Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

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Percy Jackson & the Olympians:
The Lightning Thief
A youth, standing in a large body of water in the dark, holds a bolt of lightning in his raised right arm and faces away, towards a city skyline
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChris Columbus
Produced by
Screenplay byCraig Titley
Based onThe Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyStephen Goldblatt
Edited byPeter Honess
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 2, 2010 (2010-02-02) (Canada)
  • February 12, 2010 (2010-02-12) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom[2]
United States
Budget$95 million[3][4]
Box office$226.4 million[4]

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (also known as Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief) is a 2010 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus. The film is based on the 2005 novel The Lightning Thief, the first novel in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. It stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson alongside an ensemble cast that includes Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Rosario Dawson, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Sean Bean and Pierce Brosnan. It was released to theaters on February 12, 2010 in the United States by 20th Century Fox.[5]

The film cost $95 million to make.[4] In its opening weekend in North America, it ranked number two at the box office, making $38.8 million.[6] Though it received mixed reviews from critics, the film grossed $226.4 million worldwide.[4] The film was released on June 29, 2010 on DVD[7] and Blu-ray.[8] A video game based on the film developed by Activision was released for Nintendo DS on February 11, 2010. A sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, was released on August 7, 2013.


In New York City, Zeus and Poseidon meet at the top of the Empire State Building, where Zeus reveals that his master lightning bolt has been stolen and accuses Poseidon's demigod son, Percy Jackson, of the theft. Poseidon reminds him that Percy is unaware of his true identity, but Zeus declares that unless his master bolt is returned to Mount Olympus before the summer solstice, in two weeks' time, war will be waged between all the gods.

Percy is a 16-year-old boy who appears to be dyslexic, but has a unique ability to stay underwater for a long time. While on a school field trip to the local museum, Percy is attacked by Alecto, a Fury disguised as his substitute English teacher, Mrs. Dodds, who demands the lightning bolt. Percy's best friend, Grover Underwood, and his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner— both of whom appear disabled— help Percy and scare off Alecto. Mr. Brunner gives Percy a pen, claiming that it is a powerful weapon. He instructs Grover to take Percy and his mother, Sally, to Camp Half-Blood - a hidden summer camp for demigod children. However, upon arriving at the camp, the three are attacked by the Minotaur, who kills Sally. Percy uses Mr. Brunner's pen, discovering that it is a sword, to fight the Minotaur. Percy kills the Minotaur with his own horn, but faints from intense shock.

Three days later, Percy wakes up in the camp. He learns he is the son of Poseidon, Grover is a disguised Satyr and his junior protector and "Mr. Brunner" is the Centaur, Chiron, also initially disguised. Chiron suggests that Percy go to Mount Olympus to convince Zeus of his innocence. Percy begins training to use his demigod powers, which include water manipulation and using water to heal. He also meets other demigods, including Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; and Camp Leader, Luke Castellan, son of Hermes. Percy is visited by a fiery apparition of his uncle Hades, who reveals that Sally is with him in the Underworld and that he will return her safely if Percy hands over the lightning bolt. Defying Chiron's orders, Percy decides to go to the Underworld believing if he can convince Hades of his innocence, Hades will release his mother. Grover and Annabeth decide to join him. They visit Luke, who gives Percy a map showing the location of three green pearls belonging to Hades' wife, Persephone, which the trio can use to escape the Underworld by stepping on them and visualizing where they wish to be taken. Percy is also given a pair of flying Converse All-Star shoes (which Luke stole from his father), and a shield, which Luke describes as his favorite.

