“Shawshank” only began to get moviegoers’ attention after the Oscars, where it received seven nominations (but won no awards) and promptly was rereleased in theaters. The second run grossed an additional $10 million and primed it for its debut on home video, which at the time was still a robust revenue source.
If Andy Dufresne was the movie’s on-screen hero, off screen it was Ted Turner, whose Turner Broadcasting System had acquired Castle Rock in 1993. His TNT channel took the cable-broadcast rights to the film in 1997 and made “Shawshank” an anchor of its “New Classics” campaign.
Over the next few years, TNT and other Turner channels ensured that “Shawshank” never again would suffer from a lack of exposure. “Mr. Turner, bless his heart, chose to show the movie every five minutes,” Mr. Darabont said.
–Russell Adams, in the Wall Street Journal, on how a movie that failed to perform at the box office became a huge money maker anyway.