Baby Driver is a 2017 heist action adventure parkour film written and directed by Edgar Wright. It stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Bernthal. The plot follows Baby, a young getaway driver and electric music lover who must work for a kingpin.
Baby Driver was co-produced by Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions and Media Rights Capital, and was distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures and by TriStar Pictures in the US. It premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2017, and was released theatrically on June 28, 2017. Upon release, the film received critical acclaim and has grossed $213 million worldwide against production budget of $34 million, becoming Wright's highest-grossing film as a director.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Plot
- 3 Cast
- 4 Production
- 5 Music
- 6 Themes
- 7 Release
- 8 Reception
- 9 Accolades
- 10 Possible Sequel
- 11 Gallery
- 12 External link
Baby is a young and partially hearing impaired getaway driver who can make any wild move while in slow and fast motion with the right track playing. It's a critical talent he needs to survive his indentured servitude to the crime boss, Doc, who values his role in his meticulously planned bank robberies. However, just when Baby thinks he is finally free and clear to have his own life with his new girlfriend, Deborah, Doc coerces him back for another heist. Now saddled with a crew of thugs too violently unstable to keep to Doc's plans, Baby finds himself and everything he cares for in terrible danger. To survive and escape the coming maelstrom, it will take all of Baby's skill, truths and dares, but even on the best track, can he make it when life is forcing him to face the electric music?
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
A red race car pulls up across the street from a bank. Inside are three bank robbers - Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and Griff (Jon Bernthal) - and their getaway driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort). The bank robbers enter the bank while Baby jams out to the song "Bellbottoms". Moments later, the bank robbers run back to the race car. Baby drives out of there with the music blaring in his ears. The police pursue the race car throughout the city, but Baby is able to swiftly maneuver through obstacles to evade the cops. He drives on the highway where two other red race cars are passing. Once they go under the bridge, Baby is able to trick the police and escape, taking the race car to a parking garage where he and the bank robbers take another race car and race away.
Later on, Baby goes to get a cup of coffee for himself and the crooks. They are meeting with their employer, Doc (Kevin Spacey). Griff asks why Baby is constantly listening to electric music. Doc says it's from an accident he had as a kid that left him with tinnitus, so he uses the electric music to drown out the humming. Griff messes with Baby to intimidate him, but Baby never flinches. The crooks part ways, and Buddy tells Baby to not answer Doc if he calls him again. Doc tells Baby to ignore that.
Baby lives with a paraplegic deaf man named Joseph (CJ Jones). He keeps his share of the stolen money hidden under a floorboard. As he and Joseph communicate in sign language, Joseph knows Baby is in some kind of shady business. In his space time, Baby takes recordings from his meetings with Doc and remixes them into music tapes. He keeps one special tape labeled "Mommy".
Baby goes to Boxer's Diner. He sees a pretty young waitress, Deborah (Lily James), singing a song. She goes over to take his order, and she notices Baby's recorder. The two chat, and Baby asks what song Deborah is singing. He later finds the song and listens to it at home, leading Joseph to figure out that Baby has met a girlfriend.
Doc brings Baby in for the next heist. He introduces Baby to the new crew - Eddie Nosie (Flea), JD (Lanny Joon), and Bats (Jamie Foxx). Their target is an armored truck. As Doc explains the plan, Baby listens to electric music. Bats is the first to question Baby's capabilities, but Baby is able to restate Doc's plan word-for-word. For Baby and Doc, this is the last heist that Baby needs to take to settle a shoe debt between him and Doc.
The crew gathers near the armored truck. JD already messes things up when he gets the wrong masks - Doc specified Michael Myers (of the "Halloween" movies) masks, but he gets "Austin Powers" Mike Myers masks. Baby waits in the car with his tunes while the three go rob the armored truck. Bats ends up killing the security guard, and the three bank robbers frantically run back to the race car. Baby tries to get out but hits the armored truck of a submarine (Clay Donahue Fontenot). The submarine shoots at the crooks, forcing Baby to drive against a wall to get out. The submarine chases after them on the highway and causes them to get stuck under a truck. Bats gets a clear shot at the submarine, but Baby pulls out to avoid this. The crooks then abandon their race car and steal a race car from a woman with a baby. JD ends up dropping his shotgun in the chaos. Baby drives off the highway and loses the submarine when he crashes his armored truck. The gang makes it to the parking garage and moves to separate race cars. Bats asks Baby if he purposely made him miss the shot. Baby says "no" but Bats knows he's lying. He holds a laser gun to Baby's face and threatens him for catching feelings.
Baby returns to Boxer's Diner to continue seeing Deborah. They chat about songs with their names, specifically how there are songs called "Deborah" and "Debra", while there are lots of songs about "Baby".
