School of Rock

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This article is about the film. For the television series based on the film, see School of Rock (TV series). For other uses, see School of Rock (disambiguation).
School of Rock
School of Rock Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Scott Rudin
Written by Mike White
Starring Jack Black
Joan Cusack
Mike White
Sarah Silverman
Miranda Cosgrove
Joey Gaydos Jr.
Music by Craig Wedren
Cinematography Rogier Stoffers
Edited by Sandra Adair
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • October 3, 2003 (2003-10-03)
Running time
109 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million
Box office $131.3 million[2]

School of Rock is a 2003 American musical comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, produced by Scott Rudin and written by Mike White. It stars Jack Black, Joan Cusack, White, Sarah Silverman, Miranda Cosgrove and Joey Gaydos Jr . Struggling rock singer and guitarist Dewey Finn (Black) is kicked out of his band and subsequently disguises as a substitute at a prestigious prep school. After witnessing the musical talent in his students in their music class, Dewey forms a band of fourth-graders to attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands and pay off his rent. The film's supporting cast includes White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman and Miranda Cosgrove.

School of Rock was released on 3 October 2003 by Paramount Pictures and became a critical and commercial blockbuster, grossing $131 million worldwide over a $35 million budget, and receiving critical acclaim. It was previously the highest grossing musical comedy of all time until it was overtaken in 2015 by Pitch Perfect 2.[3] A stage musical adaptation opened on Broadway in December 2015,[4] and a television adaptation for Nickelodeon premiered on March 12, 2016.


No Vacancy, a rock band, performs at a nightclub three weeks before auditioning for Battle of the Bands. Guitarist Dewey Finn creates on-stage antics, and a stage dive that abruptly ends the performance. The next morning, Dewey wakes in the apartment he lives in with Ned Schneebly and his girlfriend Patty Di Marco. They inform Dewey he must make up for his share of the rent, which is four months overdue. When Dewey meets No Vacancy at a rehearsal session, he finds out that he has been replaced by another musician named Spider. Later, while attempting to sell some of his equipment for money, Dewey answers a phone call from Rosalie Mullins, the principal of the Horace Green Prep School, inquiring for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute teacher. Desperate, Dewey impersonates Ned and is hired. On his first day at the school, Dewey adopts the name "Mr. S" (as he could not spell 'Schneebly') and spends his first day behaving erratically, confusing the class and giving them recess, much to the class' delight.

The next day, Dewey overhears the kids in music class and devises a plan to form them into a band to audition for Battle of the Bands. He casts Zack Mooneyham as lead guitarist, Freddy Jones as drummer, cello player Katie on bass, Lawrence on keyboard, and himself as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. He assigns the rest for backup singers, groupies and roadies, with Summer as manager. The project eradicates teaching but helps the students embrace their talent. He reassures Lawrence, worried of his social image, Zack, whose overbearing father disapproves rock, and Tomika, an overweight girl worried to audition despite an amazing voice. During one lesson, he teaches the kids that rock and roll is the way to stick it to the man. Groupies Michelle and Eleni, with Summer's approval, pitch the band name "The School of Rock."

Two weeks after, Dewey sneaks the band members out to audition, while the rest of the class stays to maintain cover. When Freddy wanders off, Dewey retrieves him but the group is rejected because the bill is full. Summer leads the band to fake a terminal illness, successfully auditioning. The next day, Mullins decides to check on his teaching progress, forcing Dewey to teach the actual material. She explains that a parents' night will take place the day before Battle of the Bands, rendering Dewey concerned.

As Dewey prepares to go to parents' night, Ned receives a paycheck from the school, realizing the truth. During the parents' meeting, the parents question what Dewey was teaching until Ned, Patty and the police confront him. With Mullins in question, Dewey reveals his identity and leaves. Back home, Dewey admits what he did was wrong and giving up music is not easy for him. Ned admits it was not easy for him to do either, but that he had to know when to quit. Ned suggests that Dewey should move out.

The next morning, the parents uproar in front of Mullins at her office, while the kids decide to go nevertheless. When the new substitute discovers that the kids are missing, she informs Mullins, and Mullins and the parents race to the competition. A school bus comes to pick up Dewey, who leads the kids to the Battle of the Bands and decides that they play a song written by Zack earlier on. Initially dismissed as a gimmick, the band wins over the entire crowd. While No Vacancy wins, the crowd call for the band to return, and Dewey leads an encore of "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)".

Some time later, an after school program known as the School of Rock has opened as Dewey continues to coach the students he played with before while Ned teaches beginners.


