Hollywood Ending

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Hollywood Ending
Hollywood ending.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWoody Allen
Produced byLetty Aronson
Written byWoody Allen
StarringWoody Allen
George Hamilton
Téa Leoni
Debra Messing
Mark Rydell
Treat Williams
Tiffani Thiessen
Music byDavid Arnold
CinematographyWedigo von Schultzendorff
Edited byAlisa Lepselter
Distributed byDreamWorks Pictures
Release date
  • May 3, 2002 (2002-05-03)[1]
Running time
112 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$16 million[1]
Box office$14.8 million[1]

Hollywood Ending is a 2002 American comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen, who also plays the principal character. It tells the story of a once-famous film director who suffers hysterical blindness due to the intense pressure of directing.


Val Waxman is a once-prestigious film director who now directs television commercials. When he is thrown off his latest effort (a deodorant commercial filmed in the frozen north of Canada), he desperately seeks a real movie project.

Out of the blue, Val receives an offer to direct a big-budget blockbuster to be set in New York City. However, the offer comes from his former wife, Ellie, and her boyfriend, Hal, the studio head who stole her from Val years ago.

Pushed by his agent Al Hack, Val reluctantly agrees to the project, but a psychosomatic ailment strikes him blind just before production is to begin. With Al's encouragement and aid, Val keeps his blindness a secret from the cast and crew (and Hal). During filming, Val rekindles his relationship with Ellie and reconnects with his estranged son, Tony, while his much younger girlfriend, Lori, leaves him. When Val regains what had been missing his life, he regains his sight as well, and realizes that the movie he directed while blind is a disaster.

Sure enough, the movie flops - but is a hit in France, where he is invited to direct a film. After winning Ellie back, he happily proclaims, "Thank God the French exist."


Production notes[edit]

Haskell Wexler was the original cinematographer, but was fired by Woody Allen after a week of filming as they couldn't agree on how to film certain shots. Wedigo von Schultzendorff replaced Wexler.[3]

Box office[edit]

Ticket sales in the United States reach just under $5 million[1][2] and a worldwide gross of $14.8 million.[1]

It was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.[4] In the United Kingdom, it was the first of Allen's films not to receive a theatrical release.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received 46% positive reviews, based on 134 reviews, with an average rating of 5.42/10. The website's critics consensus states: "Although Hollywood Ending contains some zany one-liners, its promising premise is far from developed."[5] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 46 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

Film critic Bryant Frazer thought that it suffered from poor editing. He wrote, "What's most frustrating is the sense that Hollywood Ending could have been quite a bit better than it actually is. At 114 minutes, it's decisively lacking in the brevity that used to characterize Allen's pictures—even the super-serious, Bergman-inspired stuff. Worse, his timing seems to be off—the filmmaker who was once notorious for cutting his films to the absolute bone now gives us rambling, overlong shots featuring performers who almost seem to be ad libbing their dialogue. I ran to the Internet Movie Database to investigate, and discovered what may be the problem—Susan Morse is gone. Morse, the editor who had worked with Allen since Manhattan in 1979 and who turned into a real soldier by the time of the jazzy montage that characterized Deconstructing Harry, was reportedly a victim of budget-cutting within the ranks."[8]

In 2016, film critics Robbie Collin and Tim Robey ranked Hollywood Ending as the worst movie by Woody Allen.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hollywood Ending at The Numbers
  2. ^ a b Hollywood Ending at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Woody's Hollywood Echoes Real Life". Fox News. April 28, 2002.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Hollywood Ending". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
  5. ^ "Hollywood Ending (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  6. ^ Hollywood Ending at Metacritic
  7. ^ "Home - Cinemascore". Cinemascore. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  8. ^ Frazer, Bryant. "Hollywood Ending". Deep Focus. Archived from the original on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
  9. ^ Collin, Robbie; Robey, Tim (October 12, 2016). "All 47 Woody Allen movies - ranked from worst to best". The Daily Telegraph. London, England: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved February 12, 2017.

External links[edit]