Dreamer (2005 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Gatins|
|Produced by||Brian Robbins
|Written by||John Gatins|
|Music by||John Debney|
|Editing by||David Rosenbloom|
Hyde Park Entertainment
|Release dates||September 10, 2005TIFF)
October 21, 2005
|Running time||102 minutes|
Dreamer is a 2005 American family drama film starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, inspired by the true story of an injured Thoroughbred racehorse named Mariah's Storm. The film was written and directed by John Gatins, marking his directorial debut.
Inspired by a true story, Ben (Kurt Russell), a horse trainer who takes his work very seriously, neglects his precocious daughter while he pours his heart into the care of the horses that he trains.
Determined to make good on her father's overdue promise, Cale (Dakota Fanning) prods him one morning to take her along to work by standing in front of his pick up truck just as he starts to head out to the track. Ben, reluctant at first, finally gives in and drives off accompanied by her.
Throughout the movie Cale continues to prod her father to take her along on some of his work trips, and succeeds. One morning, however, while with her father, a horse named Soñador falls during a race, injuring herself badly enough that Ben's boss, Palmer, demands the horse be put down. Having Cale along, Ben refuses and strikes a bargain with Palmer. Ben, now the owner of a wounded horse, with no job and facing foreclosure on his estate, decides to breed Soñador.
Cale, having fallen in love at first sight of Soñador before the accident, begins to sneak out to the barn at night to see her. Cale also sneaks over to see her grandfather, 'Pop', Ben's dad (Kris Kristofferson), who loves teaching his young and aspiring horse-loving granddaughter all about horses.
One day, overhearing her father's conversation with her mother, Lily (Elisabeth Shue), Cale hears her father say that Soñador has ruined them, to which Lily emotionally responds that Soñador is the best thing that has ever happened to them, alluding to the fact that Ben has finally been spending much needed time with Cale.
Emotionally hurt after hearing the conversation, Cale sets out to run away and saddles up Soñador. Not knowing of Cale's plan, Ben enters the barn. The door slams behind him just as his eye catches Cale's, sitting atop Soñador. Suddenly startled, Soñador bolts out of the barn with wide-eyed and terrified Cale gripping her bridle and hanging on for dear life. Ben scrambles to his truck and sets out after them.
This incident begins to cement the newly-forming bond between father and daughter, and also begins to heal the wounds of the whole family that had grown over the years. In the end, Soñador wins a race with heavy bets from the family, and goes from being a negative focal point to the hero of the movie.
- Kurt Russell as Ben Crane
- Dakota Fanning as Cale Crane
- Kris Kristofferson as Pops Crane
- Elisabeth Shue as Lilly Crane
- David Morse as Everett Palmer
- Freddy Rodríguez as Manolin Vallarta
- Luis Guzmán as Balon
- Oded Fehr as Prince Sadir
- Ken Howard as Bill Ford
- Holmes Osborne as Doc Fleming
Production and cast
The movie is loosely inspired by the story of the mare Mariah's Storm. She was a promising filly who was being pointed towards the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1993 but then broke her cannon bone (the incident is mentioned in the film by Sonador's veterinarian). She recovered and later won some graded stakes races. She started in the 1995 Breeders' Cup Distaff and finished ninth. She was owned by Thunderhead Farms and trained by Don Von Hemel. She is now known mostly for being the dam of Giant's Causeway. In the movie, when Cale and Ben go to Ashford Stud to check out the studs, the stallions they are naming, such as Fusaichi Pegasus, Giant's Causeway, Mariah's Storm, Johannesburg and Grand Slam, are real horses who actually stand at Ashford. However, the actual stallions were not used in filming. Stand-ins were placed in their stalls instead. In the scene where Sonya is considered for the Breeder's Cup, Prince Sadir says that his horse "Rapid Cat is sired by Storm Cat, the best sire in the world." Coincidentally, Mariah's Storm (on whom Sonya is based) was bred to Storm Cat.
While doing research in Kentucky, the director/writer came upon a vet who told him about a racehorse who miraculously made a comeback after a serious injury, and he loosely based the script on this story. Before being picked up by DreamWorks, the script was presented to Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros, but both declined. Director John Gatins was told that if he could get Dakota Fanning in the lead role his movie would get a green-light. He went to see Fanning's agent and finally got the young actress to sign on. The role of Cale Crane was originally written for a boy, and the role was changed specifically so that Dakota Fanning could play it. The first script that was sent to Fanning actually had the word "boy" in the character description.
To produce the soundtrack, an advance showing of this film was shown to a number of recording artists, who were then asked to submit ideas for theme songs. Bethany Dillon's song "Dreamer" was chosen out of all the submissions.
After the movie, Kurt Russell bought Dakota Fanning a real Palomino horse, whom she named Goldie.
Dreamer opened in second place at the box office behind Doom, with $9,178,233 earned for a $4,573 average from 2,007 theaters. In its second weekend, it held well with a 33% drop to fourth place with $6,132,856 earned for a $2,462 average from being expanded to 2,491 theaters and lifting its two-week total to $17,374,339. It held up even better in its third weekend, only slipping 22% to sixth place and $4,794,741 for a $1,832 average from being expanded to 2,617 theaters. In its fourth weekend, it once again held well with another 22% slide to $3,728,510 and ninth place, for a $1,363 average from being expanded to its widest release, 2,735 theaters.
The film closed on January 5, 2006, after 77 days of release and grossing $32,751,093 domestically along with an additional $5,990,639 overseas for a worldwide total of $38,741,732. Produced on a $32 million budget, the film is considered a so-so film at the box office, as it barely recouped its budget.