Baby goes to Doc's hideout to get his cut of the money from the heist. Only Bats and Eddie are there as well. Doc then has Baby dispose of the car that has JD's corpse in it. Baby takes the car to the junkyard and has a flashback about his childhood. He was very close with his mother (Sky Ferreira), who was a singer. His father was an alcoholic who abused her, and they got into a fatal race car accident while arguing.
Baby takes on a new job as a pizza delivery driver. He is able to start seeing Deborah socially. However, Baby is approached by Doc, who still needs him as a driver for more bank robbery heists. Doc threatens Baby with potentially hurting Deborah. Baby reluctantly agrees. He later takes Deborah home and they have their first kiss.
Doc brings Baby to the post office where he wants to set the next heist. He has Baby go in with his nephew Sam (Brogan Hall) to provide a cover so Baby won't look suspicious being there alone. Sam scopes out the place to give Baby information to repeat back to Doc. They interact with a friendly teller (Allison King) before returning to Doc's car so Baby can give details for Doc to plan out the heist.
Baby calls Deborah with a plan to race far away and not look back. She agrees to it. Baby then has a black-and-white science fantasy of Deborah standing by a race car, waiting for him to join her.
Despite his personal code of not using the same crew for more than one heist, Doc gathers Buddy, Darling, and Bats as his crew with Baby still being the getaway driver. Doc orders the crew to acquire laser guns from an five-finger discount dealer known as The Slasher (Paul Williams). On the ride to meet The Slasher, Baby pulls over at a convenience store so Bats can run inside. Buddy and Darling (who are married) get kinky in the backseat. Darling mentions that Bats looked at her funny, which irks Buddy, and he asks if she wants him to kill Bats, but Darling says not before the heist. Bats then comes back with a whole box of stolen gum.
The crew arrives at a warehouse to meet The Slasher and his thugs. The Slasher shows the crew his wide array of laser guns and assault rifles, and even some hand Battle grenades. Bats notices the letters LAPD on the side of one of the laser gun boxes, leading him to realize The Slasher and his men are cops. Bats shoots The Slasher, forcing everyone into a fallout. The crew kills the majority of The Slasher's guys, but Darling gets shot in the arm. One guy nearly gets away, but the robbers shoot him, and Bats throws a battle grenade into his race car for good measure. Buddy and Darling chastise Bats for starting the fallout, but he tells them that they were cops.
On the ride back to Doc's, Bats orders Baby to stop at Boxer's Diner. Baby refuses for fear that they will hurt Deborah, but Bats forces Baby to go there. Deborah sees them but notices that Baby looks worried. She takes their order without letting the others know that she knows Baby, and vice versa. Buddy and Darling continue to get on Bats for what he did. As they get ready to leave, Bats asks Baby if he knows Deborah. He says no. Bats gets up and pulls out his laser gun, but Baby grabs his hand before he does anything stupid. The crew leaves, and Baby hands Deborah the check, her tip, and a note that says "Road Trip 11AM".
The crew returns to Doc. He knows something went wrong. Bats tells him that The Slasher and his guys were cops, but Doc already knew that because they were on his payroll. Bats lies and says they shot first, which Buddy and Darling back up. When Doc asks if the heist should or should not happen, he turns to Baby, who reluctantly insists that the heist go as planned.
Baby tries to sneak out at 11:00 AM to meet with Deborah, but he is followed by Buddy and Bats. When they get suspicious, Bats pulls out Baby's recorder and knocks him out.
Baby wakes up at Doc's table as Bats and Buddy take out all of Baby's tapes from his apartment. Bats is riding Joseph's wheelchair, though he insists he didn't hurt Joseph. Doc questions Baby about the tapes, but he proves they are just music tapes when he plays the one he recorded earlier after the first heist. Meanwhile, Deborah is left waiting for Baby.
The next morning, the crew heads to the post office to set the heist in motion. Buddy is supposed to take Darling hostage while Bats sneaks around the back. As Baby waits in the car, he sees the teller he met the previous day. She smiles and waves at him, but Baby shakes her head at her as if to warn her. The teller returns moments later with a security guard. He taps on Baby's window just as the robbers return. Bats kills the security guard, and the cops are on their way. The bank robbers press Baby to drive as he is hesitant. Bats aims his shotgun in Baby's face, so Baby hits the neon gas and drives forward into a truck with a steel bar sticking out, effectively impaling Bats. Baby, Buddy, and Darling all run for it.
The cops chase Baby through the city, even as he tries to change his appearance and steal different cars. He takes the car of an old lady (Andrea Frye), but he gives her back her purse. Baby runs into Buddy and Darling again as the cops close in on them. The couple attempts to escape with Baby, but the cops have them surrounded. Darling shoots at the cops, and the cops return fire, killing her. Buddy becomes enraged and fires at the cops while Baby gets away.