The trio heads out, and they begin searching for the first pearl at the old, abandoned "Auntie Em's Garden Emporium" in Leeds Point, New Jersey, which turns out to be the lair of Medusa. She tries to kill them until Percy decapitates her from behind. They take her head, to use as a weapon; a fistful of gold drachmas, and the pearl, which Medusa wore on her bracelet. They locate the second pearl in the Parthenon in Nashville; Percy uses the flying shoes to take it from the crown of the replica Athena Parthenos statue. However, they are confronted by the Lernaean Hydra, and Grover turns it to stone with Medusa's head. The last pearl is searched for at the Lotus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where, at the casino's cocktail waitress' offer, the three sample the casino's signature dish, lotus flowers. They quickly forget their reason for being there, and stay in the casino for five days until Poseidon abruptly speaks in Percy's mind, helping Percy return to his senses. Percy frees Grover and Annabeth from the effects of the flowers, and after locating the pearl on a roulette wheel (being used as the roulette ball), they escape by stealing a display Maserati. As they leave, Annabeth realizes that the casino is actually the lair of the Lotus-Eaters, and they have been luring people into their trap and keeping them captive since ancient times. With all three pearls, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth head into the Underworld, the portal to which is located behind the Hollywood Sign, and they receive a ferry ride from Charon by paying him with the drachmas.

In the Underworld, they meet Hades and Persephone. Though Percy tells Hades that he does not have the lightning bolt, Hades finds it hidden inside Luke's shield, revealing that Luke was the lightning thief. However, instead of allowing Percy, Grover, Annabeth and Sally to go free, Hades cruelly goes back on the deal and has Persephone feed the group to a gate of souls. Persephone suddenly knocks Hades unconscious by tasing him with the lightning bolt, as revenge on him for imprisoning her for all eternity, and gives the bolt to Percy. However, because they only have three pearls, Grover remains in the Underworld to allow Percy's mother to leave.

Percy, Annabeth, and Sally teleport to the Empire State Building, but before they can enter Mount Olympus, they are ambushed by Luke. He reveals that he stole the bolt to destroy Mount Olympus, and secure the demigods' place as the new rulers of Western Civilization. After a fight across Manhattan, Percy defeats and seemingly kills Luke and returns the lightning bolt to Zeus, who forgives Percy and allows Poseidon to briefly speak with his son.

Percy and Annabeth are reunited with Grover, furloughed from the Underworld, and sporting a new pair of small horns that designate his promotion to Percy's senior protector. Percy and Annabeth nearly kiss, but Annabeth tricks him and they continue to train.

In the mid-credits scene, Sally kicks her abusive husband, Gabe Ugliano, out of the apartment. He decides to get a beer on his way out, but finds a note from Percy saying that he should not open the refrigerator under any circumstance. He breaks the lock anyway and sees Medusa's head, turning him to stone.


Logan Lerman plays the titular character.


Chris Columbus is the film's director and producer.

In June 2004, 20th Century Fox acquired feature film rights to the book.[14] In April 2007, director Chris Columbus was hired to helm the project.[15] Filming began in April 2009 in Vancouver.[11] Portions of the film were shot at the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, that has a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens.[16] The Lotus Casino sequence was filmed at The Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver in June 2009, and additional scenes of Percy, Grover and Annabeth driving to and from the casino were shot on the Las Vegas Strip and in front of the Fremont Street Experience. Filming wrapped up on the morning of July 25, 2009, in Mission, British Columbia. Additional exterior scenes were filmed on location in Brooklyn, New York during the first week of August 2009.[17] Digital intermediate work began in San Francisco in November 2009.[18] Christophe Beck composed the score.[19] Columbus has stated that the cast was chosen specifically with sequels in mind. "I think with Percy Jackson it was a matter of finding the right cast to fit into these roles, sort of the perfect cast for these roles, because hopefully, God willing, we will go on to do other Percy Jackson films and you want the cast to grow with their characters".[20]

During production, Riordan was disappointed with the changes made to the story and warned the studio that it would likely alienate the readers of the book series that it was depending on to buy tickets. In two emails commenting at length on a draft of the script that he posted to his blog in 2018, he specifically warned the studio that trying to make the story more attractive to a teenage audience by aging the characters and including some profanity in the script might move a significant portion of the books' readers to leave the theater in disgust long before the movie ended. He also felt the introduction of Persephone's pearls as a plot device made no sense, having no basis in mythology and distracting Percy from his goal of recovering the stolen lightning.[21]


