February 21, 2003
What if the guys from Road Trip were ten years older and yearning for the golden days of their youth? Though unspoken, this is essentially the premise behind Old School, a film that is written and directed by the folks who previously brought us…wait for it…Road Trip.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Road Trip was a reasonably successful film for what it was, with an opening weekend of $15.5 million and final box office of $68.5 million. The film even accumulated an extra $46.20 million on video, a nice tidy little sum for a gross-out comedy with essentially no big names.
Instead of taking our heroes out on the road, Old School sends them back to college. Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn play three longtime friends who grow disillusioned with the current state of their lives and decide to recapture the glory days of college. When one of the three moves into a house just off campus, they throw a huge party that winds up being a tremendous success. They hatch a scheme to start their own fraternity…and since they’re not located on campus they won’t be confined to the rules, regulations, and community service requirements of a typical frat. The added bonus, of course, will be that the pledges can serve as slaves. Yadda, yadda, yadda, hilarity ensues.
Supporting the three primary players are a number of well-known names and faces from both television and film, including Craig Kilborn, Leah Remini, Juliette Lewis, Andy Dick, Jeremy Piven and Road Trip’s Breckin Meyer and Seann William Scott. Ellen Pompeo, who will be appearing in Catch Me If You Can later in 2002, will provide an element of romance as Wilson’s love interest.
Given the success of Road Trip, it’s a virtual certainty that DreamWorks will be giving Old School a heavy marketing push in hopes of a repeat. With higher profile stars and a story that appeals to a wider age demographic, it’s a film that has a terrific chance at breaking out of the typical October doldrums, assuming it stays in its current slot. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
July 3, 2002
After initially being scheduled for October with a small bump up to September, Old School is now slated for a spring release in 2003. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Box Office Autopsy
The third weekend in February 2003 was busy. It saw four films open, and it hosted the second weekend of the $100 million earner Daredevil. Top of the crop of newbies was Old School, the old age frat comedy from DreamWorks Pictures.
Even after getting pushed back a couple times by SKG, Old School found a quality home on Feb. 21st. DreamWorks did put forward a big marketing push, featuring a fantastic, very funny TV ad that featured Will Ferrell behaving badly. The film opened strong, finding $17.5 million over its first three days from a moderate 2,689 venues. DreamWorks was smart and added 53 venues in its sophomore weekend; the film held very well, dropping only 20%, grossing $14 million. The three weeks that followed saw drops below 35%, and the film found a final gross of $75.2 million. Road Trip, Todd Phillips' pre-Old School DreamWorks comedy opened similarly, but only grossed $68.5 million, and it did it while teens were out of school for the summer. Old School had to slog through the slow weekdays of February, which by that fact alone made it a shining star compared to Road Trip.
Old School cost DreamWorks only $24 million and was not only a hit at the box office, but also a big hit on homevideo. Old School: Unrated and Out of Control has been on the top ten DVD sales list for three consecutive weeks at the time of this writing. Let's hope that an Old School 2 is a possibility.
Comparison films for Old School
|American Pie 2
|National Lampoon's Van Wilder