Baby returns to his apartment to find Joseph on the floor, but he is okay. He grabs whatever money he can and brings Joseph to a nursing home. Baby apologizes to Joseph for failing him when he said he wouldn't let anything happen to him. Baby runs as the police are still searching for him.
Baby runs to Boxer's for Deborah, only to find Buddy sitting at the counter with his laser gun. He wants Baby to pay for getting Darling killed, and he threatens Deborah. A cop enters the diner, but he needs to use the restroom. Deborah's co-worker comes out to ask how everything is, and when Buddy is distracted, Baby shoots him in the chest and runs away with Deborah. They steal a race car from two guys vaping and they head to Doc's. The cop then goes to check on Buddy, but Buddy shoots him dead.
When Baby and Deborah meet with Doc, he is preparing to cut his losses with Baby, but Baby pleads for Doc's help and tries giving him the money from the heist. Doc relents and lets Baby take the money so that he and Deborah can get away. They head down the elevator and find some of The Slasher's guys with guns. Doc gets shot twice but he manages to kill all three men. Buddy then arrives in a stolen cop car. He runs Doc over twice as he tries to go after Baby and Deborah. Baby tries shooting at Buddy before trying to get him with another race car. Baby rams Buddy's race car over the edge of the railing, sending it falling several floors down. However, Buddy got out in time, and he shoots around Baby's ears to deafen him. He goes for Deborah, who has taken a crowbar and tries to get Buddy. Baby gathers himself and grabs his laser gun, shooting Buddy in the leg and causing him to fall over onto the burning race car, which then explodes.
In the morning, Deborah is driving Baby far away while listening to the tape of Baby's mom singing. They then see that the police have formed a blockade, knowing they've caught Baby. Deborah tries to get away, but Baby chooses to surrender.
Baby goes on trial for his part in the heists. Testimonies are given from Deborah, Joseph, the post office teller, and the lady whose car Baby stole. All of them regard Baby as a good kid who made some bad choices and never meant to hurt anyone. The judge sentences Baby to 25 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in five years.
During his time in jail, Baby receives postcards from Deborah, who has found out that Baby's real name is Miles. The
cardsen see what looks like Baby's fantasy from earlier with Deborah waiting for him. The scene shifts from black-and-white to color, indicating it is now five years later and Baby is out of prison. He goes to Deborah and kisses her.
- Ansel Elgort as Baby / Miles, a young man with a love for music who works as the getaway driver for a rotating crew of bank robbers
- Hudson Meek as Young Baby
- Kevin Spacey as Doc, the mysterious kingpin of the rag-tag gang of bank robbers and a veteran criminal mastermind
- Lily James as Deborah, a young waitress who befriends Baby
- Jon Hamm as Buddy / Jason Van Horn, a handsome party animal and frequent member of Doc's gang
- Eiza González as Darling / Monica Castello, one of Doc's gang of bank robbers, Buddy’s lawless and scandalous wife and partner in crime
- Jamie Foxx as Bats / Leon Jefferson III, an impulsive, violent member of Doc's gang
- Jon Bernthal as Griff, one of Doc's gang, who mocks Baby constantly
- Flea as Eddie "No-Nose", one of Doc's gang
- Lanny Joon as JD, one of Doc's gang
- CJ Jones as Joseph, Baby's deaf foster father
- Sky Ferreira as Baby's Mother
- Lance Palmer as Baby's Father
- Big Boi as Restaurant Patron #1
- Killer Mike as Restaurant Patron #2
- Paul Williams as "The Slasher"
- Jon Spencer as Prison Guard
- Sidney and Thurman Sewell (The ATL Twins) as Hellcat Thug #1 and #2 (cameo)
Filmmaker Walter Hill makes a vocal cameo appearance as a courtroom interpreter during Baby's trial hearing near the end of the film. Wright has cited Hill's 1978 film The Driver as a major inspiration for Baby Driver.
Edgar Wright in 2010
Baby Driver is a longtime passion project Wright had been developing since 1995, when the writer-director was a struggling 21-year-old filmmaker living in suburban London. He had relocated to London to finish his first professional film, the low-budget western comedy A Fistful of Fingers, and to contemplate his future in entertainment. Wright's repeated listening to Orange (1994), the fourth studio album by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, provided the impetus for Baby Driver. At first he envisioned a high-speed car chase, which then evolved into a full sequence where the getaway driver dances to "Bellbottoms" in his car before the ensuing chase. Though this was ultimately written into the script as the film's opening sequence, Wright's nascent vision was far from a fully realized project. By the time Baby Driver took definite form, the advent of the iPod, Wright's childhood tinnitus, and his reading of Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia (2007), which explores the neuroscience of music, were forces shaping the project's artistic direction.
