Top Cat: The Movie

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Top Cat: The Movie
215px
U.S. release poster for Top Cat: The Movie
Directed by Alberto Mar
Produced by Fernando de Fuentes
Jose C. Garcia de Letona
José Luis Massa
Screenplay by Timothy McKeon
Kevin Seccia
Based on Top Cat 
by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Starring Raul Anaya
Jorge Arvizu
Jesús Guzmán
Eduardo Garza
Mario Castañeda
Ricardo Tejedo
Music by Leoncio Lara
Edited by Andrés Fernández
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (Mexico)
Lightning Entertainment (International)
Vertigo Films (UK)
Viva Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • September 16, 2011 (2011-09-16) (Mexico)
Running time 90 minutes
Country Mexico
Argentina
Language Spanish
Box office $14,714,672[1]

Top Cat: The Movie (also known in Spanish as Don Gato y su Pandilla, literally "Top Cat and His Gang") is a 2011 3D Mexican-Argentine animated family comedy film based on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, Top Cat, which ran from 1961 to 1962 on ABC in the United States.

The film was produced by Ánima Estudios and Illusion Studios and was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.[2] Top Cat: The Movie premiered in Mexico in 2D and 3D theaters on September 16, 2011. It was a huge commercial success, earning $43,536,074 pesos on its opening weekend at the domestic box office and became one of the biggest box-office openings in Mexican cinema history.[3]

The English version was released in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2012, distributed by Vertigo Films, in RealD 3D and 2D theaters.[4] It was largely panned from critics and fans alike, but was a moderate box-office success, grossing £2,824,893 pounds, the highest amount for a Mexican production.[5][6]

The film had a limited release in the United States on August 2, 2013, starring the voices of Rob Schneider and Danny Trejo.[7][8]

A computer-animated prequel, titled Top Cat Begins,[9] is set to be released on 7 August 2015.[9][10]

Plot[edit]

During lunch with Benny, Top Cat spots a female cat walk by them. Excusing himself, Top Cat quickly runs after the female cat, interrupted by Griswald, but soon gets him out of the way and meets up with the female cat, who introduces herself as Trixie. While she finds him amusing, an alley cat isn't her type.

At the alley, Top Cat catches news of the Maharajah of Pookajee, known for his generosity and his rubies are just what Top Cat needs to impress Trixie. Top Cat and his gang head to the Connity Hall to meet the Maharajah, running into an obnoxious man named Lou Strickland. The gang steal his tickets and get him sent away. While the gang distract Officer Dibble who is the Maharaja's escort, Top Cat makes a bet with the Maharaja and gets out of him a Maharaja Talk 5000 device with many functions, as the Maharaja hasn't any rubies.

The next morning, Officer Dibble is summoned to the police station to work for the Chief's son-in-law Strickland, who is taking over for the retired Chief. Strickland has replaced the staff with robots which he believes are more competent. Top Cat thwarts Strickland's attempt to evict him, preventing Strickland from getting the Mayor's funding for a robot police army. Strickland uses Trixie to keep Top Cat away from the alley while he carries his out his plan. Top Cat returns to the alley getting shunned by his gang, arrested by police and after an unfair trial, convicted to the Dog Jail on charge of stealing money from an orphanage.

With the arrest of Top Cat, Strickland is granted the Mayor's funding and establishes a robot police army and a major scale surveillance camera system which restricts privacy for the city. Meanwhile Top Cat tries to keep a low profile in dog jail but later becomes popular having turned the jail into a paradise for the convicts. As for Top Cat's gang they are struggling and begin to express their disbelief in him, which Top Cat notices from the one of the security cameras.

Strickland abuses his authority and starts coming up with ridiculous laws to take absurd amounts of money off people for every thing they do, intending to spend it on making himself even more 'handsome'. Tired of Strickland's tyranny, Trixie quits her job, Strickland fired her and turns to Officer Dibble and shows him evidence that a robot Top Cat sent by Strickland robbed the orphanage proving Top Cat's innocence. However, Strickland arrives and reveals his true intentions to Dibble, and that he's not the old chief's son-in-law. Dibble escapes to pass this to Top Cat's gang, but Trixie is captured by the police robots.

