Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Shawn Levy|
|Produced by||Shawn Levy
|Screenplay by||John Gatins|
|Story by||Dan Gilroy
by Richard Matheson
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Editing by||Dean Zimmerman|
21 Laps Entertainment
|Distributed by||Touchstone Pictures|
|Running time||127 minutes|
|Box office||$295,120,796 |
Real Steel is a 2011 American science fiction sports drama film starring Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo and co-produced and directed by Shawn Levy. The film is based in part on the 1956 short story "Steel" by Richard Matheson, though screenwriter John Gatins placed the film in U.S. state fairs and other "old-fashioned" Americana settings. Real Steel was in development for several years before production began on June 11, 2010. Filming took place primarily in the U.S. state of Michigan. Animatronic robots were built for the film, and motion capture technology was used to depict the brawling of computer-generated robots and animatronics. Real Steel was publicly released in Australia on October 6, 2011, and in the United States and Canada on October 7, 2011, to mixed to positive reviews and grossed $295 million at the box office. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 84th Academy Awards.
In 2020, human boxers have been replaced by robots. Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), a former boxer, owns the robot Ambush. He enters his fighter in unsanctioned matches and exhibition fights. At a county fair, Ambush is destroyed by a bull belonging to promoter Ricky (Kevin Durand). Having made a bet that Ambush would win, Charlie now owes Ricky $20,000, money he doesn't have, so Charlie has to run away.
Charlie is told his ex-girlfriend has died, and that he must attend a hearing about the future of his son Max (Dakota Goyo). Max's wealthy aunt Debra (Hope Davis and her husband Marvin James Rebhorn) want full custody, which Charlie gives them after Marvin agrees to pay him $100,000, half in advance, on the condition that Charlie takes Max for three months while the couple are away on a second anniversary.
Charlie and Max meet Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lilly), a friend of Charlie's who runs her dad's boxing gym, Charlie's old coach. Charlie buys a secondhand World Robot Boxing league (WRB) robot, the once-famous Noisy Boy and arranges for it to fight the illegal circuit's champion, Midas. The fight starts well for Charlie, but due to both his inexperience with Noisy Boy's controls and his own overconfidence, Charlie ends up losing control of Noisy Boy and Midas destroys it.
Charlie breaks into a junkyard with Max to steal scraps that he can use to build a new robot. Max falls over a ledge, where he is saved by getting snagged on the arm of a buried robot. After Charlie pulls Max up, Max digs out the entire robot and finds his branding, Atom. Charlie takes it back to Bailey's gym to overhaul it. They discover Atom is an obsolete Generation-2 sparring bot from 2014. Atom was designed to sustain massive damage. Atom also has a "shadow function" which allows him to follow or copy human movement. Max insists and Charlie agrees since he needs the money, on having Atom fight an unsanctioned match against the robot Metro. Atom wins, earning back some of Charlie's money.
Max later upgrades Atom to take vocal commands, using parts from Charlie's old robots, and convinces Charlie to train Atom. Atom's later string of wins attracts the WRB's attention, and they offer Atom a professional fight against the robot Twin Cities. Charlie accepts and Atom wins again, thanks to Charlie's boxing experience allowing him to take advantage of a small tell in Twin Cities' punch. Reveling in the attention, Max challenges WRB champion Zeus, designed by genius Tak Mashido (Karl Yune) and sponsored by wealthy Farra Lemkova (Olga Fonda), a woman who wants to monopolize the robot-boxing industry. She even tried to buy Atom before the fight.
Ricky and two henchmen corner Charlie after the fight, giving him a beating and stealing his money. Charlie decides to return Max to his aunt, saying that is for the best, but an angry Max tells him that the only thing that he wanted was for Charlie to fight for him. Charlie refuses Marvin's money. He later visits Bailey, who convinces him to fight for his son. He then goes to Debra's house, apologizes to Max and convinces Debra to allow Max to come with him for the fight against Zeus.
In the night of the fight against Zeus, everyone is here, including Max's aunt and uncle, Bailey and Rick, who bets $100,000 that Atom would not last the first round against Zeus. Things start badly for Atom, but manages to recover. Rick tries to slip away, but is cornered by the bookie and his colleagues. In the following rounds, Atom fights back, landing several good punches on the champion. In the fourth round of the five-round match, Atom's voice-activated controls are damaged, and Atom must fight in shadow mode, copying Charlie's moves. Zeus, now controlled manually by a furious Mashido, tries to overpower Atom, running low on power and becoming sluggish. The fight swings in Atom's favor as he overwhelms the weakened Zeus, even knocking the champion down, but Atom is unable to win before the fight ends. The judges declare Zeus the winner on points, but the near-defeat leaves the Zeus team humiliated with the people booing them. The people cheers for Atom, who is labelled the "People's Champion" as Charlie and Max celebrate their success together as father and son.
