Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

This article is about the film. For the novel, see The Lightning Thief. For the series, see Percy Jackson & the Olympians.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians:
The Lightning Thief

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by
Screenplay by Craig Titley
Based on The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Stephen Goldblatt
Edited by Peter Honess
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • February 2, 2010 (2010-02-02) (Canada)
  • February 12, 2010 (2010-02-12) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom[2]
United States
Language English
Budget $95 million[3][4]
Box office $226.5 million[4]

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (also known as Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief) is a 2010 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus. The film is based on The Lightning Thief, the first novel in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. It stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson alongside an ensemble cast that includes Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Rosario Dawson, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Sean Bean and Pierce Brosnan. It was released to theaters on February 12, 2010 in the United States by 20th Century Fox.[5]

The film cost $95 million to make.[4] In its opening weekend in North America, it ranked number two at the box office, making $38.8 million.[6] The film, which received mixed reviews from critics, made $226,497,209 worldwide.[4] The film was released on June 29, 2010 on DVD[7] and Blu-ray.[8] A video game based on the film developed by Activision was released for Nintendo DS on February 11, 2010. A stand-alone sequel, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters, was released on August 7, 2013.


In New York City, Zeus and Poseidon meet at the top of the Empire State Building, where Zeus reveals that his master lightning bolt has been stolen and accuses Poseidon's demigod son, Percy Jackson, of the theft. Poseidon reminds him that Percy is unaware of his true identity, but Zeus declares that unless his master bolt is returned to Mount Olympus before the summer solstice, in two weeks' time, war will be waged between all the gods.

Percy is a 16-year-old boy who appears to his peers to be dyslexic, and has a unique ability to stay underwater for a long time. While on a school trip to the local museum, Percy is attacked by a Fury disguised as his substitute teacher, who demands the lightning bolt. Percy's best friend, Grover Underwood, and his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner both of whom appear disabled help Percy and scare off the Fury using a pen from Mr. Brunner. Grover tells Percy to use the pen, and Percy discovers that it is a sword. Upon learning of the Fury's reason for the attack, Mr. Brunner has Grover take Percy and his mother Sally to Camp Half-Blood, leaving behind Sally's abusive husband Gabe Ugliano. However, the three are attacked by a minotaur that appears to kill Sally, who is unable to enter the camp. He uses his sword to fight the Minotaur, without initial success. Percy kills the Minotaur with its own horn, then faints from shock.

Three days later, Percy wakes up in the camp. He learns that he is the son of Poseidon, that Grover is a disguised satyr and his protector, and that Mr. Brunner is the centaur Chiron, also initially disguised. Chiron suggests that Percy go to Mount Olympus to convince Zeus of his innocence. Percy begins training to use his demigod powers, which include water manipulation and using water to heal. He also meets other demigods, including Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; and Luke Castellan, son of Hermes. After winning a Capture the Flag game, Percy is visited by a fiery apparition of his uncle Hades, who reveals that Sally is with him in the Underworld and that he will return her safely if Percy hands over the lightning bolt. Defying Chiron's orders, Percy decides to go to the Underworld, joined by Grover and Annabeth. They visit Luke, who gives them a map showing the location of three pearls belonging to Hades' wife, Persephone, which they can use to escape the Underworld. They are also given a pair of winged sneakers Luke stole from his father and a shield Luke describes as his favorite.

The trio heads out, locating the first pearl at an old garden center but encountering Medusa, who tries to kill them until decapitated by Percy; her head is taken with them for later use. They locate the second pearl in the Parthenon in Nashville; Percy uses the winged shoes to take it from a statue of Athena. However, they are then confronted by the Hydra, which Grover turns to stone and kills using Medusa's head. The third pearl is located at the Lotus Casino in Las Vegas, where the three eat lotus flowers and forget their reason for being there. They stay in the casino for five days until Poseidon speaks in Percy's mind, helping Percy return to his senses. Percy frees Grover and Annabeth from the effects of the flowers and they flee, discovering that the casino is run by the Lotus-Eaters, and they had been keeping people captive since ancient times. With all three pearls in their possession, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth head into the Underworld, the portal to which is located in Hollywood.