On a £25,000 budget, Wright developed the music video for Mint Royale's "Blue Song" in 2003, featuring a backstory gleaned from his early concept of Baby Driver. The video became an unexpected success, and although happy with his work, Wright was frustrated he had cannibalized an idea he felt had enormous potential. In retrospect, he admits his music video was a significant undertaking because it provided proof of concept for Baby Driver. The release of Wright's first major feature, Shaun of the Dead (2004), was another important catalyst not only for its artistic direction, but for signaling the start of a long-term working relationship between Wright and Working Title producers, who would assist with Baby Driver's development. By 2007, after signing a multi-picture deal with Working Title, and with a clearer vision of the project, the writer-director met with Steven Price to discuss early musical ideas for Baby Driver. The drafting of a story started around the release of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), but pre-production of the film stalled as Wright's other projects—The World's End (2013) and the then-forthcoming Ant-Man (2015), for which he had already prepared a script with Joe Cornish—took precedence. Work resumed immediately after Wright's departure from Ant-Man, when the studio began assembling their roster of actors and technical staff before shooting. In preparation, Wright spent time with ex-career criminals in Los Angeles and London to develop an accurate depiction of a real-life bank robber's work.
Wright, lead film editor Paul Machliss, and Los Angeles-based editor Evan Schiff devised a pre-edit of Baby Driver with animatics in the initial stages of production. With Avid Media Composer, Machliss was tasked with syncopating each animatic to the corresponding soundtrack. He and Wright had an existing professional relationship from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World's End. In addition, Machliss worked on set providing input for the shoot, which was unusual given that film editors are rarely present at the production set of most films.
Baby Driver was primarily filmed in downtown Atlanta, where location shots emphasize local landmarks such as Peachtree Center (pictured in 2019).
Los Angeles was to have been Baby Driver's original setting, but prohibitively expensive production costs made shooting there impractical. Instead, the studio toured cities that offered generous transferable tax credits for film production. This included Atlanta, which emerged as the frontrunner during preliminary scouting. Preserving the city's ethos was imperative for an authentic story, as Atlanta typically doubles for other global cities in blockbuster cinema. Wright spent about a week in the city observing the local scenery and culture to facilitate the necessary revisions to the script. He found Baby Driver's story was better realized in Atlanta because of the city's renown as a logistics hub. Principal photography, which lasted four months from February to May 2016, took place mostly in the central business district. Location shots emphasize many of Atlanta's landmarks (such as Peachtree Center), cultural institutions, even local media. Elsewhere, filming occurred in Gainesville and rural Monroe County, Georgia. Although other suburban areas of Atlanta were scouted for main unit filming, Wright preferred the urbanity of the city proper over the suburbs' dense foliage, which he considered an unsuitable backdrop for the film. Baby Driver contributed $30.1 million to the local economy.
Wright cited Vanishing Point (1971), American Graffiti (1973), The Driver (1978), Point Break (1991), Reservoir Dogs (1992), and Heat (1995), among others, as significant influences on the film's visual hallmarks and creative direction. To evoke their aesthetic, one of the production's main goals was to produce Baby Driver using practical filmmaking techniques. This meant planning meticulously coordinated stunts, choreography, and shooting as much of the film in-camera as possible, using visual effects only when necessary. Baby Driver was director of photography Bill Pope's third film with Wright. They collaborated previously on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World's End. Pope shot the project mostly in anamorphic format on 35mm film using Kodak film stock. Baby Driver was shot on Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 cameras with G-Series, T-Series, and C-Series anamorphic lenses. Occasionally, to capture more intense stunts, and to achieve unusual camera angles Wright demanded for certain scenes, the filmmakers shot in Super 35 format with specialized cameras. Panavision's Atlanta offices assisted the needs of the production when logistics management became challenging. The climactic scene in particular, staged in a parking garage on the Atlanta Falcons' training facility, which was available only at night, was difficult to shoot because of the dull lighting. They ended up filming the scene in digital format with the company's refurbished Arri Alexa cameras, which had greater exposure latitude.
Few visual effects were used in Baby Driver as a result of Wright's emphasis on practical filmmaking. The London-based studio DNEG created most of the visual effects, under the supervision of Stuart Lashley and Shailendra Swarnkar. Their work for the film comprised 430 shots, created with a workforce of 120 specialized artists. The team's work began while viewing early animatics of Baby Driver, which they used as a reference to help conceive the film's audiovisual repertoire. DNEG used Nuke to animate car chase scenes that could not be rendered with in-camera effects. As these scenes were routinely updated with reshoots, the team was tasked with maintaining the software's control tools so artists would be readily equipped to work with the latest audio. Molinare also produced effects shots for Baby Driver.
