Hercules (2014 film)

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Hercules (2014 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrett Ratner
Screenplay by
Based onHercules
by Steve Moore
Produced by
CinematographyDante Spinotti
Edited by
Music byFernando Velázquez
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 25, 2014 (2014-07-25) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million[3]
Box office$244.8 million[3]

Hercules is a 2014 American action-adventure fantasy film starring Dwayne Johnson as the titular character. It is directed by Brett Ratner based on a screenplay written by Ryan J. Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos. The film also stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Reece Ritchie, Tobias Santelmann, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, Rebecca Ferguson, Irina Shayk, Isaac Andrews, and John Hurt. It is based on Steve Moore's graphic novel Hercules, specifically The Thracian Wars limited series.[4] Distributed jointly by Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,[5] it was released on July 25, 2014.[6] It is one of two Hollywood-studio Hercules films released in 2014, the other one being Lionsgate's The Legend of Hercules.

The film became a box office success, earning $244 million on a $100 million budget and received mixed reviews from critics, with some praise for Johnson's performance and the action sequences.


Hercules is the leader of a band of mercenaries comprising the spear-wielding king-turned-prophet Amphiaraus of Argos, the knife-throwing thief Autolycus of Sparta, the feral warrior Tydeus of Thebes, the Amazon archer Atalanta of Scythia, and his nephew, storyteller Iolaus of Athens.

Hercules is said to be the demigod son of Zeus, who completed the legendary Twelve Labors after he was betrayed by Hera, who drove him insane and caused him to murder his wife Megara and their children during a visit to King Eurystheus. Throughout the film, it is not clearly established that Hercules is truly the son of Zeus and many are skeptical of the claim as well as of the stories of Hercules' famous Twelve Labors. Despite this, Hercules displays unusual inhuman strength and nigh-unmatched skill in combat. However, Hercules is frequently haunted by the memory of the deaths of his wife and children by his hand, as well as visions of Cerberus.

After finishing a recent mission and saving his nephew on the Macedonian Coast in Northern Greece in 358 BC, Hercules and his team are celebrating and drinking at a tavern when they are approached by Ergenia, the daughter of King Cotys, who wants Hercules to train the armies of Thrace to defend the kingdom from bloodthirsty warlord Rhesus. Hercules accepts after he and his men are offered his weight in gold, and the band is welcomed to Thrace by Cotys and General Sitacles, leader of the Thracian army.

However, Rhesus has reached the Bessi tribe in Central Thrace and Cotys insists that Hercules lead the army into battle to defend the Bessi, despite Hercules's objections and the army's lack of training. However, they are too late as Rhesus' supposed sorcery has turned the Bessi against the Thracians. After the Bessi are defeated following a long and disastrous battle which results in at least half the Thracian forces being killed, Hercules and his allies properly train the army.

When the training is complete, Hercules and Sitacles confront Rhesus and his soldiers after a day-long journey on the battlefield before Mount Asticus. The Thracians force Rhesus' army to retreat after an arduous battle, but Rhesus himself rides out to confront Hercules and is defeated by him.

Rhesus is taken back to Thrace as a prisoner, where he is publicly tormented and humiliated. Taking pity, Hercules stops the townsfolk from throwing more objects at him. When Hercules mentions Rhesus' actions of burning down villages, Rhesus tells him it was not him or his army and tells Hercules that he has been fighting on the wrong side.

Later, in the palace hall, Rhesus is chained up and left on display. Noticing that Ergenia has taken pity on him, Hercules confronts her and finds out Rhesus was telling the truth about the villages, in that he was merely retaliating against Cotys's aggressive attempts to expand his kingdom. Although Ergenia doesn't agree with Cotys's methods, she goes along out of fear, as her father poisoned her husband, the previous king. Furthermore, Cotys threatens her son Arius, the true heir to the throne.

After receiving their reward, the mercenaries are ready to leave, but Hercules decides to stay behind to stop Cotys, with all but Autolycus choosing to follow him. However, they are overpowered and captured by Sitacles and his men. While chained, Hercules is confronted by King Eurystheus, who is in league with Cotys. Eurystheus reveals that he drugged Hercules the night his family died, viewing him as a threat to his power. Hercules's family was in fact killed by three black wolves sent by Eurystheus, resulting in Hercules's constant hallucinations of Cerberus. When Cotys orders Ergenia to be executed for her betrayal, Hercules is encouraged by Amphiaraus to believe in himself just as everyone believes in him. In a show of superhuman strength, Hercules breaks free of his chains, saving Ergenia and defeating the wolves single-handedly. Hercules releases the prisoners, including Rhesus, and then confronts Eurystheus, impaling him with his own dagger and avenging his family; however, he is ambushed by Sitacles, who is then stabbed to death by Iolaus, who has been secretly honing his skills.

