Jonah Hex
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJimmy Hayward
Screenplay byNeveldine & Taylor
Story by
  • William Farmer
  • Neveldine & Taylor
Based on
Produced by
CinematographyMitchell Amundsen
Edited by
  • Fernando Villena
  • Tom Lewis
Music by
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • June 18, 2010 (2010-06-18)
Running time
81 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$47 million[2][3]
Box office$11 million[3]

Jonah Hex is a 2010 American Western superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name.[4] Directed by Jimmy Hayward in his live-action debut, and written by Neveldine/Taylor, the film stars Josh Brolin in the title role, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, Michael Shannon and Wes Bentley.

Produced by Legendary Pictures, Andrew Lazar's Mad Chance Productions and Akiva Goldsman's Weed Road Pictures, the film was released on June 18, 2010, by Warner Bros. Pictures and was a major critical and commercial failure, grossing only $11 million against a budget of $47 million.


During the American Civil War, Jonah Hex serves as a Confederate cavalryman until his commanding officer Quentin Turnbull orders him to burn down a hospital. Hex refuses, and is forced to kill his best friend, Turnbull's son Jeb. After the war, Turnbull and his enforcer Burke force Hex to watch his house burn down with his wife and son inside. Turnbull brands Hex's face with his initials and leaves him to die. Native Americans revive Jonah with mystic powers, giving him the ability to temporarily resurrect the dead. When Turnbull apparently dies in a hotel fire, Hex satisfies his hunger for vengeance as a bounty hunter and sears half his face to remove the brand.

In 1876, Turnbull, having survived, hijacks a train carrying components of an experimental "superweapon", slaughtering guards and passengers. President Grant surmises that Turnbull is planning a terrorist attack for the American Centennial on the Fourth of July, and instructs Army Lieutenant Grass to hire Hex to stop Turnbull.

Hex spends a night with Lilah, a prostitute with ulterior motives. Grass's men arrive and reveal Turnbull is still alive. Hex is brought to one of Turnbull's captured thugs, who dies during interrogation. Hex briefly resurrects the man, who knows only that he was recruited by ex-Confederate Colonel Slocum, the owner of an illegal deathmatch pavilion in South Carolina.

With the help of corrupt Washington aristocrat Adleman Lusk, Turnbull steals the remaining components of the weapon invented by Eli Whitney.

When Hex confronts Slocum in South Carolina, Slocum refuses to talk, sarcastically telling Hex to ask Jeb where his father is. Hex overpowers Slocum's men and throws him into the ring to be killed by his own fighters. Setting fire to the pavilion, Hex frees a dog tormented by Slocum's handlers, and it follows him.

In a Gettysburg cemetery, Hex digs up and resurrects Jeb. He apologizes for killing Jeb, telling him his father must be stopped before he murders more people. Before returning to the afterlife, Jeb reveals his father is at Fort Resurrection.

At the fort, Hex confronts Turnbull and kills several of his men, but Turnbull escapes and Hex is critically wounded by Burke. He collapses in a field, hovering near death for several days. Turnbull, anticipating Hex's return, sends Burke to bring him "something Hex loves", and Burke kidnaps Lilah. Turnbull tests the superweapon on a small town in Georgia, leveling it to the ground and killing hundreds. Grant realizes authorities have neither any idea where Turnbull will strike, nor the military manpower to guard every centennial celebration.

Hex's Native American allies find him and perform a ceremony that heals him. He relays a message to Lt. Grass that Turnbull plans to attack Washington, D.C., then rides to Independence Harbor alone to stop him. Hex infiltrates the harbor where Turnbull's ironclad warship is anchored, overpowering and killing Burke, then resurrects him just to incinerate his body completely. Turnbull holds Lilah at gunpoint and forces Hex to surrender. With Hex and Lilah captive in the hold of his ship, Turnbull steams toward Washington. A monitor commanded by Lt. Grass intercepts Turnbull, but is quickly destroyed by the superweapon.

