The Shawshank Redemption (1994) was hailed as the greatest film of all time, yet it was a box office disappointment upon its premiere. At the same time, many couldn't understand the importance of films like Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction. The later re-release, though a bit more lucrative, was insignificant in comparison to the film's quality. Despite the film's failure at the box office, everyone who watched it felt forced to praise it. More than 2.5 million people voted for the film on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), giving it a 9.3 / 10 rating. Let's look at how this movie, which flopped in cinemas or even won an Academy Award, made it to the top of IMDb.
Box Office Failure
The year 1994 is known as "The Greatest Movie Year." In that year, films such as Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Leon The Professional, and others were released. Forrest Gump, which was released on July 7, has remained in theaters for 42 weeks (about nine and a half months) in a row in the United States. In the same month, Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption are released. And Lion King was the year's highest-grossing film.
Originally, a prison drama like Shawshank Redemption (1994) couldn't attract enough viewers to fill many screens. Even though Shawshank Redemption was a box office disaster, it was re-released in 1995 at the movie theater to make up for the financial loss. However, it did not make much money. Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction, on the other hand, shared all the other accolades, including the Academy Award that year! Shawshank Redemption, on the other hand, did not receive any recognition! As a result of the commercial failure, Shawshank Redemption was unable to win any awards.
Misfortune in Academy Award
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) was nominated for seven Academy Awards but did not win any of them. For his remarkable performance and narrative, Morgan Freeman was named Best Actor. In every way, Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) was the best, but Morgan Freeman wasn't far behind. The cinematography alone can convey how wonderful a film is, and Oscars might have been given in this area. Furthermore, there is always a sense of disappointment when the finest film in the world does not win the award for best film. Perhaps Shawshank Redemption was not well-known at the time, and as a result, it did not receive a fair assessment of itself. However, instead of winning awards and money, this film has captivated the hearts of the public.
Success in Television
For the terrible box office record, TNT Network bought the TV rights for an extremely low price. However, something extraordinary occurred as soon as this film was broadcast on television. Shawshank Redemption was not as well-known as he should have been at the time! And there are still a lot of people who haven't seen the movie! It was not like that then now that we have been on the internet for a long time from watching TV! People used to spend their free time watching television back then! Many viewers began watching Shawshank Redemption on television to pass the time! And they enjoyed the film so much that it spread like wildfire from one person to another in just a few days, even though it was new to most people!
On the advice of others, the audience began watching the film on television and enjoyed it! Due to its quick dissemination, Shawshank Redemption shattered all earlier TV records. Advertisers, understandably, rely on this film for strong TV ratings. In the hopes of generating more revenue from advertising, TV stations began airing the film virtually every day. People began sarcastically saying, "Whether you watch something or not when you turn on the TV, you will surely see Shawshank Redemption!" as the scenario progressed.
This is how a generation of nineties children grew up seeing Shawshank Redemption on television. Later, it was discovered that this generation of youngsters uses the internet the most.
The Snowball Effect
According to many, the Snowball Effect is partly to blame for Shawshank Redemption's high IMDb rating. I mean, maybe a few Shawshank Redemption fans gave it a good rating at first. Many others were influenced by this good rating and performed the same thing! For these reasons, Shawshank Redemption has always held a solid ranking on IMDb. But not at one position, of course. For many years, The Godfather was the number one!
However, in a hilarious occurrence in 2006, Shawshank Redemption dethroned The Godfather and rose to the top forever. In that year, Christopher Nolan's well-known film The Dark Knight was released. Overall, a large Dark Knight fandom was created in just a few days. On IMDb, Dark Knight was already in the top 20! However, the fans believe that whatever it is, it will need to be promoted to the top of IMDb. Everyone gives Dark Knight a ten-out-of-ten rating. However, it did not work. As usual, the Godfather was superior. Because The Dark Knight was just released at that time! The film Godfather, on the other hand, received almost 15 lakh votes! It's not simple to dethrone The Godfather!
After that, fans came up with something unusual. Fans of the Dark Knight began giving Godfather a one-star rating on IMDb by collaborating on many social media sites. The goal is the same: to bring The Godfather down! When Godfather's fans heard this, they did the same thing. As a result, Dark Knight began evaluating a one-star rating by The Godfather fans. By this rating battle, Shawshank Redemption has benefitted. In this situation, Shawshank Redemption, a completely impartial film, jumps to the top of IMDb!
Rise of IMDb Rating
Since then, the top rank on IMDb has remained unchanged. Then there was the Snowball Effect, which did even more work! When most youngsters of today's age (particularly South Asians) begin viewing movies, they automatically start with IMDb's Top Movie! And because The Shawshank Redemption is a fantastic movie, people like it, and many of those who vote for IMDb agree, they give it a perfect score of ten out of ten! So, Shawshank Redemption's status has remained unchanged for a decade! It reminds me a lot of Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings! We all know The Lord of The Rings is the best fantasy film of all time. Even then, many people prioritized Harry Potter over their nostalgia for childhood love of movies!
Even if we ignore the complicated evaluations, the beauty of Shawshank Redemption (1994) stays. Hope is both a dreadful and a lovely thing. However, if you live in hope, no one will be hurt, and nothing will happen. There's no parallel to the way Frank Darabont interpreted Stephen King's work in his own unique style. The dialogues have become so well-known that movie sequences are still being referenced. So, aside from these questions, why is it just on IMDb Top, and why isn't it a hit at the box office? Aside from these questions, Shawshank Redemption has taken place in our hearts & will always be.
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