May 23, 2014 4:00 PM Subscribe
posted by Etrigan (187 comments total)
43 users marked this as a favorite
In 1994, The Shawshank Redemption
made just $18 million at the box office. It got seven Academy Award nominations, but won zero. And yet, it has become one of the most consistently profitable movies there is
, including providing some of its actors with what Bob Gunton (the evil Warden Norton) calls "a very substantial income" in residuals.
The prison movie, adapted by Frank Darabont (who you youngsters may know from a little show called The Walking Dead
) from a story by Stephen King (who never cashed the $5,000 check Darabont sent him for the rights), is consistently at or near the top of critics' and movie watchers' lists of the top films of all time. It was the second most-aired movie on basic cable last year and was the most-watched on Oprah's OWN channel (despite practically no female roles) and near the top on four other basic-cable networks. And Warner Bros. loves that they can sell it again and again as part of "packages," where studios sell chunks of their libraries as all-or-nothing deals to cable channels:
"You say [to a cable executive], 'I can give you 'Shawshank' and their eyes light up," a former distribution executive at Warner Bros. said. "You don't market it. You don't spend any money pushing it."
That level of attraction has spread to the Ohio penitentiary where it was filmed
that saw 80,000 visitors last year, and it's even led to an ongoing treasure hunt
to celebrate the film's 20th anniversary this year.
And just to lighten things up from the tale of murder, embezzlement, revenge, redemption and filthy lucre, here's Morgan "Red" Freeman on helium