Donnie Darko is a 2001 American science fiction psychological thriller film written and directed by Richard Kelly. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wyle, Stu Stone, Daveigh Chase and James Duval. The film follows the adventures of the troubled title character as he seeks to find the meaning behind his doomsday-related visions.
Filmed over the course of 28 days, which matches the passage of time in the film, Donnie Darko was almost released straight-to-video. It was screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2001, before receiving a limited theatrical release on October 26, 2001, by Flower Films. Due to the film's advertising featuring a crashing plane and the September 11 attacks that transpired a month before, the film was scarcely advertised. The film grossed just over $7.5 million worldwide on a budget of $4.5 million.
Despite its initial lackluster box office performance, Donnie Darko received critical acclaim. Critics lauded the story, acting, and tone. It was listed No. 2 in Empire's "50 Greatest Independent Films of All Time", as well as No. 53 in Empire's "500 Greatest Movies of All Time". It was released on VHS and DVD in March 2002. The film became a surprising success on the home video market, reportedly grossing over $10 million in sales and developing a cult following. A director's cut was released in 2004, on a two-disc special edition DVD. A stage adaptation appeared in 2007, and a sequel, S. Darko, in 2009.
The film's soundtrack included a cover version of Tears for Fears's "Mad World" by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews which topped the UK Singles Chart for three consecutive weeks; the song achieved lukewarm success in the United States, reaching No. 30 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.