Hey Arnold!: The Movie

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Hey Arnold!: The Movie
Hey arnold the movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTuck Tucker
Produced by
Written by
Based onHey Arnold!
by Craig Bartlett
Music byJim Lang
Edited byChristopher Hink
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 28, 2002 (2002-06-28)
Running time
75 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$3–4 million[3][4]
Box office$15.2 million[3]

Hey Arnold!: The Movie (or simply Hey Arnold!) is a 2002 American animated adventure comedy film based on the Nickelodeon animated television series of the same name. It was directed by Tuck Tucker and written by series creator Craig Bartlett and Steve Viksten, with music by Jim Lang. The events of the film take place during the fifth and final season of Hey Arnold!. The film stars Spencer Klein, Francesca Smith, Jamil Walker Smith, Dan Castellaneta, Tress MacNeille, Paul Sorvino, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Christopher Lloyd. The film follows Arnold, Gerald, and Helga on a quest to save their neighborhood from a greedy developer who plans on converting it into a huge shopping mall.

The film was produced by Nickelodeon Movies, Snee-Oosh, Inc. and Nickelodeon Animation Studio,[1] and was released on June 28, 2002, by Paramount Pictures. It was the third film made by Nickelodeon Movies to be based on a Nicktoon, after The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. It is also the first Nickelodeon movie based off of a Nicktoon to get a PG rating from the MPAA. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus reads, "Bland, unoriginal and lacking the wit of the TV series."[5] It grossed $15 million against a production budget of $3–$4 million.

A made for television sequel entitled Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie aired on November 24, 2017.


Arriving home from a basketball game, Arnold Shortman (Spencer Klein) and his best friend Gerald Johanssen (Jamil Walker Smith) learn that Alphonse Perrier du von Scheck (Paul Sorvino), the CEO of FutureTech Industries (FTi), has announced plans to redevelop the entire neighborhood as a luxurious high-rise shopping mall. That night, Helga Patiki (Francesca Marie Smith) finds that her father, Big Bob (Maurice LaMarche), is working with FTi to build a new super-sized branch of his beeper store in the proposed mall. She ultimately sides with her father, though is hesitant to do so because of her love for Arnold.

Arnold hosts a demonstration against FTi. Unfortunately, their permit is stolen by Scheck's employees, Arnold's grandmother Gertie Shortman (Tress MacNeille) is arrested, and the demonstration is declared illegal. The failure encourages many of Arnold's neighbors to give up, and sell their homes to FTi. As the residents begin packing their belongings, Arnold's grandfather Phil Shortman (Dan Castellaneta) tells the story of the "Tomato Incident", a major Revolutionary War battle fought in the city. Arnold realizes that the neighborhood had to have been declared a historic district after the war, effectively ensuring its preservation; however, the legal document granting its landmark status was sold to Scheck, who denies obtaining the document.

As the deadline draws near, Arnold gets a mysterious phone call from "Deep Voice" (a "Deep Throat"-esque character), who informs Arnold that Scheck is lying and the document is in his office safe. Arnold and Gerald steals the key to the safe from Scheck's assistant, Nick Vermicelli (Castellaneta). Nick later notices the missing key, and informs Scheck. Meanwhile, Phil and the boarders try to devise a backup plan in case Arnold fails. The plan is to wire the storm drain tunnels beneath their street with dynamite to intercept FTi's construction equipment. Big Bob later teams up with them after discovering Nick's contract states Scheck will control 51% of his company and swindle him as a result.

With help from agent Bridget (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Arnold and Gerald infiltrate into FTi headquarters and access the safe, only to find that the document is missing. Scheck appears from behind them with the document in his hand. He reveals that his ancestor, a governor of the British forces, was humiliated by the "Tomato Incident", and, that, for years, Scheck has been planning to avenge his family by demolishing the neighborhood and replacing it with a hulking building carrying his name on it. He then burns the document to ensure that his plans will proceed, before summoning his guards to get rid of Arnold and Gerald. They escape, but believe they have failed, until "Deep Voice" advises Arnold to obtain the FTi's security-camera footage of Scheck burning the document.

After Arnold finds out that "Deep Voice" is Helga, he asks why she decided to help him instead of her father. Helga reluctantly professes her love for Arnold. Helga and Arnold escape the building, and meet Gerald on a city bus, convincing the driver Murray (Craig Bartlett) to race home when realizing that his girlfriend lives in the same neighborhood. Despite several near-collisions, the kids eventually make it back unharmed. Mayor Dixie arrives at the scene, along with the police and a news crew. Accessing the large ScheckVision jumbotron poised atop a nearby building, Arnold and Bridget show everyone the footage of Scheck burning the document. Dixie officially restores the neighborhood's status as a historic site.

