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Harold & Kumar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harold & Kumar
Directed byDanny Leiner (1)
Jon Hurwitz (2)
Hayden Schlossberg (2)
Todd Strauss-Schulson (3)
Produced byGreg Shapiro
Written byJon Hurwitz
Hayden Schlossberg
StarringJohn Cho
Kal Penn
Neil Patrick Harris
Music byDavid Kitay
George S. Clinton
William Ross
CinematographyBruce Douglas Johnson
Daryn Okada
Michael Barrett
Edited byJeff Betancourt
Jeff Freeman
Eric Kissack
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Warner Bros.
Release date
Running time
300 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million
Box office$102.8 million

Harold & Kumar is the name of a series of American stoner comedy films starring John Cho (Harold) and Kal Penn (Kumar). The first film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, was released on July 30, 2004, by New Line Cinema and spawned a sequel titled Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, released four years later. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, the third installment of the series, opened nationwide in the U.S. on November 4, 2011. The trilogy, produced on a total budget of US$40 million, grossed $116 million worldwide. In addition to their box office grosses, the films were successful on home video. The series has been released on both Blu-ray and DVD.


Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

Harold Lee and Kumar Patel are two Asian-American (Korean and Indian) stoners who get the munchies and embark on a quest throughout New Jersey for White Castle burgers after seeing them advertised on TV. On their way they encounter many obstacles, including a gang of extreme sports punks, a raccoon with an attitude, a group of Asian nerds, a racist police department, a cheetah that has escaped from a zoo, and an out-of-control Neil Patrick Harris.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)

Immediately following the events of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold Lee and Kumar Patel fly to Amsterdam so Harold can pursue a budding romance with his vacationing neighbor. The pair run into Vanessa, Kumar's ex-girlfriend, and her fiancé Colton, another old college buddy who helped Harold with getting a job at Brewster-Keagan, at the airport. During the plane flight, an elderly woman sees Kumar lighting a hand-crafted smokeless bong, who thinks that it is a bomb, and screams "Terrorist!". After a confusion of the words "bong" and "bomb", two undercover air marshals tackle Kumar, who accidentally drops the bong on the floor, breaking it and releasing what another passenger thinks is "Poison gas!". Harold and Kumar are detained by Ron Fox, a racist Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, in Washington, D.C., who then sends them to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. But just as they are about to eat a "cockmeat sandwich", the neighboring prisoners assault the guards and they are able to escape back to the United States. They meet with their college friend, Raza, who arranges a car for them to travel to Texas in search of Colton, a member of a family who has connections with political officials. On the way to Texas, they encounter various people from an inbred trailer home family to the Ku Klux Klan to Neil Patrick Harris.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)

In April 2009, Kal Penn accepted the position of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison in the Obama administration; when asked if his new job would mean no more Harold and Kumar films, he said, "That's probably true for now."[1]

A new film entitled A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas was announced on May 7, 2009.[2] Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg returned to write the film while Todd Strauss-Schulson directed. Greg Shapiro returned as producer with Kal Penn and John Cho reprising their title roles.[3][4] Penn left his job with the White House on June 1, 2010, to reprise his role as Kumar in the third Harold & Kumar installment.[5] After filming was completed, Penn returned to the White House.[6]

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas was released on November 4, 2011, and was the first film in the series to be shown in 3D. Seven years after the events of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Harold and Kumar embark on an adventure to find a new Christmas tree after Harold destroys the original while trying to dispose of Kumar's joint.


In July 2016, co-star John Cho revealed that he had pitched an idea for a fourth Harold & Kumar, and felt there was a chance it might get made. In an interview with Den of Geek!, Cho stated: "But I thought of a really great idea, and I pitched it out to the director when we happened to be having dinner one night. And I don't know...I think we're gonna get this made.”[7]

In 2014, It was announced that Adult Swim picked up Harold and Kumar: The Animated Series, and this was confirmed by Kal Penn, David Krumholtz and Jon Hurwitz. [8] It was, however, never produced. [9]


Harold Lee

Harold Lee played by John Cho
Harold Lee played by John Cho

Harold Lee is a Korean American investment banker who resides in New Jersey. The character was created by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and is based upon their real-life friend, named Harold Lee.[10] The character is portrayed by John Cho in all three films.

