns him about the dangers. He gets a gun and trains a dog to carry it past security. Kid spikes Rana's drugs with cleaning powder but fails to kill him. He escapes with Alphonso's help but gets arrested and then flees.

Kid is saved by Alpha, who leads a community targeted by Baba. Alpha helps Kid confront his past and trains him. When their sanctuary is threatened, Kid returns to the boxing club and wins, saving Alpha's temple.

During Diwali, Kid crashes Baba's party and fights his way to Rana. Alpha and her group assist him, and Sita kills Queenie. Kid defeats Rana and finally faces Baba, who fatally wounds him. Despite this, Kid kills Baba, avenging his mother's death. He collapses, remembering his mother and his belief in Hanuman.


Dev Patel as Kid / Bobby / Monkey Man

Sharlto Copley as Tiger

Pitobash as Alphonso

Vipin Sharma as Alpha

Sikandar Kher as Rana Singh

Sobhita Dhulipala as Sita[7]

Ashwini Kalsekar as Queenie Kapoor

Adithi Kalkunte as Neela

Makarand Deshpande as Baba Shakti

Zakir Hussain as a tabla maestro


On October 29, 2018, it was revealed that Dev Patel would be making his directorial debut with an action thriller called Monkey Man. He co-wrote the script with Paul Angunawela and John Collee, and was also set to star in the film. Initially, Patel sought Neill Blomkamp to direct, but ended up directing it himself.

Discussing the project, Patel expressed his desire to infuse the action genre with deeper themes, aiming to give it more emotional depth and cultural resonance.

Originally planned to film in India in early 2020, production was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Patel then chose to film on a small island in Batam, Indonesia. Unfortunately, he broke his hand while shooting the first action sequence.

By March 12, 2021, filming wrapped up and Netflix secured worldwide rights to the movie for $30 million, comparing it to "John Wick in Mumbai." However, Netflix later reconsidered the film's gritty nature and political themes, fearing it might not resonate well with Indian audiences. Consequently, they quietly explored other options, nearly cancelling its release.

Jordan Peele watched the film and felt it deserved a theatrical release. He joined as a producer through his company Monkeypaw Productions and convinced Universal Pictures to acquire the film from Netflix for less than $10 million. Patel expressed gratitude towards Peele, acknowledging his role in bringing attention to the project and ensuring its success.


Jed Kurzel created a new music soundtrack for the movie, replacing the original composer, Volker Bertelmann.


Monkey Man tackles issues of corruption and discrimination within the context of India.


Monkey Man first premiered at the South by Southwest festival on March 11, 2024. It had its Sydney premiere on April 2, 2024, attended by Dev Patel and his partner, Australian actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey. The movie hit Australian cinemas on April 4, 2024. It was later released in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland by Universal Pictures on April 5, 2024.

The film is set to be released in India on April 19, 2024, but there might be delays or edits made to it by the Central Board of Film Certification.


Box office

Monkey Man premiered in the United States and Canada alongside The First Omen, and it's expected to earn approximately $12 million from 3,029 theaters during its opening weekend. On its first day, the film earned $4.3 million, with $1.4 million coming from Thursday night previews.

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Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, 87% of critics gave Monkey Man positive reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The consensus says it's a bold effort from debut director Dev Patel, blending action and social commentary effectively.Metacritic gave the film a score of 71 out of 100 based on 43 critics, indicating generally positive reviews.According to CinemaScore, audiences gave Monkey Man an average grade of "B+", showing it was well-received by viewers.According to Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian, Monkey Man deserves 4 out of 5 stars. He praised Dev Patel's performance and described the film as a stylish and thrilling action movie, also noting its satirical take on nationalist themes.

Tim Robey of The Telegraph gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars. He commended the intense action scenes, comparing them to the John Wick series set in Mumbai. However, he questioned whether the film fully utilized Patel's talents.

Saffron Maeve from The Globe and Mail described Monkey Man as solid and suitable for a blockbuster audience. However, she criticized the film's editing, saying it made the viewing experience exhausting.

The New York Times criticizes Monkey Man for its lack of clarity and complexity, noting that while it touches on real-world issues and mythology, it fails to deliver a deep storyline. Instead, the film portrays a pervasive atmosphere of exploitation and desperation, with characters constantly trying to outsmart each other. This gives the movie a bleak and thought-provoking tone.

On the other hand, The Washington Post praises Monkey Man for its direct exploration of India's caste system, highlighting its harsh depiction of poverty in Mumbai. The film also features a villain resembling India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which stirred controversy. Overall, Monkey Man tackles important societal issues in a compelling but controversial manner.