After Dibble tells the gang what really happened, they all head for Big Gus to help them break Top Cat out of prison, as he owes Top Cat. Big Gus leads them through an underground passage to the dog jail and leaves. The gang apologises for their doubts about Top Cat. With their cover blown by the dogs knowing they've got cats with them, the gang and Dibble escape through a sewer hole arriving at Strickland's HQ.

The gang infiltrate the building in robot guises finding Strickland has imprisoned everyone in the city and stolen the city's cash. While Dibble distracts Strickland, the gang under the guise of robots make their way to Strickland's control centre, but Top Cat's gang are locked in Strickland's vault having tripped a silent alarm, Top Cat remaining outside. When Strickland arrives, he orders Top Cat to be annihilated by the robots. As a single robot enters, Top Cat realises the whole security system was manufactured by the Maharajah of Pookajee. Top Cat takes out the Maharajah Talk 5000 which presumably controls all robots to get Stickland. In panic, Strickland self-destructs the robot army except the single one, revealed to be Fancy-Fancy still in his robot guise. Everyone imprisoned and Top Cat's gang is released in the self-destruction process. Strickland is rendered helpless and Dibble arrests him and (on Top Cat's suggestion) sentences him to the Dog Jail.

Top Cat and Trixie renew their relationship, Officer Dibble is promoted as the new Chief of Police, the gang enjoy themselves, and finally Griswald asks for a place in Top Cat's gang, which Top Cat accepts.

Voice cast[edit]

Further information: List of Top Cat characters
Spanish cast
  • Raul Anaya as Don Gato (Top Cat)
  • Jorge Arvizu as Benito (Benny), Cucho (Choo-Choo)
  • Jesús Guzmán as Demostenes (Brain)
  • Eduardo Garza as Panza (Fancy-Fancy)
  • Luis Fernando Orozco as Espanto (Spook)
  • Sebastian Llapur as Oficial Matute (Officer Dibble)
  • Rosalba Sotelo as Trixie
  • Mario Castañeda as Lucas Buenrostro (Lou Strickland)
  • Ricardo Tejedo as Rugelio (Griswald)
English cast

The English-language version was also included in the special features in the Mexican DVD release with Jason Harris voicing Lou Strickland and Griswald.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On February 26, 2011, Warner Bros. Pictures Mexico, Ánima Estudios, Illusion Studios announced that the film would be in production, to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary.[11] The film took a total of 34 months to develop.[11]

Writing[edit]

While the production of the film mainly took place in Mexico, Warner Bros. suggested that the film was written by Americans, when Timothy McKeon and Kevin Seccia wanted to write a familiar story to match the spirit of the original TV series.[11][12] Before writing the screenplay, they reviewed the show's set of the 60's.[12] They wrote several versions of the script until they finished the final draft the script.[12] It took them six months to write.[12] Jesús Guzmán, the Spanish voice of Demostenes (Brain), adapted and translated the script in Spanish.[12]

Animation[edit]

It was originally rumored to be a live-action/CGI hybrid, but it was later confirmed to be a 2D/CG animated feature.[13] Animated in Adobe Flash with computer animated backgrounds, the animation was done by Ánima Estudios in Mexico, while post-production (including the CGI backgrounds) and stereoscopic 3D services were done at Illusion Studios in Argentina.[12] Additional animation services were handled by Cartoon Salon in Ireland.

