Rock the Kasbah (film)

For the song, see Rock the Casbah.
Rock the Kasbah

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Barry Levinson
Produced by
Written by Mitch Glazer
Music by Marcelo Zarvos
Cinematography Sean Bobbitt
Edited by Aaron Yanes
Distributed by Open Road Films
Release dates
  • October 22, 2015 (2015-10-22) (Belgium premiere)
  • October 23, 2015 (2015-10-23) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[2]
Box office $3.4 million[3]

Rock the Kasbah is a 2015 American comedy film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Mitch Glazer.[4] The film stars Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Kelly Lynch, Arian Moayed, Taylor Kinney, and Beejan Land. The film was released on October 23, 2015, by Open Road Films.


Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), a has-been rock manager takes his last remaining client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. When Richie finds himself in Kabul, abandoned, penniless and without his U.S. passport, he discovers a young Afghan girl named Salima with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan's version of American Idol.

The story is very freely adapted from the 2009 documentary Afghan Star, and was dedicated to one of the stars of that film Setara Hussainzada.




Bill Murray promoting the film at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International as his character.

On September 3, 2013 QED International announced that it was producing the film with Bill Murray set to star and Barry Levinson directing with a script by Mitch Glazer.[4] On January 30, 2014, more actors joined the film including Bruce Willis, Shia LaBeouf, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel and Danny McBride, with shooting being set to start in June 2014.[5] On February 6, 2014 it was announced that Open Road Films had acquired the US distribution rights to the film.[11] On March 27, 2014, Shia LaBeouf dropped out of the film.[12] On March 31, 2014, Scott Caan joined the cast to replace LaBeouf.[6] On May 6, 2014 Australian Actor Beejan Land joined the cast. On May 28, 2014, Taylor Kinney joined the cast of the film.[10]


Principal photography and production began on June 2, 2014,[13] and ended on July 30, 2014.[14]


On August 20, 2014, Open Road Films announced the film would be released on April 24, 2015.[15] On May 13, 2015, the film's release date was pushed up from November 13, 2015, to October 23, 2015.[16]

Box office

This film was a box office bomb. It opened on October 23, 2015 alongside The Last Witch Hunter, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, and Jem and the Holograms, as well as the expanded release of Steve Jobs. In its opening weekend, the film was originally projected to gross $6 million from 2,012 theaters, however after only grossing $75,000 during its Thursday preview screenings ($60 per theater), projections were lowered to $4 million.[17] The film grossed just $529,000 on its first day, and opening weekend projections were again lowered to $1.6 million. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $1.5 million, finishing 13th at the box office.[18]

According to Box Office Mojo, the film had the fifth-worst opening of all-time for a film playing in 2,000+ theaters, grossing an average $731 per venue (fellow opener Jem and the Holograms had an even worse $570 average).[19]

Critical response

Rock the Kasbah received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 8%, based on 107 reviews, with an average rating of 3.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Shareef don't like Rock the Kasbah, and neither will viewers hoping for a film that manages to make effective use of Bill Murray's knack for playing lovably anarchic losers."[20] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 29 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[21] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[18]


  1. "ROCK THE KASBAH (15)". British Board of Film Classification. February 22, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  2. Paul Chi (2015-08-29). "Bill Clinton, McCartney and Springsteen Attend Billy Murray Screening". Variety. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  3. "Rock the Kasbah (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 Fleming Jr, Mike (3 September 2013). "QED Sets Bill Murray For Barry Levinson-Directed 'Rock The Kasbah'". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 McClintock, Pamela (30 January 2014). "Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis, Shia LaBeouf Join "Rock the Kasbah"". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Scott Caan Replaces Shia LaBeouf in 'Rock the Kasbah'". Variety. 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  7. "Rock the Kasbah". Herald Media. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  8. "'Hollywood role for Australian Actor Beejan Land'". Inside Film. 2014-05-29. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  9. "Bill Murray's 'Rock the Kasbah' Sells to Sony for International Territories". Variety. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  10. 1 2 "'Chicago Fire' Star Taylor Kinney Joins Bill Murray's 'Rock the Kasbah' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  11. Cunningham, Todd (6 February 2014). "Bill Murray-Shia LeBeouf Comedy 'Rock the Kasbah' Goes to Open Road". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  12. "Shia LaBeouf Exits 'Rock the Kasbah'". Hollywood Reporter. 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  13. "On The Set For 6/2/14: Bill Murray-Starrer 'Rock the Kasbah' Starts, 'American Sniper' Wraps". Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  14. "Zooey Deschanel Tweets Photo from Rock the Kasbah Set". Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  15. "Open Road Sets 2015 Date For 'Rock The Kasbah'". August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  16. Busch, Anita (2015-04-24). "'Rock the Kasbah,' 'Michelle Darnell,' 'Star Wars,' 'Custody' – Film Briefs". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-05-16.
  17. "Only 'Goosebumps' Will Prevail In Five-Pic Logjam – Box Office Preview".
  18. 1 2 "'The Martian' Returning To No. 1 Above Five-Pic Logjam; 'Jem' & 'Kasbah' Crashing".
  19. "WORST WIDE OPENINGS 1982–Present". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  20. "Rock the Kasbah (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  21. "Rock the Kasbah Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
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