ST. PAUL — One of the hottest movies on Netflix right now is “Homefront,” a 2013 action flick that earned decidedly mixed reviews and pulled in a mere $51.7 million at the box office. And no one is more surprised by this than Chuck Logan, the Stillwater author who wrote the book that inspired it.
“It was an incredible surprise,” said Logan, a former St. Paul Pioneer Press graphic artist. He had no idea the film was such a hit until a neighbor texted him on Sunday, Jan. 24, to tell him it was the second-most watched movie on Netflix. Later that day, it hit No. 1 and has remained in the Top 10 in the days since.
It’s been a long journey to get to this point. Logan’s novel, in which a family is terrorized by a hitman and a band of meth cookers, was published in 2005 and optioned for a movie the following year. But cameras didn’t start rolling until late 2012. And the film, which was written by Sylvester Stallone, changed the location from Minnesota to Louisiana, cast British tough guy Jason Statham as the lead and dropped his wife, a main character in Logan’s book, from the story.
When the film premiered in 2013, Logan said that “The way I decided to think about it is it’s like selling someone your car. At this point, it’s Stallone’s car.”
“Homefront” debuted on Netflix on Jan. 18, and it’s already earning new critical praise it was lacking the first time around, with Forbes calling it “one of Jason Statham’s best movies … it’s a character drama with action as opposed to an outright adventure flick.”
One reason Logan said he thinks it stumbled back in 2013 is that the studio may have underfunded the distribution of “Homefront” in theaters. As for the film’s current success, Logan said it could be yet another unexpected COVID-19 streaming hit or that perhaps the theme may resonate with viewers in the current political climate.
Another one of Logan’s novels, 2013’s “Fallen Angel,” was optioned in 2015 and he’s been in discussions about a “Homefront” sequel. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.
For those wondering if Logan is going to see any fresh royalties from “Homefront,” well, he is too. “It’s an interesting question and I don’t know the answer,” he said. “We’re looking into that right now.”