In the Underworld, they meet Hades and Persephone. Though Percy tells Hades that he does not have the lightning bolt, Hades finds it hidden inside Luke's shield, revealing that Luke is the lightning thief. Persephone knocks Hades unconscious with the lightning bolt to get her revenge on him for imprisoning her for all eternity and hands the bolt to Percy. However, because they only have three pearls, Grover remains with Persephone to allow Percy's mother to leave. Percy, Annabeth, and Sally teleport to the Empire State Building but are attacked by Luke, who wants to destroy Mount Olympus to secure the demigods' place as the new rulers of Western Civilization. After a fight across Manhattan, Percy defeats and apparently kills Luke and returns the lightning bolt to Zeus, who forgives Percy and allows Poseidon to briefly speak with his son. The film ends with Percy and Annabeth reuniting with Grover, furloughed from Hades and sporting a new pair of small horns that designate his promotion to senior protector. Percy and Annabeth are reunited, and they nearly kiss but Annabeth tricks Percy and they continue to train.

In the post credits-scene, Gabe is kicked out of the apartment. He decides to get a beer but finds a note from Percy saying that he should not open the refrigerator. Gabe breaks the lock anyway and is turned to stone and killed by Medusa's head inside, though this occurs off-screen as the movie fades to black.



Chris Columbus is the film's director and producer.

In June 2004, 20th Century Fox acquired feature film rights to the book.[14] In April 2007, director Chris Columbus was hired to helm the project.[15] Filming began in April 2009 in Vancouver.[11] Portions of the film were shot at the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, that has a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens.[16] Filming wrapped up on the morning of July 25, 2009, in Mission, British Columbia. Additional exterior scenes were filmed on location in Brooklyn, New York during the first week of August 2009.[17] Digital intermediate work began in San Francisco in November 2009.[18] Christophe Beck composed the score.[19] Columbus has stated that the cast was chosen specifically with sequels in mind. "I think with Percy Jackson it was a matter of finding the right cast to fit into these roles, sort of the perfect cast for these roles, because hopefully, God willing, we will go on to do other Percy Jackson films and you want the cast to grow with their characters".[20]


Box office

The film opened on February 12, 2010, in 3,356 theaters; its opening weekend box-office results totaled $31,236,067[4] in the U.S., finishing at #3 below The Wolfman, which opened at #2 with $31,479,235 and below Valentine's Day, which opened at #1 with $56,260,707.[21] The film had a strong opening weekend for its genre, posting the highest opening weekend for a fantasy film not from the Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, or Lord of the Rings series.[22] As of September 14, 2010, it grossed a domestic total of $88,768,303 with $137,728,906 elsewhere in the world, bringing it to $226,497,209.[4]

Critical response

Logan Lerman was praised by critics for his performance.

The film received mixed reviews from critics. It holds a 49% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 142 collected reviews, with an average score of 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Though it may seem like just another Harry Potter knockoff, Percy Jackson benefits from a strong supporting cast, a speedy plot, and plenty of fun with Greek mythology."[23] It also holds a Metacritic score of 47 out of 100, based on 31 sampled reviews, indicating "mixed to average reviews."[24] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "standard Hollywood product... unadventurous and uninteresting".[25] The reviewer for The Washington Post thought "the movie suffers by taking itself a little too seriously. It's not just that it's a lot less funny than the book. It's also a lot less fun".[26] On BBC Radio 5, Mark Kermode criticized the similarity of the film to director Chris Columbus's Harry Potter films, likening it to a Harry Potter parody book and dubbing it Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins.[27] This comment later sparked a satirical fan creation with precisely that title, narrated by Stephen Fry.[28]

Awards and nominations

Award Category/Recipient(s) Result References
2010 MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance

Logan Lerman

Nominated [29]
Best Fight

Logan Lerman vs. Jake Abel

Teen Choice Awards 2010 Choice Movie Actress: Fantasy

Rosario Dawson

Nominated [30][31]
Choice: Breakout Female

Alexandra Daddario

Choice: Breakout Male

Logan Lerman

Choice: Fight

Logan Lerman vs. Jake Abel

37th Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor

Logan Lerman

Nominated [32]
2010 Scream Awards Best Cameo

"Rosario Dawson"

Nominated [33]


Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Soundtrack album by Christophe Beck
Released February 9, 2010 (2010-02-09)
Genre Soundtrack
Length 59:07
Label ABKCO Records

All music composed by Christophe Beck.

No. Title Length
1. "Prelude"   2:29
2. "The Minotaur"   5:09
3. "Chiron"   2:02
4. "Victory"   1:32
5. "The Fury"   2:16
6. "Dyslexia"   1:02
7. "The Hydra"   6:54
8. "Medusa"   2:43
9. "Son of Poseidon"   1:57
10. "The Parthenon"   3:42
11. "Hollywood"   2:32
12. "Lost Souls"   2:35
13. "Fighting Luke, Part 1"   3:54
14. "Fighting Luke, Part 2"   2:47
15. "Hades"   2:47
16. "Mount Olympus"   1:27
17. "Poseidon"   3:07
18. "Homecoming"   3:06
19. "End Credits"   7:12

