After some delays, the film was released in the United States on November 10, 2010, and abroad in 2011. This marked the first time that Bad Robot Productions produced a comedy film. Morning Glory received mixed reviews and had moderate success at the box office, grossing $60 million worldwide. The theme song of the film is "Strip Me" by Natasha Bedingfield.
Aspiring news producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) has dreamed since childhood of working for the Today show, but her dedication to her career is off-putting to potential suitors. After being laid off from her job at the local Good Morning New Jersey, her mother advises her to give up her dream before it becomes an embarrassment. However, Becky perseveres, sending many different résumés out. She finally receives a call from IBS, which is looking for a producer on its struggling national morning show, DayBreak.
After a discouraging job interview with Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum), who dismisses both her and DayBreak as also-rans, Becky bumps into one of her heroes, veteran television journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) in an elevator. She is brushed off rudely, but is told by the other passenger that this is just typical of Mike. Seemingly against his better judgement, Jerry hires Becky to be DayBreak's executive producer. On her first day, Becky realizes she has signed on to a show in turmoil, lacking in direction and money. After meeting the acerbic but long-suffering co-host Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), who predicts Becky's demise, she fires the conceited co-host Paul McVee (Ty Burrell), much to the delight of her co-workers. Becky chooses a reluctant Mike as Colleen's new co-host. Mike is under contract to IBS, but has managed to mostly escape being utilized while still getting paid. Becky finds a clause in his contract by which he is obliged to accept an official job offer or lose his salary, effectively blackmailing him into accepting the position.
Becky gets to know Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson), another IBS producer who had worked with Mike previously. After initially teaming up to deal with Mike, they begin dating, and he is initially supportive of her dedication to her job. Pomeroy proves to be hard going, throwing his weight about, trying to sabotage his debut on the show by getting drunk, refusing to banter with Colleen on air, and ensuring he only does serious news stories by making use of a clause in his contract that allows him to refuse certain assignments, like cooking segments, that he considers beneath him. As ratings begin to drop, Becky is told that DayBreak may be canceled.
After a heated confrontation with Mike, Becky snaps and decides on a radical approach to save the show. She improves ratings by persuading Ernie (Matt Malloy), the DayBreak weatherperson, to do the weather while doing stunts, such as riding a new Six Flags roller coaster. Colleen also expresses a keen interest in Becky's campaign to rejuvenate the show, and appears on a number of colorful segments that help the show's ratings. Jerry remains unconvinced that Becky can get the ratings up enough to stave off cancellation. Adam, not realizing what is on the line, teases Becky about how caught up she is in improving the ratings, but she sees it as a criticism that she has heard from previous men, and walks out. Mike tells her that he was once the same way, but ended up with no life outside of work.
During a staff meeting, Pomeroy shows interest in doing a story, surprising colleagues. Becky goes along but realizes that he is going to the governor's summer house instead of the destination she expected. Mike ends up confronting the governor on charges of racketeering, and breaks the story of his arrest on live television. This increases DayBreak's ratings enough to secure another year for the show. Due to DayBreak's rise in popularity, Becky receives a job interview from Today. During the interview, DayBreak is on. Between segments, Colleen tells Mike about the interview, and that his refusal to adapt has driven Becky away. He goes to the kitchen where food segments are done. Becky watches in shock as Pomeroy tells the viewers how to make a good frittata. Becky runs back to the set and decides to remain at DayBreak.Rachel McAdams as Becky Fuller, the new executive producer of DayBreak, the fourteenth in eleven years, challenged with improving the show's ratings.
Harrison Ford as Mike Pomeroy, a serious news journalist and anchor who has worked in television for over forty years. He is unhappy at having to co-host a show that does not deal with real news stories.
Diane Keaton as Colleen Peck, the host of DayBreak for the past eleven years, in which time she has gone through several co-hosts and executive producers.
Patrick Wilson as Adam Bennett, another producer at IBS, who begins dating Becky.