In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold is a hard-working man from the northern part of New Jersey. His lazy best friend and roommate is Kumar Patel. At times, Harold lets go of his obligations, but only during moments of extreme coercion, to the point where he amazes his laid-back friend Kumar. Harold is the yin to Kumar's yang, with the both of them being united through their enjoyment of cannabis smoking after a long day's work and or leisurely fun (such as aboard an airplane in the sequel, and an after work "Friday night special" in the first film).

Harold's romantic life centers around John Hughes-like fancies (as is evidenced by his obsession with film classics such as Sixteen Candles). Harold thinks that he'll wind up with a similarly repressed Korean-American young woman—Cindy Kim—who isn't as repressed as he thinks. The true object of Harold's desire, however, is Maria Perez (played by Paula Garces), who lives down the hall from him in his building.

In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, when embarking on their trip to Amsterdam they are arrested on the flight there after Kumar tests out his "smokeless bong" in the airplane lavatory. Then the two are sent to Guantanamo Bay where they are involved in a series of comedic events. In one of Kumar's flashbacks, it is revealed that Harold used to be an emo and Kumar was a hard working mathematically proficient nerd in college.

In A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Harold is married to Maria and hasn't spoken to Kumar in years. The two are reunited and rekindle their friendship after Kumar brings over a package for Harold that arrived at their old apartment. Inside the package is a marijuana joint, which winds up burning down Harold's father in law's Christmas tree; after an eventful night of looking for a replacement tree, it is revealed that the package was a gift from Santa Claus, who wanted the two to become friends again.

Kumar Patel

Kumar Patel played by Kal Penn
Kumar Patel played by Kal Penn

Kumar Patel is an Indian American student residing in New Jersey. His family includes his father and his brother, Saikat Patel. The character was created by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and is portrayed by Kal Penn in all three films.

In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Kumar Patel is a 22-year-old college graduate. He shares an apartment with his best friend, Harold Lee. Unlike Harold, Kumar is a fearless, confident slacker who is capable of doing what he wants. Both his father and brother are successful doctors and expect him to follow in their footsteps. Though not interested in school, Kumar is remarkably intelligent and knows how to perform complex surgical procedures, as shown in the film while looking for medicinal marijuana at the hospital.

In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, it is revealed that he had a girlfriend Vanessa in college, who introduced him to marijuana and transformed him from an aloof geek into the easy-going stoner he is today. She is about to marry the shifty, arrogant frat boy Colton Graham (who disapproves of her marijuana habit), but Kumar interrupts the wedding and wins her back by reciting "Square Root of 3," a math themed love poem that he was afraid to show her in college. Harold, Kumar and Vanessa then go to Amsterdam to find Maria, Harold's love interest.

In A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Kumar hasn't spoken to Harold in years. The two are reunited and rekindle their friendship after Kumar brings over a package for Harold that arrived at their old apartment. Inside the package is a marijuana joint, which winds up burning down Harold's Christmas tree; after an eventful night of looking for a replacement tree, it is revealed that the package was a gift from Santa Claus, who wanted the two to become friends again.

Vanessa tells Kumar she is pregnant shortly after their breakup, but believes that Kumar is not mature enough to raise their child. After his adventure, Kumar tells Vanessa he has matured and very much wants to raise the baby with her, even offering to return to medical school and give up marijuana. Vanessa decides to give him another chance, also telling him he shouldn't give up his favorite recreational activity.

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris playing a fictionalized version of himself
Neil Patrick Harris playing a fictionalized version of himself

All three films feature Neil Patrick Harris playing a fictionalized version of himself. In the films, Harris is portrayed as a heavy drug user and womanizer, despite being openly gay in real life. Harris didn't publicly come out until 2006, two years after White Castle was released. Although Guantanamo Bay was released two years after Harris came out, his fictional self was still characterized as a womanizer until the third film, when it's revealed that Harris is only pretending to be gay just to have sex with women. His real-life partner, David Burtka, appears as a fictionalized version of himself, who is Harris' drug dealer posing as the latter's life partner.