Songs featured in the film that were not included in the soundtrack:

No. TitleMusic Length
1. "Highway to Hell"  AC/DC 3:28
2. "I'll Pretend"  Dwight Yoakam 2:22
3. "A Little Less Conversation"  Elvis Presley 3:30
4. "Poker Face"  Lady Gaga 3:58
5. "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)"  Three Dog Night 2:58
6. "Tik Tok"  Kesha 3:21

Video game

A video game based on the film developed by Activision was released for Nintendo DS on February 11, 2010.[34] GameZone's Michael Splechta gave it a 6/10, saying "Percy Jackson might not make a splash when it comes to movie tie-in games, but fans of turn-based combat might find some redeeming qualities in this otherwise bare-bones game."[35] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the game has a score of 56 (citing "mixed or average reviews") based on 6 reviews.[36]

Home media

The film was released on June 29, 2010 on DVD[7] and Blu-ray.[8] The movie itself charted at the top of the charts (DVD sales) with $13,985,047 in revenue in its first week.[37] As of October 2011, the movie had sold 2,087,368 DVDs with over $37 million in sales.[38]

Stand-alone sequel

In October 2011, 20th Century Fox announced a stand-alone sequel based on the second book, The Sea of Monsters.[39][40] The film was released on August 7, 2013.[41]


  1. "118m 34s"
  2. 1 2
  3. "'Valentine's Day,' 'Percy Jackson' and 'Wolfman': The more they cost, the less they made". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. February 15, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2010. The debut of "Percy Jackson" was good, but not great given its $95-million production budget funded by 20th Century Fox, Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Film Partners.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief at Box Office Mojo
  5. "Contact Information and FAQ:Rick Riordan". Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  6. "What Does The 'Percy Jackson' Opening Weekend Mean For Logan Lerman's 'Spider-Man' Chances?". Marshall, Rick. MTV. February 16, 2010.
  7. 1 2 ASIN B003HARV3Y, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  8. 1 2 ASIN B002ZG98J6, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [Blu-ray]
  9. 1 2 Siegel, Tatiana (March 2, 2009). "'Percy Jackson' finds lead actors". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  10. Fernandez, Jay A. (March 18, 2009). "'Lightning Thief' finds female lead". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Siegel, Tatiana (March 25, 2009). "Fox 2000 bulks up 'Percy Jackson'". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  12. 1 2 Hewitt, Chris (May 7, 2009). "Dawson And Coogan Join Percy Jackson". Empire. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  13. Kit, Borys (April 15, 2009). "Catherine Keener joins 'Percy Jackson' film". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  14. Brodesser, Claude (June 23, 2004). "'Lightning Thief' strikes Maverick". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  15. Gilstrap, Peter (April 17, 2007). "Columbus struck by 'Lightning'". Variety. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  16. "Portions Of Movie To Be Shot At Parthenon". WSMV-TV. June 2, 2009. Archived from the original on June 25, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
  17. Chris Columbus, Joe Pantoliano And Logan Lerman On Location For "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" - August 1, 2009. Wireimage. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  18. Caranicas, Peter (October 20, 2009). "Goldblatt, Deakins follow similar path". Variety. Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  19. Knowles, Harry (November 20, 2009). "New trailer for Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief hits...". Ain't It Cool News. Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  20. Roberts, Sheila (February 8, 2009). "Exclusive Chris Columbus Interview". Roll Credits. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  21. Valentine's Day (2010) - Daily Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo
  22. "Weekend Report: 'Valentine's Day' Massacres Presidents' Day Record". Box Office Mojo. 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  23. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)". Flixster. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  24. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  25. Turan, Kenneth (February 12, 2010). "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  26. "Critic Review for Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  27. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief reviewed by Mark Kermode on YouTube
  28. "Septemberfest". Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews. BBC Radio 5 live. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  29. MTV Movie Awards: When Twilight & Betty White Collide!
  30. "First Wave of "Teen Choice 2010" Nominees Announced". The Futon Critic. June 14, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  31. "Winners of 'Teen Choice 2010' Awards Announced; Teens Cast More Than 85 Million Votes".
  32. 37th Annual Saturn Award Nominations
  33. 2010 Scream Awards#Best TV Show
  34. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief for DS - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Nintendo DS - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief DS Game". Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  35. Splechta, Michael. "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Review". Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  36. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  37. "US DVD Sales Chart for Week Ending Jul 4, 2010".
  38. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - DVD Sales".
  39. Weinstein, Joshua L. (October 12, 2011). "Fox Sets Valentines Day 2013 Release for Next 'Die Hard'". Reuters. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  40. "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Moved up to August 7". 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
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