Charlotte's Web (2006 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gary Winick|
|Produced by||Jordan Kerner|
|Based on||Charlotte's Web|
by E. B. White
|Narrated by||Sam Shepard|
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$144.9 million|
Charlotte's Web is a 2006 American comedy-drama film based on the 1952 children's novel of the same name by E. B. White. Directed by Gary Winick and written by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick, it is the second film adaptation of White's book following a 1973 animated version produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The film stars Dakota Fanning, Kevin Anderson, and Beau Bridges, with voices provided by Dominic Scott Kay, Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, and Robert Redford.
Produced by Walden Media, Jordan Kerner's The K Entertainment Company and Nickelodeon Movies, the film premiered in Australia on December 7, 2006 and was released theatrically by Paramount Pictures on December 15, 2006 in the United States. The film was both a critical and commercial success, having grossed $144.9 million worldwide, and grossing another $95.2 million in US DVD sales , against an $85 million budget.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (January 2012)
During springtime on a farm in Somerset County, Maine, Fern Arable finds her father John about to kill a runt of a litter of newborn pigs, and successfully begs her father to spare the piglet's life prompting John to give the piglet to Fern which she names him Wilbur, and nurtures him lovingly. The next morning, Fern sneaks Wilbur in her school desk causing commotion and she lies to the teacher about stowing him in her desk. The teacher forces Fern to open her desk and the children laugh, but the teacher sends Fern to the principal's office as a punishment where Mrs. Arable is called to pick them up from school.
To her regret, when Wilbur has matured Fern is forced to take him to her uncle Homer Zuckerman’s barnyard. Mrs. Arable feels slightly concerned for Fern’s behavior and one night, prevails upon Fern to stay home and do her homework and go straight to bed. Wilbur feels abandoned, as this is the first night Fern hasn’t said “Good night” to him. A kind voice tells Wilbur to sleep well as he is not alone, he is with a friend.
He is left yearning for companionship, but is snubbed by a serious and steadfast sheep named Samuel, a fun-loving and kindly goose couple named Gussy and Golly, two beautiful and laid-back cow sisters named Bitsy and Betsy, and a cowardly and humorous horse named Ike, until he is befriended by Charlotte, a spider who lives in the space above Wilbur's sty in the Zuckermans' barn. When the other animals reveal to Wilbur that he will be prepared for dinner by Christmas, Charlotte promises to hatch a plan guaranteed to save Wilbur's life. With the help of Samuel, Gussy, Golly, Bitsy, Betsy, Ike, and a comedic rat named Templeton, Charlotte convinces the Zuckerman family that Wilbur is actually quite special, by spelling out descriptions of him in her web: "Some pig", "Terrific", "Radiant", and "Humble". She gives her full name to be Charlotte A. Cavatica, revealing her to be a barn spider, an orb-weaver spider with the scientific name Araneus cavaticus.
The Arables, Zuckermans, Wilbur, Charlotte and Templeton go to a fair where Wilbur is entered in a contest. While there, Charlotte produces an egg sac containing her unborn offspring, and Wilbur, despite winning no prizes, is later celebrated by the fair's staff and visitors (thus made too prestigious alive to justify killing him). Exhausted from laying eggs, Charlotte cannot return home because she is dying. Wilbur bids an emotional farewell to her as she remains at the fair, dying shortly after his departure, but he manages to take her egg sac home with the help of Templeton. Wilbur then lives to witness his first ever Christmas and then by the next spring, hundreds of Charlotte's offspring emerge. Most of the young spiders soon leave, but three named Joy, Aranea, and Nellie stay and become Wilbur's friends.
- Dakota Fanning as Fern Arable
- Kevin Anderson as John Arable
- Beau Bridges as Dr. Dorian
- Louis Corbett as Avery Arable
- Essie Davis as Phyllis Arable
- Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Edith Zuckerman
- Gary Basaraba as Homer L. Zuckerman
- Nate Mooney as Lurvy, the Zuckermans' farmhand worker
- Dominic Scott Kay as Wilbur the Runt
- Julia Roberts as Charlotte A. Cavatica the Spider
- Steve Buscemi as Templeton the Rat
- John Cleese as Samuel the Sheep
- Oprah Winfrey as Gussy the Goose
- Cedric the Entertainer as Golly the Gander
- Kathy Bates as Bitsy the Cow
- Reba McEntire as Betsy the Cow
- Robert Redford as Ike the Horse
- Thomas Haden Church as Brooks the Crow
- André Benjamin as Elwyn the Crow
- Abraham Benrubi as Uncle the Pig
- Sam Shepard as the Narrator
Major shooting was completed in May 2005. It was filmed on location in Greendale, Victoria and suburbs in Melbourne, Australia. The fair scene in the story was filmed in Heidelberg in Melbourne, Australia at Heidelberg West Football Club's football ground. The school scenes were filmed at Spotswood Primary School.