In a 2008 interview with Ain't It Cool News, Neil Patrick Harris revealed that the series' writers were discussing the possibility of a spin-off movie based on his fictional persona.[11]

Rosenberg and Goldstein

Andy Rosenberg and Seth Goldstein are two Jewish friends and counterparts of Harold and Kumar portrayed by Eddie Kaye Thomas and David Krumholtz. They live in the same apartment building as Harold and Kumar. They declined to go to White Castle with Harold and Kumar as they chose Hot Dog Heaven instead, but in the third movie did go to White Castle. In the third movie, Goldstein has a son named Christian and stated he had converted to Christianity after marrying his wife, and even wished to uncircumcise himself, which all aggravated Rosenberg who still practices Judaism.


Box office performance

Film Release date Box office revenue Domestic box office ranking Budget Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide Weekly Annual
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle July 30, 2004 $18,250,550 (76.2%) $5,686,358 (23.8%) $23,936,908 #7 #110 $9,000,000 [12]
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay April 25, 2008 $38,108,728 (87.6%) $5,384,395 (12.4%) $43,493,123 #2 #75 $12,000,000 [13]
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas November 4, 2011 $35,061,031 (96.1%) $1,131,744 (3.1%) $36,192,775 #3 #91 $19,000,000 [14][15]
Total $91,420,309 $12,202,497 $103,622,806 $40,000,000

Home media

DVD and Blu-ray sales in the United States
Film Release date Units sold Sales revenue Chart ranking Reference
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle January 4, 2005 2,878,770 $30,609,751 #16 [16]
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay July 29, 2008 1,231,397 $30,405,684 #1 [17][18]
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas February 7, 2012 607,330 $11,939,594 #3 [19][20]
Total 4,717,497 $72,955,029

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle 74% (148 reviews)[21] 64 (29 reviews)[22] B+
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay 52% (135 reviews)[23] 57 (27 reviews)[24] A-
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas 68% (131 reviews)[25] 61 (29 reviews)[26] B


  1. ^ Monez, Mindy (April 7, 2009). "'House': The Truth Behind the Shocking Surprise". Television Without Pity, Yahoo! TV. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  2. ^ "It's Going to be a 'Very Harold and Kumar Christmas'". MTV Movies Blog. May 7, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  3. ^ "Harold and Kumar 3 Announced". July 25, 2008. Archived from the original on July 30, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (July 24, 2008). "'Harold & Kumar' set for third puff". Variety. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  5. ^ "Kal Penn Leaving Washington to Reprise Role in Harold & Kumar".
  6. ^ "Kalpen Modi Returns To White House Job After Leaving To Film 'Harold & Kumar' Sequel". November 15, 2010. Archived from the original on May 12, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "The 'Harold and Kumar' Animated Series Is Really Happening". NBC News. July 10, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  9. ^ Wang, Tiffany (September 21, 2020). "Kal Penn Still Wants to Make Harold & Kumar 4 Set in Outer Space". Screen Rant. Retrieved January 20, 2021. An animated Harold & Kumar series was supposed to follow the pair on more of their adventures, although it was never developed
  10. ^ Jed, Simon (August 17, 2017). "In 'Columbus,' John Cho Reckons With His Own First-Generation Culture Clash (citation at 9 minutes, 30 seconds)". NPR Fresh Air.
  11. ^ Ain't It Cool News: Quint chats with Kal Penn, John Cho and Neil Patrick Harris! Possible NPH spin-off movie?!? And a tidbit on STAR TREK![1]
  12. ^ "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  13. ^ "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  14. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  15. ^ "2011 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  16. ^ "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) - Video Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  17. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008) - Video Sales". The Numbers. Archived from the original on 2018-11-19. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  18. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Archived from the original on October 6, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  19. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas gross". The Numbers. Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  20. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas - DVD Sales". The Numbers. May 13, 2013. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013.
  21. ^ "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  22. ^ "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  23. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  24. ^ "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  25. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  26. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-23.

External links

This page was last edited on 4 April 2021, at 10:49
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