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
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$150 million|
Charlotte's Web is a 2006 American fantasy-comedy film based on the 1952 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, Thomas Haden Church, André 3000, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, and Robert Redford. Danny Elfman composed the film's score.
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 received mostly positive reviews from critics, yet was only modestly commercially successful. The movie grossed only $82 million and $61 million elsewhere for a worldwide total of $144.9 million against an $85 million budget, as well as grossing an additional $95.2 million in home media sales.
During springtime on a farm in Somerset County, Maine, young Fern Arable discovers her father John about to kill a runt of a litter of newborn pigs, to which she successfully begs her father to spare the piglet's life and gets the piglet which she names Wilbur and nurtures him lovingly. The next morning, Fern sneaks Wilbur in her school desk, causing commotion and for her to lie to her teacher about stowing him in her desk. The teacher forces Fern to open her desk and her classmates laugh, but the teacher sends Fern to the principal's office as punishment where Mrs. Arable is called to pick them up from school.
When Wilbur has matured, Fern is regretfully 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, do her homework and go straight to bed. During this time, Wilbur feels abandoned and is left yearning for companionship, but is snubbed by the other animals in the barn, consisting of 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. Cavatica, a barn 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 such as "Some pig", "Terrific", "Radiant" and "Humble".
The next day, 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 while Wilbur, despite winning no prizes, is later celebrated by the fair's staff and visitors, making him 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 and dies 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 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
- Julian O'Donnell as Henry Fussy
- Dominic Scott Kay as Wilbur the Spring Pig
- 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 3000 as Elwyn the Crow
- Abraham Benrubi as Uncle the Pig
- Briana Hodge as Nellie, one of Charlotte's daughters
- Maia Kirkpatrick as Joy, one of Charlotte's daughters
- Jennessa Rose as Aranea, one of Charlotte's daughters
- 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 (which also animated 1999's Stuart Little, another film based on an E. B. White book, as well as its 2002 sequel Stuart Little 2), 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 the 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 (which also featured Thomas Haden Church in the cast) 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. Having spent 14 weeks in theaters, the film grossed $82 million domestically and $61 million overseas for a worldwide total of $144 million before closing on March 22, 2007.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 78% "Certified Fresh" rating based on 147 reviews with an average rating of 6.97/10. 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".
|Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Family Film||Charlotte's Web||Winner|
|St. Louis Film Critics Association||Best Animated or Children's Film||La Telaraña de Charlotte||Nominated|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards||Best song||David A. Stewart y Glen Ballard||Winner|
|Best Family Film||La Telaraña de Charlotte||Winner|
|Visual Effects Society||Excellent visual effects in a movie||Karin Joy, Blair Clark y John Dietz||Nominated|
|Excellent performance of an animated character in a live action movie||Grant Adam, Daniel Fotheringham, Avi Goodman y Paul Buckley||Nominated|
|Excellent performance of an animated character in a live action movie||Todd Labonte, Jason Armstrong, Sven Jensen y David Richard Nelson||Nominated|
|BMI Awards||Best Music||Danny Elfman||Winner|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||Best Family Film (Live Action)||Charlotte's Web||Winner|
|Best Young Actress||Dakota Fanning||Nominated|
|Best song||TSarah McLachlan||Nominated|
|Genesis Awards||Best Family Feature Film||Charlotte's Web||Winner|
|International Film Music Critics Association||MBest Original Score for an Animated Film||Charlotte's Web||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite female movie star||Dakota Fanning||Winner|
|Satellite Awards||Best Youth DVD||Charlotte's Web||Nominated|
|Movieguide Awards||Best Fantasy Film||Charlotte's Web||Winner|
|Best Family Film||Charlotte's Web||Winner|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a Dubbing Role: Young Actor||Dominic Scott Kay||Winner|
|Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Lead Actress||Dakota Fanning||Winner|
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films||Best Fantasy Film||Charlotte's Web||Nominated|
|Best special effects||Karin Joy, John Andrew Berton Jr.y John Dietz||Nominated|
|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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