Catwoman (film)

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Catwoman
Movie poster that reads: "Halle Berry is Catwoman". In the foreground, Berry wears a leather suit and crouches on the edge of a tall building.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Pitof
Produced by Denise Di Novi
Edward McDonnell
Screenplay by John Brancato
Michael Ferris

John Rogers
Story by Theresa Rebeck
John Brancato
Michael Ferris
Based on Catwoman 
by Bob Kane
Starring Halle Berry
Benjamin Bratt
Lambert Wilson
Frances Conroy
Alex Borstein
Sharon Stone
Narrated by Halle Berry
Music by Klaus Badelt
Cinematography Thierry Arbogast
Edited by Sylvie Landra
Production
  company
Village Roadshow Pictures
Di Novi Pictures
Frantic Films
Maple Shade Films
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) July 19, 2004 (2004-07-19)
(Los Angeles)
July 23, 2004 (2004-07-23)
(United States)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100 million[1]
Box office $82,102,379[1]

Catwoman is a 2004 American superhero film directed by Pitof Comar and stars Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy and Alex Borstein. The film is loosely based on the DC Comics character of the same name, who is traditionally an anti-heroine and love interest of the superhero Batman.[2]

The film was panned by several film critics often regarding the film as one of the worst films ever made. The film was also a box office bomb grossing only $82 million on a $100 million production budget.

The plot features a completely new character, Patience Phillips, taking the Catwoman name, and viewing the traditional Catwoman as a historical figure. The departure from the Batman universe as well as the absence of the original Catwoman (Selina Kyle) became one of the main reasons for the film's critical failure from critics and Catwoman fans alike and because of these major changes the film is referred to as a Catwoman film in name only.[3]

Plot[edit]

Artist and graphics designer Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) is a meek people pleaser who's only support is her best friend Sally (Alex Borstein). Patience works for a cosmetics company called Hedare Beauty, which is ready to ship a new skin cream called Beau-Line, that is able to reverse the effects of aging. However, as Patience visits the factory where it is being manufactured, she overhears a discussion between the scientist, Dr. Ivan Slavicky (Peter Wingfield), and Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone), the wife of company owner George Hedare (Lambert Wilson); speaking about the dangerous side effects from continued use of the product. Laurel's guards discover Patience and are ordered to dispose of her. Patience tries to escape using a conduit pipe, but the minions have it sealed and flush Patience out of it, drowning her. Lying washed up on the shore and lifeless, Patience is mysteriously brought back to life by an Egyptian Mau cat, and from that point on develops cat-like abilities and an insatiable desire for vengeance.

With the help of the Mau's owner, eccentric researcher Ophelia Powers (Frances Conroy), who tells her that Egyptian Mau cats serve as messengers of the goddess Bast, Patience understands that she is becoming a "catwoman" reborn with abilities that are both a blessing and a curse. Wearing a mask to disguise her identity, Patience stalks the night as Catwoman seeking the answers to who killed her and why. Eventually, her search (which involves finding Slavicky murdered and being accused of it) leads her to Laurel. She asks Laurel to keep an eye on her husband, to which Laurel agrees. However, when Patience confronts George (who is with an opera with another woman), he reveals he knows nothing about the side effects. The police arrive and Catwoman escapes. Later on, Laurel murders her husband for his infidelity, and admits to killing Dr. Slavicky as well for his attempts to take the product back to formula. Laurel contacts Catwoman who is framed for the murder and taken into custody by the police, but not before Laurel reveals the side-effect of the cosmetic product: discontinuing using it would make the skin disintegrate while continued use would make the skin as hard as marble. She also plans to release the Beau-line in the market the following day.

Patience slips out of confinement and confronts Laurel in her office, revealing that Laurel is the one responsible for Patience's death. During the fight, she scratches Laurel's face, and Laurel nearly plummets to her death when she falls out of a window, grabbing onto a pipe for dear life. Laurel sees her face in a reflection and, horrified by her skin's rapid disintegration, fails to grab hold of Patience's outstretched arm and falls to her death. Though Patience is cleared of any charges made against her regarding the deaths of Dr. Slavicky and the Hedares, she chooses to continue living outside the law enjoying her new-found freedom as the mysterious Catwoman.

Cast[edit]

Missy Peregrym appears uncredited as the Hedare factory computer monitor image (Beau-line graphics model), depicting the bad effects of the beauty product. A photograph of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns can be seen among the pictures that Ophelia shows to Patience.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

With Warner Bros. moving on development for Batman Forever in June 1993, a Catwoman spin-off was announced. Michelle Pfeiffer was set to reprise her role from Batman Returns.[4] Tim Burton became attached as director, while producer Denise Di Novi and writer Daniel Waters also returned.[5] In January 1994, Burton was unsure of his plans to direct Catwoman or an adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher.[6] On June 6, 1995, Waters turned in his Catwoman script to Warner Bros., the same day Batman Forever was released. Burton was still being courted to direct. Waters joked, "turning it in the day Batman Forever opened may not have been my best logistical move, in that it's the celebration of the fun-for-the-whole-family Batman. Catwoman is definitely not a fun-for-the-whole-family script."[7] In an August 1995 interview, Pfeiffer re-iterated her interest in the spin-off, but explained her priorities would be challenged as a mother and commitments to other projects.[8]

"I checked out some to see how Catwoman is treated in the comics, to make sure that our Catwoman was in the same vein. But I didn't want to be too influenced by the comic book, because the whole point of the movie is to be first a movie, and to be different. Different from "Batman," different from "Spider-Man" - this movie has its own identity. I tried to find my sources more in the character of Catwoman herself. To me, the Catwoman we're filming now with Halle Berry is in the continuity of the others. She's different than Michelle Pfeiffer's character, different from anybody who's played Catwoman in the past. But she is Catwoman. When you look at the differences between the comic book Catwoman and the TV or movie Catwoman, they're all different-but there's a feeling that they are all Catwoman. Halle brings her own personality, through her attitude and through the outfit."