Box office[edit]

The film opened on February 12, 2010, in 3,356 theaters; its opening weekend box-office results totaled $31,236,067[4] in the U.S., finishing at #3 below The Wolfman, which opened at #2 with $31,479,235 and below Valentine's Day, which opened at #1 with $56,260,707.[22] The film had a strong opening weekend for its genre, posting the highest opening weekend for a fantasy film not from the Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, or Lord of the Rings series.[23] As of September 14, 2010, it grossed a domestic total of $88,768,303 with $137,728,906 elsewhere in the world, bringing it to $226,497,209.[4]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. It holds a 49% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 142 collected reviews, with an average score of 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Though it may seem like just another Harry Potter knockoff, Percy Jackson benefits from a strong supporting cast, a speedy plot, and plenty of fun with Greek mythology."[24] It also holds a Metacritic score of 47 out of 100, based on 31 sampled reviews, indicating "mixed to average reviews."[25] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "standard Hollywood product... unadventurous and uninteresting".[26] The reviewer for The Washington Post thought "the movie suffers by taking itself a little too seriously. It's not just that it's a lot less funny than the book. It's also a lot less fun".[27] On BBC Radio 5, Mark Kermode criticized the similarity of the film to director Chris Columbus's Harry Potter films, likening it to a Harry Potter parody book and dubbing it Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins.[28] This comment later sparked a satirical fan creation with precisely that title, narrated by Stephen Fry.[29]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category/Recipient(s) Result References
2010 MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance

Logan Lerman

Nominated [30]
Best Fight

Logan Lerman vs. Jake Abel

Teen Choice Awards 2010 Choice Movie Actress: Fantasy

Rosario Dawson

Nominated [31][32]
Choice: Breakout Female

Alexandra Daddario

Choice: Breakout Male

Logan Lerman

Choice: Fight

Logan Lerman vs. Jake Abel

37th Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor

Logan Lerman

Nominated [33]
2010 Scream Awards Best Cameo

"Rosario Dawson"

Nominated [34]


Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedFebruary 9, 2010 (2010-02-09)
LabelABKCO Records

All music composed by Christophe Beck.

2."The Minotaur"5:09
5."The Fury"2:16
7."The Hydra"6:54
9."Son of Poseidon"1:57
10."The Parthenon"3:42
12."Lost Souls"2:35
13."Fighting Luke, Part 1"3:54
14."Fighting Luke, Part 2"2:47
16."Mount Olympus"1:27
19."End Credits"7:12

Songs featured in the film that were not included in the soundtrack:

1."Highway to Hell"AC/DC3:28
2."I'll Pretend"Dwight Yoakam2:22
3."A Little Less Conversation"Elvis Presley3:30
4."Poker Face"Lady Gaga3:58
5."Mama Told Me (Not to Come)"Three Dog Night2:58
6."Tik Tok"Kesha3:21

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the film developed by Activision was released for Nintendo DS on February 11, 2010.[35] GameZone's Michael Splechta gave it a 6/10, saying "Percy Jackson might not make a splash when it comes to movie tie-in games, but fans of turn-based combat might find some redeeming qualities in this otherwise bare-bones game."[36] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the game has a score of 56 (citing "mixed or average reviews") based on 6 reviews.[37]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on June 29, 2010 on DVD[7] and Blu-ray.[8] The movie itself charted at the top of the charts (DVD sales) with $13,985,047 in revenue in its first week.[38] As of October 2011, the movie had sold 2,087,368 DVDs with over $37 million in sales.[39]


In October 2011, 20th Century Fox announced a stand-alone sequel based on the second book, The Sea of Monsters.[40] The film was released on August 7, 2013.[41]


