Filming took place from September to November 2010 in Georgia. It was released in Australia and New Zealand on October 6, 2011, and in North America on October 14, 2011. It grossed $15.5 million in its opening weekend and $63 million worldwide from a $24 million budget. It was met with generally positive reaction from critics.
After a long night of partying, Bobby Moore and four of his friends become drunk and drive over a bridge and crash into a truck, killing all five. Bobby's father Shaw Moore, the Reverend of the Bomont, Georgia church, persuades the city council to pass several draconian laws, including a ban on all unsupervised dancing within the city limits (based, in part, on New York City Cabaret Law).
Three years later, Ren McCormack, a Boston-raised teenager, moves to Bomont to live with his uncle, aunt, and cousins after his mother's death from leukemia and his father's abandonment. Soon after arriving, Ren befriends Willard Hewitt, a fellow senior at Bomont High, and from him learns about the ban on dancing.
He soon begins to be attracted to Moore's rebellious daughter - Bobby's sister Ariel - who is dating dirt-track driver Chuck Cranston. After an insult from Chuck, Ren ends up in a game involving buses, and wins despite his inability to drive one. Reverend Moore distrusts Ren and forbids Ariel from ever seeing him again. Ren and his classmates want to do away with the law and have a senior prom. After a while Ariel begins to fall for Ren and dumps Chuck, and Chuck beats her up. Later in church, Moore asks if Ren beat up Ariel. When Moore demands Ren's arrest, Ariel tells him that he can't blame everything on Ren just like he did with Bobby. She then reveals that she is no longer a virgin, which prompts Moore to beg for her to not talk like that in church, having Ariel sarcastically ask Moore if he will pass another law, and how it didn't stop her and Chuck from having sex. But Moore slaps her without warning, which shocks Vi, Moore's wife, and prompts Ariel to tearfully and angrily criticize Moore for slapping her, and storm out of the church. Moore tries to apologize, but Vi stops Moore, telling him, "You've done enough." Vi is supportive of the dancing movement, explaining to Moore he cannot be everyone's father, and that he is hardly being good to Ariel. She also says that dancing and music are not the problem.
Ren goes before the city council and reads several Bible verses given to him by Ariel, that describe how in ancient times people would dance to rejoice, exercise, celebrate, and/or worship. Ren also teaches Willard how to dance. The city council votes against him. Undaunted, Ren convinces the cotton mill owner to let them have a prom there; the mill is just outside city limits. Ren goes to see Moore, knowing that Moore still has enough influence to pressure the parents not to let their teenagers come. Ren tells Moore that even though they denied the motion to dismiss the law, they cannot stop the dance. He then asks him respectfully if he can take Ariel.
On Sunday, Shaw asks his congregation to pray for the high school students putting on the prom. Not long after Ren and Ariel arrive at the prom, Chuck and several of his friends arrive to beat up Ren. However, Ren, Willard, Rusty and Ariel subdue them. Ren then flings confetti into a shredding machine and yells, "Let's dance!" The movie ends with everyone dancing to the opening song "Footloose".Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormack
Julianne Hough as Ariel Moore
Dennis Quaid as Reverend Shaw Moore
Andie MacDowell as Vi Moore
Miles Teller as Willard Hewitt
Ser'Darius Blain as Woody
Ziah Colon as Rusty Rodriguez
Patrick John Flueger as Chuck Cranston
Ray McKinnon as Uncle Wes Warnicker
Kim Dickens as Aunt Lulu Warnicker
In October 2008, Kenny Ortega was announced as director but left the project a year later after differences with Paramount and the production budget. Peter Sollett was also hired to write the script. Dylan Sellers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan served as producer; Zadan having produced the original Footloose. In 2010, Craig Brewer came on to re-write the script after Crawford and Ortega left the project and also served as director. The writer of the original film, Dean Pitchford, also co-wrote the screenplay. Amy Vincent served as cinematographer.
In July 2007, Zac Efron was cast as Ren McCormack, but he left the project in March 2009. Two months later, it was reported that Chace Crawford would replace Efron, but he later had to back out due to scheduling conflicts. Thomas Dekker was a "top candidate" for the role but on June 22, 2010, Entertainment Weekly reported that Kenny Wormald had secured the lead role as McCormack.
Former Dancing with the Stars ballroom-dance professional Julianne Hough was cast as Ariel. Amanda Bynes, Miley Cyrus, and Hayden Panettiere were considered for the part before Hough was cast. Dennis Quaid was cast as Reverend Shaw Moore, and Miles Teller was cast as Willard Hewitt. On August 24, 2010, Andie MacDowell joined the cast as Quaid's wife. During an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Kevin Bacon said he declined a cameo appearance in the film as he did not like the role he was offered. The role was playing Ren McCormack's deadbeat dad. Though Bacon passed on the role, he gave Brewer his blessing.
Unlike the original, set in the fictional town of "Bomont, Utah", the remake is set in fictional "Bomont, Georgia". On a budget of $24 million, principal photography began in September 2010 in and around metro Atlanta, and wrapped two months later in November. A courtroom scene was shot at the Newton County Historic Courthouse in Covington, Georgia on September 17, 20 and 21. A family scene was filmed at the New Senoia Raceway in Senoia on October 1.
A scene taken from the original film, in which McCormack plays a game of "chicken" with his love interest's boyfriend, was filmed on the Chattahoochee River bridge on Franklin Parkway in downtown Franklin also in October. The home and church seen in the film were filmed in downtown Acworth. Production used the sanctuary of the Acworth Presbyterian Church and the house of the Mayor, Tommy Allegood.
