LBJ (film)

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LBJ (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rob Reiner
Produced by
Written by Joey Hartstone
Music by Marc Shaiman
Cinematography Barry Markowitz
Edited by Bob Joyce
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 9, 2016 (2016-09-09) (TIFF)
  • November 3, 2017 (2017-11-03) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $26 million[a]
Box office $2.5 million[1]

LBJ is a 2016 American political drama film directed by Rob Reiner and written by Joey Hartstone, whose script was on the 2014 Black List. The film stars Woody Harrelson as the titular President, along with Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, Kim Allen, Michael Stahl-David, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey Donovan, Doug McKeon, C. Thomas Howell, and Michael Mosley.

Principal photography on the film began in New Orleans on September 21, 2015, and it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016. It was released by Electric Entertainment and Vertical Entertainment on November 3, 2017.

Plot summary

The story centers around the political upheaval that Vice President Johnson faced when he was thrust into the presidency at the hands of an assassin's bullet in November 1963. With political battles on both sides of the aisle, Johnson works to heal a nation and secure his presidency by passing Kennedy's historic Civil Rights Act. His early years are also chronicled.


Harrelson talks to the media before a screening of LBJ, at the LBJ Presidential Library


(L–R) Mark Updegrove (LBJ Library Director), Woody Harrelson, Rob Reiner and Joey Hartstone participate in a discussion following a screening of the film LBJ at the LBJ Presidential Library

A political-historical drama LBJ, written by Joey Hartstone, appeared on the winners of 2014 un-produced Black List screenplays.[16] On June 16, 2015, Woody Harrelson signed on to play the lead role of 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson while Rob Reiner also signed on to direct the film.[4] The film was produced by Acacia Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings, Castle Rock Entertainment, and Star Thrower Entertainment, and financed by Acacia, Savvy Media.[4] Producers on the film are Matthew George, Reiner, Liz Glotzer, Tim and Trevor White.[4]


Principal photography on the film began in New Orleans on September 21, 2015.[17] It also shot in Baton Rouge, Dallas, and Washington. Principal photography wrapped in December 2015.[4][15][18]


The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016.[19][20] Shortly after, Electric Entertainment and Vertical Entertainment acquired distribution rights to the film.[21][22] It was released on November 3, 2017.[23] It debuted to $1.1 million, finishing 14th at the box office.[24]

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 54% based on 71 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "LBJ loses sight of its complicated subject, ignoring the more intriguing aspects of his personality and career in favor of a frustratingly ordinary biopic treatment."[25] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score 54 out of 100, based 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[26]

David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a C, and said "Harrelson, who has a gift for squeezing charm out of even his most monstrous characters, leans hard into the contradictory notion that Johnson is a power-hungry humanist. The result is a performance that is both wildly ridiculous and appreciably grounded ... Harrelson’s turn seizes on his unique charisma in order to disentangle LBJ from the policies that have defined his legacy."[27]

TVOvermind critic Nat Berman gave the film a positive review and praised Reiner's cast selection.[28]

See also



  1. ^ Jackie cost $9 million[2] and The A.V. Club cites it at a quarter of this film's budget (9×4=36).[3]


  1. ^ a b "LBJ (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 26, 2017. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Anne (September 12, 2016). "How TIFF 2016 Rocked The Oscar Race: Why 'Moonlight' Glows, 'Birth' Struggles, and More Revelations". IndieWire. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Woody Harrelson's makeup isn't the worst thing about LBJ". The A.V. Club. November 2, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Siegel, Tatiana (June 16, 2015). "Woody Harrelson to Play LBJ in Political Drama Directed by Rob Reiner". Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (July 22, 2015). "Richard Jenkins Joins Woody Harrelson's Lyndon Johnson Movie 'LBJ'". Variety. Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 27, 2015). "Bill Pullman Elected To Join Rob Reiner's 'LBJ'". Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  7. ^ Busch, Anita (August 19, 2015). "'LBJ' Finds Its Jackie In Relative Newcomer Kim Allen". Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (September 9, 2015). "Michael Stahl-David Cast as Bobby Kennedy in Rob Reiner's 'LBJ'". Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  9. ^ Busch, Anita (September 14, 2015). "Jennifer Jason Leigh To Portray Lady Bird Johnson in Rob Reiner's 'LBJ'". Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  10. ^ Tramel, Jimmie (October 19, 2015). "Pop culture: C. Thomas Howell recalls 'Outsiders' mania during Tulsa filming". Tulsa World. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (September 15, 2015). "Jeffrey Donovan Portraying JFK in Rob Reiner's 'LBJ'". Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  12. ^ A. Lincoln, Ross (September 18, 2015). "Pooch Hall Knows 'A Dog's Purpose', Doug McKeon Joins LBJ". Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (September 17, 2015). "'Sirens' Star Michael Mosley Joins Rob Reiner's 'LBJ'". Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c "LBJ: Full cast & credits". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g A. Lincoln, Ross (September 21, 2015). "Allison Tolman, Michaela Watkins Join Will Ferrel-Amy Poehler Comedy; LBJ Packs Cast As Production Starts". Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ Bloom, David; Yamato, Jen (December 15, 2014). "'Catherine the Great' Leads The Blacklist 2014: Full List — Update". Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  17. ^ Scott, Mike (September 22, 2015). "Rob Reiner's 'LBJ' begins shooting in New Orleans, with Woody Harrelson starring". Retrieved September 23, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Woody Harrelson's 'LBJ' Funeral Scene Casting Call in New Orleans". September 15, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Toronto To Open With 'The Magnificent Seven'; 'La La Land', 'Deepwater Horizon' Among Galas & Presentations". Deadline. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016. 
  20. ^ Owen Gleiberman (2016-05-11). "'LBJ' Review From Toronto: Woody Harrelson in Rob Reiner's Biopic". Variety. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  21. ^ "Electric Entertainment, Global Pictures Media team on Rob Reiner's 'LBJ'". 
  22. ^ "LBJ". Vertical Entertainment. Retrieved November 4, 2017. 
  23. ^ Brooks, Brian (November 2, 2017). "Rob Reiner's 'LBJ' On Ticket; 'Last Flag Flying', 'Lady Bird' Bow – Specialty B.O. Preview". Retrieved November 4, 2017. 
  24. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro. "'Thor: Ragnarok' Flexes His Box Office Muscles To $120M-$122M Opening – Early Sunday AM Update". Retrieved November 5, 2017. 
  25. ^ "LBJ (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 4, 2017. 
  26. ^ "LBJ reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 3, 2017. 
  27. ^ David Ehrlich (September 16, 2016). "Woody Harrelson's Hammy Performance Almost Makes 'LBJ' Worth Endorsing — TIFF Review". IndieWire. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Rob Reiner Directed Film "LBJ" Has an Awfully Impressive Cast". 18 September 2017. 

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