Child's Play (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lars Klevberg|
|Screenplay by||Tyler Burton Smith|
|Based on||Child's Play|
by Don Mancini
|Music by||Bear McCreary|
|Edited by||Tom Elkins|
|Distributed by||United Artists Releasing|
|Box office||$37.6 million|
Child's Play is a 2019 American horror film directed by Lars Klevberg and written by Tyler Burton Smith, serving as a remake of the 1988 film of the same name and a reboot of the Child's Play franchise. The film stars Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey Plaza, and Brian Tyree Henry, with Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky. The plot follows a family terrorized by a high-tech doll who becomes self-aware and subsequently murderous.
The film was officially announced in July 2018, from It producers Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg. It is the first theatrical Child's Play film since Seed of Chucky, the first since Seed not to be produced and distributed by Universal Pictures, and the first film in the franchise produced without the involvement of creator Don Mancini and actor Brad Dourif.
Child's Play was released in the United States on June 21, 2019, by Orion Pictures through the United Artists Releasing joint-venture. The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances and dark humor but found its tone inconsistent.
The multinational Kaslan Corporation has just launched Buddi, a revolutionary line of high-tech dolls designed to be life-long companions to their owners, learning from their surroundings and acting accordingly. Buddi dolls can also connect to and operate other Kaslan products, quickly becoming a success for children worldwide. At a Buddi assembly factory in Vietnam, an employee is fired by his supervisor for insufficient work. In retaliation, the employee manipulates the doll that he is assembling by disabling all of its safety protocols, before committing suicide. The doll is packed alongside others in preparation for international delivery.
In Chicago, retail clerk Karen Barclay and her 13-year-old hearing-impaired son Andy have moved into their new apartment, where Karen encourages her son to make new friends while she works to prepare for his upcoming birthday. In an attempt to cheer Andy up and make up for the unease caused by the relocation, as well as the presence of her new boyfriend Shane, Karen blackmails her boss in order to procure a Buddi doll and introduces it to Andy as an early birthday gift. Once Andy activates the doll, it names itself Chucky and becomes attached to Andy. Over time, Chucky helps Andy befriend two other children in the building - Falyn and Pugg - but also begins to display violent tendencies. He strangles the Barclays' hostile pet cat after it scratches Andy, and one night, while Andy and his friends gleefully watch a horror film, Chucky starts mimicking the violence on the screen and approaches the trio with a kitchen knife before Andy disarms him.
Andy arrives home the next day to find that his cat is dead; Chucky admits to having killed it so that it would not hurt him anymore. Karen locks the doll in a closet, but he escapes and terrorizes Shane, which leads Shane to confront Andy. After overhearing Andy's pleas for Shane to disappear, Chucky follows him home, where it is revealed that Shane has a family and has been having an affair with Karen behind his wife's back. While Shane is outside taking down Christmas lights, Chucky frightens him into falling from the ladder, breaking both of his legs before activating a tiller which scalps and kills him. The following day, Chucky delivers Shane's skinned face as a gift to a horrified Andy.
While police detective Mike Norris begins an investigation, Andy, Falyn and Pugg decide to disable Chucky and dispose of him in the garbage. Building voyeur and electrician Gabe finds the doll and takes him to the building's basement to prepare him for online sale. Now fully repaired, Chucky tortures and murders Gabe with a table saw. After making his way back to ground level, Chucky lands in the possession of another kid in the building named Omar, and proceeds to kill Mike's mother Doreen in a controlled car crash. Meanwhile, Andy fails to convince Karen that Chucky has become murderous, and she takes Andy along to her next shift at her shopping mall workplace in order to keep him nearby.
Suspecting that Andy is the killer, Mike travels to the mall and apprehends him just as Chucky takes full control of the building. Chaos is unleashed as several employees and customers are brutally killed by rampaging Buddi dolls and other hacked toys, while Chucky triggers the mall's lockdown sequence. Mike is wounded amid the massacre, and Andy and his friends manage to reach the exit, only for Andy to be forced to return when Chucky reveals that he is holding Karen hostage with intent to kill her. Andy manages to free his mother while being attacked by Chucky, before overpowering and defeating the doll with help from Karen and Mike. While paramedics tend Karen, Mike and other survivors, Andy and the rest of his friends destroy Chucky's lifeless body in a nearby alleyway.
In the aftermath of Chucky's killing spree, Kaslan Corporation CEO Henry Kaslan issues a statement regarding Chucky's programming. As more Buddi dolls are shown being recalled and placed into storage, one starts malfunctioning inside its box.
- Gabriel Bateman as Andy Barclay, Karen's 13-year-old son with a hearing aid who comes into the possession of Chucky, a murderous Buddi doll.
- Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky, a once-harmless Buddi doll transformed into a bloodthirsty killing machine after being maliciously reprogrammed.
- Hamill also voices other Buddi dolls seen in the film, and previously voiced Chucky on an episode of Robot Chicken.
- Aubrey Plaza as Karen Barclay, Andy’s widowed single mother who does not believe her son that Chucky exhibits suspicious behavior.
- Brian Tyree Henry as Detective Mike Norris, a detective investigating a mysterious string of murders.
- Tim Matheson as Henry Kaslan, founder and CEO of Kaslan Corporation, the company that manufactures the Buddi dolls.
- Marlon Kazadi as Omar, a neighbor of Andy and one of his new friends.
- Beatrice Kitsos as Falyn, one of Andy's new friends
- Ty Consiglio as Pugg, one of Andy's new friends.
- David Lewis as Shane, Karen's married boyfriend who is mean and abusive towards Andy because of his deafness.
