The Maze Runner (film)
|The Maze Runner|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wes Ball|
|Produced by||Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
|Screenplay by||Noah Oppenheim
Grant Pierce Myers
|Based on||The Maze Runner
by James Dashner
Ki Hong Lee
|Music by||John Paesano|
|Edited by||Dan Zimmerman|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$340.8 million|
The Maze Runner is a 2014 American science fiction dystopian action thriller film directed by Wes Ball, based on James Dashner's 2009 novel of the same name. The film is the first installment in The Maze Runner film series and was produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, and Lee Stollman with a screenplay by Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, and T.S. Nowlin. The film stars Dylan O'Brien, Aml Ameen, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, and Ki Hong Lee.
The Maze Runner was released on September 19, 2014 in the United States by 20th Century Fox. The film received mainly favorable critical reviews, with praise aimed at the cast's performances as well as the film's intriguing premise and refreshingly dark tone, and even considered the film better than most young adult book-to-film adaptations. The film was also a commercial success, as it topped the box-office during its opening weekend with a $32.5 million debut, making it the seventh-highest grossing debut in September. Since its release, the film has grossed over $340 million worldwide against its budget of $34 million.
Thomas, a 16-year old boy, wakes up inside an underground service elevator with no memory of his identity. A group of male youths greet him in a large grassy area called the Glade that is enclosed by tall, stone walls. Every month, a new boy and supplies arrive in the elevator. The boys, called Gladers, have formed a rudimentary society with each assuming specialized tasks. Alby, their leader and the first to arrive in the Glade, says every boy eventually recalls his name, but none remember their past. The boy learns that a vast Maze surrounding the Glade may provide the only way out. During the day, designated Runners search the Maze for an escape route, returning before nightfall when the entrance closes. No one has ever survived a night inside the Maze.
While in a competition with Gally, the boy suddenly remembers his name is Thomas. Later, Thomas is attacked by Ben, a Runner delirious from being stung by a Griever – deadly techno-organic creatures that roam the Maze at night. Ben is forced into the Maze and left to die as there is no cure for what the Griever infected him with. Minho, the lead Runner, and Alby later retrace Ben's steps inside the Maze. Minho reappears at dusk dragging Alby, who was stung, but they are unable to reach the closing entrance in time. Thomas spontaneously runs into the Maze to help but all three are trapped. During the night in the Maze, Thomas and Minho tie Alby up high on the Maze wall to hide him from the Grievers, but Minho abandons Thomas when a Griever emerges from the center of the Maze. Thomas slides under the Maze wall, managing to hide from the Griever. Later, Thomas finds Minho and his actions during the night keeps them alive, and he kills a Griever by tricking it into a narrow, closing passageway thus causing it to be crushed, making him the first to ever survive the night and kill a Griever. To the other boys' astonishment, they return the next morning.
The next morning, the first-ever girl arrives in the elevator. She apparently recognizes Thomas though he cannot remember her. A note says she is the last one being sent. Thomas, Minho and several volunteers enter the Maze. They locate the Griever corpse and remove a beeping mechanical device from inside it. Gally claims Thomas has jeopardized the fragile peace between the Gladers and the Grievers and wants him punished, but Newt, the group's second-in-command, instead designates Thomas a Runner. Minho shows Thomas a scale model of the Maze he has built, based on his three years of exploration. The Maze's numbered sections open and close in a regular sequence that might be a code. The device is numbered to correspond to a certain section within the Maze. With the mechanical device, they may be able to find an escape route.
The girl, Teresa, has two syringes filled with an unknown substance. One is used on Alby, and he gradually recovers from the Griever sting and begins regaining his memories. Minho and Thomas venture back into the Maze and discover a possible exit but are nearly trapped, barely making it back to the Glade.
That night, the Maze entrance does not close while others open, letting Grievers pour in. A massacre ensues as the Gladers, practically defenseless against the Grievers, struggle to fight back or hide. Alby saves Chuck from a Griever, but is killed moments later, telling Thomas to "Get them out". Gally assaults Thomas after the chaos, blaming him for the Glade's destruction. Thomas, who has had disconnected memory flashes since arriving, stabs himself with a severed Griever stinger in an attempt to revive his memory. The others inject him with the last anti-venom. Unconscious, he recalls that he and Teresa worked for the organization that created the Maze; the boys unknowingly have been in an experiment. Thomas awakens and shares this information with Newt, Minho, Chuck, and Teresa.
