In the current Hollywood landscape where superhero movies and sequels reign supreme, those in the know would suggest that an original period-drama about auto racing would fail to make much of a dent in the box office. But those people would be wrong, as Ford v Ferrari is a bona fide smash.
The film has raced past $200 million worldwide, an impressive feat for a ’60s-set true story about cars. The movie, which stars Christian Bale and Matt Damon, has emerged as an awards-season contender. Bale has earned a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of British auto racer Ken Miles, and the movie clearly has its sights set on the Oscars. Were it to earn any Academy Award nominations, particularly in the category of Best Picture, one should expect its box office take to grow even higher. As it stands now, the movie already finished 2019 as the 27th highest-grossing film in the U.S., and the fifth-best that was not part of an already-existing franchise. Only Us, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Knives Out, and The Upside finished ahead of it in the category.
The movie tells the story behind Ford’s stunning victory at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, where the U.S. automaker finally defeated the five-time reigning champions from Italy, Ferrari, after some bad blood between the companies. Ford did so with the now-iconic Ford GT40, a car that had been redesigned by renowned auto designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) with input from Miles, who also went on to race the car at Le Mans. It is one of the greatest David and Goliath tales in the history of auto racing, and it’s clearly resonating with audiences.
Ford v Ferrari is in theaters now.