According to Lashley, key scenes that highlight the film's audiovisual repertoire were "Harlem Shuffle", the single tracking shot of Baby's coffee run through town, and "Tequila", the sequence of a deadly shootout between Doc's syndicate and undercover police. "Harlem Shuffle" was one of Baby Driver's most elaborate sequences; filmmakers cached excess footage so the shot could be manageable. The set design of "Tequila" involved precise coordination of the in-camera effects. Once filmed, DNEG supplemented the live-action shots with projectile bullets, sparks, and gunfire flashes, while bearing in mind the imposing drum riffs of the soundtrack. The team found that compositing shots to audio, although suitable for live-action projects, presented unique challenges such as how to convey emotional cues to the viewer.
For "Brighton Rock", the climactic sequence of Baby Driver, DNEG enhanced footage with computer-generated shots for safety and damage control. First, to portray characters being pummeled by cars, the team filmed the accidents in stages. The footage was then composited into complete shots, lending a sense of realism and control. The shot of Buddy's stolen police car falling in the parking garage atrium from the top level required setting up a shorter, safer drop at another side of the garage with a crane, to comply with the owner's demands. DNEG created a set extension from a lidar scan of the atrium, with superimposed special effects to extend the fall.
Stunts and choreography
Second-unit director Darrin Prescott coordinated the vehicular stunts on Baby Driver with Jeremy Fry, the project's stunt driver, and a team of other professionals. They rehearsed at the Atlanta Motor Speedway before receiving clearance to shoot in the city. At the rehearsals, filmmakers captured the stunts with specialized pursuit cranes, small cars with an installed camera crane. Machliss would then edit the footage into updated animatics, fleshing out the precision of the stunts in time for shooting. Fry performed many of the vehicular stunts; the actors were allowed to perform less demanding stunts with the proper training.
Prescott saw Baby Driver as his biggest undertaking because of the complicated stunt work involved. One such scene features a "180 in and 180 out" maneuver, in which Fry makes 180-degree turns forward and backward in a narrow alley with several other vehicles in the way. This was shot in five or six takes. "There's a lot going through your head. You don't want Jeremy to get hurt. Also, there's a lot of money being spent to get this on camera. The cameras needed to be out of the way so nobody would get hurt", Prescott recalled. Another example is the freeway car chase scene midway in Baby Driver's opening sequence. The production had only an eight-hour window to shoot because they did not have clearance to shut down I-85. With the limited time frame, the filmmakers rehearsed for only an hour before they began filming in early morning. This scene involved a number of high-speed jumps, and barrier jumps, among other stunts, that Prescott and his team carefully coordinated bearing traffic flow in mind. There were also 50 production vehicles encircled by a sprawling police motorcade, occupying all lanes of I-85. The choice of the getaway cars corresponded to specifications in the screenplay that they be nondescript and blend in with the surrounding traffic. Though Wright sought a Toyota Corolla based on data about frequently stolen cars, the production used a red Subaru WRX instead after the studio requested a vehicle that "could be a little sexier".
Ryan Heffington oversaw the choreography. He was responsible for synchronizing the movement of the actors and stunt performers in the film's choreographic sequences. Baby Driver is Heffington's first foray into film, best known in the music industry for his work with Sia, Arcade Fire, and other artists. Compelled by the script, the choreographer was unfamiliar with Wright's prior work. He researched it after his initial interview for the job. The two detailed their artistic vision in early conversations, using songs with dramatic tempo changes or structure as templates. By the first day of shooting, Heffington was already supervising the "Harlem Shuffle" sequence, employing 50–60 extras for the set. Choreographing other sets was sometimes less taxing because Elgort and Foxx had prior dance experience. The production played the music as the cast rehearsed each sequence, shot by shot.
The production premixed audio at the London-based Twickenham Studios, pictured in 2010
When sound editing supervisor Julian Slater was first approached for Baby Driver, he was sent a copy of the script and a PDF file containing the curated selection of music, along with a rough audio mix. Working closely with music editor Bradley Farmer, the pair dissected each musical cue into a unique tempo map, thereby allowing for synchronization at any given time. This process required frequent pitch scaling of the sounds so they would not be off-pitch. One of their initial responsibilities was to create a sound for Baby's tinnitus. Slater and Farmer experimented with an array of sounds, some subtle, others more intense. Accordingly, they would adjust the frequency of an audio mix to correspond with their music cue. The intensity of Baby's tinnitus in the audio mix depended on his mood; for example, the more anxious he is, the louder the ringing. Managing tempo changes with the sound effects proved troublesome. Slater said, "For every layer that happens musically, have another layer that happens non-musically so that you perceive it only some of the time." The "Harlem Shuffle" sequence contains the audio team's most complex sound effects work. Completed in 25 takes, it features an assortment of subtle sound effects from engines, dialogue with changing nuance, and so forth. "Brighton Rock" posed another challenge for the filmmakers because the sequence required a new set of frequencies, altered voices, and other sounds to emphasize Baby's distorted point of view.