Meanwhile, Gally has taken command and intends to sacrifice Thomas and Teresa to the Grievers to restore the peace. Most of the Gladers are swayed to free Thomas and Theresa and attempt escaping the Maze, but Gally and a few others refuse to leave. Fighting Grievers as they go, the survivors escape the Maze and eventually enter a laboratory strewn with dead scientists and technicians. A woman in a video recording explains that the planet has been devastated by increasing solar flares, followed by a pandemic of a deadly, incurable virus called the Flare that affects the brain of the afflicted. We learn that a group of younger individuals appeared to be immune to the virus. The Gladers learn that they were part of an experiment studying the way their brains worked as a resistance to the virus. At the end, the woman in the video shoots herself as the lab is being attacked by men with military-style weapons but dressed more like mercenaries. Gally suddenly appears armed with a gun he found. Delirious from a Griever sting, he insists they must stay in the Maze, then aims at Thomas intending to kill him out of revenge. Minho kills Gally with a spear, but not before Chuck is fatally shot protecting Thomas, who is devastated by his friend's death. Masked armed men rushed in and take the group to a helicopter. As they fly over the Maze, it is revealed to be placed in a vast desert wasteland. Eventually, the helicopter approaches a ruined city. The scene ends with the supposedly-dead scientists meeting in a room. The leader (woman in the video) notes that the experiment has been a success; the survivors are now entering Phase Two.
- Dylan O'Brien as Thomas, the last male to enter the Glade
- Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, the only female Glader
- Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, second in command
- Will Poulter as Gally, the Glade's enforcer
- Ki Hong Lee as Minho, the Keeper of the Runners
- Aml Ameen as Alby, the leader of the Gladers
- Blake Cooper as Chuck, a chubby friend of Thomas and also the youngest Glader
- Dexter Darden as Frypan, the main chef of the Gladers
- Chris Sheffield as Ben, a runner
- Jacob Latimore as Jeff, the main medic of the Gladers
- Alexander Flores as Winston, the Keeper of the Slicers
- Randall D. Cunningham as Clint
- Joe Adler as Zart
- Patricia Clarkson as Ava Paige
In an interview with Collider.com, director Wes Ball stated he made a 3D computer-animated science fiction post-apocalyptic short film, titled Ruin. He was able to enter Hollywood with the film and presented it in 3D to Fox. The studio then considered a film adaptation of the film as it had same tone of another possible film adaptation 20th Century Fox wanted to make. Ball was then offered the director position for the film.
Creature designer Ken Barthelmey designed the monsters called Grievers for the film.
For the role of Teresa, Kaya Scodelario was Ball's first choice as she was "fantastic". Dylan O'Brien, the lead role, was rejected by Ball. Ball recounts, "Dylan was actually ... I saw him early on, very early on and I overlooked him. It was a big learning experience there, because I overlooked him because of his hair. He had Teen Wolf hair and I couldn't see past that and so we were looking for our Thomas and it's a tough role to make, because he comes in as a boy and he leaves as a man, so it can't be like this badass action star that comes into this movie. It's about vulnerability up front and then he comes out of it and comes into his own and then the next movies are about the leader that emerges from the group. So finally Fox says 'We just did this movie, The Internship. There's this kid that's in this thing. He's like 20 years old. We think he's kind of got something.' So I watched his tape and was like 'Wait a minute, I've seen this kid before.' I looked him up online and there was one picture of him with a totally shaved head and it's this sweet vulnerable looking kid and I was like 'Whoa, interesting.' I said, 'Wait a minute, he's just so familiar' and I looked back at my old audition tapes, which we had thousands of, and there's Dylan. That guy I said 'No, definitely not him.' So we brought him back in and we started to talk with him and I'm like 'he's the coolest dude ever.'" Blake Cooper entered the film via Twitter. Ball revealed a lot on Twitter, and many kids wanted to be Chuck. Cooper constantly bugged Ball, until Ball told him to give his tape to his casting director, and Ball was impressed by Cooper's tape and cast him.
The film was completed in June 2014.
Composed by John Paesano, the soundtrack consists of 21 tracks and was released on September 1, 2014.
Eleven character cards for the film were released in July 2013. Starting in January 2014, director Wes Ball released one image from the film once a week, leading up to the film's first trailer release on March 17, 2014. A viral marketing campaign launched by 20th Century Fox began on April 16, 2014. The campaign is a website featuring the main characters while focusing on W.C.K.D, an organisation in Dashner's novel series of the same name. The website has the domain wckdisgood.com.
On June 26, 2014, Dylan O'Brien tweeted that the original The Maze Runner book would be re-released with a new book cover based on the film's poster. On July 29, 2014, the second trailer for the film was released exclusively on Yahoo! Movies.
The film was one of the most profitable films of 2014, earning 10 times its production budget. It grossed $102,272,088 in North America and $238,322,778 in other territories for a worldwide total of $340,594,866.
Prior to its release in the U.S. and Canada, box office analysts predicted the film would be a box office success, citing effective marketing, good word-of-mouth publicity and a solid release date. Preliminary reports predicted the film would open with takings of over $30 – $32 million in North America. According to movie ticket sale website Fandango, The Maze Runner was the biggest seller accounting for more than 50% of early tickets sales. The film was released on September 19, 2014 in the United States and Canada in 3,604 locations and over 350 IMAX theatres. It earned $1.1 million from Thursday night shows, and $11.25 million on its opening day. It topped the box office on its opening weekend with $32.5 million of which 9% of the gross came from IMAX theaters. Its opening weekend gross is the seventh-highest for a film released in September, and the 18th highest for a young-adult book adaptation. The film earned a total of $102,272,088 at the North American box office becoming the twenty sixth highest-grossing film of 2014 in the U.S. and Canada.
