Annie (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Will Gluck|
by Thomas Meehan
Little Orphan Annie
by Harold Gray
|Music by||Charles Strouse|
|Edited by||Tia Nolan|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$129.4 million|
Annie is a 2014 American musical comedy-drama film directed by Will Gluck and produced by Village Roadshow Pictures and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment for Sony Pictures' Columbia Pictures. A contemporary adaptation of the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name, which was in turn based upon the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, the film stars Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role and Jamie Foxx in the role of Will Stacks, an update of Daddy Warbucks. The film co-stars Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz.
The third film adaptation following Columbia's 1982 theatrical film and Disney's 1999 television film, Annie began production in August 2013 and opened on December 19, 2014 to generally negative reviews, but box-office success, grossing over $129 million as of February 2015.
Annie received two Golden Globe Award nominations, one for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (for Wallis) and for Best Original Song. Conversely, the film won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel and Cameron Diaz was nominated for Worst Supporting Actress.
In Harlem, a class of young children are doing presentations on former presidents. 10-year-old Annie Bennett (Quvenzhané Wallis) does her report on Franklin D. Roosevelt as a performance piece, and she gets her classmates to join her in by stomping their feet and making noises.
Annie visits a restaurant called "Domani" where she waits for her parents to show up and finally reclaim her. They never come. Annie gets back to her foster home and rejoins her foster sisters - Isabella, Tessie, Mia, and Pepper. They're looked over by the mean Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), who used to be a performer and is now miserable for having to take care of the girls. The girls lament not being adopted ("Maybe").
Hannigan wakes the girls up early on Saturday to make them clean their house as an inspector from Social Services is set to arrive ("It's the Hard Knock Life"). The inspector visits, and Hannigan flirts with him. After he leaves, the girls notice that he dropped a document containing their records. Annie takes it and seizes the opportunity to seek out her real parents. Annie stops by Lou's to do some work to get the money needed to get the documents.
Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a cell phone mogul and owner of "Stacks Mobile" is running for mayor. He is supported by his adviser Guy (Bobby Cannavale), his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne), and bodyguard Nash (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Will is a germaphobe and not very popular with voters compared to the current favorite Harold Gray. Will goes to feed the homeless and tries to eat the mashed potatoes to show how much he cares, only for him to spit it out in the face of a homeless man.
Annie is unable to learn anything about her parents since she's not in the system. She walks home depressed ("Tomorrow"). She sees two boys annoying a dog. Annie runs, yelling at them to stop. Will saves Annie from being hit by a vehicle.
A video of Will's heroic act hits the web, and he moves up several points. Guy suggests to him that he find Annie and use her to make himself look good for the public. Will sends Grace to get Annie.
Will offers Annie his place for a temporary stay. She knows there's a catch, and he admits the plan. She jokes that he could be president if she moved in. The adults get somebody to approve the temporary guardianship for Will. Annie then takes a tour around the place and is impressed with everything ("I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here").
Will sets the plan in motion by allowing Annie out to do whatever she wants. They adopt the dog from the streets (to Will's dismay), and Annie names it Sandy. He later takes Annie and the foster girls to the premiere of a movie called MoonQuake Lake, which Will surprisingly enjoys. The girls are taken back to the foster home, and Hannigan orders them to take back all the nice things they got. She once again bemoans her current position in life ("Little Girls"). Gray gets endorsed by Michael J. Fox, leading Will to get a bit desperate. He decides to take Annie on a ride over the city in his helicopter ("The City's Yours").
Annie joins Will, Grace and Guy at the Guggenheim Museum for a Stacks Mobile event called "A Night at the Museum". Will invites Annie up on stage for the people to see her in her red dress. She sings "Opportunity", and the orchestra joins in. After the performance, Guy tells Annie to read a speech that he wrote. Annie is quiet and leaves the stage upset. Will and Grace run after her, and Annie admits that she doesn't know how to read. Will says he will get her a tutor.
Guy devises a plan to get fake parents for Annie to get her off Will's hands. Guy teams up with Hannigan to set their scheme in motion ("Easy Street"), because, if Will looks heroic and reunites Annie with her parents, Guy gets a nice reward. Hannigan later auditions a bunch of actors to play the part, but is not pleased with any of them.
Will tentatively approaches Grace about adopting Annie, but Guy has chosen his own actors to play Annie's parents and arranges a heartfelt reunion. Will is uncertain about going through with it, but he is unable to stop Annie from getting what she has always wanted: a family of her own. The reunion is very public, with Stacks, Hannigan, and members of the press in attendance. At the event, Will tells Hannigan that Annie paid her a genuine compliment to her singing ability, rather than mocking her. This surprises Hannigan to the extent that she reconsiders how she has treated Annie and the other foster girls, and Hannigan, Will, and Annie all sing about what they have become and whether or not they really have what they wanted ("Who Am I?") as Annie prepares to leave. Hannigan resolves to tell Will the truth.