  • Jack Black as Dewey Finn (lead singer, guitar) a energetic, down-on-his-luck guitarist slacker, who goes under the name "Ned Sneebly" in order to pay his half of the rent.
  • Joan Cusack as Principal Rosalie "Roz" Mullins
  • Mike White as Ned Schneebly, Dewey's responsible but submissive roommate and bestfriend. He works as a substitute teacher who lets Dewey take his name while he takes his job.
  • Sarah Silverman as Patty Di Marco, Ned's strict and controlling girlfriend.
  • Miranda Cosgrove as Summer "Tinkerbell" Hathaway (band manager)
  • Joey Gaydos Jr. as Zack "Zack-Attack" Mooneyham (lead guitar)
  • Kevin Clark as Freddy "Spazzy McGee" Jones (drums)
  • Rebecca Brown as Katie "Posh Spice" (bass)
  • Robert Tsai as Lawrence "Mr. Cool" (keyboards)
  • Maryam Hassan as Tomika "Turkey Sub" (second voice, lead choir)
  • Caitlin Hale as Marta "Blondie" (choir)
  • Aleisha Allen as Alicia "Brace Face" (choir)
  • Brian Falduto as Billy "Fancy Pants" (stylist)
  • Zachary Infante as Gordon "Roadrunner" (assistant, lights)
  • James Hosey as Marco "Carrot Top" (assistant, special effects)
  • Angelo Massagli as Frankie "Tough Guy" (security)
  • Cole Hawkins as Leonard "Short Stop" (security)
  • Jordan-Claire Green as Michelle (groupie)
  • Veronica Afflerbach as Eleni (groupie)
  • Adam Pascal as Theo
  • Lucas Babin as Spider
  • Lucas Papaelias as Neil
  • Shawn Rodney as Shawn


Screenwriter Mike White's concept for the film was inspired by the Langley Schools Music Project.[5] Various aspects of the plot were recognized as being similar to the 1957 Broadway hit The Music Man.[6] Jack Black once witnessed a stage dive gone wrong involving Ian Astbury of rock band The Cult, which made its way into the film; "I went to see a reunion, in Los Angeles, of The Cult... it was just a bunch of jaded Los Angelinos out there, and they didn't catch him and he plummeted straight to the ground. Later I thought it was so hilarious. So that was put into the script."[7] Many scenes from the movie were shot around the New York City area. The school portrayed in School of Rock is actually Main Hall at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York.[8] In the commentary, the kids say that all of the hallway scenes were shot in one hallway. One of the theaters used in many of the shots was at Union County Performing Arts Center located in Rahway, New Jersey.



A soundtrack album of the same name was released on September 30, 2003. The film's director, Richard Linklater, scouted the country for talented 13-year-old musicians to play the rock and roll music that features on the soundtrack and in the film. The soundtrack includes "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin, a band that has rarely granted permission for use of their songs in film and television. Richard Linklater came up with the idea to shoot a video on the stage used at the end of the film, with Jack Black begging the band for permission with the crowd extras cheering and chanting behind him. The video was sent directly to the living members of Led Zeppelin, and permission was granted for the song. The video is included on the DVD.

Songs featured in the film[edit]

* Featured on the Soundtrack album


School of Rock received a "Certified Fresh" rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 192 reviews with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Black's exuberant, gleeful performance turns School of Rock into a hilarious, rocking good time."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[10]

Box office performance[edit]

School of Rock opened at #1 with a weekend gross of $19,622,714 from 2,614 theaters for an average of $7,507 per venue.[11] In its second weekend, the film declined just 21 percent, earning another $15,487,832 after expanding to 2,929 theaters, averaging $5,288 per venue, and bringing the 10-day gross to $39,671,396. In its third weekend, it dropped only 28 percent, making another $11,006,233 after expanding once again to 2,951 theaters, averaging $3,730 per venue, and bringing the 17-day gross to $54,898,025. It spent a total of six weeks among the Top 10 films and eventually grossed $81,261,177 in the United States and Canada and another $50,015,772 in international territories for a total gross of $131,282,949 worldwide, almost four times its budget of $35 million. This made School of Rock the highest-grossing musical comedy of all time, until it was overtaken in 2015 by Pitch Perfect 2.[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film was nominated for several awards, including Black receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Comedy or Musical (which he lost to Bill Murray for Lost in Translation), and winning an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.


