Movie 43

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Movie 43
Movie 43 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Brill
Peter Farrelly
Will Graham
Steve Carr
Griffin Dunne
James Duffy
Jonathan van Tulleken
Elizabeth Banks
Patrik Forsberg
Brett Ratner
Rusty Cundieff
James Gunn
Produced by Charles B. Wessler
John Penotti
Peter Farrelly
Ryan Kavanaugh
Written by Steve Baker
Ricky Blitt
Will Carlough
Tobias Carlson
Jacob Fleisher
Patrik Forsberg
Will Graham
James Gunn
Claes Kjellstrom
Jack Kukoda
Bob Odenkirk
Bill O'Malley
Matthew Alec Portenoy
Greg Pritikin
Rocky Russo
Olle Sarri
Elizabeth Wright Shapiro
Jeremy Sosenko
Jonathan van Tulleken
Jonas Wittenmark
Starring see Cast
Narrated by Eric Stuart
Phil Crowley
Music by Christophe Beck
David J. Hodge
Leo Birenberg
Tyler Bates
William Goodrum
Cinematography Frank G. DeMarco
Steve Gainer
Matthew F. Leonetti
Daryn Okada
William Rexer
Mattias Rudh
Eric Scherbarth
Newton Thomas Sigel
Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Debra Chiate
Patrick J. Don Vito
Suzy Elmiger
Mark Helfrich
Craig Herring
Myron Kerstein
Jonathan van Tulleken
Joe Randall-Cutler
Sam Seig
Cara Silverman
Sandy Solowitz
Håkan Wärn
Paul Zucker
Distributed by Relativity Media
Release dates
  • January 25, 2013 (2013-01-25)
Running time 94 minutes
UK version:
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million[1]
Box office $32,438,988[1]

Movie 43 is a 2013 American sketch anthology comedy film co-directed and produced by Peter Farrelly, and written by Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko among others. The film features sixteen different storylines, each one by a different director, including Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, Will Graham, and Jonathan van Tulleken. It stars an ensemble cast that includes Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Anna Faris, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, and Kate Winslet among others.

The film took almost a decade to get into production as most studios outright rejected the script, which was eventually picked up by Relativity Media for $6 million. The film was shot over a period of several years, as casting also proved to be a challenge for the producers. Some actors, including George Clooney, immediately declined to take part, while others, such as Richard Gere, attempted to get out of the project.[2]

Released on January 25, 2013, Movie 43 has been widely panned by critics, with Richard Roeper calling it "the Citizen Kane of awful",[3] joining others who labeled it as one of the worst films of all time. The film "won" three awards at the 34th Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture.[4]


Movie 43 is a series of different skits containing different scenes and scenarios.

The Pitch[edit]

  • Produced and directed by Peter Farrelly and written by Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, and Ricky Blitt

The film is composed of multiple comedy shorts presented through an overarching segment titled "The Pitch", in which Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid), a mad screenwriter, is attempting to pitch a script to film executive Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). After revealing several of the stories in his script, Wessler becomes agitated when Schraeder dismisses his outrageous ideas, and he pulls a gun on him and forces him to listen to multiple other stories before making Schraeder consult his manager, Bob Mone (Common), to purchase the film. When they do so, Mone's condescending, humiliating attitude toward Schraeder angers him to the point that, after agreeing to make the film "the biggest film since Howard the Duck", he confronts Mone in the parking lot with a gun and tries to make him perform fellatio on the security guard (Will Sasso) (Wessler had gotten on the lot by doing the same thing) and kill him if he does not make the film. Wessler tries to calm Schraeder down with more story ideas to no avail, but Mone pulls out a gun and shoots Schraeder to death. The segment ends with it being revealed that it is being shot by a camera crew as part of the movie, leading into the final segments.