Real Steel is directed by Shawn Levy and is based on Richard Matheson's 1956 short story "Steel." The film was produced by DreamWorks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, 21 Laps, and Montford/Murphy Productions. The original screenplay was written by Dan Gilroy and was purchased by DreamWorks for $850,000 in 2003 or 2005 (sources differ). The project was one of 17 that DreamWorks took from Paramount Pictures when they split in 2008. Director Peter Berg expressed interest in the project in mid-2009 but went no further. Levy was attached to the project in September 2009, and Jackman was cast in the starring role in November for a $9 million fee. In the same month, Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider at DreamWorks greenlit the project. Les Bohem and Jeremy Leven had worked on Gilroy's screenplay, but in 2009 John Gatins was working on a new draft. When Levy joined the project, he worked with Gatins to revise the screenplay, spending a total of six weeks fine-tuning the script. Advertising company FIVE33 did a two-hundred page "bible" about robot boxing. Levy said he was invited by Spielberg and Snider while finishing Date Night, and while the director initially considered Real Steel to have "a crazy premise," he accepted after reading the script and feeling it could be "a really humanistic sports drama."
Real Steel had a production budget of $110 million. Levy chose to set the film in state fairs and other "old-fashioned" Americana settings that would exude nostalgia and create a warm tone for the film's father-son story. There was also an attempt for the scenery to blend in new and old technology. Filming began in June, 2010, and ended by October 15, 2010. Locations include areas around Detroit, Michigan, and across the state, including at the Renaissance Center, the Cobo Arena, the Detroit Fire Department headquarters, the Russell Industrial Center, the Ingham County Courthouse, the former Belle Isle Zoo, and the Highland Park Ford Plant.
Jason Matthews of Legacy Effects, successor to Stan Winston Studios, was hired to turn production designer Tom Meyer's robot designs into practical animatronic props. He said, "We have 26-and-a-half total live-action robots that were made for this film. They all have hydraulic neck controls. Atom has RC [radio-controlled] hands as well." According to Jackman, executive producer Spielberg "actually said to Shawn, 'You should really have real elements where you can.' ... Basically if they're not walking or fighting, that's a real robot." Levy added that Spielberg gave the example of Jurassic Park, where Winston's animatronic dinosaurs "got a better performance from the actors, as they were seeing something real, and gave the visual effects team an idea of what it would look like." As Real Steel was not based on a toy, Meyer said that "there was no guideline" for the robots, and each was designed from scratch, with an attempt to put "different personality and aesthetics," according to Levy. In Atom's case, it tried to have a more humanizing design to be an "everyman" who could attract the audience's sympathy and serve as a proxy to the viewer, with a fencing mask that Meyer explained served to show "his identity was a bit hidden, so you have to work harder to get to see him." Executive producer Robert Zemeckis added that the mask "became a screen so we can project what we want on Atom's face." Damage was added to the robots' decoration to show how they were machines worn out by intense battles.
For scenes when computer-generated robots brawl, "simulcam" motion capture technology, developed for the film Avatar, was used. As Levy described the process, "[Y]ou're not only capturing the fighting of live human fighters, but you're able to take that and see it converted to [CGI] robots on a screen instantaneously. Simulcam puts the robots in the ring in real time, so you are operating your shots to the fight, whereas even three, four years ago, you used to operate to empty frames, just guessing at what stuff was going to look like." Boxing hall-of-famer Sugar Ray Leonard was an adviser for these scenes and gave Jackman boxing lessons so his moves would be more natural.
Disney released the first trailer for Real Steel in December 2010. In May 2011, the studio released a second trailer. While the film features boxing robots, Levy said he wanted to show in the trailer "the father-son drama, the emotion Americana of it". He said, "We are very much the robo-boxing movie, but that's one piece of a broader spectrum." In addition to marketing trailers and posters, DreamWorks enlisted the British advertising company Five33 to build large physical displays representing the film as it had done for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The studio also collaborated with Virgin America to name one of their Airbus A320s after the film, and one of the film's robots is pictured on its fuselage. On September 19, Jackman appeared on the weekly sports entertainment program WWE Raw to promote the film. In addition to Jackman making an appearance on the show, WWE named Crystal Method's "Make Some Noise" from the film's soundtrack as the official theme song for their returning PPV, Vengeance.
Jakks Pacific released a toy line with action figures based on Atom, Zeus, Noisy Boy, Midas and Twin Cities. The company has also released a one-on-one, playset fighting game with robots in a ring.
Real Steel had its world premiere on September 6, 2011 in Paris at the Le Grand Rex. The film had its United States premiere on October 2, 2011 in Los Angeles at the Gibson Amphitheatre. It was commercially released in Australia on October 6, 2011, followed by the United States and Canada on October 7, 2011. For the U.S. release, it was originally scheduled for release on November 18, 2011, but it was moved earlier to avoid competition with the first part of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. The film was released in 3,440 theaters in the United States and Canada, including 270 IMAX screenings. There will also be over 100 IMAX screenings in territories outside the United States and Canada, with 62 screening on October 7.
The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and both high-definition and standard-definition digital download on January 24, 2012 from Touchstone Home Entertainment. Additional material includes Disney Second Screen; deleted and extended scenes with introductions by director Levy; and a profile of film consultant Sugar Ray Leonard.