  1. ^ "PERCY JACKSON & THE LIGHTNING THIEF | British Board of Film Classification". Retrieved 2017-04-29.
  2. ^ a b "Percy Jackson & The Olympians The Lightning Thief (2010) | BFI". Retrieved 2017-04-29.
  3. ^ "'Valentine's Day,' 'Percy Jackson' and 'Wolfman': The more they cost, the less they made". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. February 15, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2010. The debut of "Percy Jackson" was good, but not great given its $95-million production budget funded by 20th Century Fox, Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Film Partners.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief at Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ "Contact Information and FAQ:Rick Riordan". Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  6. ^ Marshall, Rick (February 16, 2010). "What does the 'Percy Jackson' opening weekend mean for Logan Lerman's 'Spider-man' Chances?". Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  7. ^ a b ASIN B003HARV3Y, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  8. ^ a b ASIN B002ZG98J6, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [Blu-ray]
  9. ^ a b Siegel, Tatiana (March 2, 2009). "'Percy Jackson' finds lead actors". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  10. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (March 18, 2009). "'Lightning Thief' finds female lead". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  11. ^ a b c d Siegel, Tatiana (March 25, 2009). "Fox 2000 bulks up 'Percy Jackson'". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Hewitt, Chris (May 7, 2009). "Dawson And Coogan Join Percy Jackson". Empire. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (April 15, 2009). "Catherine Keener joins 'Percy Jackson' film". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  14. ^ Brodesser, Claude (June 23, 2004). "'Lightning Thief' strikes Maverick". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  15. ^ Gilstrap, Peter (April 17, 2007). "Columbus struck by 'Lightning'". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  16. ^ "Portions Of Movie To Be Shot At Parthenon". WSMV-TV. June 2, 2009. Archived from the original on June 25, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
  17. ^ Chris Columbus, Joe Pantoliano And Logan Lerman On Location For "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" - August 1, 2009. Wireimage. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  18. ^ Caranicas, Peter (October 20, 2009). "Goldblatt, Deakins follow similar path". Variety. Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  19. ^ Knowles, Harry (November 20, 2009). "New trailer for Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief hits..." Ain't It Cool News. Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  20. ^ Roberts, Sheila (February 8, 2009). "Exclusive Chris Columbus Interview". Roll Credits. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  21. ^ Riordan, Rick (November 16, 2018). "Memories from my TV/Movie Experience". Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  22. ^ Valentine's Day (2010) - Daily Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo
  23. ^ "Weekend Report: 'Valentine's Day' Massacres Presidents' Day Record". Box Office Mojo. 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  24. ^ "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)". Flixster. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  25. ^ "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  26. ^ Turan, Kenneth (February 12, 2010). "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  27. ^ "Critic Review for Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  28. ^ Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief reviewed by Mark Kermode on YouTube
  29. ^ "Septemberfest". Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews. BBC Radio 5 live. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  30. ^ MTV Movie Awards: When Twilight & Betty White Collide!
  31. ^ "First Wave of "Teen Choice 2010" Nominees Announced". The Futon Critic. June 14, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  32. ^ "Winners of 'Teen Choice 2010' Awards Announced; Teens Cast More Than 85 Million Votes".
  33. ^ 37th Annual Saturn Award Nominations
  34. ^ 2010 Scream Awards#Best TV Show
  35. ^ "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief for DS - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Nintendo DS - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief DS Game". Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  36. ^ Splechta, Michael. "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Review". Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  37. ^ "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  38. ^ "US DVD Sales Chart for Week Ending Jul 4, 2010".
  39. ^ "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - DVD Sales".
  40. ^ Weinstein, Joshua L. (October 12, 2011). "Fox Sets Valentines Day 2013 Release for Next 'Die Hard'". Reuters. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  41. ^ "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Moved up to August 7". 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-04-21.

External links[edit]