Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (also known simply as Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief) is a 2010 American fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus. The film is loosely based on The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

It was released to theaters on February 12, 2010. A sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, was released on August 7, 2013.


In New York City, Zeus and Poseidon meet at the top of the Empire State Building, where Zeus reveals that his master lightning bolt has been stolen and accuses Poseidon's demigod son, Percy Jackson, of the theft. Poseidon reminds him that Percy is unaware of his true identity, but Zeus declares that unless his master bolt is returned to Mount Olympus before the next summer solstice, war will be waged.

Percy is a sixteen-year-old teenager who appears to be dyslexic, but has a unique ability to stay underwater for a long time. While on a school trip to the local museum, Percy is attacked by a Fury disguised as his substitute teacher, who demands the lightning bolt. Percy's best friend, Grover Underwood, and his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner — both of whom appear disabled — help Percy and scare off the Fury. Upon learning of the Fury's reason for the attack, Mr. Brunner gives Percy a pen, tells him it is a powerful weapon, and has Grover take Percy and his mother Sally to Camp Half-Blood, leaving behind Sally's husband Gabe Ugliano. However, the three are attacked by a minotaur that appears to kill Sally, who is unable to enter the camp. Grover tells Percy to use the pen, and Percy discovers that it is a sword, which he uses to fight the minotaur, without initial success. Percy kills the minotaur with its own horn, then faints from shock.

Three days later, Percy wakes up in the camp. He learns that he is the son of Poseidon, that Grover is a disguised satyr and his protector, and that Mr. Brunner is the centaur Chiron, also initially disguised. Chiron suggests that Percy go to Mount Olympus to convince Zeus of his innocence. Percy begins training to use his demigod powers, which include water manipulation and using water to heal. He also meets other demigods, including Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; and Luke Castellan, son of Hermes. After winning a Capture the Flag game, Percy is visited by a fiery apparition of his uncle Hades, who reveals that Sally is with him in the Underworld and that he will return her safely if Percy hands over the lightning bolt. Defying Chiron's orders, Percy decides to go to the Underworld, joined by Grover and Annabeth. They visit Luke, who gives them a map showing the location of three pearls belonging to Hades' wife, Persephone, which they can use to escape the Underworld. They are also given a shield and a pair of winged sneakers Luke stole from his father.

The trio heads out, locating the first pearl at an old garden center but encountering Medusa, who tries to kill them until decapitated by Percy; her head is taken with them for later use. They locate the second pearl in the Parthenon in Nashville; Percy uses the winged shoes to take it from a statue of Athena. However, they are then confronted by the Hydra, which Grover petrifies using Medusa's head. The third pearl is located at the Lotus Casino in Las Vegas, where the three eat lotus flowers and forget their reason for being there. They stay in the casino for five days until Poseidon speaks in Percy's mind, helping Percy return to his senses. Percy frees Grover and Annabeth from the effects of the flowers and they flee, discovering that the casino is run by the Lotus-Eaters. With all three pearls in their possession, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth head into the Underworld, the portal to which is located in Hollywood.

In the Underworld, they meet Hades and Persephone. Though Percy tells Hades that he does not have the lightning bolt, Hades finds it hidden inside Luke's shield, revealing that Luke is the lightning thief. Persephone knocks Hades out with the lightning bolt to get back at him for imprisoning her for all eternity and hands the bolt to Percy. However, because they only have three pearls, Grover remains with Persephone to allow Percy's mother to leave. Percy, Annabeth, and Sally teleport to the Empire State Building but are attacked by Luke, who wants to destroy Mount Olympus to secure the demigods' place as the new rulers of the gods. After a fight across Manhattan, Percy defeats Luke and returns the lightning bolt to Zeus, who forgives Percy and allows Poseidon to briefly speak with his son. The film ends with Percy and Annabeth reuniting with Grover, who has grown horns (though only small ones), meaning he is a senior protector, and returning to the camp to continue their training.

In a mid-credits scene, Gabe is being kicked out of Sally's house. He finds a note from Percy warning him not to open the fridge. Angrily ignoring it, he opens the fridge only to be petrified by Medusa's head.


  • Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, the demigod son of Poseidon
  • Brandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood, Percy's protector, a satyr
  • Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase, the demigod daughter of Athena and Percy's romantic foil
  • Jake Abel as Luke Castellan, the demigod son of Hermes
  • Sean Bean as Zeus, Lord of the Sky, King of the twelve gods of Mount Olympus and brother of Poseidon and Hades. He blames Percy for stealing his bolt.
  • Kevin McKidd as Poseidon, Percy's father, Lord of the Sea and brother of Zeus and Hades
  • Steve Coogan as Hades, Lord of the Underworld and brother of Zeus and Poseidon
  • Melina Kanakaredes as Athena, Annabeth's mother, goddess of wisdom, battle strategies, and justice
  • Rosario Dawson as Persephone, goddess of springtime and wife of Hades
  • Dylan Neal as Hermes, Luke's father, god of thieves, travelers, and messengers
  • Erica Cerra as Hera, goddess of family, marriage, Queen of the twelve gods of Mount Olympus, sister and wife of Zeus
  • Stefanie von Pfetten as Demeter, goddess of agriculture, sister of Zeus and mother of Persephone
  • Dimitri Lekkos as Apollo, god of the sun, poetry, music, healing, prophecy, and twin brother of Artemis
  • Ona Grauer as Artemis, goddess of the moon, hunting, and twin sister of Apollo
  • Serinda Swan as Aphrodite, goddess of love, beauty, and wife of Hephaestus
  • Conrad Coates as Hephaestus, god of the forge and husband of Aphrodite
  • Ray Winstone as Ares, god of war, lover of Aphrodite (uncredited)
  • Luke Camilleri as Dionysus, god of wine
  • Uma Thurman as Medusa, a gorgon cursed by Athena
  • Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, a centaur who trains heroes at Camp Half-Blood
  • Maria Olsen as Mrs. Dodds/Alecto, a Fury servant to Hades
  • Julian Richings as Charon, ferryman of the River Styx
  • Onika Ndukwe as Lotus Land Dancer
  • Catherine Keener as Sally Jackson, Percy's mother
  • Joe Pantoliano as Gabe Ugliano, Percy's stepfather


In June 2004, 20th Century Fox acquired feature film rights to the book. In April 2007, director Chris Columbus was hired to helm the project. Filming began in April 2009 in Vancouver. Portions of the film were shot at the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, that has a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. Filming wrapped up on the morning of July 25, 2009, in Mission, British Columbia. Additional exterior scenes were filmed on location in Brooklyn, New York during the first week of August 2009. Digital intermediate work began in San Francisco in November 2009. Christophe Beck composed the score.

Columbus has stated that the cast was chosen specifically with sequels in mind. "I think with Percy Jackson it was a matter of finding the right cast to fit into these roles, sort of the perfect cast for these roles, because hopefully, God willing, we will go on to do other Percy Jackson films and you want the cast to grow with their characters".


Box officeEdit

The film opened on February 12, 2010, in 3,356 theaters; its opening weekend box-office results totaled $31,236,067 in the U.S., finishing at #3 below The Wolfman, which opened at #2 with $31,479,235 and below Valentine's Day, which opened at #1 with $56,260,707. The film had a strong opening weekend for its genre, posting the highest opening weekend for a fantasy film not from the Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, or Lord of the Rings series. As of September 14, 2010, it grossed a domestic total of $88,768,303 with $137,728,906 elsewhere in the world, bringing it to $226,497,209.

Critical responseEdit

Critical reception of the film was mixed, as indicated by an average score of 47 out of 100 from Metacritic. 49% of 130 reviews were positive according to Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus being that although the film "may seem like just another Harry Potter knockoff, the film benefits from a strong supporting cast, a speedy plot, and plenty of fun with Greek mythology". Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "standard Hollywood product... unadventurous and uninteresting". The reviewer for The Washington Post thought "the movie suffers by taking itself a little too seriously. It's not just that it's a lot less funny than the book. It's also a lot less fun". On BBC Radio 5, Mark Kermode criticized the similarity of the film to director Chris Columbus's Harry Potter films, comparing it to a Harry Potter parody book and dubbing it Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins. This comment later sparked a satirical fan creation with precisely that title, narrated by Stephen Fry.

Video gameEdit

A video game based on the film developed by Activision was released for Nintendo DS on February 11, 2010. GameZone's Michael Splechta gave it a 6/10, saying "Percy Jackson might not make a splash when it comes to movie tie-in games, but fans of turn-based combat might find some redeeming qualities in this otherwise bare-bones game." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the game has a score of 56 (citing "mixed or average reviews") based on 6 reviews.

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on June 29, 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray. The movie itself charted at the top of the charts (DVD sales) with $13,985,047 in revenue in its first week. As of October 2011, the movie had sold 2,087,368 DVDs with over $37 million in sales.


Main article: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

In October 2011, 20th Century Fox announced a sequel based on the second book, The Sea of Monsters. The film was released on August 7, 2013.

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