John Pankow as Lenny Bergman, the long-term senior producer of the show.
Jeff Goldblum as Jerry Barnes, a network executive, he tasks Becky with turning the show's ratings around.
Matt Malloy as Ernie Appleby, the DayBreak weatherperson.
Ty Burrell as Paul McVee, the co-host of the show at the beginning of the film. Becky immediately fires him because of his negative effect on staff morale.
Patti D'Arbanville as Mrs. Fuller, Becky's mother.
Adrian Martinez as IBS Lobby Guard
Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo as themselves.
Chris Matthews, Morley Safer, Jonathan Bennett, Bob Schieffer, and Elaine Kaufman make cameo appearances.
The premise of the film was partially inspired by Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, where Harrison Ford's role was akin to Clark while Diane Keaton's role was akin to Lewis and Rachel McAdams' role was akin to Clark's nephew Ben. Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna and producer J. J. Abrams "dreamed of having Harrison Ford in the film" from the point of early script development. Shortly after Abrams cast Harrison Ford as Mike Pomeroy, Roger Michell took over as director.
Despite their long careers in Hollywood, Keaton and Ford had never met prior to Morning Glory. Harrison Ford explained: "We have been working in the same business, different branches of the business. She was in the intellectual branch and I was in the running, jumping and falling down branch. So, we never had the chance to work together. But it was a real pleasure to finally get that opportunity." Morning Glory marked Keaton's and McAdams' second film together. They previously co-starred in the 2005 comedy drama The Family Stone. Billed as a starring vehicle for McAdams, she initially felt she was unsuited to the role because "I'm not funny. So I said, 'if you need me to be funny, you might want to look somewhere else'". Roger Michell, the film's director, had a number of dinners with McAdams and persuaded her to join the cast.
The film's theme song is "Strip Me" by Natasha Bedingfield. A song called "Same Changes" by The Weepies was recorded exclusively for the film. David Arnold also composed the film score. No official soundtrack was released, though the following songs were used in the film:
The film was originally scheduled for release on July 30, 2010, in the U.S. It was then pushed back to November 12, 2010. Finally, Paramount Pictures shifted the release date to November 10, 2010. In its opening five days, Morning Glory earned about $12 million at US box offices, which was considered a poor result for a film with major stars like Keaton and Ford. On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, it debuted at number three behind Due Date and Megamind, though the next day it went down to number four when For Colored Girls beat it to number three. It kept on switching from number five to number four several times until November 19 when it went down to number six. From November 19-November 24, it stayed number six until finally going down to number ten. It stayed in theaters until January 20, 2011. Ultimately, the film earned more than $31 million in the United States, and over $27 million internationally for a worldwide total of almost $59 million.
The press emphasized that it was another box office disappointment for Ford. With the exception of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford had not had a hit for a decade. Steven Zeitchik wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "What's most disappointing about "Morning Glory" is that, after a decade without a comedy, Ford's turn in something more spry was supposed to mark a new chapter by getting him back to his crowd-pleasing ways. But the movie's disappointing performance adds one more nail in a coffin that's been enveloping Ford's career, 'Buried'-style, for years." Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, told TheWrap: "When Ford wears that iconic hat, he can still crack the box office bullwhip, but outside of Indy it's become a tougher case."
BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino said: "I'm not quite ready to write this film off as a disappointment. I think it's going to show healthy staying power in the weeks to come. It's skewing older, so that means the audience it appeals to doesn't feel the need to necessarily rush out during the opening weekend. It's a funny movie with plenty of pep, and I think a lot of moviegoers will still discover it." McAdams was disappointed that the film failed to find a larger audience, remarking that "I only hear these businesspeople: 'Well, no one was sure who it was for.'"