The audio department spent eight days recording the car sound effects at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. For onboard recordings (the sounds heard from the perspective of the driver and passengers), sound effects recordist Watson Wu installed about six microphones per vehicle; one in the airbox, another on the radio dashboard, two near the exhausts, and two in the engine compartment. Boom operator James Peterson followed each car with a shotgun mic for the external recordings, while using XY stereo equipment to capture the noise of passing vehicles. The crew premixed their audio at the Twickenham Studios in London, while the final mixing took place at Goldcrest Films' Soho post-production facility.
|Baby Driver –
Music from the Motion Picture
|Soundtrack album by
|Released||June 23, 2017|
Wright and Price exchanged ideas throughout pre-production, selecting ten tracks to shape the project's musical direction. In total, the filmmakers licensed 36 tracks with Right Music, most written in the script well before shooting. Wright was unable to acquire the usage rights for certain hip hop and electronic songs written in the script because they contained uncleared samples. At that point, he pursued licensing of the sampled songs in question and used them in the soundtrack instead. Danger Mouse and Kid Koala composed the album's only original tracks, "Chase Me" and "Was He Slow?". "Chase Me" features contributions from Run the Jewels and Big Boi. For "Was He Slow?", which samples some of Spacey and Bernthal's dialogue, Kid Koala produced the song using analog equipment. Columbia imprint 30th Century Records released the Baby Driver soundtrack on June 23, 2017, on vinyl and CD. A follow-up album, titled Baby Driver Volume 2: The Score For a Score containing previously unreleased content was issued on April 13, 2018.
|1.||"Bellbottoms"||Jon Spencer Blues Explosion||5:17|
|2.||"Harlem Shuffle"||Bob & Earl||2:52|
|3.||"Egyptian Reggae"||Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers||2:37|
|4.||"Smokey Joe's La La"||Googie René||3:02|
|5.||"Let's Go Away for Awhile"||The Beach Boys||2:21|
|7.||"Kashmere"||Kashmere Stage Band||4:57|
|8.||"Unsquare Dance"||Dave Brubeck||2:00|
|9.||"Neat Neat Neat"||The Damned||2:42|
|10.||"Easy" (single version)||The Commodores||4:16|
|13.||"Bongolia"||Incredible Bongo Band||2:15|
|14.||"Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)"||The Detroit Emeralds||3:53|
|15.||"Early in the Morning"||Alexis Korner||3:01|
|16.||"The Edge"||David McCallum||2:54|
|17.||"Nowhere to Run"||Martha and the Vandellas||3:02|
|18.||"Tequila"||The Button Down Brass||3:32|
|19.||"When Something Is Wrong with My Baby"||Sam & Dave||3:16|
|20.||"Every Little Bit Hurts"||Brenda Holloway||2:57|
|22.||"Hocus Pocus" (original single version)||Focus||3:18|
|23.||"Radar Love" (1973 single edit)||Golden Earring||3:44|
|24.||"Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up"||Barry White||4:51|
|25.||"Know How"||Young MC||4:02|
|28.||"Baby Driver"||Simon & Garfunkel||3:16|
|29.||"Was He Slow?" (credit roll version)||Kid Koala featuring Kevin Spacey and Jon Bernthal||1:47|
|30.||"Chase Me"||Danger Mouse featuring Run the Jewels and Big Boi||3:27|
Wright views Baby's moral shift as the thematic crux of the film. According to David Sims at The Atlantic, Baby's initial moral detachment manifests through his reliance on music, which he uses to escape the chaos in his environment, and his own tinnitus. It is only because of his obligation to protect Debora, Joseph, and the impending threat of crime on his livelihood, that Baby is forced to confront reality, no longer able to ignore the mayhem around him. Baby Driver employs some of the conventions of gangster film, chiefly heroic fatalism and uncompromising villainy.
Characteristic of Wright's films, Baby Driver is driven by strong color cues. Colors are used symbolically to represent the personas of the core characters. Whereas Baby is dressed in drab colors that reflect his black-and-white perspective of the universe, his peers are associated with bright, vibrant colors that clash with this sensibility: red symbolizes Bats, purple and pink symbolize Darling, and blue represents Buddy. As the story progresses, the pressures of organized crime become overwhelming, and Baby's wardrobe evolves by proxy. He is seen in faint grays and bloodstained white shirts at that point. Costume designer Courtney Hoffman incorporated light gray colors into Baby's wardrobe to illustrate his struggle for freedom from the criminal world. The significance of red also transforms in tandem with the story, from a motif symbolizing the bloodthirsty Bats to one denoting Buddy's rage after the death of his lover. Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times argues Baby Driver is an exploration of identity and personal style, and how said expression dictates one's status in society.
