Child's Play (2019 film)
|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|
|Countries||United States, Canada|
|Box office||$45 million|
Child's Play is a 2019 American-Canadian horror film written by Tyler Burton Smith and directed by Lars Klevberg. Serving both as a remake of the 1988 film of the same title and a reboot of the Child's Play franchise, the film stars Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry and Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky. It follows a family terrorized by a high-tech doll who becomes self-aware and subsequently murderous.
The development of a Child's Play remake was announced in July 2018. Klevberg signed on as director from a script by Burton Smith, saying in an interview he drew inspiration from the 1982 science fiction film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Principal photography lasted from September to November 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Child's Play was theatrically released in the United States on June 21, 2019, by Orion Pictures through United Artists Releasing, receiving mixed to positive reviews from critics, who praised its cast (particularly Hamill and Bateman), dark humor and clever kills, but criticized its predictable plot, inconsistent tone and Chucky's design. Despite this, it was a moderate box-office success and grossed $45 million worldwide against a $10 million budget.
The multinational Kaslan Corporation has just launched Buddi, a revolutionary line of high-tech dolls designed to be lifelong companions to their owners, learning from their surroundings, and acting accordingly, quickly becoming a success for children worldwide. At a Kaslan assembly factory in Vietnam, an employee is abused by his supervisor for "unsatisfactory performance". In retaliation, the employee tampers with the Buddi doll that he is assembling by disabling all of its safety protocols, before committing suicide. Since nobody notices this, the doll is packaged alongside others in preparation for international delivery.
In Chicago, Illinois, retail clerk Karen Barclay and her 12-year-old hearing-impaired son Andy have moved into their new apartment. In an attempt to cheer Andy up and make up for the unease caused by the relocation and her new boyfriend Shane, Karen blackmails her boss, Wes, in order to procure a Buddi doll, giving it to Andy as an early birthday gift. Wes selects the defective specimen. Once Andy activates the doll, he names himself "Chucky" and becomes attached to his owner. Over time, Chucky helps Andy befriend two other kids in the building — Falyn and Pugg — but also begins to display violent tendencies. For instance, he tries to strangle the Barclays' pet cat after he scratches Andy, and one night, while he and his friends gleefully watch a horror film, Chucky starts mimicking the violence on the screen, approaching the trio with a kitchen knife before Andy disarms him.
The next morning, Andy arrives home to find that his cat is dead; Chucky admits to having killed him so that he would not hurt Andy anymore. Karen locks the doll in a closet, but he escapes and terrorizes Shane, which leads him to confront Andy. After overhearing Andy's pleas for Shane to be gone, Chucky follows Shane home, where it is revealed that Shane is married with children and is having an affair with Karen behind his wife's back. While Shane is outside taking down Christmas lights, Chucky breaks his legs and activates a tiller that scalps and kills him. The following day, Chucky delivers Shane's skinned face on a watermelon as a gift to a horrified Andy.
While police detective Mike Norris begins an investigation, Andy, Falyn, and Pugg disable Chucky and throw him in the garbage. Building voyeur and electrician Gabe finds the doll and takes him to the basement to prepare him for an online sale. Now fully repaired, Chucky tortures and murders Gabe with a table saw. After making his way back to the ground level, Chucky lands in possession of another kid named Omar and proceeds to kill Norris' mother, Doreen, in a controlled car crash. Meanwhile, Andy fails to convince Karen that the doll has become murderous, and she takes Andy along to her next shift work at the local shopping mall to keep him nearby. Suspecting that Andy is the killer, Norris travels to the mall and arrests 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 while Chucky triggers the mall's lockdown sequence. Amid the massacre, Wes is murdered, Norris is wounded, 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, intending to kill her. Andy manages to free his mother while being attacked by Chucky, before stabbing him in his power cell. However, the doll attempts to attack again, only to be shot by Norris and beheaded by Karen. While paramedics tend to Karen, Norris, and other survivors outside the mall, the kids destroy and burn Chucky's 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, announcing a massive Buddi dolls recall. As one of the dolls is being placed into storage, its eyes flicker red and the doll smiles, revealing that Chucky transferred his artificial intelligence awareness into a new body.
