The Lottery Gets Dystopian In Upcoming Amazon Action-Comedy ‘Jackpot!’

Eric Raskin


If you’ve ever found yourself hungering for a movie situated at the midpoint of It Could Happen to You and The Running Man, Amazon Prime Video has you covered.

On Aug. 15, the streaming network will drop Jackpot!, a new action-comedy from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, starring Awkwafina as a lottery winner and John Cena as an agent trying to protect her in a dystopian 2030 Los Angeles. Hitting the lottery jackpot in this fictional (we hope?) near future is very much a mixed bag, as Cena’s character, Noel, explains to Awkwafina’s Katie in the trailer that recently dropped:

“Katie, you won the lottery. Now, anyone with a losing ticket that kills you before sundown gets your money — legally.”

It’s a plot engine that gives new meaning to the term “lottery curse.”

Wings and a prayer

Now that the trailer is out, let’s break it down.

The first 23 seconds and last 42 seconds are devoted to an actual lottery-style game designed to help market the movie. The fine print on the screen specifies “no purchase necessary,” open to all legal U.S. residents 21 or over, and it runs until the date the movie debuts, Aug. 15.

What’s the jackpot in this drawing? $5,000 worth of Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards. (It’s allegedly a 10-year supply of free BWW food, based on $500 per year apparently being their idea of all the BWW a human can handle.)

Importantly, in the trailer, the actors clarify that winning this particular sweepstakes is not as dangerous as winning the fictional film jackpot.

“So, like, does this thing follow the same rules as the movie?” Awkwafina asks.

“Oh, lord, I hope not,” Cena responds. “I don’t think our legal team would allow for that much murder.”

Sneak preview

On to the trailer for the R-rated movie: 

Katie is an actress, and during an audition, she pulls her ticket for “The Grand Lottery” out of her pocket. Lottery tickets in 2030 come with their own built-in video screens, and Katie sees on hers that she’s won — while everyone else who bought a ticket gets the message, “Happy hunting, L.A.” And just like that, everyone auditioning for the role turns into a bounty hunter, throwing knives and spiked high heels at the heroine.

Cena’s Noel shows up to whisk Katie into his car and to execute all the necessary exposition, explaining to Katie (and the audience) these life-or-death lottery rules.

Noel helps her fend off a dojo full of martial artists and all other manner of would-be killers — but before long, Katie is asking why she should trust him when he, too, could be claiming the lottery jackpot by killing her before sundown. Noel gets “dirtfaced” by the woman he’s protecting, as well as punched in the nose by her, but apparently they get past it, as soon Noel has a whole protection agency — led by Simo Liu’s Louis Lewis — helping the cause.

Both Cena and Noel absorb a dig when Katie tells him, “You look like a bulldog that a witch cast a spell on and turned into a human.”

Quick cuts show us Katie in disguise as an old man, mannequin heads used as weapons, Noel clapping Louis’ head with a pair of cymbals (he’s apparently not the good guy he was pretending to be), Machine Gun Kelly attempting to act, and Noel making Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references.

The movie is written by Rob Yescombe (whose other writing credits are mostly video games), and according to IMDb, it’s based on the 1964 sci-fi story “It Could Be You” by Frank Roberts.

Attentive gambling industry observers will recall that Awkwafina was supposed to star in The Baccarat Machine as Kelly Sun, the real-life gambler who teamed with poker pro Phil Ivey to beat multiple casinos via a technique known as “edge sorting.” That movie, however, never went into production.