Annie sets off with her "parents" for Brazil, but quickly discovers that they are fakes. They tell her that this was all arranged by Will, not realizing that Guy was acting independently, and Annie believes she has been abandoned. No longer trusting that she will be taken somewhere safe, she is able to get the attention of some passerby, who take pictures of her on their cellphones and post them to the internet. Meanwhile, Hannigan reveals the plot to Will. Guy is fired, and Will and Grace, along with Hannigan and the foster girls, pursue Annie by helicopter, using the pictures of Annie as people post them to track her in real time.
They catch up to Annie and rescue her, but Annie at first refuses to believe that Will really wants her back. To prove that this is not just another photo opportunity, he drops out of the mayoral race then and there, and offers to adopt Annie. In celebration, they sing "I Don't Need Anything But You". The film concludes with Will opening a new literacy center, as everyone comes together for "Tomorrow (Reprise) / I Don't Need Anything But You (Finale)."
In a post-credits scene, Will talks back to the screen during MoonQuake Lake before being hushed.
- Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie Bennett, a foster child who lives in a foster home who desires to search for her parents.
- Jamie Foxx as William "Will" Stacks, a wealthy politician based on Oliver Warbucks.
- Rose Byrne as Grace Farrell, Stacks' faithful personal assistant and Annie's mother figure.
- Bobby Cannavale as Guy, a "bulldog political adviser" to Stacks.
- Cameron Diaz as Miss Colleen Hannigan, the cruel control freak of the foster home where Annie resides. She is based on Agatha Hannigan.
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nash, "the tough but lovable bodyguard and driver for Stacks and a good friend of Annie." He evokes the traits of Punjab and The Asp.
- Tracie Thoms and Dorian Missick as Annie's "fake parents", based on the characters Lily St. Regis and Rooster Hannigan.
- David Zayas as Lou, the local bodega owner who is a friend of Annie and has a crush on Miss Hannigan.
- Nicolette Pierini as Mia Putnam, the smallest foster girl.
- Amanda Troya as Pepper Ulster, the bossiest foster girl.
- Eden Duncan-Smith as Isabella Sullivan, the oldest of Annie's foster sisters.
- Zoe Margaret Colletti as Tessie Dutchess, one of Annie's foster sisters.
- Stephanie Kurtzuba as Mrs. Kovacevic, the New York Family Services worker who becomes close with Annie's case.
- Patricia Clarkson as Focus group woman
- Ashton Kutcher as Simon Goodspeed
- Rihanna as Moon Goddess
- Michael J. Fox as himself
- Mila Kunis as Andrea Alvin
- Katy Perry as Mermaid
- Bobby Moynihan as Guy in bar
- Sia Furler as Animal Care & Control Volunteer
- Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's names appear in the end credits of MoonQuake Lake
While the film incorporates notable songs from the original Broadway production, written by composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Martin Charnin, the songs themselves were rearranged by Sia and Greg Kurstin to reflect its new contemporary setting. Executive music supervisor Matt Sullivan explained that there was a desire to make the film's use of music "seamless" rather than "abrupt", and to maintain the integrity and familiarity of the musical's most iconic songs, including "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard Knock Life". The songs were rearranged with a percussive, pop-inspired style: in particular, "It's the Hard Knock Life"—whilst maintaining the use of "natural" sounds for its rhythm, was updated in a hip hop style. Lyrics to some songs were also updated to reflect the differences in the film's storyline and settings. Sia and Kurstin wrote three new songs for the soundtrack, including "Opportunity", "Who Am I", and "Moonquake Lake". Sia additionally co-wrote "The City's Yours" with Stargate.
- "Maybe" – Annie, Tessie, Mia, and Isabella
- "It's the Hard Knock Life" – Annie, Tessie, Mia, Isabella, and Pepper
- "Tomorrow" – Annie
- "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" – Annie and Grace
- "Little Girls" – Miss Hannigan
- "The City's Yours" – Will and Annie
- "Opportunity" – Annie
- "Easy Street" – Guy and Miss Hannigan
- "Who Am I?" – Miss Hannigan, Will, and Annie
- "I Don't Need Anything But You" – Will, Annie, and Grace
- "Tomorrow/I Don't Need Anything But You" (Finale) – Cast
Sony first announced the remake in January 2011; Jay-Z and Will Smith served as producers, and Smith's daughter Willow was attached to play the lead role. In February 2011, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy became front-runner to direct the film, but by March, he had declined.
The production soon began seeking a screenwriter, and actress Emma Thompson was considered. No developments arrived until May 2012, when Will Smith appeared on Good Morning America and provided updates, including that the film would be set in modern-day New York City, that Thompson was providing a script, and that Jay-Z would also provide newly written songs for the film. In July 2012, We Bought a Zoo screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna wrote a second draft of the script. In August, it was announced production was to begin in Spring 2013.
In March 2013, the search for the rest of the cast continued, and Justin Timberlake was rumored for the role of Daddy Warbucks. This was proven false when Jamie Foxx signed on for the role, now named Will Stacks. In June 2013, Cameron Diaz was cast as Miss Hannigan, after Sandra Bullock declined.