Outside, Hercules and his forces battle Cotys and his army. Arius is taken hostage, but rescued by Autolycus, who has decided to return to help his friends. In the ensuing battle, Tydeus is mortally wounded while protecting Arius, but fights on, slaughtering numerous Thracian soldiers until he falls; later dying in Hercules's arms. Again using inhuman strength, Hercules pushes a massive statue of Hera from its foundations and uses it to crush Cotys and many of his soldiers. The remaining soldiers see Hercules as lightning flashes in the background. The surviving soldiers bow to Hercules and Arius takes the throne, with Ergenia at his side. As the credits roll, an animated retelling of the Twelve Labors shows how Hercules accomplished these feats with the help of his companions.



The film is directed by Brett Ratner.[5] The producers are Beau Flynn, Barry Levine, and Ratner, with Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Ross Fanger, and Jesse Berger serving as executive producers.[4]

To prepare for the role, Johnson took on a grueling training routine, stating: "I trained and worked harder than ever for 8 months for this role. Lived alone and locked myself away (like a moody 260-lb. monk) in Budapest for 6 months while filming. Goal was to completely transform into this character. Disappear in the role. Press journalist asked me today, with the mental and physical toll the role had on me, would I do it again? Not only would I do it again...I'd do it twice."[15]


Box office[edit]

Hercules grossed $72.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $172.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $244.8 million.[3]

In the United States, Hercules was released on July 25, 2014, at 3,595 theaters.[16] It grossed $11 million its opening day and $29 million in its opening weekend, finishing second at the box office behind fellow newcomer Lucy ($44 million).[17] Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo opined this was "not a particularly strong start" for Hercules given that "star Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's The Scorpion King opened to $36 million" in 2002.[18]

Hercules, described as "pumping some much-needed life into a lackluster summer at U.S. and Canadian theaters," did financially better than expected,[17] as it "topped the expectations of analysts by roughly $4 million" and beat out Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was in its third weekend and finished third with $16.4 million."[19] Subers stated, "The fact that Hercules got close to $30 million is a testament to The Rock's ability to mobilize his massive fanbase."[20] Paramount Pictures jointly released the film with MGM; head of domestic marketing and distribution of Paramount Pictures, Megan Colligan, "credited Johnson's 'charisma' with helping drive the opening," and added that the opening weekend total is "exactly what [they] had hoped for."[17] The audience for Hercules was 58 percent male, with 64 percent over age 25.[20]

Outside North America, the film was released in 26 foreign markets in 3,364 locations and earned $28.7 million. Its best countries were Russian ($12 million from 930 theaters), Australia ($3.5 million from 222), Malaysia ($1.6 million from 110), Philippines ($1.2 million from 134), Taiwan ($1.2 million) and Singapore ($1.1 million from 27). Globally, it made $6 million from IMAX showings, including $2 million from 114 international screens.[21][22]

Critical response[edit]

Hercules received mixed reviews from critics, however the general sentiment was that the film was a pleasant surprise.[17][23][24] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 58% based on 121 reviews, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Hercules has Brett Ratner behind the cameras and Dwayne Johnson rocking the loincloth – and delivers exactly what any reasonable person reading that description might expect."[25] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 47 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[20]

Scott Foundas, chief film critic for Variety, wrote in a positive review that "It's a grandly staged, solidly entertaining, old-fashioned adventure movie that does something no other Hercules movie has quite done before: It cuts the mythical son of Zeus down to human size (or as human as you can get while still being played by Dwayne Johnson)". Foundas praised Ratner, stating that "in terms of sheer scale and craftsmanship, Hercules represents something of a quantum leap for Ratner" and that the action sequences are "coherent pieces [...] that build steadily in intensity." He concluded that "[Hercules's] strongest asset is surely Johnson, who continues to foster one of the most affable, guileless screen personas in movies today."[27]

Elizabeth Weitzman of New York Daily News stated, "It's fast-paced, funny, and packed with eye-popping action. The effects are impressive, but there are none bigger than the star Dwayne Johnson's massive powerful physique which perfectly suited the character and the large-scale movie." She added, "Johnson makes his entrance wearing a conquered lion's head and a loincloth skirt. The fact that he can pull this look off sets the tone for everything else to come."[28]

John DeFore of The Washington Post stated, "[The film] simply fails to exploit its assets: an amusing, revisionist take on the mythological strongman, and the charisma of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson."[29] Critic James Berardinelli said, "A big-budget misfire of a sizeable order, a visually busy but emotionally dead endeavor that wearies the viewer with endless computer generated special effects while failing to provide a scintilla of human interest."[30]


The film was nominated for two Teen Choice Awards. Dwayne Johnson, was nominated in the category "Choice Summer Movie Star" and the film was nominated in the category "Choice Summer Movie".[31]

Home media[edit]

Hercules was released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on November 4, 2014, by Paramount Home Entertainment.[32]


Steve Moore, a writer whose name is used in the promotion of the film, wanted to have his name disassociated from the adaptation before his death, according to an interview excerpt with his friend, acclaimed writer Alan Moore (no relation).