Background development and setting[edit]

Alberto Mar, the film's director, did a scouting in New York City in 2011 and took pictures of the city's buildings, alleys, and drains.[12] He also used locations that were not featured in the TV series, such as Times Square.[12]

Character development[edit]

During character development, all of the film's characters had to be approved by Warner Bros. Animation.[12] The goal was for the characters to look like they were drawn in style of other Hanna Barbera works.[12] Ánima Estudios created new characters that were not featured in the series, such as Trixie, Lucas Buenrostro (Lou Strickland), the army of robots, and over 100 incidental characters.[12]

Cast[edit]

While the film features a voice cast different from the original series, Jorge Arvizu reprises his role as Benny and Choo Choo from the Spanish version of the show[13] The U.S. version casts actors, Rob Schneider and Danny Trejo, dubbing over Jason Harris voice roles as Lou Strickland and Griswald, respectively, from the international English versions of the film.[7]

Music[edit]

The film's original score was composed by Leoncio Lara.[14] The TV show's theme song was featured in the film. The song, "New York Groove" by Ace Frehley, was also featured in the film's trailer and end credits.

Release[edit]

Mexican theatrical release poster

This film was released theatrically in Mexico and parts of South America on September 16, 2011 in Digital 3D and regular 2D format. The film's teaser premiered on April 15, 2011 and was shown during the Mexican screenings of Hop.[15]

On January 23, 2012, Vertigo Films announced that the film would be released in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2012 (formerly August 20, 2012) in 2D, Digital 3D, and RealD 3D theaters.[16] A UK teaser trailer was released in April 5, 2012.[17]

The film was released in select theaters and VOD in the United States from Viva Pictures on August 2, 2013.[18][19] The U.S. trailer was released on May 7, 2013.[20] The MPAA gave this film a PG rating for "some mild rude content".[21][22]

Home media[edit]

The original Latin American version was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 2, 2011 from Warner Home Video International[23] as well on Blu-ray 3D in Brazil, distributed by PlayArte Home Entertainment, while the UK version was released on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on October 15, 2012, distributed by Entertainment One.[24] It was the first film from Ánima Estudios to be released on Blu-ray. The film was released in the United States on DVD on September 3, 2013.[citation needed]

Box office[edit]

Mexico and Argentina[edit]

This film has earned $40,708,634 in Mexico and grossed a total of $110,464,458 pesos. It has also became one of the biggest box office openings in Mexican cinema history.[3][25] In Argentina, it opened #5 on its opening weekend behind Killer Elite, Dream House, The Lion King 3D, and Real Steel, earning $771,229 and grossed a total of $3,328,829.[26]

Brazil[edit]

In Brazil, this film opened at #7 behind The Smurfs, Larry Crowne, Cowboys & Aliens, O Homem do Futuro, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Conan the Barbarian, earning R$973,076. It grossed a total of R$2,231,700.[27]

United Kingdom and Spain[edit]

The UK release of this film opened at #7 at the weekend box office with £437,577 from 452 theaters throughout the country, behind the UK releases of What to Expect When You're Expecting, The Dictator, The Avengers, Men in Black 3, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Prometheus, and grossed a total of £2,845,031.[28] In Spain, this film earned €34,085 on its opening weekend and grossed a total of €96,848.

Internationally[edit]

This film grossed $326,440 in Uruguay, Turkish lira symbol 8x10px.png286,296 in Turkey, and $2,448,802 in Peru.

Reception[edit]

Though the original Spanish version of the film was received favorably in Mexico and Latin America, the English dub of the film received extremely negative reviews from UK critics.[29][30][31][32][33]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the English film 1 out of 5 stars, saying "It's the bottom of the heap, and it frankly looks cheap, the disaster of the year is – Top Cat".

Derek Adams of Time Out London also gave the English film 1 out of five stars, writing, "a pity, then, that the key elements – storyline, dialogue, comedy value – are so woefully ineffectual. An air of boredom permeated the screening I attended and laughs were universally non-existent."

Colin Kennedy of Metro criticized the English film, calling it "a dog's dinner of a film which will bore new viewers and disappoint old ones" and "post-Pixar kids will be bored rigid."

Michelle Moore of Close-Up Film gave the English film a negative review for its animation, saying "When it comes to combining the two, scenes and characters, things at times get very disordered and appear out of place."