In July 2013, Rose Byrne joined the cast as Grace Farrell, Stacks's faithful assistant and in August, Boardwalk Empire star Bobby Cannavale joined the cast as a "bulldog political adviser" to Will Stacks. In September, the rest of the cast was announced: Amanda Troya, Nicolette Pierini, Eden Duncan-Smith, and Zoe Colletti as Annie's foster sisters.
Changes from prior adaptations
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2014)|
While "rooted in the same story" according to Gluck, the 2014 film adaptation is a contemporary take on the 1977 Broadway musical and contains some differences from the original: The setting was changed from the 1930s—the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency and the Great Depression, to present-day New York City. The opening school scene features class presentations by both the new Annie, and a student representing her classic appearance, discussing aspects of and parallels between the economic states of the two settings, such as the New Deal and the modern lower class.
The character of Oliver Warbucks was modified to create William Stacks, an entrepreneur in the technology sector (particularly, the mobile phone industry) turned politician, who is trying to run for Mayor of New York City. Annie also no longer lives in an orphanage, but is kept in foster care. Miss Hannigan's first name is changed to Colleen, instead of her previous film name Agatha. Annie's dog Sandy is a female in this film, as opposed to past adaptations where the dog is a male.
On November 27, 2014, Annie was one of several films leaked by the "Guardians of Peace", a group that the FBI believes has ties to North Korea, following its breach of Columbia's parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment. Within three days of the initial leak, Annie had been downloaded by an estimated 206,000 unique IPs. By December 9, the count had risen to over 316,000. The chief analyst at BoxOffice.com felt that despite this, the leak was unlikely to affect Annie 's box office performance as the demographic who pirates movies isn't the target audience for the film.
Annie opened on December 19, 2014, and earned $5,289,149 on its opening day. In the first weekend, the film made $15,861,939, ranking third in the domestic box office behind other new releases The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. As of February 12, 2015, the film has grossed $85,570,056 in North America and $43,800,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $129,370,056.
On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, the film has a 28% approval rating based on 136 reviews; the average score is 4.4/10. The site's consensus reads, "The new-look Annie hints at a progressive take on a well-worn story, but smothers its likable cast under clichés, cloying cuteness, and a distasteful materialism." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 33 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences rated the film an 'A-' on CinemaScore.
PopMatters magazine rated Annie 3 out of 10, saying, "In its aggravatingly choreographed frenzy, the party scene epitomizes Annie: it's trying too hard both to be and not be the previous Annies, it's trying too little to be innovative or vaguely inspired. It's as crass as Miss Hannigan and as greedy as Stacks, at least until they learn their lessons. The movie doesn't appear to learn a thing." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave Annie one-and-a-half stars, describing the adaptation as being "wobbly" and "unsatisfying", criticizing the commercialized nature of the plot changes, concluding that it was "finesse-free and perilously low on the simple performance pleasures we look for in any musical, of any period". Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader gave the film three out of four stars, praising the "surprising amount of bite: the filmmakers openly acknowledge the similarities between the Great Depression and the present, and the populist message, however overstated, always registers as sincere." Sachs also praised director Will Gluck for "striking a buoyant tone that feels closer to classic Hollywood musicals than contemporary kiddie fare."
The soundtrack, rearranged by Sia and Greg Kurstin, received a polarizing response from critics, with much criticism going towards the heavy use of auto-tune. Entertainment Weekly described its soundtrack as an auto-tuned "disaster", noting that "you won't ever hear a worse rendition of 'Easy Street' than the one performed by Diaz and Cannivale — I promise". David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter says "all but a handful of the existing songs have been shredded, often retaining just a signature line or two and drowning it in desperately hip polyrhythmic sounds, aurally assaultive arrangements and inane new lyrics." Matt Zoller Seitz however, praised the soundtracks' new songs.
The performances, however, were more positively received by film critics. IGN.com praised Wallis and Foxx for being "on-point" throughout much of the film, as well as Rose Byrne, calling her the "surprise" of the film. Matt Zoller Seitz called Wallis "the first Annie to bring something both culturally and personally new to this role", and praised the rest of the cast too, including Foxx and Byrne. However, Cameron Diaz's performance was widely panned, with critics calling it "vampy", as well as "strident and obnoxious". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says that she "overacts the role to the point of hysteria".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|Golden Globe Award||January 11, 2015||Best Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical Motion Picture||Quvenzhané Wallis||Nominated|
|Best Original Song||"Opportunity" – Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, Will Gluck||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award||February 6, 2015||Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture||Quvenzhané Wallis||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics' Association Awards||January 15, 2015||Best Young Actor/Actress||Quvenzhane Wallis||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||February 21, 2015||Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel||Annie||Won|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Cameron Diaz||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Award||March 28, 2015||Favorite Movie Actress||Cameron Diaz||Pending|
|Favorite Villain||Cameron Diaz||Pending|
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- Official website
- Annie at the Internet Movie Database
- Annie at Box Office Mojo
- Annie at Rotten Tomatoes
- Annie at Metacritic