- Trent Redekop as Gabe, the voyeurist electrician of the building.
- Carlease Burke as Doreen Norris, Norris' mother and neighbor of the Barclays.
- Nicole Anthony as Detective Willis, Norris' partner.
In 2008, Don Mancini and David Kirschner spoke of a reboot, which was originally set to be a "straightforward horror" film, written and directed by Mancini. Brad Dourif was expected return as the voice of Chucky. In a subsequent interview, Mancini described the remake as a darker and scarier retelling of the original film, but one that, while having new twists and turns, would not stray too far from the established concept. At a 2009 horror convention, Dourif stated that he would participate in the remake. That version of the film was canceled after the negative reception of remakes such as Friday the 13th in 2009 and A Nightmare on Elm Street in 2010.
On July 3, 2018, it was announced that a modern-day version of Child's Play was in development at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with a different creative team than the original film series. Lars Klevberg signed on as director, with a script by Tyler Burton Smith (of Polaroid and Quantum Break fame, respectively). It and It Chapter Two collaborative team Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg served as producers.
In December 2018, in a guest appearance on the Post Mortem with Mick Garris Podcast, Mancini criticized the remake, remarking that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as rights holder for the original film, can do what they please with the property. When asked if he and fellow producer Kirschner would have any involvement, he said:
We said no thank you, because we have our ongoing thriving business with Chucky. Obviously my feelings were hurt... And I did create the character and nurture the franchise for three... decades. So when someone says, Oh yeah, we would love to have your name on the film... it was hard not to feel like I was being patronized. They just wanted our approval. Which I strenuously denied them.
The same month that the project was announced, Liv Tyler was revealed as having been considered for a role in the film. In September 2018, Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey Plaza, and Brian Tyree Henry were set to star. In November 2018, Ty Consiglio and Beatrice Kitsos joined the cast.
We asked, thinking there was no way it would ever happen, and he said, 'Yes.' He was the first choice, a big swing, and it just happened... I mean, first of all, to have an icon reimagining an iconic character is an incredible gift, and to have an actor and a voice performer who is as celebrated as Mark Hamill, and as gifted as he is, I mean it's incredible. He's taking on this challenge with a huge amount of energy and really come at it in a very serious way. And it's really something to watch him create a character, and sort of embody it, and I get to sit there and watch Mark Hamill record. It's just incredible.
MastersFX, a visual effects company, took six weeks to prepare and assemble seven practical animatronic puppets, each with interchangeable arms and heads that performed a variety of required actions on set, with some help from Pixomondo, who provided the CGI for the film.
On April 10, 2019, it was announced that Bear McCreary would compose the score. In a statement, McCreary stated that he partially created the film's music through a "toy orchestra" inspired by "Chucky's toy-store origins" with toy pianos, hurdy-gurdies, accordions, plastic guitars and otamatones.
The first official image of Chucky was released on September 21, 2018. The teaser poster was released on November 12, 2018, revealing that for the film's adaptation the Good Guys dolls would be called Buddi, referencing the My Buddy doll that influenced the original character's design. A WiFi symbol over the "i" in "Buddi" teases the character's hi-tech functions, being similar to robot toys, such as Furby and RoboSapien. Orion Pictures launched a marketing website for the fictional Kaslan Corporation, ahead of the film's release. The first trailer premiered on February 8, 2019, with the release of The Prodigy.
The film's theatrical poster was released on April 17, 2019 and the second trailer on April 18, 2019. On May 16, 2019, a behind-the-scenes video was uploaded to Orion Pictures' YouTube channel, which shows how Chucky was brought to life for the film. Beginning April 2019, several posters alluding to Toy Story 4 were released, featuring Chucky brutally killing characters of the animated franchise, using the Toy Story 4's teaser posters' background. Both films were June 21, 2019 releases. On June 24, a poster was unveiled to coincide with the impending release of Annabelle Comes Home, altering one of that film's posters to imply Chucky's attack on the Annabelle doll.
As of July 18, 2019[update], Child's Play has grossed $28.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $8.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $37.6 million, against a production budget of $10 million.
In the United States and Canada, Child's Play was released alongside Toy Story 4 and Anna, and was projected to gross $16–18 million from 3,007 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $6.1 million on its first day, including $1.65 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $14.1 million, marking the best start of the franchise and finishing second, behind Toy Story 4. The film dropped 68.6% in its second weekend to $4.4 million, falling to eighth.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 64% based on 161 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Child's Play updates an '80s horror icon for the Internet of Things era, with predictably gruesome – and generally entertaining – results." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 47 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest score of the series.
Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com gave the film three out of four stars, calling it "nastier, more playful, and just as good if not better than the original film." Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian gave the film a positive review, with 4/5 stars, calling it a "Chilrazor-sharp and exquisitely gruesome toy story". Jeremy Dick from MovieWeb also liked the film, writing "Child's Play is the perfect horror movie remake and should now serve as a prime example of what others should do. It's highly entertaining and tons of fun, and I say that as a huge fan of the original."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 2 out of 5 stars, writing, "MIA is the original's perverse originality... in a misguided satire of the digital era and millennial consumerism". Variety's Peter Debruge was also negative, stating, "This is the new normal for horror movies: The screenplays have to seem hipper than the premise they represent, which puts Child's Play in the weird position of pointing out and poking fun at all the ways it fails to make sense."
At WonderCon, Grahame-Smith said that if the film does well, they would love to make more sequels. Director Lars Klevberg discussed his ideas for a possible sequel: "For me, this was just trying to make this the best movie possible. Like, never foreshadowing any detailed plan of where you want to go as a franchise. But yeah, for me I think I love the Buddi bear concept."
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