Rob of The Shiznit gave this 1 out of 5 stars and wrote, "It looks like Top Cat, sounds like Top Cat, but it doesn’t feel like Top Cat. It's as if a Mexican film company (Ánima Estudios) has taken an iconic American cartoon and slapped together a budget version... oh, wait, that’s exactly what’s happened."

Bethany Rutter of Little White Lies criticized the English film saying that "it's heroically unfunny, the lame script is one of many sticking points. Awkward, clunky and predictable, it propels the film forward at a pace that manages to be both deathly slow and annoyingly jumpy."

Mike Sheridan of Entertainment.ie criticized the English film and wrote, "In a world where studios are putting so much care into the development of characters in family aimed flicks, Top Cat just doesn’t cut it."

Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent gave the English film 2 out of 5 stars and said that "neither the voice work (much of it done by Jason Harris) nor the animation is distinctive. Officer Dibble has only a marginal role. The use of 3D seems entirely tokenistic (an excuse to hike up ticket prices rather than an artistic decision.)"

Writing in the Daily Mail, Chris Tookey said the film, "one of the worst-ever spin-offs of a TV series", was "abysmally scripted, crudely drawn and cheaply made, with astonishing inattention to detail" and apparently "redubbed with little regard for synch by a team of justifiably unknown actors."

Shaun Munro of WhatCulture gave the English film 1 and 1/2 out of 5 stars, calling it a "horrid, low budget take on the classic series" and wrote "Top Cat: The Movie is a rarity; an almost completely mirthless, charmless animated film."

On the positive side, Matthew Turner of ViewLondon enjoyed the English film, saying that " This movie provides a handful of decent laughs, though some of the jokes are a bit dodgy, the 3D effects are entirely superfluous and younger children might be a little bored."

Eddie Harrison of The List also gave the English film a positive reaction, saying that "adults looking for undemanding fare for their kids may find Top Cat's brand of sass, irreverence and cheeky charm offer a persuasive alternative to today's crasser children's entertainments."

While the U.S. version currently doesn't have a critic score, the UK version currently scores a 15% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 13 reviews, with an average score of 2.8/10.[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominees Result
2012 13th Golden Trailer Awards[35] Best Foreign Animation/Family Trailer "Trailer 1" on YouTube and "Trailer 2" on YouTube Nominated

Prequel[edit]

