School of Rock

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This article is about the film. 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
Scott Rudin Productions
MFP Munich Film Partners GmbH & Company I. Produktions KG
New Century
Sor Productions
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 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. School of Rock 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.[3] A stage musical adaptation opened on Broadway in December 2015,[4] and a television adaptation for Nickelodeon is also due to premiere in 2016.


The films opens with a rock band known as No Vacancy performing at a nightclub. Dewey Finn creates on-stage antics, including a stage dive that prematurely ends the performance. The next morning, Dewey wakes in the apartment he lives in with Ned Schneebly and Patty Di Marco. Ned and Patty pressure Dewey to make up for the share of the rent, which is four months overdue. When Dewey meets No Vacancy at a rehearsing facility, he finds out that he has been fired and replaced by another musician named Spider. Later, Dewey answers a phone call from Principal Rosalie Mullins, the principal of the Horace Green prep school, inquiring for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute teacher. Desperate for money, Dewey impersonates Ned and is hired. On his first day at the school, Dewey adopts the name "Mr. S" and spends his first day behaving erratically, much to the class' confusion.

The next day, Dewey overhears a music class and devises a plan to form them into a new band to compete against No Vacancy in a Battle of the Bands tournament. He casts Zack Mooneyham as lead guitarist, Freddy Jones as drummer, Katie on bass, Lawrence on keyboard, 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 the band manager. The project takes over normal lessons, but helps the students to embrace their talents and be self-confident. Dewey secretly takes key band members out on a fake field trip to sign up for the competition, but they are rejected because the bill is overbooked and Dewey talked with Tomika when she got stage fright and Freddy who had gone out with another band to their van without letting him know. The children feign a terminal illness, and the kids are allowed in the contest.

Dewey befriends Mullins, who he learns 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. Ned receives a paycheck from the school via mail, soon realizing that Dewey is impersonating him. During the parents' meeting at school, the parents question what Dewey has been teaching the kids. Ned, Patty, and the cops confront Dewey. With Mullins bursting in to question what is going on, Dewey reveals his true identity, admits he is not a licensed teacher, causing him to be fired. Back home, Dewey and Patty fight, while Ned intervenes on behalf. Finishing the conversation, Ned admits he misses playing music and says that Dewey should move out.

The next morning, Mullins is under pressure by the parents who attended last night's meeting, but the students decide to not let their hard work go to waste, picking up Dewey and attend the competition. Catching Dewey leaving with the class, Patty calls Mullins, while an intrigued Ned decides to attend the competition. Mullins and the parents race to the competition just as Dewey and his students 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, Dewey's old band becomes amazed by Dewey's new one, Summer meets several potential producers, and the audience cheers for School of Rock to perform an encore. A few weeks later, Dewey and Ned have opened an after school program at their apartment to teach children how to play instruments, while Dewey and the band practice.


  • 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


Screenwriter Mike White's concept for the film was inspired by the Langley Schools Music Project.[5] 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."[6] 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.[7] 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."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[9]

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.[10] 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.[11] It was later reported that director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin would return.[12] 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.[13] 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".[14]

Stage adaptation[edit]

On April 5, 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he has bought the rights to School of Rock to a stage musical.[15][16][17] 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.[18] The musical has a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.[19] and is directed by Laurence Connor,[20] with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter,[21] set and costume design by Anna Louizos[22] and lighting by Natasha Katz.[23] The musical features an original score composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and sound design by Mick Potter,[24] 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.[25]

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).[26] 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.[27]

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 is scheduled to premiere in 2016.[28] It will star Ricardo Hurtado, Lance Lim, Aidan Miner, Jade Pettyjohn, Breanna Yde and Tony Cavalero.[29]


  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. ^ "Jack Black Interview, indielondon, Q and A". Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ Balsamini, Dean (September 7, 2008). "Wagner College to celebrate 125th anniversary". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  8. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  9. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (October 6, 2003). "'School of Rock' opens with honors". latimes. 
  11. ^ "Jack Black to return to class for School of Rock sequel". July 14, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  12. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (July 13, 2008). "Paramount goes back to School". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  13. ^ Tyler, Josh (July 14, 2008). "Jack Black Set for School of Rock 2". Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  14. ^ "JACK BLACK PLANNING SCHOOL OF ROCK REUNION". October 3, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber to stage School of Rock musical". (BBC News). April 10, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber to stage School of Rock". The Guardian. April 8, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber To Bring SCHOOL OF ROCK To The Stage". Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  18. ^ Cox, Gordon (December 18, 2014). "'School of Rock' Will Rock Broadway with Andrew Lloyd Webber". (Variety). Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber kicks out the jams with School of Rock musical". The Guardian. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock Will Shake Up Broadway Next Fall". Playbill. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  21. ^ "'The School of Rock' to be adapted into Broadway musical". (Daily News). December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock to open on Broadway next December". The Stage. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  23. ^ "School of Rock Musical To Have World Premiere On Broadway!". Really Useful Group. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber Will Pen Tunes for School of Rock Musical". (Time Magazine). December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock will open on Broadway this year". London Box Office. January 14, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2015. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ "'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. 
  28. ^ "'School of Rock TV Series Coming to Nickelodeon". August 4, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  29. ^ Elizabeth Wagmeister (March 26, 2015). "'School of Rock' Series: Nickelodeon Announces Cast for TV Movie Adaptation - Variety". Variety. 

External links[edit]