The Surrogates (film)

Theatrical poster
Directed by Jonathan Mostow
Produced by David Hoberman
Todd Lieberman
Max Handelman
Elizabeth Banks
Jonathan Mostow
Hal Lieberman
Written by John Brancato
Michael Ferris
Robert Venditti (story)
Starring Bruce Willis
Radha Mitchell
Rosamund Pike
Boris Kodjoe
Jack Noseworthy
James Cromwell
Ving Rhames
Music by Richard Marvin
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Editing by Kevin Stitt
Barry Zetlin
Studio Touchstone Pictures
Mandeville Films
Top Shelf Productions
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date(s)
Running time 89 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million[2]
Box office $122,444,772[3]

Surrogates is a 2009 American science fiction action film, based on the 2005–2006 comic book series of the same name. Directed by Jonathan Mostow, it stars Bruce Willis as FBI Agent Tom Greer who ventures out into the real world to investigate the murder of surrogates (humanoid remote control vehicles). It also stars Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, Ving Rhames and James Cromwell.

The film's main concept centres around the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase remote controlled humanoid robots through which they interact with society. These fit, attractive, remotely controlled robots ultimately assume their life roles, enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Surrogates was released on September 25, 2009 in the United States and Canada.[4] It was released by Touchstone Pictures.


In the future, widespread use of remotely-controlled androids called "surrogates" allows everyone to live in idealized forms from the safety of their homes. A surrogate's operator is protected from harm and feels no pain when their surrogate is damaged. FBI agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) has a strained relationship with his wife Maggie (Rosamund Pike), due to their son's death several years before. He never sees her outside of her surrogate and she criticizes his desire to interact via their real bodies.

Tom and his partner, Agent Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell), investigate the death of two people who were killed when their surrogates were destroyed at a club. Jarid Canter (Shane Dzicek), one of the victims, is the son of Dr. Lionel Canter (James Cromwell), the inventor of surrogates. Tom and Jennifer determine that a human named Miles Strickland (Jack Noseworthy) used a new type of weapon to overload the surrogates' systems and kill their operators. After locating Strickland, Tom attempts to bring him into custody. Strickland uses the weapon and injures Tom during the chase; Tom inadvertently crash-lands into an anti-surrogate zone known as the Dread Reservation (one of many throughout the United States). A mob of humans eventually destroy Tom's surrogate, forcing him to interact in the world without one. The Dread leader known as The Prophet (Ving Rhames) kills Strickland and confiscates the weapon.

Agent Tom learns from Colonel Brendan (Michael Cudlitz) that the same company manufacturing the surrogates originally produced the weapon under a government contract. It was designed to load a virus that overloads the surrogate's systems, thus disabling it. Unexpectedly, the weapon also disabled the fail-safe protocols protecting surrogate operators. After the first test, the project was scrapped and all but one prototype were destroyed.

Agent Jennifer is murdered and an unknown party hijacks her surrogate. Tom is informed that Andrew Stone (Boris Kodjoe), his FBI superior, supplied the weapon to Strickland and ordered Dr. Canter's assassination for his criticism of surrogate use. Jarid, using one of his father's many surrogates, was killed instead. The Prophet orders the weapon be delivered to Jennifer. During a military raid on the reservation led by Col. Brendan, the Prophet is shot, revealing his identity as a surrogate, with none other than Dr. Canter himself as the operator.

Tom heads to Dr. Canter's home and discovers that he has been controlling not only the Prophet but Jennifer as well. Using Agent Jennifer's surrogate in FBI Headquarters, Dr. Canter uses the weapon to kill Stone and proceeds to upload the virus to all surrogates, which will destroy the surrogates and kill their operators. Believing his plan to be unstoppable, Canter disconnects from Jennifer's surrogate and swallows a cyanide pill. Agent Tom takes control of the Jennifer surrogate and with the assistance of the network's system administrator Bobby Saunders (Devin Ratray), insulates the virus so the operators will survive. Agent Tom can choose to either destroy all surrogates or simply cancel the virus upload. Tom ultimately decides to let the virus permanently shut down surrogates worldwide. People emerge from their homes without their surrogates, confused and afraid.

Tom returns home and shares an emotional embrace with Maggie in her real form. The film ends with an aerial view of the collapsed surrogates along with overlapping news reports of the downed surrogates all over the world and how people are now "on their own" again.



In March 2007, Disney acquired feature film rights to the 2005–2006 comic book series The Surrogates with the intent to distribute under Touchstone Pictures. The project was conceived by Max Handelman and Elizabeth Banks (Handelman's wife who is better known for her acting), and they enlisted producer Todd Lieberman to move it forward. Under Disney, Jonathan Mostow was attached to direct the film based on an adapted screenplay by Michael Ferris and John Brancato.[7] The following November, Bruce Willis was cast to star in the lead role. Filming was scheduled to begin in February 2008 in Lynn, Massachusetts.[8] It was delayed,[9] beginning on April 29, 2008 in Woburn.[6] Filming then took place in the Massachusetts cities Lynn, Worcester,[10] Milford, Hopedale, Taunton,[11][12] Lawrence,[13] and Wayland.[14][15] Visual effects were handled by Sandbox FX, Brickyard VFX,[16] Industrial Light and Magic and Moving Picture Company.


