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The Founder (2016)

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The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.

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(as Robert Siegel)
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184 ( 29)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dick McDonald
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Mac McDonald
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Harry J. Sonneborn
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Fred Turner
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Rollie Smith
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Jim Zien
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Jerry Cullen
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Jack Horford
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Leonard Rosenblatt
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Myra Rosenblatt
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Owner (Ed's Drive-In)
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Storyline

1954. Having worked as a salesman most of his adult life, Ray Kroc has been a hustler in most senses of the word. That hustling has made him the target of derision among certain circles for peddling what have ended up being more novelty or faddish than useful products, but it has also placed more than a comfortable roof in Arlington Heights, Illinois over his and his wife Ethel's heads. Ethel, however, wishes that he placed as much effort into being at home with her than he is in selling, his current job of peddling five-spindle milkshake makers for Prince Castle which has him constantly on the road going from one drive-in restaurant to another. It is because of the beefs he has with the whole drive-in experience (bad food, bad service) in constantly eating at such establishments while on the road that he becomes enthralled with the concept of McDonald's Restaurant in San Bernardino, California, it owned and operated by brothers Richard McDonald and Maurice McDonald - Dick and Mac. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He took someone else's idea and America ate it up. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

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Language:

Release Date:

20 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le fondateur  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,404,102 (USA) (20 January 2017)

Gross:

$12,651,424 (USA) (17 March 2017)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To play his character Michael Keaton watched Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) , Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987), Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire (1996). See more »

Goofs

When Ray was driving in different cities and towns and looking at the churches and courthouses, an American flag was shown with 50 stars. This was clearly the mid-50s when there were only 48 states. See more »

Quotes

Ray Kroc: [to Ethel during dinner] I want a divorce.
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Soundtracks

Sh Baby's Asleep
Written by June Hershey, Leon Mojica, Don Swander, Orrin Tucker
Performed by Orrin Tucker and his Orchestra with Bonnie Baker & The Bodyguards
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

 
"Contracts are like hearts, they are meant to be broken"
24 January 2017 | by (Cincinnati) – See all my reviews

"The Founder" (2016 release; 115 min.) brings the story of how Ray Kroc went into partnership with the McDonald brothers, and eventually ousted them from the business they started. As the movie opens, it is "1954, St. Louis, MO", and we see Kroc going door to soot trying to sell 5 spindle machines to make milkshakes, but with very little success. Then one day, out of the blue, an outfit in San Bernardino, CA called McDonald's. places an order for six such machines,"no, make that 8" says Dick McDonald. Kroc can't believe his ears, and decides to drive across the country to check this place out. When he gets there, he cannot believe his eyes: quick service, and quality hamburgers. When Kroc asks the McDonald brothers why they haven't expanded across the country, Dick McDonald says: "quality control". It's not long before Kroc convinces the McDonald brothers to let him in on the action... At this point we're a good 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side") and screenwriter Robert Siegel ("The Wrestler"--and not to be confused with the long time host of NPR's All Things Considered). Here they bring us a story that in spirit or concept is similar to "The Social Network", namely how the founder of what eventually would become an iconic company, gets pushed aside by a late comer (Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook, Ray Kroc with McDonald's). Let me tell you right now: "The Founder" ain't no "The Social Network", not even close. Whereas "The Social Network" is a riveting movie, "The Founder" at times feels like its strictly done by-the-numbers. Yes there are a couple of scenes that are memorable (midway in the movie, when it's becoming clear what is going on, Dick McDonald bemoans "there is a wolf in the hen house, and we let him in"; towards the end, when it's an all-out war of words between the brothers and Kroc, the latter observes "Contracts are like hearts, they are meant to be broken", wow). but it's not enough to get me emotionally invested and wanting to care. The fact that Kroc turns out to be not all that sympathetic a person, doesn't help. Michael Keaton does the best he can with the material he's been given. Linda Cardellini as Kroc's love interest Joan does quite well too. Laura Dern plays Kroc's first wife. It's not like "The Founder" is an outright bad or poor movie, but to me the movie feels like a missed opportunity to bring us what should have been a riveting story. It just doesn't feel like it in "The Founder". (In the movie's closing photo montage, it reads that McDonald's feeds 1% of the world population every day... Can that really be true? I dunno.)

The movie opened wide this past weekend, and did okay but not super well at the box office. The Tuesday early evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was also attended okay but not super well (understandable perhaps, it being a week night). The absence of any Oscar nominations (released today) will not help the movie obviously. I don't see this playing all that long in theaters, but maybe this is something you want to check out on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.


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