- 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.
- Aubrey Plaza as Karen Barclay: Andy's widowed single mother who does not believe her son that Chucky is a killer.
- Brian Tyree Henry as Detective Mike Norris: A police detective investigating Chucky's murder strings.
- Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky: A once-harmless Buddi doll transformed into a rampaging killing machine after being maliciously reprogrammed.
- Tim Matheson as Henry Kaslan: The founder and CEO of Kaslan Corporation, the company that manufactures the Buddi dolls.
- Beatrice Kitsos as Falyn: One of Andy's new friends.
- Ty Consiglio as Pugg: One of Andy's new friends.
- Marlon Kazadi as Omar: Andy's neighbor and one of his new friends.
- David Lewis as Shane: Karen's married boyfriend who is mean and abusive towards Andy.
- Carlease Burke as Doreen Norris: The Barclays' neighbor and Norris' mother.
- Nicole Anthony as Detective Willis: A police detective and Norris' partner.
- Trent Redekop as Gabe: The voyeurist electrician of the Barclays' apartment.
- Amro Majzoub as Wes: Karen's blackmailed boss at the local shopping mall.
- Phoenix Ly as Chien: The fired Kaslan employee who maliciously reprograms the Buddi doll that becomes Chucky.
On July 3, 2018, it was announced that a Child's Play remake 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 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.
Principal photography began on September 17 and wrapped on November 8, 2018, in Vancouver, Canada. Reshoots occurred on December 15–16 and in April 2019. 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.
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.
Bear McCreary composed the score through a "toy orchestra" inspired by "Chucky's toy-store origins" with toy pianos, hurdy-gurdies, accordions, plastic guitars and otamatones. The soundtrack was released by Waxwork Records on vinyl which featured liner notes by the composer.
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 had 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.
Child's Play grossed $29.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $15.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $45 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, 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 Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 64% based on 203 reviews, with an average rating of 5.78/10. 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 48 out of 100, based on 35 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."
"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".
As of 2020, Orion Pictures relaunched its studio, to making family-friendly films, leaving the remake franchise in doubt. According to Screen Rant, Klevberg has stated he would love to make a sequel, but is waiting for MGM to give him the green-light:
"It would be amazing to pull the crew and the actors back for another one, but MGM needs to get their stuff together and do it. It's all there".
- "Child's Play". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
- "Child's Play (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
- Kit, Borys (July 3, 2018). "'Child's Play' Remake in the Works With 'Polaroid' Director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- Sneider, Jeff (July 3, 2018). "Child's Play Reboot In the Works at MGM From It Producers". collider.com. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- Sneider, Jeff (September 19, 2018). "Exclusive: Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry in Talks to Star in 'Child's Play' Reboot". collider.com. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- N'Duka, Amanda (September 20, 2018). "Gabriel Bateman To Star As Andy In MGM's 'Child's Play' Remake, Joining Aubrey Plaza & Brian Tyree Henry". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "Beatrice Kitsos & Ty Consiglio Join MGM's Child's Play Reboot". ComingSoon.net. 2018-11-05. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
- Gittins, Susan (November 9, 2018). "BIG MOVIE: Lars Klevberg's CHILD'S PLAY Reboot Wraps Filming in Vancouver". movies-review143.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
- Gittins, Susan (December 13, 2018). "RESHOOTS: Lars Klevberg's CHILD'S PLAY Back For Reshoots in Vancouver on December 15th & 16th". hollywoodnorth.buzz. Retrieved April 14, 2019.[permanent dead link]
- "Gabriel Michael Bateman on Instagram: "It's been a solid week.💚 #childsplay"". Instagram.[non-primary source needed]
- Collis, 2018, Clark (December 19, 2018). "'Child's Play' remake teased with behind-the-scenes photo of new Chucky". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "CHILD'S PLAY - The Art of VFX". artofvfx.com. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