In essence, Alan Moore's account suggests that Steve Moore had been observing multiple drafts of his contract with Radical Comics over time and was firmly under the impression that he would receive at least a 'paltry' 15,000 dollars should a film be made, but upon closer investigation found that the final version of the contract had removed that clause without his attention being fully drawn to that fact. And therefore leaving him unable to make any legal claim to payment. That fact alone should be enough to give potential viewers of the film pause, but there's also the fairly callous way in which his name has been used against his wishes to promote the film in a way that is, unfortunately, typically opportunistic of the film industry.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hercules (2014)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "HERCULES (12A)". Paramount Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Hercules (2014)". Box Office Mojo. July 25, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  4. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (January 15, 2013). "Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson's Hercules to Hit Theaters in August 2014". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Kit, Borys (March 21, 2013). "Ian McShane Joins Dwayne Johnson in 'Hercules' for MGM and Paramount (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  6. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 26, 2013). "Hercules Release Date Moves to July 25, 2014". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  7. ^ "Hercules Official Trailer #1 (2014) – Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane Movie HD". YouTube. March 26, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (May 2, 2013). "Ingrid Bolsø Set to Battle with Dwayne Johnson in 'Hercules' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  9. ^ Reynolds, Simon (March 25, 2014). "Dwayne Johnson in first trailer for Hercules – watch". Digital Spy.
  10. ^ "[WATCH] 'Hercules' Trailer: The Rock is back in new preview". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "'Hercules' Adds 'Twilight' Actor to the Cast". Variety. June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  12. ^ "Steve Peacocke bound for Hollywood, then home to Summer Bay – Home and Away – Official Site". Au.tv.yahoo.com. May 9, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "Twitter / BarbaraPalvin: Had an amazing day shooting". Twitter.com. September 16, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "Twitter / BrettRatner: So excited to have @barbarapalvin". Twitter.com. September 9, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  15. ^ "The Rock Opens Up About 'Hercules' Preparation | Muscle & Fitness". Muscleandfitness.com. March 19, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  16. ^ "Theater Counts for Week 30 of 2014". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c d Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud (July 27, 2014). "'Lucy,' 'Hercules' beat expectations at weekend box offices". Reuters. Retrieved July 28, 2014.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  18. ^ "Weekend Report: 'Lucy' Wins Brain vs. Brawn Battle". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  19. ^ Cunningham, Todd (July 27, 2014). "Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy' Hammers 'Hercules' and The Rock at Box Office". The Wrap. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Ray Subers (July 27, 2014). "Weekend Report: 'Lucy' Wins Brain vs. Brawn Battle". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  21. ^ Nancy Tartagloine (July 27, 2014). "UPDATE: Intl Box Office: 'Apes' Dawns In Latin America; 'Godzilla' Stomps Into Japan; 'Hercules' Shows $28.7M Muscles; 'Transformers' Passes $300M In China; More". Deadline.com.
  22. ^ Jeremy Kay (July 27, 2014). "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes surges to $54.8m international box office". screendaily.com.
  23. ^ Busch, Anita (July 21, 2014). "Box Office: 'Lucy' To Overpower 'Hercules' And 'Apes' This Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  24. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (July 24, 2014). "The Most Unexpected Quotes from 'Hercules' Reviews". The Wire. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  25. ^ "Hercules". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  26. ^ "Hercules Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  27. ^ Foundas, Scott. "Film Review: Hercules". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  28. ^ Weitzman, Elizabeth (July 25, 2014). "Hercules: movie review". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  29. ^ DeFore, John (July 25, 2014). "Brett Ratner's 'Hercules' is actually entertaining in places". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  30. ^ Berardinelli, James (July 25, 2014). "Hercules". ReelViews. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  31. ^ "Teen Choice Awards Nominees For 2014 Announced". The Huffington Post. June 18, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  32. ^ "Hercules 3D Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  33. ^ Hannah Means Shannon (July 17, 2014). "Alan Moore Calls For Boycott Of 'Wretched Film' Hercules On Behalf Of Friend Steve Moore". BleedingCool.com. Retrieved July 19, 2019.

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