Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brad Silberling|
|Produced by||Colin Wilson|
|Written by||Sherri Stoner
|Based on||Casper the Friendly Ghost
by Seymour Reit
|Music by||James Horner|
|Edited by||Michael Kahn|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Casper is a 1995 American family comedy fantasy film starring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, and Amy Brenneman, based on the Casper the Friendly Ghost comic books and animated cartoons. The ghosts featured in the film were created through computer-generated imagery.
A vindictive woman, Carrigan Crittenden is upset upon the reading of her late father's will that she was given creepy Whipstaff Manor in Friendship, Maine instead of his fortune, but she changes her tune when she learns that there is a hidden treasure within the property. She and her assistant Dibs go to the house in order to investigate, but find that it is haunted by a friendly ghost named Casper and his obnoxious prankster uncles the Ghostly Trio; Fatso, Stretch and Stinky who quickly frighten them off the property. Carrigan tries several means to rid the house of ghosts, but fails time and time again. Meanwhile, Casper sees a report of a paranormal therapist James Harvey and is immediately smitten by his teenaged daughter Kat. He quickly manipulates the television in order to convince Carrigan to have the Harveys come out to the manor to investigate the haunting.
James and Kat's relationship is strained, after the death of her mother Amelia, he devotes all of his time into finding her, believing her to have unfinished business and having not moved on to the afterlife. As a result, Kat has had no chance to make friends as they are constantly moving across the country. Upon arriving in Maine, Casper's plan to befriend Kat and her father backfires when his chaotic uncles come home and try to force the Harveys out. James stands resolute and manages to successfully move in. Kat tries to fit in at school, inadvertently gaining popularity for staying at the popular Whipstaff manor and winning the students over for a Halloween party there instead of the popular Amber's boat house where it would have been less authentic. Meanwhile, the trio has tried to make peace with James and even say they will find Amelia for him, while Kat and Casper become friends. She learns Casper does not remember the details of his life, so she takes him to remember it; eventually coming across an old abandoned toy room. Casper begins to remember details of his life, and when he comes across a sled he remembers that he died of an illness (likely pneumonia) when he stayed out late playing with it, but he chose not to move on, in order to take care of his lonely father. He also remembers a machine his father created called the Lazarus; capable of bringing a ghost back to life. Carrigan and Dibs overhear this and contemplate one of them dying and coming back as a ghost in order to get into the vault supposedly containing the treasure they sought. Carrigan tries to kill Dibs, but accidentally falls from a cliff, dying instead.
James and the trio go out to several bars, as James gets increasingly drunk, the trio decides they could always have fun if they make their trio a "quartet" by killing off James. However, they grow to like him too much and decide they can't kill him. Instead, a drunken James falls to his death in an open manhole. Back at the manor, Carrigan as a ghost stops the Lazarus machine before it can resurrect Casper (having earlier learning there was only one dose of the potion to bring him to life} and steals the treasure. She also kills Dibs who finally grows a spine and stands up to her, but Casper and Kat trick her into admitting that with her treasure and the potion to bring her back to life she has no unfinished business, and she is ejected involuntarily to the afterlife. The treasure, revealed by Casper is a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball card signed by his favorite player Duke Snider. James returns home, now a ghost and doesn't recognize Kat until she shows him who she is. Casper sacrifices his chance at a new life in order to bring James back to life. The party starting downstairs, Kat goes down to greet the guests, while the trio scare off Amber and her boyfriend Vic who had arrived to sabotage the party. Amelia appears to Casper and for his sacrifice, she gives him until the stroke of 10 to be human. Casper approaches Kat, who doesn't recognize him until they start dancing while Amelia tells James that she was so well taken care of during life that she has no "unfinished business", and pleads James not to make finding her, his. At the chime of 10, just as Casper and Kat kiss, the spell breaks and he becomes a ghost again. He attempts to say "Hi" to the guests, but they scream in terror and flee the manor. Not to let a party go to waste, James leads the trio into starting a Halloween party all their own, having become a family themselves.