Morning Glory received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 56%, based on 174 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's consensus reads, "It's lifted by affable performances from its impeccable cast, and it's often charming – but Morning Glory is also inconsistent and derivative." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
One of the main criticisms about Morning Glory was that the film did not provide any substance about television and the media unlike Network (1976) or Broadcast News (1987). Peter Howell of the Toronto Star wrote: "You'll think of Broadcast News and Network watching it, and possibly lament how the film ducks the tough issues of media accountability and culpability that those films dealt with decades ago. (...) Are they [director Roger Michell and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna] trying to say anything meaningful about television and the media? If so, they've failed." Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger noted that Broadcast News, as opposed to Morning Glory, "was also about something – the conflict between faked telegenic "moments" and hard-news reality (...) And that's what made it not just a fun film but a classic." He concluded: "It's a good enough movie. But it came this close to being great."
The critics who enjoyed Morning Glory pointed out that the film was funny and entertaining. James Berardinelli of ReelViews wrote: "Despite the conventional manner in which the story is resolved, Morning Glory generates enough entertainment, good will, and genuine laughs to make it hard to dislike [...] It fits into a shrinking category: the old-fashioned, not-too-raunchy, character-based comedy. It's gentle, unforced and, despite its flaws, likeable. It doesn't blaze new trails or astound with its wit but, more likely than not, you'll leave the theater with a smile, and that's certainly worth a recommendation." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said: "This unofficial update on the news-vs.-fluff wars does get in some good shots at the wacky world of morning television.... It includes more than a few clever lines, and boasts a stellar cast." Andrew O'Hehir of Salon described the film as "a brash, lightweight backstage comedy that looks lovely, doesn't insult its audience and uses its stars, both young and old, to terrific effect." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe wrote: "The movie's a pleasant and occasionally hilarious ride, even if there's a bait-and-switch at its core." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded Morning Glory three-and-a-half stars out of four. He stated: "Morning Glory is funny entertainment to begin with, and then Rachel McAdams transforms it. And Harrison Ford transforms himself. (...) This is the kind I like best. It grows from human nature and is about how people do their jobs and live their lives."
Most critics stressed that one of the assets of the film was the performances of its all-star cast. Harrison Ford got strong reviews for his performance in the film. Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said: "Ford doesn't venture beyond his usual acting range, but within it he creates a character with a reluctantly human inside." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the film "a tart, terrific comedy that gives Harrison Ford his best and funniest role in years." He added: "The iconic Han Solo and Indiana Jones shows real comic chops as Mike Pomeroy." According to Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, "Ford is still a magnetic hunk of gray-granite movie star, and in Morning Glory, he finds a way to trick up his deadly somber, shifting-quicksand delivery into a shrewd and amusing acting style." Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News wrote that "Ford is the most casual he's been since Working Girl," while Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune stated: "Ford's gravitas and comedic irritability are in perfect balance here." Rex Reed of The New York Observer noted: "All of which gives Harrison Ford a role that fits him like a condom. He gets to be gruff, granite-faced, mean-spirited, rude and pessimistic, never cracking a smile and scowling like a rat just died in the studio's air-conditioning pipes.... The cast is perfect (scowling irascibly like Clifton Webb, Mr. Ford has never been this good)."
Several critics also liked McAdams' performance. Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times: "Ms. McAdams plays her role exceptionally well: as the young actress on the verge of the big time, who can win the boy, tame the beast, flash her panties and make you smile without making you cringe, she is a natural." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times stated: "Though the film's advertising gives the impression that McAdams is one among equals, the reality is that this is her show. (...) she's never carried an entire film as completely and as easily as she does here." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times compared Rachel McAdams' performance to Amy Adams' Academy Award nominated role in Junebug. Keaton's performance was praised as well. According to ReelViews, "Keaton is so good at her part that one can see her sliding effortlessly into an anchor's chair on a real morning show." Critics said that there was good chemistry between Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone stated: "Ford and Keaton are delicious together." For Rex Reed, "Some of the on-camera bitchery between Mr. Ford and Ms. Keaton is laugh-out-loud witty." But it was also noted that Keaton was underused in the film.