The original soundtrack was released by Atlantic Records and Warner Music Nashville on September 27, 2011. It includes eight new songs and four remakes of songs from the original film's soundtrack. Brewer said, "I can promise Footloose fans that I will be true to the spirit of the original film. But I still gotta put my own Southern grit into it and kick it into 2011." Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" was covered by Blake Shelton for the remake, which is an upbeat country version. The film opens with several teens dancing to Loggins' original version of the song. Like the original film, the 2011 version also features "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" by the heavy metal band Quiet Riot and "Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Deniece Williams.
The film was originally scheduled for release in North America on April 1, 2011, but was moved to October 14, 2011. Footloose was released in Australia and New Zealand on October 6, 2011.
Paramount and HSN partnered for a 24-hour promotion on October 12, 2011. They sold clothing inspired by the film, such as women's red boots, denim, footwear and nail polish brands created by Vince Camuto and Steve Madden. To promote the film, Paramount sent the cast and director on a promotional tour in over a dozen cities.
Footloose was promoted on the October 11, 2011, episode of Dancing with the Stars. The episode featured film stars Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough—a former champion on the show—dancing to the songs "Holding Out for a Hero" and "Footloose" from the film's soundtrack with Blake Shelton performing the song live. At the CMA Awards, Shelton was joined by original "Footloose" performer Kenny Loggins to sing the song. Many of Viacom owned channels, like MTV, Nickelodeon and CMT advertised and promoted the film.
Pre-release audience pollings predicted the film to take in $20 million its opening weekend. However, Paramount expected it to be closer to $15 million. Footloose opened in 3,549 theaters taking in $15.5 million and placing number two, behind Real Steel ($16.2 million) in its opening weekend. Exit polls indicated that the film appealed to 75 percent of females and 28 percent of the teen market. About 60 percent of the audience were over age 25 and 46 percent over age 35. The 20th highest grossing locations on Friday were in Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Knoxville, Kansas City, and San Antonio. The opening was lower than other recent dance films like, Save the Last Dance (2001, $23.4 million), Step Up (2006, $20.7 million), but it performed around the same as Step Up 3D (2010, $15.8 million) and You Got Served (2004, $16.1 million). The 1984 Footloose opened to $20 million when adjusted for ticket price inflation. In its second weekend the film held well, with a drop of 34 percent. It placed third and grossed an estimated $10.4 million.
In Australia, the film opened to $1.05 million and to $88,078 in New Zealand. Footloose has grossed $51.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $10.9 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $62 million. The 1984 Footloose grossed over $80 million worldwide.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics; many of them considering it an improvement from its predecessor. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 70% of 161 surveyed critics have given the film a positive review; the rating average is 6.1 out of 10. The website's consensus is: "While it hews closely to the 1984 original, Craig Brewer infuses his Footloose remake with toe-tapping energy and manages to keep the story fresh for a new generation." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 58 based on 35 reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was an "A" on an A plus to F scale.
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A minus. She praised the performance of Wormald, commenting that he "handily owns the role for a new audience" and closed her review saying, "Guardians of the '80s flame will approve of the production's sincere respect for the original; church still matters, and so do Ariel's red cowboy boots." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave a negative review of the film, rating it one and half stars out of four. He criticized the film for being so close to the 1984 original "sometimes song for song and word-for-word". He thought poorly of Wormald's performance, saying, "He's got the Kevin Bacon role but not the Kevin Bacon charisma." Ebert closed his review expressing, "This new Footloose is a film without wit, humor or purpose. It sets up the town elders as old farts who hate rock 'n' roll. Does it have a clue that the Rev. Moore and all the other city council members are young enough that they grew up on rock 'n' roll? The film's message is: A bad movie, if faithfully remade, will produce another bad movie."
Variety's Rob Nelson also wrote that the film failed to distinguished itself from the original and denounces Wormald and Hough's acting performances saying, "When the music stops, young Hough is saddled, like her co-star, with the impossible task of making 27-year-old verbiage sound fresh." Nelson wrote that Brewer's musical staging is "subtly less theatrical than Ross', but it hardly constitutes a reinvention" and that Brewer's film comes across as "slightly milder" than Ross', such as with Ariel's abuse by former boyfriend being toned down for 2011. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter disapproved of how the dance numbers and action sequences were staged, shot and cut, saying, "The visual clumsiness does not disguise that Wormald (a professional dancer since extreme youth), especially, but the others too, are very good dancers. But the compositions vary randomly between close-ups, awkward medium shots and general coverage that cuts together with no cumulative dynamic power." Orlando Sentinel''s Roger Moore gave the film two and half out of four stars.
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review saying, "The new version of 1984's Footloose has updated moves and a sexier look but retains the story line. It doesn't have the emotional impact of the original, but it ups the energy level." He expressed that the film was "not so much a remake as a renovation" and notes that the remake is similar to the original but said it was "in all the ways that count". The New York Times's A. O. Scott wrote a mixed review and called the dance numbers "woefully inadequate" when compared with Glee, High School Musical and Step Up. For Wormald's performance he said, "He has energy but no real magnetism, and while he may be in possession of what are technically known as "moves", his dancing lacks sensuality and a sense of release." Scott gave Miles Teller a good review saying that he "has a natural charisma that is both comic and kind of sexy". He described the music in the remake as "better and more eclectic than the original, with some blues, country and vintage metal mixed in with the peppy dance tunes".
Paramount Home Entertainment released Footloose on DVD and Blu-ray on March 6, 2012.