Alternative version (The Thread)[edit]

  • Directed by Steven Brill and written by Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko

The structure of the film released in some countries, like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, differs. Instead of a pitch, the films are connected by a group of three teenagers searching for the most banned film in the world, Movie 43, which will ultimately lead to the destruction of civilization.[5] Calvin Cutler (Mark L. Young) and his friend J.J. (Adam Cagley) make a video in the style of MTV's Jackass and upload it on YouTube where it instantly reaches over 1,000,000 views. This turns out to be an April Fool's prank from Calvin's younger brother Baxter (Devin Eash), who cloned YouTube and hyper-inflated the views while working on his science project. Calvin and J.J. attempt to get revenge. They tell Baxter of a film that's so dangerous it will cause the annihilation of the world. The movie is known as Movie 43. While J.J. and Baxter look for Movie 43 on Google, Calvin retrieves Baxter's laptop and loads it with viruses from porn sites, and masturbates to the naked women on the porn sites in a bathroom. Baxter finds hundreds of results for Movie 43 on a website referred to by him as a dark corner of the Internet. They find the sketches starting from the 43rd search on the list of results. As he and J.J. keep watching videos, they are interrupted by a man known as Vrankovich (Fisher Stevens) and a group of Chinese mobsters (Tim Chou and James Hsu) who are tempted to find Movie 43, even going as far as to take J.J.'s classmate Stevie Schraeder (Nate Hartley), film executive Griffin Schraeder's oldest son, hostage. Vrankovich warns them that if they find Movie 43, civilization will be left to ruins. They ignore his claims and keep searching. They eventually find the real, the one and only Movie 43, which turns out to involve Baxter as a profane commando who leads a group of recruits to survive after the world has ended. As Calvin finishes ruining Baxter's laptop, their mother (Beth Littleford) enters, wearing the same shirt and shorts that the porn site women were, causing Calvin to flip out, have visions, and find semen from his erect crotch on his hand in shock and horror. Afterward, a deadly earthquake rumbles and mankind is lost. However, a few years later the only survivor, a crippled Calvin, finds Baxter's laptop still working despite viral infections. He watches the last remaining skits on the laptop. This version of the film was released in the U.S. as part of the Blu-ray Disc of Movie 43 as an unrated alternate cut of the film.


The Pitch
The Thread
The Catch
The Proposition
Super Hero Speed Dating
Middleschool Date
Happy Birthday
Truth or Dare
Victory's Glory
Find Our Daughter



Wessler first came up with the idea for an outrageous comedy made up of several short films in the early 2000s. "It's like Funny or Die, only if you could go crazy," judged Farrelly, "because with Funny or Die, there are certain limits. And we just wanted to do that kind of short and go much further than that." Charlie Wessler affirmed that he "wanted to make a Kentucky Fried Movie for the modern age".[6]

Wessler then recruited three pairs of directors—Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, and David and Jerry Zucker—to sign on to write and direct one-third of the project each. He then began working out a deal with a studio for the project, but the project did not stick. "They ended up calling me about a month after we started negotiating the deal and said 'we can't do it' because they had political pressure to not make R-rated movies that were marketed to teenagers," claimed Wessler. He then went to multiple other studios, but, according to Wessler, "no one could understand what [he] was trying to do".[7]

In 2009, Peter Farrelly and producer John Penotti took their pitch—along with about 60 scripts for the vignettes—to Relativity Media. At that meeting, Wessler, Penotti, and Farrelly presented one short that they already had shot, starring Kate Winslet as a woman going on a blind date with a seemingly successful and handsome Hugh Jackman. "They just looked at me and said, 'Go for it,'" Wessler told The Hollywood Reporter. "It takes a lot of balls to make something that is not conventional." Relativity funded a mere $6 million for the film, but no other studio would sign on. "Other potential backers", Farrelly revealed, "didn't believe it could happen—a movie with Kate Winslet for $6 million?"[7]

The film officially began principal photography in March 2010, but due to its large cast, producer/director Farrelly told Entertainment Weekly that "This movie was made over four years, and they just had to wait for a year or two years for different actors. They would shoot for a week, and shut down for several months. Same thing with the directors. It was the type of movie you could come back to." Shortly before shooting, writers Parker, Stone, and the Zuckers backed out.[8]

The film ended up with thirteen directors and nineteen writers tied to it, each one co-writing and directing different segments of the sixteen different storylines.[9] Farrelly directed the parts of the movie with Halle Berry and Kate Winslet.[7][8][10]

Casting and filming[edit]

Wessler spent years recruiting actors for the film. Many turned down the project because they were asked to work for scale. "Most agents would avoid me because they knew what I wanted to do—what agent wants to book their big client in a no pay, $800-a-day, two-day shoot?" he said. "The truth is, I had a lot of friends who were in this movie. And if they didn't say yes, this movie wouldn't have gotten made." In the end, most of the actors were willing to take part because the film only required a few days of their time and often allowed them to play a character outside of their wheelhouse.[7]