Surrogates hosted its world premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on September 24, 2009. It was released the next day in North American cinemas by Touchstone Pictures to lukewarm reviews from film critics. The Motion Picture Association of America gave the film a PG-13 rating for "intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene."

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray was released on January 26, 2010. The Blu-ray version features four deleted scenes, a commentary by director Jonathan Mostow, and 2 featurettes. The movie has sold 713,851 units which gives it a total gross of $12,052,466 in DVD sales as of March 7, 2012.[17]


Critical response

Surrogates was not pre-screened for critics.[18] The review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 39% of critics gave the film positive ratings, based on 112 reviews with a consensus that "Though it sports a slick look and feel, Surrogates fails to capitalize on a promising premise, relying instead on mindless action and a poor script".[19] Metacritic gave the film an average score of 45, based on 21 critic reviews. IGN gave the film a 6.0/10, saying that "it provides a competently made, relatively predictable and slickly presented piece of genre entertainment, offering just the right amount of action beats and futuristic visuals to keep the viewer engaged without ever having an actual thought. It's good, escapist fun." Yahoo! Movies gave it a grade "C+" based on 10 reviews.[20]

Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum concluded her positive review saying that "there's fun robot stuff, some good philosophical ideas, and a brief, nutty Willis–Ving Rhames reunion 15 years after Pulp Fiction".[21] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2½ stars out of 4. Ebert wrote that "while more ambitious than it has to be, the film descends into action scenes too quickly. … Surrogates is entertaining and ingenious, but it settles too soon for formula." He also says, "The concept, based on a graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, would lead naturally to intriguing considerations."[22] Some critics, however, were not too favorable to the film: Claudia Puig of USA Today called it "a poor substitute of sci-fi thriller saying that the tone of the movie is rarely satirical and that it's more concerned with political intrigue involving pockets of anti-surrogate protesters that enjoy bludgeoning the machines."[23] Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave it a negative review, writing "watchable, but obvious… Surrogates never manages to be anything more than a poor substitute for the real thing."[24]

Jordan Hoffman of UGO Entertainment gave Surrogates a B+ rating, saying it is intellectually stimulating enough to keep you intrigued while never forgetting its obligation as B movie fun.[25] Todd McCarthy of Variety described it as an intense and eerily plausible science fiction thriller.[26]

Box office

Surrogates played at 2,992 theaters, where it generated $5,053,646 on its opening day. On its opening weekend, it grossed to $14,902,692, averaging $5,050 per theater, ranking #2 at the U.S. box office, behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. For the second weekend of Oct 2-4th, it saw a 45% decrease where it dropped down to 4th place at the box office only to gross $7,241,054. The third domestic weekend release saw a 36% decrease, which was 9% less than its last weekend. The film went on to gross $38,577,772 domestically and $83,867,000 internationally giving it a worldwide gross of $122,444,772.[3]


Surrogates: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by Richard Marvin
Released November 23, 2009
Recorded 2009
Genre Soundtrack
Label Lakeshore Records
Producer Richard Marvin
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [27]
Filmtracks 3/5 stars [28]
iTunes 3/5 stars [29]
Movie Music UK 3/5 stars [30]
Tracksounds 3/5 stars [31]

Surrogates: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was orchestrated by composer Richard Marvin. Surrogates is the fifth film that director Jonathan Mostow and composer Richard Marvin have collaborated on. Marvin recorded his score with an 120-piece orchestra of the Hollywood Studio Symphony. Although it was not featured in the soundtrack, the song "I Will Not Bow" performed by Breaking Benjamin, was played during the film's ending credits, and the song's music video features footage from the film. The soundtrack was released on November 23, 2009.[32]

No. Title Length
1. "Pix Title Sequence"   3:14
2. "Drive To Club"   1:39
3. "Cam's Apartment/Greer's Apartment"   4:06
4. "Warrant Received/Foot Chase"   6:20
5. "Urine Abomination"   0:57
6. "Prophet Lies/Greer Rides"   1:29
7. "I Want You"   2:03
8. "Operation Prophet"   1:49
9. "Stone's Headache"   3:01
10. "T-Bone/Stone Zapped"   5:41
11. "Shift Enter"   5:26
12. "Aftermath"   5:21
Total length:


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi
  • Rotten Tomatoes
  • Metacritic
  • Box Office Mojo
  • at the Comic Book DB
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