The film debuted at five foreign markets a week prior to the North American release and earned $8.3 million. The film had a similar success overseas during its opening weekend earning $38 million from 51 markets. It topped the box office in 50 countries (47 markets). The film opened in Korea with $5.5 million which is higher than the openings of The Hunger Games and Divergent. In the UK, the film opened at No. 2 with $3.4 million behind Gone Girl. It opened in China with $14.58 million where it was No. 2 behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($26.5 million).
The film became the third highest-grossing film of all time in Malaysia for Fox behind Avatar and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The film is set to be released in Japan in 2015 which will add to its revenue further.
The Wall Street Journal said critics considered the film better than most young adult book-to-film adaptations due to its "strong performances and a creepy, mysterious atmosphere". Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 63% "Fresh" rating based on reviews from 143 critics, with an average score of 5.9/10. The site's consensus states: "With strong acting, a solid premise, and a refreshingly dark approach to its dystopian setting, The Maze Runner stands out from the crowded field of YA sci-fi adventures". Metacritic gives the film a score of 56 out of 100 based on reviews from 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of A− on an A+ to F scale.
Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film a three out of four and described it as "solid, well crafted and entertaining". Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com said she found the film intriguing, writing that "it tells us a story we think we've heard countless times before but with a refreshingly different tone and degree of detail". The Seattle Times 's Soren Anderson said the film was "vastly superior to the book that inspired it" and gave it a score of 3/4. Tony Hicks of the San Jose Mercury News was "hooked by the combination of fine acting, intriguing premise and riveting scenery". Matthew Toomey of ABC Radio Brisbane gave the film a grade of A−, giving praise to its intriguing premise saying that "it held [his] attention for its full two hour running time". Justin Lowe of the Hollywood Reporter said it was "consistently engaging", and Ella Taylor of Variety wrote "as world-creation YA pictures go, The Maze Runner feels refreshingly low-tech and properly story-driven".
Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post said "The Maze Runner unravels a few mysteries, but it spins even more", giving it a 3/4. Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger wrote "it does leave you wanting to see the next installment. And that's one special effect that very few YA movies ever pull off". Isaac Feldberg of We Got This Covered awarded the film 8/10 stars, calling it "dark, dangerous and uncommonly thrilling", while extolling it as one of the best YA adaptations of its kind since the first Hunger Games. Rick Bentley of the Fresno Bee praised Wes Ball's direction, saying that he "created balance between a thin but solid script and first-rate action – and he doesn't waste a frame doing it". Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "a well-acted and intelligent thriller/futuristic sci-fi romp". Bilge Ebiri of New York magazine said he "was quite riveted". Michael Sragow of the Orange County Register gave it a grade of "B" and said, "Ball is deft, though, at evoking claustrophobia of every kind, whether in the open-air prison of the Glade or the actual tight spaces of the Maze. And he elicits a hair-trigger performance from O'Brien".
Claudia Puig of USA Today said "a sci-fi thriller set in a vaguely post-apocalyptic future must create a fully drawn universe to thoroughly captivate the viewer. But Maze Runner feels only partially formed", giving it a score of 2/4. Time magazine's Richard Corliss said "like Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit-tentialism, but more crowded and with the musk of bottled-up testosterone". Wesley Morris of the website Grantland said "I think I have a touch of apocalepsy – excessive sleepiness caused by prolonged exposure to three and four-part series in which adolescents rebel against oppressive governments represented by esteemed actors". Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film a 2.5 out of 4 rating and said "it's bleak business, and as it hurries toward its explosive, expository conclusion, the film becomes nonsensical, too". Film critic Ethan Gilsdorf of The Boston Globe said "teens should eat up this fantasy's scenery-chewing angst and doom, and the hopeful tale of survival and empowerment (to be continued in the inevitable sequel or sequels)".
On October 11, 2013, it was reported that Fox had acquired the rights to the second book, The Scorch Trials. A screenplay is to be written by T. S. Nowlin, with director Wes Ball supervising the scriptwriting. The sequel is scheduled to be released on September 18, 2015. On July 25, 2014, Ball announced at San Diego Comic-Con International that filming for the sequel would commence sometime between March and May 2015, should The Maze Runner become a success when it hits the theaters. However, two weeks prior to the film's release 20th Century Fox decided to move ahead with the sequel and pre-production began in early September 2014 in New Mexico. Cast members Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki-Hong Lee and Patricia Clarkson are set to reprise their role for the sequel, as is director Wes Ball. It has been announced that Aidan Gillen will be joining the film to play Janson ("Rat-Man"), as has Rosa Salazar who will portray Brenda, Jacob Lofland who will star as Aris Jones, and Giancarlo Esposito who will play Jorge Gallaraga.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Maze Runner (film).|
- Official website
- The Maze Runner at the Internet Movie Database
- The Maze Runner at Box Office Mojo
- The Maze Runner at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Maze Runner at Metacritic