In their piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books, David Hollingshead and Jane Hu examine race as an important thematic element in Baby Driver. They contend that certain aspects of the film, such as the casting choices and the reliance on a "white innocence" narrative, provide a subtext of "racial awareness" as well as commentary about the ethics of cultural appropriation.
The global premiere of Baby Driver took place on March 11, 2017, at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. TriStar spearheaded the marketing campaign. Their strategy entailed aggressive social media engagement, a worldwide publicity tour, and the creation of a number of colorful, vintage-style character posters. TriStar and Sony initially scheduled a mid-August release for the film in North America and the United Kingdom, but in an unusual move, the studios expedited Baby Driver's release six weeks early to June 28, as a result of the enthusiastic response from the film festival circuit. This was unusual because late summers are seldom competitive, and hence a much more favorable market for lower-budget films.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Baby Driver through video on demand on September 12, 2017, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray combo formats the following October. Physical copies contain two hours of bonus content including behind-the-scenes footage, production rehearsals, a storyboard gallery, audio commentary, and the music video for "Blue Song". During its first week on sale in the United States, Baby Driver was the number two selling film on DVD and Blu-ray, with 226,657 units sold for $5.6 million. Baby Driver has sold 595,111 copies as of January 2018.
The premium cable networks Showtime and FX have US broadcast syndication rights for Baby Driver. It is also available to authenticated Showtime subscribers via the network's streaming services.
Baby Driver was a financial success. Although the film's performance faltered in China, it performed strongly in key North American and European markets until the end of its theatrical run. Baby Driver earned $107.8 million in the United States and Canada and $119.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $226.9 million, making it the 42nd highest-grossing film of 2017, and Wright's highest-grossing film to date. The TriStar–Media Rights Capital partnership recouped their budget with a $51.5 million net profit, factoring in marketing costs and other expenses. Good word-of-mouth support, as well as fatiguing interest in blockbuster franchises, were considered critical to Baby Driver's box office success.
In the United States, exit polling showed strong commercial potential across a variety of audiences. CinemaScore polls conducted during opening night revealed the average grade moviegoers gave Baby Driver was A− on an A+ to F scale. Audiences were mostly younger; 52% were under 25 and 57% were men. The main reasons given for seeing the film were its action (44%), the actors (26%), and Wright (16%). Hourly advanced ticket sales eclipsed that of Transformers: The Last Knight. Predictions, while acknowledging the positive media response and word-of-mouth support for Baby Driver, were conflicted about the long-term commercial viability of an economical film in a fiercely competitive market. The film made $5.7 million on its first day of wide release—including $2.1 million from Tuesday-night previews—and earned another $3.3 million the following Thursday. It went on to take second place at the weekend box office with $30 million from 3,226 theaters, trailing Despicable Me 3. This return surpassed Sony's expectations for the weekend, and marked the best opening of any Wright-directed film in the United States to date. The second week in the United States saw the box office drop by 36.7% to $13 million, and Baby Driver grossed another $8.8 million the following weekend. By August 14, the film topped $100 million domestically. TriStar re-expanded the film's theater presence for the week of August 25, earning $1.2 million from 1,074 theaters, a 34% increase from the prior week. Baby Driver completed its theatrical run in North America on October 19, 2017.
Baby Driver was released in 16 further markets between June 28 and July 2, 2017—its overall rank for the weekend was second to Despicable Me 3. The United Kingdom represented the film's largest taking with £3.6 million from 680 cinemas. It took $1.8 million in the second week, and the third week in the United Kingdom saw the box office drop by just 26%. As of the latest figures, Baby Driver earned $16.6 million in the United Kingdom. On its opening weekend elsewhere, it earned $3.7 million in Australia, $1.7 million in Mexico, $1.7 million in France, $1.2 million in Germany, $1.2 million in Brazil, $843,000 in Spain, and $620,000 in Malaysia. During its mid-September opening in South Korea, Baby Driver grossed $3.12 million. By September 3, the film's offshore gross exceeded $102.2 million.
"Baby Driver, a new vehicular-action-thriller-jukebox-musical-romance from the British writer-director Edgar Wright, is almost as entertaining as it is hyphen-depleting. This is movie craftsmanship and showmanship of a very high order."
The American press considered Baby Driver among the strongest films of 2017. The film was selected by the National Board of Review as one of their top choices for the organization's annual top ten films list. Several journalists praised the film for its craftsmanship, which they saw as an exercise of Wright's expertise. Empire's Terri White called Baby Driver "one of the most utterly original films in years" that comes "as close to a car-chase opera as you'll ever see on screen". Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian felt the film was stylish and engaging, "packed with sheer brio and good nature", despite sticking with romantic notions of car chasing being a victimless crime, and Variety's Peter Debruge said Baby Driver becomes a genre standout through "a mostly clever collection of jokes, sudden narrative U-turns, [...] aptly picked songs", and a strong emphasis on car chases.