Variety reported that the film's producer, José C. García de Letona, is working on a sequel.[5] He said that the sequel will be "slightly more edgy and contemporary".[36] It is set to be released on 7 August 2015, distributed by Warner Bros.,[9] with Ánima Estudios returning to develop.[10] In September 2014, it was reported that Andres Couturier would direct the film, titled Top Cat Begins.[9] According to García de Letona, the film won't be a sequel but "rather a companion piece to the first Top Cat" and it will "be in CGI, not 2D like the original."[9] Fernando De Fuentes, chairman of Anima Estudios, also explained that film is "the most ambitious project in our studio’s history."[9] It was confirmed to be a prequel, explaining how Top Cat met Benny and the rest of his gang.[37] It is also budgeted at $8 million.[37] The cast is currently unknown at this time, however, it has been reported that the Spanish casting will be exhausting, since the death of Jorge Arvizu (the Spanish voice of Benny and Choo-Choo).[38][39] Jason Harris has confirmed on his Twitter that he will reprise his role as Top Cat in the English version.[40] Nick Shakoour has also been confirmed as a cast member of the film.[41] India's Discreet Arts Productions will handle animation production.[42]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Top Cat box office
  2. ^ Calderón, Lucero (14 September 2011). "Don Gato y su pandilla, más historia para México". Excélsior. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Mexican Animated Film 'Top Cat' Breaks Record at Box Office The Hollywood Reporter. September 20, 2011. John Hecht
  4. ^ "Top Cat: The Movie to hit UK cinemas in 3D, Vertigo films confirms | Metro News". Metro. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Mexican animator adds English - Entertainment News, Animation, Media - Variety Variety. December 1, 2012. James Young
  6. ^ Eddie Mair. "Top Cat the Movie - "there must be something to recommend this film?"". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 2012-07-06. 
  7. ^ a b ROB SCHNEIDER AND DANNY TREJO LENDING THEIR VOICES FOR TOP CAT: THE MOVIE | Alien Bee Entertainment News
  8. ^ Check out a Trailer and Clip from the Animated Top Cat Feature Film
  9. ^ a b c d e f de la Fuente, Anna Marie (September 17, 2014). "Anima Brings ‘Top Cat Begins’ to the Bigscreen". Variety. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Don Gato 2" se estrenará el 7 de agosto del 2015. Con René Franco
  11. ^ a b c Calderón, Lucero (14 September 2011). "Don Gato y su pandilla, más historia para México". Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Warner - Don Gato y su Pandilla: Datos Curiosos (in Spanish)". Cine Informacion. Blogger. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Miguel Cruz, Luis (7 April 2011). "Conoce los detalles de Don Gato y su pandilla". Cine Premiere. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Andrade, Carlos. "Don Gato y su Pandilla / La Música (Leoncio Lara) (in Spanish)". YouTube. Google. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Teaser trailer de Don Gato y su Pandilla..!". 15 April 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Mitchell, Wendy (2012-01-23). "Vertigo plans August UK release of Top Cat: The Movie | News | Screen". Screendaily.com. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  17. ^ Published Thursday, Apr 5 2012, 9:02am EDT (2012-04-05). "'Top Cat' trailer: Hanna-Barbera cartoon returns in purr-fect 3D - Movies News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  18. ^ ‘Top Cat: The Movie’: Viva Takes U.S. Rights (EXCLUSIVE) | Variety
  19. ^ http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/topcat/
  20. ^ Top Cat 3D Official US Release Trailer 1 (2013) - Jason Harris Animated Movie HD on YouTube
  21. ^ Top Cat (2013) Movie Insider
  22. ^ Top Cat (2013) film rating
  23. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Top-Cat-Blu-ray/35785/
  24. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Top-Cat-Blu-ray/49533/
  25. ^ Hoad, Phil (2011-10-11). "Don Gato – aka Top Cat – rides the crest of a Mexican wave | Film | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  26. ^ "Argentina Box Office, October 13-16, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "Brazil Box Office, September 16-18, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  28. ^ http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2012/06/prometheus-lands-at-top-of-uk-box.html
  29. ^ "Movie Review - Top Cat: The Movie (2011)". Flickering Myth. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  30. ^ "This Top Cat needs to be put down «". Londonfilmfanatiq.com. 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  31. ^ "Movie Review: TOP CAT - Movie Reviews | Movie News | Sci Fi | Horror | Fantasy". Starburstmagazine.com. 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  32. ^ Smith, Neil. "Top Cat: The Movie review". TotalFilm.com. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  33. ^ Christopher Tookey (May 31, 2012). "This mangy feline should be put down". Daily Mail. 
  34. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/top_cat_the_movie_uk/
  35. ^ "The 13th Annual Golden Trailer Awards". Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  36. ^ Hopewell, John (12 June 2013). "Anima Puts ‘Momias’ into Pre-prod (EXCLUSIVE) | Variety". Variety. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  37. ^ a b Rojas, Robinson (21 September 2014). "'Don Gato' regresa con película sobre el inicio de su pandilla (in Spanish)". La Tercera (La Tercera). Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  38. ^ "Nueva película sobre "Don Gato y su pandilla" revela los inicios de los personajes (in Spanish)". 24Horas.cl (Televisión Nacional de Chile). 21 September 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  39. ^ Vélez, Julio (19 September 2014). "Anuncian precuela animada Don Gato: El inicio de la pandilla". Cine Premiere (Cine Premiere). Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  40. ^ Harris, Jason. "Jason Harris on Twitter - "Great group day for @TheAmericansFX - Now..."". Twitter. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  41. ^ Nick Shakoour | NEWS
  42. ^ Cervantes, Julian. "Twitter: "There's also a new first look at the new..."". Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 

External links[edit]