Witchblade (2000 film)


Genre Supernatural
Superhero film
Created by Halsted Pictures and
Top Cow Productions
in association with Warner Bros. Television
Written by J. D. Zeik (teleplay)
Marc Silvestri (comic book)
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Starring Yancy Butler
Anthony Cistaro
Conrad Dunn
David Chokachi
Kenneth Welsh
Will Yun Lee
Eric Etebari
Theme music composer Joel Goldsmith
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Dan Halsted
Marc Silvestri
J. D. Zeik
Perry Husman
Brad Foxhoven
David Wohl
Editor(s) Norman Buckley
Gordon McClellen
Running time 120 minutes
Original network Turner Network Television
Original release August 27, 2000
Followed by Witchblade (TV series)

Witchblade is a made-for-television live-action superhero film adapted from the cult comic book by Marc Silvestri and Top Cow Productions. Set in contemporary New York City, the occult police drama centers on Sara Pezzini (Yancy Butler), a brooding and willful homicide detective who is the reluctant inheritor of an ancient, symbiotic weapon that grants her superhuman powers.

Witchblade was produced by Top Cow Productions, Inc., and Halsted Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television. The Turner Network Television film made its debut August 27, 2000. The strong ratings performance of the two-hour action-thriller led to the TNT original series, Witchblade (2001–2002).


When one of her best friends is murdered, NYPD homicide detective Sara Pezzini (Yancy Butler) is bitter at being unable to bring her killer to justice. Sara is certain the killer is Tommy Gallo (Conrad Dunn), a legendary hit man who seems untouchable.

After one of Gallo's henchmen assaults her partner, Danny Woo (Will Yun Lee), Sara pursues him into a museum where the artifacts of Joan of Arc are among those displayed. While searching for Gallo's man, Sara is momentarily transfixed by a metal gauntlet in a display case  and is startled by a mysterious figure (Eric Etebari) who vanishes as quickly as he appears. During a savage gunfight in the museum, the display case is shattered and the gauntlet careens through space and finds Sara's arm, miraculously protecting her. In time it appears that all of these events have converged through the machinations of a billionaire named Kenneth Irons (Anthony Cistaro), a man obsessed with an artifact called the Witchblade.

The Witchblade is a magical weapon that chooses who will wear it  and it has chosen but a few warriors, all of them women, throughout the centuries. To understand the Witchblade and why she was chosen to wield it, Sara embarks on a difficult search for self-discovery and justice.


In April 1998, Turner Network Television announced plans for the two-hour live-action feature film, Witchblade, to premiere in early 1999 as part of the cable network's significant increase in original programming. The film was to be the pilot for an hour-long TNT series that would be filmmaker Oliver Stone's first drama series for television.[1] Executive producer Stone had taken Top Cow's project to Warner Bros. Television, which agreed to finance development and took Witchblade to TNT, a sister company in the Time-Warner family.[2] In October 1999, the pilot film was still in development with Stone's company, Illusion Entertainment;[3] but when filming began in February 2000, Stone was no longer attached to the Witchblade project. Instead, Witchblade was executive produced by Dan Halsted, Stone's former partner, and Top Cow Productions' Marc Silvestri.[4]

"As with all things Hollywood it was several train wrecks that somehow made it to the station", said executive producer Marc Silvestri. "Honestly, it amazes me how anything gets produced at all." Silvestri attributed Stone's departure to a creative dispute with TNT.[5]

The teleplay by J. D. Zeik is a loose adaptation of the Top Cow comic book. "We use the comic book to get the essential DNA of the story", director Ralph Hemecker said. "We've maintained a lot of the elements of the original eight issues of the comic book ... making it more of a character-driven piece."[6]

Witchblade was filmed in Toronto in February and March 2000.[7] As well as original music by Joel Goldsmith, the soundtrack includes songs by U2 ("Mysterious Ways"), Beth Orton ("She Cries Your Name"), Rob Zombie ("Living Dead Girl") and The Guess Who ("American Woman"). The telefilm premiered on TNT Sunday, August 27, 2000.

"Emergence", the episode that begins the second season of the Witchblade television series, uses scenes from the pilot film in presenting an alternative scenario after Sara uses the powerful weapon to reverse time.



Witchblade was the top-rated movie for the week of August 21–27, 2000, earning a 4.5 Nielsen rating (3,491,000 households) for its premiere broadcast. The TNT Original also was the top movie among the key adult demographics 18–49 (3,157,000) and the most-watched program among adults 25–54 (3,631,000). The thriller was still the number-one original movie among adults 18–49 and 25–54 in October 2000, when TNT announced that it had ordered 11 one-hour episodes of an action-drama series into production.[8]

The WB Television Network, a sibling of TNT in the Time Warner media conglomerate, selected Witchblade as the debut film for a new Tuesday-night movie series in May 2001. In its broadcast-television debut, the movie drew 5.2 million viewers  matching the numbers the WB earned with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in the previous season, and topping the WB's season average of 4.2 million viewers.[9]

On TNT, Witchblade was reprised June 5, 2001, introducing the Warner Bros. TV series of the same name, which began airing a week later.

Reviews and commentary


Home video releases

In April 2001, Warner Home Video released Witchblade in Australia in PAL-format VHS. The 91-minute film was rated M (medium level violence, supernatural theme) by the Classification Board of Australia.[10]

In July 2008, Witchblade was released as part of Witchblade  The Complete Series, a seven-disc set that comprised the feature-length pilot and all 23 episodes of the TV series. Although the widescreen Region 1 DVD set from Warner Home Video features an all-new soundtrack selected by the executive producer, the songs in the series pilot were not replaced. ISBN 1-4198-0424-3


  1. Richmond, Ray, "TNT doubles original prod'n"; Daily Variety, April 6, 1998
  2. Williams, Mark London, "WB family helps net stay well-connected"; Daily Variety, July 24, 1998
  3. Graser, Marc, "Top Cow goes online"; Daily Variety, October 25, 1999
  4. Bernstein, Paula, "'Witchblade' swings without Stone at TNT"; Daily Variety, February 10, 2000
  5. Jewell, Stephen, "A stand-up comic guy"; The New Zealand Herald, April 15, 2004
  6. Dawidziak, Mark, "TNT brings comics crime fighter to kick-smash life"; The Plain Dealer, August 27, 2000
  7. Bickley, Claire, Toronto Sun, February 15, 2000; TV Guide, July 20, 2008
  8. "TNT's Witchblade scores as highest-rated movie of the week", Business Wire, August 29, 2000; "Turner Network Television and Warner Bros. Television to produce Witchblade limited series", PR Newswire, October 12, 2000
  9. Littleton, Cynthia, The Hollywood Reporter, June 6, 2001; Kissell, Rick, "'Witchblade' pic casts ratings spell for Frog"; Variety, May 31, 2001
  10. Spence, John, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), April 24, 2001
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