Annie (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Will Gluck|
by Charles Strouse
Little Orphan Annie
by Harold Gray
|Music by||Charles Strouse
|Edited by||Tia Nolan|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$133.8 milion|
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, the film stars Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz. The third film adaptation of the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, 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 was a box-office success, grossing over $133 million.
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, 10-year-old Annie Bennett lives in foster care with several other girls in the care of the cruel Colleen Hannigan. She spends each Friday waiting outside the restaurant Damani's where she believes her parents will return to collect her.
She is rescued from being run down by a truck by William Stacks, a cell phone mogul running for mayor. Stacks is a germaphobe who doesn't connect to commoners well, and is losing badly. The rescue goes viral on the internet and Stack's numbers spike. Stacks' campaign manager Guy Danlily asked that he invite Annie to live with him as means to further boost his poll numbers. Stacks reluctantly agrees, but over time, develops true affection for Annie and his assistant Grace Farrell, and plans to adopt Annie.
After a disastrous public appearance, Guy Danlily (with the help of Miss Hannigan) arranges to have Annie claimed by impostors pretending to be her parents. But as they enact their plan, Guy betrays Miss Hannigan, who starts having second thoughts. Around the same time, Annie soon learns that the impostors are not her parents, and she is being kidnapped. Hannigan confesses Guy's scheme to Stacks, who then fires Guy.
After a chase across Manhattan, Annie is rescued and Stacks quits the election to prove that he does care for Annie, reuniting them both.
- Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie Bennett, a child living in a foster home searching for her parents.
- Jamie Foxx as William "Will" Stacks, a wealthy politician and cell phone mogul based on Oliver Warbucks and Annie's father figure.
- Rose Byrne as Grace Farrell, Stacks' faithful personal assistant and Annie's mother figure.
- Bobby Cannavale as Guy Danlily, 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. He evokes the traits of the laundryman Mr. Bundles.
- Stephanie Kurtzuba as Mrs. Kovacevic, the New York Family Services worker who becomes close with Annie's case.
- Nicolette Pierini as Mia Putnam, the youngest of Annie's foster sisters.
- 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.
- Taryn Gluck as Street Rat #1
- Alexandra Gluck as Street Rat #2
- Victor Cruz as Teacher
- Taylor Richardson as Red Haired "Annie"
- Patricia Clarkson as Focus Group Woman
- Michael J. Fox as himself
- Mila Kunis as Andrea Alvin, the lead actress in MoonQuake Lake
- Ashton Kutcher as Simon Goodspeed, the lead actor in MoonQuake Lake
- Bobby Moynihan as Guy in Bar
- Rihanna as Moon Goddess, a supporting character in MoonQuake Lake
- Sia as Animal Care & Control Volunteer
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, Grace, and Mrs. Kovacevic
- "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. While Hannigan is complicit in deceiving Stacks and Annie that Annie's birth parents have been found (conspiring with Stacks' campaign manager Guy Danlily), they are not impersonated by Hannigan's brother Rooster and his Girlfriend Lily as in the original version. Instead, Guy has 'people he uses for this kind of work' take Annie. Hannigan's character is also softened from her prior appearances, to the point of experiencing guilt over her part in separating Stacks and Annie, and even helping to rescue Annie from her false parents in the film's finale. Annie's dog Sandy is a female in this film, as opposed to past adaptations where the dog is a male. Annie is black, previously being white and having red hair.
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. The film grossed $85.9 million in North America and $48.7 million overseas for a worldwide total of $134.6 million.
Annie received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, the film has a 27% approval rating, based on 139 reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The site's critical 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 some 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||Quvenzhané Wallis||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||February 21, 2015||Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel||Annie||Won|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Cameron Diaz||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award||March 28, 2015||Favorite Movie Actress||Cameron Diaz||Nominated|
|Favorite Villain||Cameron Diaz||Nominated|
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- Official website
- Annie at the Internet Movie Database
- Annie at Box Office Mojo
- Annie at Rotten Tomatoes
- Annie at Metacritic