School of Rock
|School of Rock|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Linklater|
|Produced by||Scott Rudin|
|Written by||Mike White|
Joey Gaydos Jr.
|Music by||Craig Wedren|
|Edited by||Sandra Adair|
Scott Rudin Productions
MFP Munich Film Partners GmbH & Company I. Produktions KG
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$131.3 million|
School of Rock is a 2003 American musical comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black. The main plot follows struggling rock singer and guitarist, Dewey Finn (Black), who is kicked out of his band and subsequently disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. After witnessing the musical talent in his students, Dewey forms a band of fourth-graders to attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands and pay off his rent. The picture's supporting cast includes White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman and Miranda Cosgrove.
The film received highly positive reviews from critics, who praised Black's performance. It went on to gross over $131 million worldwide and became the highest grossing musical comedy of all time, until it was overtaken in 2015 by Pitch Perfect 2. A stage musical adaptation is planned to open on Broadway in late 2015, with a television adaptation for Nickelodeon also due to premiere in Autumn 2015.
A rock band known as No Vacancy performs at a nightclub two weeks before auditioning for an upcoming concert known as "Battle of the Bands". Guitarist Dewey Finn creates on-stage antics, including a stage dive that abruptly ends the performance. Dewey wakes up from his dream in an apartment home to him, his roommate and best friend Ned Schneebly and Ned's obnoxious girlfriend Patty Di Marco under pressure to make up for the rent that is four months overdue, otherwise he will be evicted. By the time Dewey catches up to No Vacancy in a rehearsing facility, he finds out that the band's vocalist and leader, Theo has dismissed him due to his on-stage antics from the past performances and replaced by a guy called Spider (despite the fact that he is the founding member of the group). The next day, Dewey attempts to sell some of his instruments for rent money, until he answers a phone call from Principal Rosalie Mullins of the prestigious Horace Green prep school, inquiring for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute. Upon being given details of the job, realizing that he will be paid generously, and desperate for money to avoid eviction from his home, Dewey impersonates Ned and is hired. On his first day working at the school, Dewey adopts the name “Mr. S” (after failing to spell "Schneebly" on the board) and spends his first day being lazy, much to the class’ confusion.
The next day, Dewey overhears the class in a music lesson and hatches a plan to form them into a new band to compete against No Vacancy in the Battle of the Bands tournament. He casts Zack Mooneyham as the lead guitarist, Freddy Jones as the drummer, Katie on bass guitar, Lawrence on keyboards, with Tomika, Marta, and Alicia as backup singers while he is lead vocals and guitarist. He assigns the rest of the class to various roles of groupies, roadies, and the class representative Summer Hathaway as band manager. For the next two weeks, the project takes over normal lessons, but helps the students to embrace their talents and grow confident. Dewey secretly takes the key band members out on a fake field trip to sign up for the competition, but unusual things happen, Tomika gets stage fright, and Freddy succumbs to temptation with an invitation to another band's van which ultimately causes Dewey to angrily tell the band off and Freddy. The class is rejected because they show up too late. Dewey goes up to confront the manager who says the bill's full and they're overbooked. When the manager says they're really not what they're looking for, Dewey loses his temper, angrily knocks over the chair and tells him off by berating him. After that, the manager tells his assistant to call security as a penalty for Dewey going over the top. Summer gets them a spot by feigning a terminal illness. The managers reinstate it. The next day, Dewey is almost exposed when Mullins decides to check on his teaching progress, forcing him to teach the real material.
