Release Date: July 25, 2003

One horse to rule them all.

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Horse racing is a sport on the rise in North America, particularly thanks to surprise star of the year Funny Cide, a horse that made a run at the Triple Crown, ultimately falling to Empire Maker at the Belmont Stakes. Some of this rising interest is almost surely thanks to the people who read and loved Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling novel Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Happily, for fans of both the sport and the book, the story of Seabiscuit is being adapted for feature film format and looks to be the first major awards contender of the year.

Everybody loves an underdog, and Seabiscuit both defined and defied that word in every sense possible. A smaller-than-average horse that had notably stumpy legs, Seabiscuit captured the hearts and imaginations of a nation just emerging from Depression by simply blowing away the competition. And he managed these accomplishments not by being a Triple Crown winner, but by beating competition that by all counts should have left him in their dust.

The story doesn’t focus only on the horse, though. A number of people were involved in his ascension to fame, most importantly his trainer Tom Smith and jockey Red Pollard. In the movie, those two vital roles will be played by recent Academy Award winner Chris Cooper and Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire. Both are fascinating characters in their own right and having two such talented actors portray them shows solid commitment to the film’s overall quality.

Also involved in the tale is Seabiscuit’s owner Charles Howard, a California magnate who is determined to break through the snobbery of the East with his little horse that could. He’ll be portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the movie, and though the role was somewhat limited in the book, trailers and television advertisements give the impression that it will be expanded for purposes of the film.

Universal has been nothing short of genius in their marketing placement of advertising for Seabiscuit. They’ve run ads during the coverage of all three Triple Crown races, and even had full story coverage during the pre-race shows at the Preakness. The movie does have a small, built-in audience comprised of fans of the book, but it will almost certainly be a hard sell to the man on the street who has never heard Seabiscuit’s story. Seabiscuit should be a small, sleeper-style film that has a strong chance at succeeding come awards time if the quality is as rumored. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Seabiscuit
Main Cast Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper
Supporting Cast William H. Macy, Elizabeth Banks
Director Gary Ross
Screenwriter Gary Ross
Distributor Universal
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 141 minutes
Screen Count 1,987
Awards Awards page for Seabiscuit
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Seabiscuit
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Pleasantville 10/23/988.86 11.39 1636 5416.00 6697.8 40.57 52.16 4.58
Rudy 10/22/935.03 7.32 1460 3445.00 4826.3 22.62 32.94 4.22
Cider House Rules, The 1/7/003.08 3.44 816 3775.00 4062.2 57.54 64.36 17.01
Adaptation 1/10/032.64 2.64 560 4709.00 4709.0 22.50 22.50 6.04



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