Hugh Jackman was the first actor Wessler cast. He met the star at a wedding and then called him some time later and pitched him the short. Jackman read the script and agreed to be a part of the film. "He called me back I think 24 hours later and said, 'Yeah I wanna do this,' which I think is, quite frankly, incredibly ballsy. Because you could be made a fool of, or you could look silly, and there will be people who say, 'That's crazy; he should never have done it.'"[7]

After talking to the multiple agents of Kate Winslet, she eventually agreed to take part. The Winslet-Jackman sketch was shot shortly after, and became the reel to attract other A-list stars.[7]

John Hodgman, who plays opposite Justin Long in one sketch, signed on with no knowledge of the project. Long, Hodgman's co-star in the long-running series of Apple's commercials, asked him what the project was, and he then signed on, without still knowing too much. Hodgman said, "I got an e-mail from Justin that said, 'I'm going to be dressing up as Robin again. Do you want to dress up as the Penguin?' And I said yes. Without even realizing cameras would be involved, or that it would be a movie."[7]

Others were not so affable. In fact, some stars hedged: Richard Gere, a friend of Wessler's, said yes—but also said he would not be available for more than a year. So Wessler waited him out, convinced his sketch was good. Gere eventually called Wessler and told him he was free to shoot, on just a couple of conditions: They had to do it in four days, and they needed to relocate the shoot from Los Angeles to New York.[7]

"They clearly wanted out!" judged Farrelly. "But we wouldn't let them. The strategy was simple: 'Wait for them. Shoot when they want to shoot. Guilt them to death.' It didn't work on everyone." Colin Farrell initially agreed to be in the Butler leprechaun sketch—as Butler's brother, also a leprechaun—but then he backed out and Gerard Butler did the sketch by himself. Farrelly said that when he approached George Clooney about playing himself in a sketch (the gag was that Clooney is bad at picking up women), Clooney told him "No fucking way."[7] There were to be two sketches written and directed by Bob Odenkirk; one that starred Anton Yelchin as a necrophiliac who worked at a morgue and had sex with the dead female bodies that was shown at a test screening of the film, and another starring Julianne Moore and Tony Shalhoub as a married couple being interviewed by a detective about their missing daughter. Both sketches were cut out of the final film.[11] Producer Penotti said that the sketches would be seen on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of the film.[7]

Because the filmmakers worked around the stars' schedules, the filming of the whole movie took several years. While so many A-list actors were on board, most were not completely aware of what other sketches would be included in the film, which features thirteen vignettes tied together by a story of a mad screenwriter (Quaid) pitching ideas to a movie producer (Kinnear). Penotti said many of the actors did not ask many questions about what else was going on in the film. "They were attracted to their script, and as long as that tickled their funnybone, that was enough," he revealed.[7][12]


The title of the film, Movie 43—first believed to be referencing the number of actors in the film—actually has no meaning. Farrelly heard his son talking with friends about a film called "Movie 43", but when Farrelly discovered the film did not actually exist, he cribbed the name.[7]

Relativity did little to promote the film and none of the cast members did any promotion of the film. The film was not screened for critics in advance. "The slapdash title, the lack of promotion and advance screenings, the release date—none of it bodes well," opined Entertainment Weekly senior editor Thom Geier. "January is usually where movies go to die," Geier argued. "And to go by the trailer—the only option—the content seems dated." A red-band trailer was released on October 3, 2012.[13] Farrelly was optimistic: "Kids, teenagers, 50-somethings who still smoke pot—they're all going to find something here," he asserted.[7] Advertising also took place on the adult website Pornhub.[citation needed]


Critical response[edit]

Movie 43 was widely panned by critics, some of whom considered it to be one of the worst films ever made. The film holds an average score of 18 out of 100 on Metacritic, signifying "overwhelming dislike",[14] and a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 75 reviews with the consensus stating: "A star-studded turkey, Movie 43 is loaded with gleefully offensive and often scatological gags, but it's largely bereft of laughs."[15] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a D rating.[16] Brian Gibson (Vue Weekly) describes Movie 43 as "An execrable waste cooked up by a hell's kitchen of directors and writers. It's death-of-laughter by committee. Its title? Because it's like one of those many asteroids out there—a dismal chunk of rock hurtling through an empty void, without purpose."[17]