Real Steel gained mixed to positive reviews from critics, with the aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes listing 60% of 203 critics giving a positive review, with a rating average of 5.9 out of 10. The website's consensus is, "Silly premise notwithstanding, this is a well-made Hollywood movie: Thrilling and exciting action with just enough characterization."Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a rating score of 56, based on 34 reviews.CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was an A on an A plus to F scale. The Rehash Critics gave this film a 1.75 out of 5.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated the film three out of four stars, saying, "Real Steel is a real movie. It has characters, it matters who they are, it makes sense of its action, it has a compelling plot. Sometimes you go into a movie with low expectations and are pleasantly surprised." Conversely, Claudia Puig of USA Today said that, "Though the premise of fighting robots does seem a plausible and intriguing extension of the contemporary WWE world, Real Steel is hampered by leaden, clichéd moments in which a stubborn boy teaches his childish father a valuable lesson."Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A-, saying director Levy "makes good use of his specialized skill in blending people and computer-made imaginary things into one lively, emotionally satisfying story". James White of the UK magazine Empire gave the film 3 of 5 stars, saying, "Rocky with robots? It's not quite in Balboa's weight class, but Real Steel at least has some heft. There's barely a story beat among the beat-downs that you won't expect, and sometimes the saccharine gets in the way of the spectacle, but on the whole this is enjoyable family entertainment."
Real Steel has earned $85,120,796 in North America, and $210,000,000 in other territories as of January 21, 2012, for a worldwide total of $295,120,796. It had a worldwide opening of $49.4 million. In North America, it topped the box office with $8.5 million on its opening day and $27.3 million in total on its opening weekend, claiming the number one spot, ahead of the other new nationwide release (The Ides of March) and all holdovers. It managed first-place debuts in 11 countries including Hugh Jackman's native Australia ($4.2 million).
|People's Choice Awards||Hugh Jackman||Favorite Action Movie Star||Won|
|Young Artist Award||Dakota Goyo||Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor||Won|||
|Saturn Award||Best Performance by a Young Actor||Nominated|
|Academy Awards||Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, and Swen Gillberg||Best Visual Effects||Nominated|
Real Steel soundtrack consists of 13 tracks featuring artists including Tom Morello, Eminem, Royce da 5'9" (Bad Meets Evil), Yelawolf, 50 Cent, Limp Bizkit and Foo Fighters. Levy, a fan of The Crystal Method, invited that duo to contribute to the soundtrack; they recorded two new songs for it after viewing a rough cut of the film.
|Real Steel - Music From The Motion Picture|
|1.||"Fast Lane"||Bad Meets Evil||4:12|
|2.||"Here's A Little Something For Ya"||Beastie Boys||3:09|
|3.||"Miss The Misery"||Foo Fighters||4:32|
|4.||"The Enforcer"||50 Cent||3:25|
|5.||"Make Some Noise (Put 'em Up)"||The Crystal Method||3:27|
|6.||"'Till I Collapse"||Eminem||4:59|
|7.||"One Man Army"||The Prodigy||4:15|
|8.||"Give It A Go"||Timbaland, Veronica||4:20|
|9.||"The Midas Touch"||Tom Morello||3:28|
|10.||"Why Try"||Limp Bizkit||2:53|
|12.||"All My Days"||Alexi Murdoch||4:56|
The score album of "Real Steel: Original Motion Picture Score" consists of 19 tracks composed by Danny Elfman; released November 1, 2011, in the US. Levy considered Elfman one of the few composers who could do a score similar to that of the Rocky franchise, alternating guitar-based ambient music and songs with a full orchestra.
All music composed by Danny Elfman.
|1.||"Charlie Trains Atom"||1:59|
|2.||"On The Move"||2:39|
|3.||"Into The Zoo"||1:02|
|4.||"Why We're Here (feat. vocal by Poe)"||0:55|
|6.||"It's Your Choice"||1:28|
|7.||"Safe With Me"||2:57|
|8.||"Atom Versus Twin Cities"||3:12|
|9.||"...For A Kiss"||0:56|
|10.||"Get In The Truck"||1:12|
|12.||"Twin Cities' Intro"||1:20|
|13.||"Parkway Motel (feat. vocal by Poe)"||1:47|
|14.||"This Is A Brawl"||1:48|
|15.||"You Deserve Better"||4:02|
|16.||"Into The Ring"||1:12|
|17.||"Taking A Beating"||1:33|
In April 2011, DreamWorks announced it was developing a sequel, and that John Gatins, who wrote the screenplay for the first film, was hired to script the second. Touchstone Pictures, which distributed the first, will co-produce and co-finance, with DreamWorks, and distribute the film. Director Shawn Levy said in September 2011 a sequel depended on the success of the first film and that he would also direct it. The key actors—Jackman, Lilly, and Goyo—would reprise their roles if the studio proceeded with a sequel, though the production schedule would need to match Jackman's crowded schedule.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Real Steel|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Real Steel|
- Official website
- Real Steel at the Internet Movie Database
- Real Steel at AllRovi
- Real Steel at Box Office Mojo
- Real Steel at Rotten Tomatoes
- Real Steel at Metacritic
- Official Real Steel game
- Real Steel soundtrack at Movie Soundtracks