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Down to Earth

Promotional poster
Directed by Chris Weitz
Paul Weitz
Produced by Barry M. Berg
Chris Rock
Written by Chris Rock
Lance Crouther
Ali LeRoi
Louis C.K.
Starring Chris Rock
Regina King
Chazz Palminteri
Eugene Levy
Jennifer Coolidge
Greg Germann
Wanda Sykes
Music by Jamshied Sharifi
Cinematography Richard Crudo
Editing by Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Studio Village Roadshow Pictures
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) February 16, 2001 (2001-02-16)
Running time 87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $49 million
Gross revenue $71,186,502

Down to Earth is a 2001 comedy film directed by the Weitz Brothers, the team who directed and helped create American Pie. Down to Earth stars Chris Rock as a comedian, Lance, who is killed before his time. He is given another chance in the body of a rich man. It is a remake of Heaven Can Wait (1978) which, in turn, was a remake of a 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan, which was based on a stage play by Harry Segall also called Heaven Can Wait. This film is named after the 1947 sequel to Mr. Jordan but from a plot perspective is more closely related to the stage play and the 1941 movie.

One of the twists of this version is that Lance is African-American, yet given the body of a rich White man, thus allowing Rock to capitalize on social commentary, a common theme in his comedy act.



The film follows Lance Barton, a struggling comedian. Although quite funny and confident in his personality he is unable to bring his talent across in front of an audience. After being booed off stage one night he hears about an opportunity from his manager, at the Apollo Theater which is having a show dedicated to new comedians. He is hoping to get a chance to prove himself in front of a real audience, when on his way home riding a bike Lance is distracted by Sontee (Regina King); not paying attention, he is hit by a semi truck and is instantly killed. Lance is brought up to Heaven where he meets the angels, King (Chazz Palminteri) and Keyes (Eugene Levy) who reveal that Lance had died before his time, and can help Lance return to Earth.

He finds the body of Charles Wellington III, an old but an extremely rich man. After being killed by his wife and assistant, he returns, but with the witty character of Lance Barton inside him. Only he and the angels can see himself as himself. Everybody else sees him as the elderly, rich, caucasian man Charles Wellington III. Through many humorous moments and issues, he gets Sontee, a girl he saw when he was Lance, to fall in love with him.

All too soon, he is shot by a fellow business man, and returns as Joe Guy, a great comedian who died in a car accident. After performing at the Apollo, the angels King and Keyes tell him he will not remember them, Lance, or Sontee. After that, he remembers nothing. He still has the characteristics of Lance, and proceeds in getting Sontee to fall in love with him yet again, after meeting her in the theater for this first time as Joe Guy.

Box office

The film opened at #2 at the North American box office making $20,027,309 USD in its opening weekend, behind Hannibal.


A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on February 20, 2001 by Sony Music Entertainment. It peaked at 71 on the Billboard 200 and 64 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

External links



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