In his guest review for Roger Ebert's website, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times outright panned the film, giving it zero out of four stars, calling it "aggressively tasteless", and going so far as to say "Movie 43 is the Citizen Kane of awful". He wrote that the film has nothing in common with The Groove Tube and The Kentucky Fried Movie, two very funny and influential sketch-comedy films. He additionally criticized Movie 43 for what he calls "female humiliation", saying that although the men are jerks and such, the women have it even worse.[3] Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph described Farrelly's film as "the work of a confused man thrashing around in an industry he no longer understands".[18] Peter Howell of the Toronto Star gave the film zero out of four stars and called it the worst film he had ever seen.[19] Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News gave it a negative review, saying "As a film critic, I've seen nearly 4,000 movies over the last fifteen years. Right now, I can't think of one worse than Movie 43."[20]

In one of the few positive reviews, Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film three and a half out of four stars, calling it "a near masterpiece of tastelessness".[21]

Box office[edit]

Movie 43 was predicted to debut to less than $10 million, with the studio expecting $8–9 million.[22] It took in $1,810,561 on its opening Friday, far below expectations, and less than the previous spoof film Disaster Movie.[23]

The opening weekend total came to $4,805,878, opening in seventh place. At the end of its run, closing in the United States on March 14, 2013, the film had grossed $8,840,453 domestically and $23,598,535 internationally for a worldwide total of $32,438,988.[1]

Relativity stated that they had already covered all costs with international pre-sales deals and a deal with Netflix.[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Golden Trailer Awards Trashiest Trailer "Unsee it" trailer[24] Nominated
2014 34th Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Picture All filmmakers Won
Worst Director All 13 directors Won
Worst Screenplay All screenwriters Won
Worst Screen Combo Entire cast Nominated
Worst Actress Halle Berry (also for The Call) Nominated
Naomi Watts (also for Diana) Nominated

Home media[edit]

Movie 43 was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on June 18, 2013, in the UK, and US.[25]


  1. ^ a b c "Movie 43 (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Farrelly, Peter (February 2, 2013). "They clearly wanted out, but we wouldn't let them.". The Telegraph. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Roeper, Richard (25 January 2013). "There's awful and THEN there's 'Movie 43'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ King, Susan (March 1, 2014). "'Movie 43' is named worst film of 2013 at the 34th Razzie Awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Movie 43 | UK Cinema Release Date". Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  6. ^ Ford, Allan. "Movie 43 is the Ungodly Gross OutEpicNo3". Film O Filia. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ford, Allan. "Movie 43 is the Ungodly Gross Out EpicNo3". Film O Filia. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Schou, Solvej (October 1, 2012). "'Movie 43' co-director Peter Farrelly praises comedic Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ Ford, Allan. "MOVIE 43 TV Spot No3". Film O Filia. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  10. ^ Ford, Allan. "How Movie 43 got made". Film O Filia. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Re: Who Directed what Skits?". IMDb. 
  12. ^ Ford, Allan. "How Movie 43 got made". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Stillman, Josh (October 3, 2012). "Movie 43 trailer: Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, and Emma Stone get their NSFW on". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  14. ^ Movie 43 at Metacritic
  15. ^ Movie 43 at Rotten Tomatoes
  16. ^ a b "Weekend Report: 'Hansel' Slays 'Parker,' 'Movie 43'". Box Office Mojo. January 27, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Movie 43 Review". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  18. ^ Collin, Robbie (29 January 2013). "Movie 43, review". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Howell, Peter (January 25, 2013). "Movie 43 review: The worst film ever gets zero stars". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  20. ^ Weitzman, Elizabeth (January 26, 2013). "Movie Review: Movie 43". New York Daily News. 
  21. ^ O'Sullivan, Michael (January 25, 2013). "Review: 'Movie 43'". The Washington Post. 
  22. ^ "Forecast: 'Hansel' Set to Slay 'Movie 43,' 'Parker' This Weekend". Box Office Mojo. January 24, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Friday Report: 'Hansel' Leads, 'Parker,' 'Movie 43' Tank". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  24. ^ "The 14th Annual Golden Trailer Award Nominees". Golden Trailer Awards. Golden Trailer Award. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  25. ^ "Movie 43 Blu-ray: Outrageous Edition". Retrieved 2013-05-29. 

External links[edit]