The Shawshank Redemption may be a beloved drama that you’ll watch every single time it’s playing on AMC, TNT or whatever cable channel is playing it on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But as the Honest Trailer for the film from Frank Darabont reminds us, when it arrived on the big screen in September 1994, the movie only earned $16 million in its initial theatrical release. Meanwhile, Forrest Gump was in the middle of an insane 42-week theatrical run. Just like Andy Dufresne, the movie had to trek through a lot of shit on its way to redemption as an Oscar nominee.

The Shawshank Redemption Honest Trailer

It’s crazy to think that one of the best movies of 1994 was such a box office flop. Then again, in addition to arriving while Forrest Gump was still a hot ticket, Pulp Fiction certainly didn’t help matters any. Even when the movie was re-released in theaters between February and March of 1995 after earning seven Oscar nominations, it only added another $12 million domestically. However, when the movie hit home video, near 320,000 rental copies were shipped throughout the United States, and it went on to become one of the top rented films of the year.

As we all know, The Shawshank Redemption is now one of the most beloved films of the 1990s. Many even believe it deserved to win the Oscar for Best Picture instead of Forrest Gump. Coincidentally enough, Tom Hanks was offered the lead role of Andy Dufresne before Tim Robbins landed the role, but he turned it down since he was already slated to star in the movie that would not only win Best Picture but also earn him the Oscar for Best Actor. In an alternate universe, Tom Hanks might have won the Oscar for playing Andy Dufresne with The Shawshank Redemption taking Best Picture.

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