Lilah frees herself and Hex, holding off the guards while he races to stop Turnbull. Turnbull gains the upper hand and orders the weapon be fired, but Hex jams its belt feeder, trapping the trigger shell. He brutally beats Turnbull and traps his neck in a gear and then saves Lilah. They jump into the water just as the trigger shell ignites, killing Turnbull and his men. The next day, President Grant gives Hex a large reward and a full pardon, and offers him a job as Sheriff of the entire United States. Hex declines, but assures the president they can find him if they need him; he leaves the city with Lilah. The film ends with Hex visiting Jeb's grave to apologize for his father's death before riding off.


The film also includes John Gallagher, Jr. as Lieutenant Evan, Tom Wopat as Colonel Slocum, and Julia Jones as Cassie; as well as an uncredited Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Jeb Turnbull. Mastodon guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds also made a small cameo appearance.[11]

Prior to Brolin's casting, actor Thomas Jane petitioned the studio for the role by hiring a makeup artist to give him the appearance of Jonah Hex. Jane instead voiced Hex in the 2010 animated short DC Showcase: Jonah Hex.[12]


Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and Michael Fassbender promoting the film at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International
Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and Michael Fassbender promoting the film at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International

In 2000, 20th Century Fox developed a one-hour television adaptation based on the character, with producers Akiva Goldsman and Robert Zappia involved, but the project never came to fruition.[13] In July 2007, Warner Bros. held the film rights to the character and sought to make a film. Goldsman paired with Andrew Lazar as producers, and Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor wrote the screenplay,[14] which adapted an incarnation of the comic books that combined the Western genre with supernatural elements.[15] In October 2008, Josh Brolin entered talks to be cast as Jonah Hex under the direction of Neveldine and Taylor.[16] In November 2008, Neveldine and Taylors stepped down from being directors due to creative differences with the studio.[17] The studio explored the possibility of hiring Andy Fickman or McG and by January 2009, it chose Jimmy Hayward (who previously directed Horton Hears a Who!) to direct Jonah Hex.[15] By the following February, Brolin was set to star alongside John Malkovich, who was cast as the antagonist Quentin Turnbull.[5] Filming began in Louisiana in April 2009.[10]

Brolin would later admit that he hated the experience making the film stating that at one point they had to "[reshoot] 66 pages in 12 days", implying that the filming schedule was hectic.[18]


See also: Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP

Heavy metal band Mastodon scored the film.[19] Troy Sanders, bassist/vocalist of Mastodon, on their contribution to the film:

"Some of it was heavy, some of it was very moody. A lot of it was spacey, Melvins B-sides, Pink Floyd-like, surreal outer space, like Neil Young's Dead Man. Swirling, nausea music". Sanders added that the collaboration felt natural: "Since day one, we've always written albums thinking the music was the score of a movie. Then we'll create the lyrics or storyline on top of that, as if we're writing the dialog to match the movie's cinematography".

The soundtrack is an hour-long instrumental, including five full songs and numerous smaller musical themes. Selections were added to scenes in the film by composer John Powell (Shrek, The Bourne Identity), and others were adapted for the London Orchestra for exceptionally epic moments. Sanders explained: "We wrote variations on themes for each character, different variables for a bunch of riffs: faster, slower, heavier, lighter. It's the Darth Vader approach".



Jonah Hex was released in the United States on June 18, 2010, the same day as Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3.


Home media

The film was released on both DVD and Blu-ray on October 19, 2010, with no special features. It was then released in the United Kingdom on December 13, 2010, on DVD, Blu-ray and Double Play. Special features include Deleted Scenes, The Inside Story of Jonah Hex and a Picture-In-Picture Commentary.