—Director Pitof[9]

The film labored in development hell for years, with Ashley Judd set to star as the lead as far back as 2001,[10][11] but eventually dropped out of the role.[12] Nicole Kidman was also reportedly considered for the role after Judd stepped out of the project,[13] until Halle Berry was chosen and the movie was released.

Catsuit[edit]

The catsuit was designed by Academy Award-winning costume designer Angus Strathie together with Halle Berry, director Pitof, and the producers. Strathie explained, "We wanted a very reality-based wardrobe to show the progression from demure, repressed Patience to the sensual awakening of a sexy warrior goddess."[14]

Choreography and training[edit]

Berry started intensive fitness training with Harley Pasternak in June of 2003.[15] Choreographer Anne Fletcher was brought in to develop Catwoman's signature style and teach Berry how to think like a cat.[16] She also oversaw Berry's training in the Brazilian martial art style Capoeira.[17] Berry was trained to crack a whip by coach Alex Green.[18]

Filming[edit]

The movie was filmed on 4th Street in downtown Los Angeles, California and Winnipeg, Manitoba as well as Lions Gate Film Studios, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Warner Brothers Burbank Studios, 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California.[19] Most of the cats cast in the film came from animal shelters throughout California.[20]

Release[edit]

The film had its theatrical premiere in the U.S. on July 19, 2004.

Home Media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on January 18, 2005. The film was released on Blu-ray on September 8, 2009.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $16,728,411 in its opening weekend. Domestically, the film's box office revenue reached $40,202,379 and $41.9 million overseas, with the worldwide box office revenue reaching $82,102,379.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Catwoman was heavily panned by critics and holds a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 179 reviews with the consensus stating: "Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller". The film holds a 27% approval rating on Metacritic and a user score of 3.6, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.[21] The film appeared on the list of Roger Ebert's most hated films. He criticized the filmmakers for giving little thought to providing Berry "with a strong character, story, supporting characters or action sequences," but his primary criticism came from the failure of the film to give the audience a sense of what her character experienced as she was transformed into Catwoman.[22] In their onscreen review Ebert and his former co-host Richard Roeper both gave the film a thumbs down. Film critic Bill Muller of the Arizona Republic suggested that Berry should possibly give back her 2001 Academy Award as a penalty.[23]

Accolades[edit]

This film received seven Golden Raspberry nominations in 2005, including Worst Supporting Actress (Sharon Stone), Worst Supporting Actor (Lambert Wilson) and Worst Screen Couple (Halle Berry and either Benjamin Bratt or Sharon Stone). It won in the categories of Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Halle Berry), Worst Director (Pitof), and Worst Screenplay. Berry arrived at the ceremony to accept her Razzie in person, with her Best Actress Oscar for Monster's Ball in hand, and said: "First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of shit, god-awful movie... It was just what my career needed."[24]

Video game[edit]

Main article: Catwoman (video game)

A video game was published by Electronic Arts UK and Argonaut Games. Featuring the voice talents of Halle Berry, the game varied from the film's plot and received below average reviews.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Catwoman at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2009-11-15.
  2. ^ "6 Stupid Superhero Movie Recasts". Omglists.com. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Catwoman (2004)". Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  4. ^ Michael Fleming (1993-06-17). "Dish". Variety. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  5. ^ Michael Fleming (1993-07-22). "Another life at WB for Catwoman and Burton?". Variety. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  6. ^ Michael Fleming (1994-01-13). "Seagal on the pulpit may be too much for WB". Variety. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  7. ^ Judy Sloane (August 1995). "Daniel Waters on Writing", Film Review, pp. 67-69
  8. ^ Tim Egan (1995-08-06). "Michelle Pfeiffer, Sensuous to Sensible". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Director Pitof on Catwoman. Superhero Hype
  10. ^ "Ashley Judd Talks 'Catwoman'". Killer Movies. 16 April 2001. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Film Notes: Ashley Judd Takes on 'Catwoman'". ABC News. 3 April. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Halle Berry As... Catwoman?". The Daily Haggis. 15 March 2003. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Nicole Kidman Offered 'Catwoman' Role". Killer Movies. 5 February 2003. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2600
  15. ^ http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2598
  16. ^ http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2599
  17. ^ http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2598
  18. ^ http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2598
  19. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0327554/locations?ref_=ttfc_sa_5
  20. ^ http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2599
  21. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/movie/catwoman
  22. ^ Ebert, Roger (2004-07-23). "Catwoman". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  23. ^ Muller, Bill (2004-07-23). "'Catwoman' provides less than purr-fect performances". Gannett News Service. Archived from the original on 2006-03-21. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  24. ^ "Halle Berry accepts her RAZZIE Award". Golden Raspberry Awards. 26 February 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Catwoman for Xbox on Metacritic.com". Retrieved 24 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Gigli
Razzie Award for Worst Picture
25th Golden Raspberry Awards
Succeeded by
Dirty Love