In 2008, a Bruce Springsteen superfan by the name of Sarfraz Manzoor released a book. Entitled Greetings From Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll, it chronicled his discovery of the Boss' music, and how, as a Muslim growing up in the U.K. in the 1980s, it helped him through his teen years. It may seem like a strange thing, music made by a middle-class white dude from New Jersey helping someone with a very different upbringing through the dark times. But these Blinded By The Light ratings, for the movie based on that book, show that music, no matter who makes it, is universal to those listening.
Manzoor's superfan status turned out to be a boon to him in getting the movie made. He'd gone to so many concerts, Springsteen had begun to recognize him. And when the book came out, Bruce realized the author was the same guy he'd seen at so many events. In 2010, at the opening for the documentary The Promise, Springsteen spotted Manzoor in the crowd and went up to him, praising the book. Manzoor, who was there with his friend, director Gurinder Chadha, asked the superstar to help them make it a movie. He agreed.
Springsteen did not go back on his word. It took almost a decade, but Blinded By The Light is finally coming to theaters, and the critics are in love. With 75 reviews in so far, the movie has a 93% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Over at RogerEbert.com, Nick Allen praises the movie's joyousness.
Practically bursting with its love for Springsteen, the movie builds past its formulaic story when it captures the euphoria of singing a song you love.
At Entertainment Weekly, Leah Greenblatt says no one can be a grouch about this film.
A Technicolor ode to the power of music so deeply tender and heartfelt that it disarms even the most misanthropic critic's instincts.
As for the U.K. papers, Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian loved how the film captures the feeling of the era.
It's an entertaining and watchable film, with horribly convincing reconstructions of what shopping centres and jobcentres looked like in 1987.
As for the box office, the love of this little indie film that could probably won't make a dent. But it won't be alone. Many movies have struggled to find footing this summer. But The Hollywood Reporter notes that one of the few bright spots has been another U.K. film with a South Asian hero and his love for classic rock.
Warners could have another low-grossing opener with the Bruce Springsteen-inspired Blinded by the Light, a film acquired out of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Adult-skewing films opening nationwide, versus opting for a platform release, have burned out quickly this summer... Exceptions include Sony and Quentin Tarantino's star-studded Once Upon a Time in Hollywood... and Universal/Working Title's Yesterday, which has grossed more than $70 million domestically since hitting theaters everywhere in late June.
Could Blinded By The Light follow in Yesterday's footsteps to box office glory days? One can only hope this film is born to run up the box office proceeds.
Blinded By The Light opens in theaters on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.