Box office

Jonah Hex severely failed at the box office, opening at No. 7 during its debut weekend with only $5,379,365 in 2,825 theaters, averaging $1,904 per theater. On its second weekend, the film only managed to gross $1,627,442, falling to No. 10. The film ended its theatrical run on August 12, 2010, having grossed only $10,547,117 in total on a $47 million budget. Due to its negative domestic take, the film was not widely released internationally, grossing less than $500,000 outside the United States.[3]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, Jonah Hex has an approval rating of 12% based on 150 reviews and an average rating of 3.47/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Josh Brolin gives it his best shot, but he can't keep the short, unfocused Jonah Hex from collapsing on the screen."[26] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 33 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[27] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[28]

Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club gave the film a rare "F" rating, stating "the 81 minutes (including credits) of Jonah Hex footage that made it to the screen look like something assembled under a tight deadline, and possibly under the influence."[29] Roger Ebert gave the film a negative review, saying that the film "is based on some DC Comics characters, which may explain the way the plot jumps around. We hear a lot about graphic novels, but this is more of a graphic anthology of strange occult ideas."[30]


The film was named "Worst Picture" of the year by the Houston Film Critics Society at their 2010 awards ceremony.[31][32] It was given two nominations at the 31st Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Actress (Megan Fox) and Worst Screen Couple (Josh Brolin's face and Megan Fox's accent).


  1. ^ "JONAH HEX (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 30, 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  2. ^ Fritz, Ben (June 17, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Toy Story 3' appears blessed, 'Jonah Hex' cursed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Jonah Hex (2010)". Box Office Mojo. August 12, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  4. ^ "Gob Bluth Says Jonah Hex Will Be Dark and Serious". June 18, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Fleming, Michael; Dave McNary (February 11, 2009). "Malkovich, Brolin set for 'Hex'". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  6. ^ Seijas, Casey (November 20, 2008). "Josh Brolin Declares 'Jonah Hex' Script 'Awful…I Love It,' As Directors Leave Project". MTV Splash Page. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  7. ^ "Jonah Hex Hexed with Reshoots". Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (March 3, 2009). "Megan Fox lines up two film projects". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  9. ^ "Michael Fassbender Talks Jonah Hex". August 10, 2009. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  10. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (March 31, 2009). "Will Arnett joins 'Jonah Hex'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 8, 2009. (Subscription only)
  11. ^ George 'El Guapo' Roush (June 15, 2010). "Interview: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and Jimmy Hayward Talk About Jonah Hex". Latino Review. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  12. ^ Billington, Alex (June 20, 2008). "So That Truly Was Thomas Jane as Jonah Hex!". First Showing, LLC. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  13. ^ Laski, Beth (January 20, 2000). "DeVito has a 'Revelation' on crowded Canton slate". The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (July 24, 2007). "Warners puts 'Hex' on comic". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ a b Kit, Borys (January 6, 2009). "'Horton' helmer has 'Hex' next". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ Fleming, Michael (October 9, 2008). "Josh Brolin eyes WB's 'Jonah Hex'". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  17. ^ Fleming, Michael (November 19, 2008). "Neveldine, Taylor leave 'Jonah Hex'". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  18. ^ Trumbore, Dave (February 9, 2016). "Did You Hate 'Jonah Hex'? So Did Josh Brolin". Collider. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  19. ^ Knowles, Harry (September 2, 2009). "JONAH HEX news so mind-meltingly awesome that only Satan's Mighty Balls are cooler!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  20. ^ "Meet Saloon Lilah, a Jonah Hex Comic-Con Exclusive from Tonner". June 18, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  21. ^ "National Entertainment Collectibles Association, Inc". April 23, 2010. Archived from the original on April 27, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  22. ^ "Jonah Hex coming to HeroClix in 2010 : – Wizkids/NECA, Inc". June 1, 2010. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  23. ^ "DC Direct". April 21, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  24. ^ "DC Direct". April 21, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  25. ^ "DC Direct". April 21, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  26. ^ "Jonah Hex (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  27. ^ "Jonah Hex Reviews". Metacritic.
  28. ^ "Cinemascore".
  29. ^ Keith Phipps (June 17, 2010). "Jonah Hex Film Review". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved June 26, 2010. Rating F.
  30. ^ "Jonah Hex.". Chicago Sun-Times. June 16, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  31. ^ Pond, Steve (December 18, 2010). "Detroit, Houston Critics: 'Social Network,' Ho Hum". The Wrap. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  32. ^ Laydon, Joe (December 18, 2010). "'Social Network' lauded by Houston crix: Film continues dominance of award season". Variety. Retrieved December 18, 2010.