Dewey befriends Mullins, who was once fun-loving and free-spirited, but the pressure of being principal and the expectations of the parents turned her into her current self. Dewey learns that a parent night is scheduled the night before the competition. Before attending the parent meeting, Dewey's big secret is finally out when Ned receives a paycheck from the school addressed to him, forcing Dewey to confess that he has been impersonating Ned. Dewey urges Ned not to tell Patty, but after he leaves, she demands the truth and calls the police on Dewey. During the parents meeting, the suspicious parents question what Dewey was teaching the students while eventually, Ned, Patty, and the police arrive and expose Dewey as a fraud. With Mullins bursting in to question, Dewey reveals his true identity, admits that he is not really a licensed teacher, and is fired. Back home, Dewey and Patty clash while Ned intervenes on behalf. Finishing the conversation, Ned admits that he misses playing music and hinted that it was time that Dewey had moved out. The next morning, Mullins is under pressure from the parents that attended the meeting the previous night complaining, but the class decides to not let their hard work go to waste, so they decide to pick up Dewey and attend the competition. Knowing the truth that Dewey is leaving with the class, Patty calls Mullins, whilst an intrigued Ned decides to attend the competition, and closes the door once and for all on Patty in the middle of her rant. The band and crew arrive at the Battle of the Bands in time to see No Vacancy perform their song, "Heal Me, I'm Heartsick". Mullins and the parents arrive at the competition just as Dewey and the class take the stage as the School of Rock, and perform “Teacher’s Pet”, winning over the crowd, including the stunned parents.
While No Vacancy wins, they become amazed by Dewey’s new band, Summer meets several potential producers, and the audience (except one crazed No Vacancy fan) requests that School of Rock perform an encore. A few weeks later, Dewey and Ned open an after school program called the School of Rock at their apartment for Ned to teach children how to play instruments or "Rock 101", whilst Dewey continues to coach the band in "Advanced Rock".
- Jack Black as Dewey Finn (lead singer, guitar)
- Joan Cusack as Principal Rosalie "Roz" Mullins
- Mike White as Ned Schneebly
- Sarah Silverman as Patty Di Marco
- 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
A stage dive gone wrong incident involving Ian Astbury of rock band The Cult was witnessed by Jack Black, and was used as inspiration for a scene in School of Rock, in which the character Dewey Finn, stage dives and hits the floor; "I went to see a reunion, in Los Angeles, of The Cult; they were playing and Ian Astbury, the lead singer, took a dive. It was at The Viper Room, and 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."
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. In the commentary, the kids say that every hallway scene in the movie was shot in exactly the same hallway. The tag lines are references to famous rock songs: "We Don't Need No Education" is a famous line from "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" by Pink Floyd and "Come On Feel the Noize" is taken from "Cum On Feel the Noize" by Slade. One of the theaters used in many of the shots was at Union County Performing Arts Center located in Rahway, New Jersey.
Led Zeppelin had a policy that their music not be used in movies and other promotional media. The producers knew that having no songs from Led Zeppelin featured in a film of School of Rock 's nature would leave it sorely lacking, so Black and the producers used some extra time during the filming of the crowd scene in the Battle of the Bands to send a personal video plea to the members of Led Zeppelin to use one of their songs in the movie. This ploy ultimately worked, and "The Immigrant Song" was used in one scene.
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 historically has not allowed their songs to be used for commercial purposes, and rarely give permission for anyone to use their songs, one noted exception being filmmaker Cameron Crowe, who was the only person to write about them favorably while he was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. To get permission, 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 and the crowd cheering and chanting behind him. The video was sent directly to Led Zeppelin, and permission was granted for the song. The video can be seen on the DVD extras.
Music featured within the film
* 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." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Box office performance
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. 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.
Awards and nominations
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.
In 2008, Jack Black revealed that a sequel was being considered. It was later reported that director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin would return. 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.
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".
On April 5, 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he has bought the rights to School of Rock to a stage musical. On 18 December 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. The musical has a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. and is directed by Laurence Connor, with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, set and costume design by Anna Louizos and lighting by Natasha Katz. The musical features an original score composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and sound design by Mick Potter, in addition to music from the original film. School of Rock will be Andrew Lloyd Webber's first show opening on Broadway before London since Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971.
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).
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.
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 is scheduled to premiere in 2015. It will star Ricardo Hurtado, Lance Lim, Aidan Miner, Jade Pettyjohn, Breanna Yde and Tony Cavalero.
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- Official website
- School of Rock at the Internet Movie Database
- School of Rock at Box Office Mojo
- School of Rock at Rotten Tomatoes
- School of Rock at Metacritic
- "Video plea to Led Zeppelin" on YouTube