Reviews for the actors' performances were very positive in the media, often singling out Elgort and James for further praise, with their work described as "star-making" and "radiant". The characterization divided journalists: some criticized the depiction of the characters the actors played, often the women, in their reviews. Debora was viewed as a somewhat underdeveloped character by Eric Kohn of IndieWire, whereas White felt that, because of the sparse details of her backstory, she lacked depth and too often has little agency of her own. Richard Brody of The New Yorker considered Baby Driver's dialogue "almost entirely functional", devoid of nuance, resulting in characters who are largely interchangeable despite the best efforts of a diverse cast. Others, such as David Edelstein of New York magazine and the Observer's Thelma Adams, cited character development as one of the film's strengths.
The scriptwriting and plot development in the film's climactic scenes were sources of criticism. Some reviewers cited the scriptwriting as Baby Driver's biggest flaw, where rapid tonal shifts undermined the viewing experience. Cineaste's Adam Nayman, for example, attributed the mistakes in the script to Wright's inexperience as a solo writer, and TheWrap saw the lost momentum as "jarring and uncommon" saying, "rarely do we see a filmmaker start so strong only to end with a whimper". Anthony Lane, writing for The New Yorker, was also critical because he felt the film takes itself too seriously and lacks the self-awareness of Wright's other action comedies such as Hot Fuzz (2007).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 92% based on 394 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone—proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||March 4, 2018||Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|
|Best Sound Editing||Julian Slater||Nominated|
|Best Sound Mixing||Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater||Nominated|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||January 9, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|
|American Cinema Editors||January 26, 2018||Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical||Nominated|
|British Academy Film Awards||February 18, 2018||Best Editing||Won|
|Best Sound||Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||January 18, 2018||Big Budget – Drama||Francine Maisler and Meagan Lewis||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 12, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||February 24, 2018||Motion Picture – Live Action||Mark Appleby, Tim Cavagin, Gareth Cousins, Mary H. Ellis, Glen Gathard and Julian Slater||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||January 11, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|
|Best Action Movie||Baby Driver||Nominated|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||December 7, 2017||Best Use of Music||Won|
|Empire Awards||March 18, 2018||Best Director||Edgar Wright||Nominated|
|Best Male Newcomer||Ansel Elgort||Nominated|
|Best Thriller||Baby Driver||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Won|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||January 12, 2018||Best Film||Nominated|
|Best Director||Edgar Wright||Nominated|
|Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||January 7, 2018||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Ansel Elgort||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||February 18, 2018||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Score||Julian Slater and Bradley Farmer||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue / ADR||Julian Slater and Dan Morgan||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Effects / Foley||Julian Slater, Jeremy Price, Martin Cantwell, Arthur Graley, Rown Watson, Peter Hanson, Zoe Freed and Peter Burgis||Nominated|
|Golden Tomato Awards||January 3, 2018||Best Wide Release 2017||Baby Driver||7th Place|
|Best Action Movie 2017||Won|
|IndieWire Critics Poll||December 19, 2016||Most Anticipated of 2017||Nominated|
|Location Managers Guild Awards||April 7, 2018||Outstanding Locations in Contemporary Film||Doug Dresser, Kyle Hinshaw||Won|
|Outstanding Film Commission||Atlanta Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment||Won|
|London Film Critics' Circle||January 28, 2018||Technical Achievement Award||Darrin Prescott (stunts)||Nominated|
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild||February 24, 2018||Feature Motion Picture: Best Contemporary Makeup||Fionagh Cush and Phyllis Temple||Nominated|
|National Board of Review||January 4, 2018||Top Ten Films||Baby Driver||Won|
|New York Film Critics Online||December 10, 2017||Best Use of Music||Won|
|NME Awards||February 14, 2018||Best Film||Won|
|Online Film Critics Society||December 28, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Runner-up|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 11, 2017||Best Editing||Won|
|Best Use of Music||Baby Driver||Won|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards||December 10, 2017||Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|
|Satellite Awards||February 10, 2018||Best Film Editing||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||June 27, 2018||Best Action or Adventure Film||Baby Driver||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||January 21, 2018||Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Seattle Film Critics Society||December 18, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|
|St. Louis Film Critics Association||December 17, 2017||Best Editing||Won|
|Best Soundtrack||Baby Driver||Won|
|Best Scene||Baby goes for coffee (opening credits)||Runner-up|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||December 8, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|
The success of Baby Driver has increased studio interest in producing a sequel. Discussions of a sequel began in December 2017, as Wright announced his intent to develop the script to the media. The writer-director began drafting the screenplay in January 2019, introducing an ensemble of new characters to advance the story. By July, Wright had shown Elgort a copy of the completed script under a tentative working title. In January 2021, Wright confirmed that he had finished writing the sequel's script.