The talking-animal visual effects were done by various visual effect studios such as Rising Sun Pictures, Fuel International, Proof, Rhythm and Hues Studios (who also animated 1999's Stuart Little, another film based on an E. B. White book as well as its 2002 sequel), Digital Pictures Iloura and Tippett Studio. The visual effects supervisor for the film was John Berton, who noted that a live-action version of Charlotte's Web has become much more practical in recent years due to advances in technology. Winick "was adamant" that Charlotte and Templeton (the film's two entirely computer-generated characters) should be realistic and not stylized, although they did give Charlotte almond-shaped eyes. John Dietz, visual effects supervisor for Rising Sun Pictures, notes that there was a debate over whether to give her a mouth and that in the end, they decided to have her chelicerae move in what he describes as being almost like a veil as if there were a mouth behind it.
The three Geese which appeared in the movie were procured local to the Nillumbik Shire, Victoria from the Burford Family Farm in Hurstbridge. These were hand raised by the Burford Family, before being sold to Producers for the princely sum of $50AUD and euthanized in order to allow the movie's taxidermist to prepare the Geese for filming. This arrangement led to controversy following the release of the film after one of the breeders was accused of deliberately conducting a "ram-raid" of the local ANZ.
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The film was scheduled for a June 2006 release, but was pushed back to December 15, 2006 to avoid competition with two other films from Nickelodeon Movies - Nacho Libre and Barnyard - as well as Over the Hedge and Cars among other films.
Charlotte's Web was released on DVD on April 3, 2007 in the United States and Canada and on May 28, 2007 in the United Kingdom. It was then released on Blu-ray on March 29, 2011 alongside The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Nearly 10 years later, the film was re-released on DVD on January 24, 2017.
The film debuted in third place at the box office with only $11 million. The film performed very well after spending 14 weeks in theaters for a total of $82 million and $61 million elsewhere for a total of $144 million before closing on March 22, 2007.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 79% "Certified Fresh" rating based on 146 reviews with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kids will be entertained by the straightforward plot and cute animals, and adults will be charmed by how quiet and humble the production is, a fine translation of E.B. White's genteel prose." On Metacritic the film has a score of 68 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Michael Medved gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it "irresistible" and "glowing with goodness". Medved also said that Dakota Fanning's performance was "delightfully spunky". Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated that the film was "a bit noisy" but praised the director for putting "the book, in all its glorious tall-tale reverence, right up on screen." He later went on to say that "What hooks you from the start is Dakota Fanning's unfussy passion as Fern." Conversely, Colm Andrew of the Manx Independent gave the film a score of 6/10, saying that the main problem was "the ultra-cute characterisation of Wilbur, resulting in half the audience rooting for his demise" although overall it was "a competent retelling of a classic story that won't offend".
|Film score by|
|Danny Elfman chronology|
Charlotte's Web: Music from the Motion Picture was released by Sony Classical on December 5, 2006. In addition to the instrumental score by Danny Elfman, the soundtrack includes a song named "Ordinary Miracle" by Sarah McLachlan, which she herself performed during the opening ceremonies of her hometown Vancouver Winter Olympics. A CD compilation of "Music Inspired by the Motion Picture" was issued on December 12, 2006.
- "Charlotte's Web (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "E.B. White's Web". : Lifestyle section of Bangor Metro. Webster-Atlantic. May 10, 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
- "Filming in "Radiant" Victoria Australia". : About the Film. Charlotte's Web Movie official site. Walden Media / Paramount Pictures. December 15, 2006. Archived from the original (Macromedia Flash) on December 19, 2006. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
- Doyle, Audrey (December 2006). "Web Design: A realistic CG Charlotte and Templeton act alongside a real barnyard cast in the latest iteration of Charlotte's Web". Computer Graphics World. 29: 26–32.
- Peszko, J. Paul (December 19, 2006). "Spinning A New Charlotte's Web". VFXWorld. AWN, Inc. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Blu-ray". Blu-ray. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
- "Charlotte's Web (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- Charlotte's Web Reviews - Metacritic
- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
- Medved, Michael (December 15, 2006). "Charlotte's Web". Michael Medved's Eye on Entertainment. MichaelMedved.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
- Gleiberman, Owen (December 15, 2006). "Movie Review: Charlotte's Web". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
- Review by Colm Andrew Archived February 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, IOM Today
- "Charlotte's Web". Variety. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2008.
- "Charlotte's Web Box Shot for PlayStation 2 - GameFAQs". www.gamefaqs.com. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
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