More on Ron Howard & Rush & Niki Lauda

We just can’t get over Rush. The Ron Howard directed Formula One tale is releasing in North America in the coming weekend on a surprisingly packed weekend for September. Rush would be pitted against the animated sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon and the romantic comedy Baggage Claim. Despite the amazing (and rightly so!) reviews of the film, Rush may find it hard to score big box-office numbers in the domestic market, as Formula One racing is not that deeply rooted in the American psyche, as say baseball or basketball. So that might be a spoilsport. But the modest production budget of Rush ($38 million) should at least help the studios make a decent return if the film manages to do fairly well. One thing that the movie would most definitely do, is again raise the profile of this acclaimed director called Ron Howard.

Rush_Ron Howard

Ron Howard’s theatrical film debut as a director was the 1977 movie Grand Theft Auto which had him playing the lead role too. Howard and fast cars do go back a long way! He has gone on to direct another 21 full-length feature films since then, the latest addition being Rush. Howard’s movies are generally well-received by the critics. On the box-office such movies may not necessarily do too well (though they might bag a few awards here and there), but then Howard has another bag of movies that storm the box-office and please the general audience, but do not venture anywhere near the award shows. So if we were to look at his work since 2000 when How The Grinch Stole Christmas released, Ron Howard has directed 8 movies (the ninth being Rush) — four of those have been nominated for some Academy Award or the other, and four movies have grossed more than $100 million in the domestic market; two movies fall in both categories, so that leaves us with two movies that fall in neither! Phew, that’s quite a bit of analysis, but it does give one useful information, which is that one does not know beforehand what a Ron Howard movie will do. It may win awards, or be commercially successful, or achieve both, or neither. We hope Rush achieves commercial success commensurate with the critical accolades it has been receiving. And since we are in that mood to dig deeper, even if the resulting analysis is meaningful or not, we have plotted the opening weekend domestic earning figures for all Ron Howard directed movies since 2000. It has been quite an up-down ride as this picture reveals!

Howard & Rush_Graph(X-axis represents USD million; Y-axis represents the year of the film’s release)

Eh, where would Rush fall, the weekend shall reveal. Till then it is time to enjoy some delightful stories about the making of this movie that are buzzing around the web. It appears that the screenwriter Peter Morgan knew Niki Lauda from early on (“Niki hit on my wife about 30 years ago, before I ever met her. She turned him down, but they remained friends, so I met him a few times over the years.”). Here is an enjoyable conversation between Morgan and Lauda about the movie script (even before any studio had become attached to it), as narrated by Morgan to The Wrap.

Lauda: “Are we going to the Oscars?”

Morgan: “I don’t think so, Niki. No one’s going to the Oscars with this movie.”

“Why? Are you shit? Should I be doing this with someone else? Are you a loser?”

“I’m just trying to write the screenplay, Niki. I don’t even know if we’re going to get the movie made.”

“I’m not doing this unless 100 percent I’m going to the Oscars.”

“OK Niki, we’re going to the Oscars. That’s a promise.”

“Can I go and get myself a tuxedo?”

“Yes, Niki, get yourself a tuxedo.”

“Good. I’ve got a young wife.  She thinks this shit is interesting. I think it’s a waste of time, but I want to make her happy. So don’t let me down.”

And if you want to hear more from the man who’s again become the toast of the town, then check out this video of Niki Lauda talking to Carjam TV about the movie Rush. An inspiring and interesting personality indeed!

Can also read the movie review: Rush: A riveting story, a masterful movie!


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