- Christina Ricci as Kathleen "Kat" Harvey
- Bill Pullman as Dr. James Harvey
- Malachi Pearson as Casper McFadden (voice)
- Cathy Moriarty as Carrigan Crittenden
- Eric Idle as Paul "Dibs" Plutzker
- Ben Stein as Rugg
- Joe Nipote as Stretch (voice)
- Joe Alaskey as Stinkie (voice)
- Brad Garrett as Fatso (voice)
- Spencer Vrooman as Andreas
- Chauncey Leopardi as Nicky
- Wesley Thompson as Mr. Curtis
- Amy Brenneman as Amelia Harvey
- Devon Sawa as Casper McFadden (human form)
- Garette Ratliff Henson as Vic DePhillippi
- Jessica Wesson as Amber Whitmire
- Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci
- John Kassir as the Crypt Keeper (voice)
- Dan Aykroyd as the mustachioed Raymond Stantz (uncredited)
- Cameos as themselves
- Rodney Dangerfield
- Fred Rogers (archive footage)
- Clint Eastwood
- Terry Murphy
- Mel Gibson (uncredited)
- Steven Spielberg (cameo cut)
- Jess Harnell as Arnold (voice)
|Soundtrack album by James Horner|
|Released||April 29, 1995|
|Recorded||1994 - 1995|
- "No Sign of Ghosts"
- "Carrigan and Dibbs"
- "Strangers in the House"
- "First Haunting/The Swordfight"
- "March of the Exorcists"
- "Lighthouse—Casper & Kat"
- "Casper Makes Breakfast"
- "Fond Memories"
- "'Dying' to Be a Ghost"
- "Casper's Lullaby"
- "Descent to Lazarus"
- "One Last Wish"
- "Remember Me This Way" – Jordan Hill
- "Casper the Friendly Ghost" – Little Richard
- "The Uncles Swing/End Credits"
Overall the film was a huge success at the box office, opening at #1 over the Memorial Day weekend, grossing $16,840,385 over its first three days from 2,714 theaters, averaging $6,205 per theater. Over four days it grossed $22,091,975, averaging $8,140 per theater. It stayed at #1 in its second weekend, grossing another $13,409,610, and boosting its 10-day cume to $38,921,225. It played solidly all through the summer, ending up with a final gross of $100,328,194 domestically, and achieved even greater success internationally, grossing an additional $187,600,000, for a total worldwide gross of $287,928,194, against a $55 million budget, making it a massive commercial success.
Casper received generally mixed reviews from film critics. At Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews the film has a "rotten" rating of 44%. Time Out London described it as "an intimate and likeable film". Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, calling it a "technical achievement, it's impressive, and entertaining. And there is even a little winsome philosophy." The CGI effects, which were cutting edge at the time, and the performances of Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci were praised, especially considering that, in the scenes where the Harveys interact with the ghosts, Pullman and Ricci were actually acting either with nothing or with stand-in maquettes used as animators' references.
Cathy Moriarty's performance was criticized, with Variety saying she does "a poor woman's Cruella de Vil". Many reviewers also felt that Eric Idle, being a venerable comedian, was underused in the role of Moriarty's obsequious henchman.
In the mid-1990s, Simon Wells co-wrote a screenplay for Casper 2, which he was set to direct. Amblin Entertainment cancelled the sequel because they did not believe there would be enough interest from moviegoers. Wells also credited the uncertainty of actress Christina Ricci returning and Fox's ill-received direct-to-video Casper films as contributing to the cancellation of Casper 2.
- Whipstaff Manor, the home of Casper McFadden, in life and beyond, was based on the Art Nouveau style of real life location, Casa Batlló.
- In the mirror scene, Dr. Harvey was also supposed to get changed into Steven Spielberg. According to director Brad Silberling, the cameo was filmed, but it was cut for pacing reasons. Spielberg was relieved, feeling that he's not much of an actor and was quite nervous in front of the camera. 
- "Casper (1995)". Box Office Mojo. 1995-09-24. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
- "Casper Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
- "Casper :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
- Lowry, Brian (1995-05-21). "Variety Reviews - Casper - Film Reviews - - Review by Brian Lowry". Variety.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
- Armstrong, Josh (2011-08-15). "Mars Needs Moms, but Earth needs Director Simon Wells!". Animated Views. Retrieved 2013-05-05.
- Cindy Pearlman (1995-06-21). "Ghost Busters". EW.com. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Casper (film)|
- Official website
- Casper at the Internet Movie Database
- Casper at Rotten Tomatoes
- Casper at AllMovie
- Casper at Box Office Mojo