Potential sequel[edit]

In 2008, Jack Black said that a sequel was being considered.[12] It was later reported that director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin would return.[13] Mike White was returning as screenwriter, titled School of Rock 2: America Rocks, which picks up with Finn leading a group of summer school students on a cross-country field trip that delves into the history of rock 'n' roll.[14] In 2012, Black stated that he believed the sequel was unlikely. "I tried really hard to get all the pieces together," he said. "I wouldn't want to do it without the original writer and director, and we never all got together and saw eye-to-eye on what the script would be. It was not meant to be, unfortunately," but added, "never say never".[15]

Stage adaptation[edit]

On April 5, 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he had bought the rights to School of Rock to a stage musical.[16][17][18] On December 18, 2014, the musical was officially confirmed and it was announced that the show would receive its world premiere on Broadway in autumn 2015, at the Winter Garden Theatre.[19] The musical has a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.[20] and is directed by Laurence Connor,[21] with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter,[22] set and costume design by Anna Louizos[23] and lighting by Natasha Katz.[24] The musical features an original score composed by Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and sound design by Mick Potter,[25] in addition to music from the original film. School of Rock became Lloyd Webber's first show opening on Broadway before London since Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971.[26]

10-year reunion[edit]

On August 29, 2013, a 10-year anniversary screening of the film was held in Austin, Texas at The Paramount Theatre. Those in attendance included director Richard Linklater, Jack Black, Mike White, Miranda Cosgrove and the rest of the young cast members except for Cole Hawkins (who played Leonard).[27] The event, hosted by The Austin Film Society and Cirrus Logic, included a red carpet, a full cast and crew Q&A after the screening, where the now-grown child stars discussed their current pursuits in life, and a VIP after-party performance by the School of Rock band during which "School of Rock" and "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" were played.[28]

Television adaptation[edit]

On August 4, 2014, Nickelodeon announced that they were working with Paramount Television on a television show adaptation of the movie. Production started in the fall and the series premiered in 2016.[29] It stars Ricardo Hurtado, Lance Lim, Aidan Miner, Jade Pettyjohn, Breanna Yde and Tony Cavalero.[30]


  1. ^ "SCHOOL OF ROCK (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. October 8, 2003. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "List of Top Grossing Music Comedy Films, 1984-Present". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "'School of Rock' musical opening on Broadway in 2015". Los Angeles Times. December 18, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  5. ^ High Fidelity: Jack Black stays true to his 'School,' Jim DeRogatis, September 28, 2003
  6. ^ Green, Jesse (2015-12-07). "Theater Review: For Those About to Attend School of Rock, We Salute You". New York Media LLC. Retrieved August 14, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Jack Black Interview, indielondon, Q and A". Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ Balsamini, Dean (September 7, 2008). "Wagner College to celebrate 125th anniversary". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  9. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (October 6, 2003). "'School of Rock' opens with honors". latimes. 
  12. ^ "Jack Black to return to class for School of Rock sequel". July 14, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  13. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (July 13, 2008). "Paramount goes back to School". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  14. ^ Tyler, Josh (July 14, 2008). "Jack Black Set for School of Rock 2". Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  15. ^ "JACK BLACK PLANNING SCHOOL OF ROCK REUNION". October 3, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber to stage School of Rock musical". BBC News. April 10, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber to stage School of Rock". The Guardian. April 8, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber To Bring SCHOOL OF ROCK To The Stage". Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  19. ^ Cox, Gordon (December 18, 2014). "'School of Rock' Will Rock Broadway with Andrew Lloyd Webber". Variety. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber kicks out the jams with School of Rock musical". The Guardian. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock Will Shake Up Broadway Next Fall". Playbill. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  22. ^ "'The School of Rock' to be adapted into Broadway musical". Daily News. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock to open on Broadway next December". The Stage. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ "School of Rock Musical To Have World Premiere On Broadway!". Really Useful Group. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber Will Pen Tunes for School of Rock Musical". Time Magazine. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock will open on Broadway this year". London Box Office. January 14, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2015. 
  27. ^ Matthew, Jacobs (August 30, 2013). "'School Of Rock' Reunion Brings Jack Black, Miranda Cosgrove, Richard Linklater And More Together 10 Years Later". Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  28. ^ "'School of Rock' cast including Jack Black, Miranda Cosgrove reunites for 10 year anniversary". New York: NY Daily News. August 30, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  29. ^ "'School of Rock TV Series Coming to Nickelodeon". August 4, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  30. ^ Elizabeth Wagmeister (March 26, 2015). "'School of Rock' Series: Nickelodeon Announces Cast for TV Movie Adaptation - Variety". Variety. 

External links[edit]