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Official Site: Lions Gate
The Punisher is a 2004 American comic book action film, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, starring Thomas Jane as the antihero Frank Castle / The Punisher and John Travolta as the villain Howard Saint, a money launderer who orders the death of Castle's entire family. The film is not a sequel or a remake to 1989's The Punisher; it is a reboot. The story and plot were mainly based on two Punisher comic book stories; The Punisher: Year One and Welcome Back, Frank along with scenes from other Punisher stories such as Marvel Preview: Featuring The Punisher #2, The Punisher War Zone and The Punisher War Journal. The film was released on April 16, 2004, by Lions Gate Entertainment, grossing $,834,527 in the United States over its opening weekend. A DVD release followed on September 7, 2004 - with $10.8 million in copies sold.
The Punisher was shot on location in Tampa, Florida and the surrounding Tampa Bay environs in mid to late 2003. It was distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment in North America, although Artisan Entertainment, which produced 1989's The Punisher, financed and co-distributed the film with Lionsgate, while Columbia Pictures distributed the film in non-North American countries. Director Jonathan Hensleigh agreed to helm the film during its development stage despite a dispute with Marvel Studios.
The success of the DVD sales of the film prompted Marvel Comics and Lionsgate to start development on a sequel titled The Punisher 2, which instead became a reboot titled Punisher: War Zone after Jane and Hensleigh left the project due to creative differences. This was the last movie produced by Artisan Entertainment.
Bobby Saint and Mickey Duka meet with their contact, European arms dealer Otto Krieg, during an arms deal at the Tampa, Florida seaport. But the FBI intervenes and Bobby Saint is killed in the ensuing crossfire while Mickey is jailed. It is revealed that Otto Krieg, who was supposedly killed in the FBI shootout, is actually an undercover FBI agent and former U.S. Army Delta Force soldier named Frank Castle, who was shot at by an agent using blanks. Shortly thereafter, Frank retires from the FBI and celebrates his retirement at a party with his FBI friends and coworkers before heading home to a family reunion in Puerto Rico. Bobby Saint is revealed to be the son of the powerful mob boss, Howard Saint, who is enraged by the death of his son and at first attempts to kill Mickey. Instead, Howard and his associate, Quentin Glass, bribe the FBI for confidential information about Otto Krieg and find his true identity. At Bobby's funeral, Howard learns Frank is at a family reunion in Puerto Rico and will be heading for London soon. Howard orders Frank murdered, but his spoiled and possibly even more lethal wife, Livia, demands that they kill Frank's entire family as well to "settle the score".
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