It is an incredible turn of events how a movie as critically acclaimed as The Shawshank Redemption could be bypassed at the theaters as often as it was in 1994. The Frank Darabont picture would fall behind a number of its competitors including Pulp Fiction that year. And, although it would be considered an all time classic worthy of iconic status, the film only managed to accumulate a poultry $58m from a $25m budget.
The Shawshank Redemption would be the start of Morgan Freeman's narrating career as he played the part of fellow inmate Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding next to Tim Robbins' Andy Dufresne character. Sitting down on The Graham Norton Show next to Michael Caine, as they were promoting their new heist comedy Going In Style, the 79-year old believed the problem lied with the name.
Shank Sure? Sure Shank? That Great Redemption Movie No One Knew
Quizzed by the host about his illustrious career that would be kicked along by the prestigious drama, Freeman was of the opinion that the title had a lot to answer for.
"Tanked at the box office," he remarked. "And the reason for that, of course, is that... the only real marketing movies get, I think, is word of mouth. You can promote it all you want. But if the first few audiences come back and can't say, 'I really saw this great film,' then you're not going to go very far. So people went to see The Shawshank Redemption, and they came back and said, 'Oh, man. I saw this really terrific movie. It's called, um... uh, Shank sham? Shim shock.' One lady saw me in the elevator and she went, 'Oh, I saw you in The Hudsucker Production.' So if you can't get word across, then it just doesn't do well."
Norton Gets The Morgan Freeman Treatment
Being the voice of God in some productions, it is the wish of millions around the world to have their life narrated by the actor himself. The Englishman could not pass up the opportunity while having the guest on his couch, and Freeman had some fun with it.
"I must admit I didn't think much of Graham Norton the first time I laid eyes on him," he narrated. "Looked like a stiff breeze could blow him over. That was my first impression of the man. I could see why some people took him for annoying. He had a walk and a talk that wasn't normal around here, and boy did he drink. He drank like a man without a care or worry in the world. I hope to finish this talk show one day. I hope Michael (Caine) stops talking for just one second. I hope people stop asking me to do stupid voiceovers like this. I hope."