Tom Hanks Cast Away FedEx

The power of cinema’s influence on real life events is undeniable, and only growing all the time. In the early 1970s, it was reported that crime in America had gone up, following the release of the dystopian crime drama film, A Clockwork Orange. Strong arguments were made to suggest that there was a direct correlation between the two.

When Tom Cruise starred in the very successful, original Top Gun movie in 1986, Navy recruitment shot up by about 500%. Such is the influence that films can have on audiences aspiring to a slice of the life they see on the big screen.

A similar phenomenon happened with the release – and subsequent success – of Cast Away, the Tom Hanks-led survival drama film of 2000. Hanks conceptualized the movie himself and eventually played the lead role, after going through a grueling process to prepare for it.

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Hanks lost 50 pounds, grew a beard and read widely to get ready for the part, not to mention the fact that he nearly died from an injury during the actual filming of the movie.

All this hard work resulted in one of the best performing films that year, and consequently saw FedEx applications rise by 30%.

What Was The Movie Cast Away About?

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Cast Away is the story of “obsessively punctual FedEx executive Chuck Noland, en route to an assignment in Malaysia when his plane crashes over the Pacific Ocean during a storm.”

“The sole survivor of the flight, Chuck washes ashore on a deserted island. When his efforts to sail away and contact help fail, Chuck learns how to survive on the island, where he remains for years, accompanied by only his handmade volleyball friend, Wilson. Will Chuck ever return to civilization and reunite with his loved ones?”

Being the brains behind the film, there was no competition for Tom Hanks for the role of Chuck Noland. He was joined in the cast by – among others – Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy, Chris Noth, and country music star Lari White. Cast Away was produced under the banners of 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Pictures, and Hanks’ very own production company, Playtone.

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Apollo 13’s William Broyles Jr. was brought on board to write the script. To direct the picture, Hanks enlisted the services of Robert Zemeckis, with whom he had worked successfully in Forrest Gump.

Was FedEx Involved In The Production Of Cast Away?

Following the release of Cast Away, there were suggestions that FedEx had been involved in the creation of the film. In fact, it was suggested that the company paid the production in order to be featured as a brand. These rumors would later come to be proven untrue, but they were not entirely without basis.

The shipping solutions corporation first became aware of the movie and the intention to feature their brand in it before production got underway. Understandably, there was said to have been some consternation within the organization as they did not know exactly what the story would be and how the business would be portrayed.

Having been granted access to the finished script, however, the executives at FedEx were reportedly satisfied with how their company came across in the movie. They are reported to have even offered non-monetary support during filming.

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They would later reap the rewards when the movie became a sensational hit, and interest in the company grew exponentially.

Cast Away Was Very Positively Received By Both Fans And Critics

A budget of $90 million went into the production of Cast Away. The film was released on December 22, 2000, and went on to gross more than $450 million at the box office. It was a remarkable achievement, with only Mission: Impossible 2 and Gladiator raking in higher amounts that year.

The resounding commercial success was a vote of approval from the fans, but the critics were just as moved by the movie. Tom Hanks came in for special praise for his performance, which in fact earned him a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actor [in a] Motion Picture Drama.” He was also nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Actor in a Leading Role.”

The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes praised the film for “an intelligent script, some of Robert Zemeckis’ most mature directing, and a showcase performance from Tom Hanks.”

With all this success, FedEx was said to have been impressed with the exposure it gained subsequently, especially in overseas markets. Locally, the company saw an increased interest in joining its ranks, as job applications went up by 30%.

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