- "Mark Hamill Is Voicing Chucky In Child's Play, And His Announcement Was Perfect". CINEMABLEND. 2019-03-31. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
- Collins, Clark (March 31, 2019). "Mark Hamill was 'first choice' to voice Chucky in Child's Play remake". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- Evangelista, Chris (April 10, 2019). "'Child's Play' Remake Score Will Be Composed by Bear McCreary Using a 'Toy Orchestra'". /Film. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- Gervais, Jay (24 June 2019). "Bear McCreary's Child's Play Score is Headed to Vinyl". Dead Entertainment. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- Collis, Clark (September 21, 2018). "See the first look photo of new Chucky in Child's Play remake". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
- "Child's Play Reboot Gets Summer 2019 Release Date & Poster". Screenrant.com. 2018-11-12. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
- Santangelo, Nick (2018-11-12). "Child's Play: New Poster, Release Date Revealed for Chucky Reboot". IGN. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
- "Child's Play Reboot Website Gives Chucky Some Modern Upgrades". Cbr.com. 2018-11-26. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
- Movie, Child's Play (April 16, 2019). "Meet the new CHUCKY. Full trailer coming Thursday. #ChildsPlayMovie pic.twitter.com/m2Jivm3FxW".[non-primary source needed]
- "CHILD'S PLAY - Behind the Scenes: "Bringing Chucky to Life"". Orion Pictures. May 16, 2019. Retrieved May 21, 2019 – via YouTube.
- Christopher Fiduccia (May 18, 2019). "Child's Play BTS Video Shows How the New Chucky Was Created". ScreenRant. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
- John Squires (April 30, 2019). "New 'Child's Play' Poster Has a Little Fun With the Shared 'Toy Story 4' Release Date". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
- Kathleen Joyce (May 1, 2019). "New 'Child's Play' poster trolls upcoming 'Toy Story 4' movie". Fox News Channel. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
- Ale Russian (May 1, 2019). "Child's Play Trolls Toy Story 4 with Bloody New Poster". People. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
- Clark Collis (May 21, 2019). "Chucky barbecues a beloved Toy Story character in new Child's Play image". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
- Squires, John (June 24, 2019). "Doll Wars: New 'Child's Play' Poster Takes a Stab at 'Annabelle Comes Home'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
- "Child's Play teaser: 'I think Chucky did something...'". FULLINFORMATION. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
- Ellingson, Annlee (February 5, 2019). "MGM, Annapurna revive United Artists for joint distribution venture". L.A. Biz. American City Business Journals. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "'Child's Play' Remake Brings Your New Best Buddi Home in September". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony; Tartaglione, Nancy (June 18, 2019). "'Toy Story 4' Will Cure Summer Sequelitis With $260M Global Infinity-And-Beyond Bow". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
- Anthony D'Alessandro (June 23, 2019). "'Toy Story 4' Eyeing 3rd Best Animated Pic Opening Of All-Time With $123M+, But Did Disney Leave Money On The Table?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 30, 2019). "'Toy Story 4' Holds Down No. 1 With $58M+ Before 'Spider-Man' Swoops In, 'Annabelle 3' Stabs 31M+ 5-Day, 'Yesterday' $17M+ – Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
- "Child's Play (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
- "Child's Play (2019) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
- Allen, Nick (June 20, 2019). "Child's Play Movie Review & Film Summary (2019)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- Bradshaw, Peter (June 20, 2019). "Child's Play review – a razor-sharp and exquisitely gruesome toy story". The Guardian.
- "Why 'Child's Play' Is the Perfect Horror Movie Remake". Movieweb. June 24, 2019.
- Travers, Peter (June 21, 2019). "'Child's Play': Even Aubrey Plaza Can't Save This Botched Reboot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
- Debruge, Peter (June 20, 2019). "Film Review: 'Child's Play'". Variety. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
- Konopka, Matt (April 1, 2019). "[WonderCon 2019] 'Child's Play' Panel Opens the Toy Chest with Big Reveals and Some Intriguing New Questions". Bloody Disgusting.
- Burwick, Kevin (June 23, 2019). "Child's Play Remake Director Talks Possible Sequel Storyline". MovieWeb.