Scheck arrives, demanding to know why demolition has not begun. He sees the footage of himself burning the document on the monitor, and realizes he's caught and is facing prison time. Gertie, having escaped prison, sabotaged his car, and Scheck is promptly arrested. Harold inadvertently sits down on the detonator that ignites Phil's explosives, causing the jumbotron monitor to be destroyed. Helga denies ever having loved Arnold, claiming that she said those things in "the heat of the moment". Arnold, unconvinced, pretends to accept it as she returns home.



In 1998, Nickelodeon renewed Hey Arnold! for a fourth season, and gave creator Craig Bartlett the chance to develop two feature-length adaptations.[6] As work on the fifth season was completing, in 2001, Bartlett and company engaged in the production of the first film, titled Arnold Saves the Neighborhood. The Neighborhood project was originally produced for television and home video,[4][6] but eventually became Hey Arnold!: The Movie[6] when executives at Paramount Pictures decided to release it theatrically after successful test screenings.[4] According to animation historian Jerry Beck (in his Animated Movie Guide), the decision was also buoyed by the financial success of the first two Rugrats films, The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie.[6]

A second film, titled Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, was in production but due to the disappointing results of the first film, the project was cancelled. Bartlett later left Nickelodeon, resulting in Hey Arnold!'s cancellation. In 2015, it was announced that The Jungle Movie had resumed production as a TV movie. The movie was first broadcast on Nickelodeon and sister networks TeenNick and Nicktoons in the United States on November 24, 2017.[7] The film was later broadcast on Nickelodeon channels and select theatres worldwide in 2018.[8][9]


The first trailer was released during the 2002 Kids' Choice Awards. They showed segments on Nickelodeon called "Backyard Players" where kids would play Arnold, Gerald, and Helga and act out scenes from the film. There was a contest held for a lucky winner to be Arnold for a day and go to the film's premiere. The song 2-Way by Lil' Romeo was used to help promote the movie.

MPAA rating[edit]

Hey Arnold!: The Movie was Nickelodeon's first animated feature to receive a PG rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for thematic elements.

Box office[edit]

Opening on June 28, 2002 in the United States, the film grossed over $15 million worldwide on a budget of $3 million. The film grossed $5.7 million from 2,500 theaters on its opening weekend, ranking sixth in the box office and second in the week's new releases, behind Mr. Deeds.[3] The film grossed $13.7 million domestically and $1.5 million internationally for a worldwide total of $15.2 million.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The film holds a 29% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 78 reviews; the average rating is 4.6/10. The critical consensus reads: "Bland, unoriginal and lacking the wit of the TV series, Hey Arnold! is a 30-minute cartoon stretched beyond its running time."[5] Metacritic recorded a score of 47/100 based on 23 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS and DVD on December 31, 2002 (New Years Eve) in Region 1 (but also in April 25, 2017 which was the DVD re-released); its special features consisted of only the theatrical trailer and an interactive game based on Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure. It was then released on VHS and DVD in Region 4 on April 8, 2003 (but also in December 1, 2011 which was the DVD re-released) and in Region 2 on July 7, 2003 which is exclusive sneak peek of the new movie Rugrats Meet the Wild Thornberrys.[11] The film has also been available for streaming on the internet services Netflix and Tubi. [12]

Video game[edit]

THQ released a video game of the movie, exclusively for the Game Boy Advance. The game consists of five worlds, with four levels each (each including a boss on the fourth level) and the player can play as Arnold, Gerald, Grandpa, and Grandma. Helga is playable only with a cheat code found on various websites.


A television film entitled Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie serves as a sequel to this film. Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie originally aired in the United States on November 24, 2017, over 13 years after the conclusion of the television series. The debut airing was simulcast on Nickelodeon, TeenNick, and Nicktoons.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Foundas, Scott. "Review: 'Hey Arnold! The Movie'". Variety. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  2. ^ "Hey Arnold! The Movie (U)". British Board of Film Classification. August 20, 2002. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "Hey Arnold!: The Movie (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Horn, John (July 9, 2003). "Nickelodeon flops on big screen". Chicago Tribune. Los Angeles Times. p. 3 (Tempo). Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Reviews for Hey Arnold!: The Movie". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d Beck, Jerry (2005). "Hey Arnold! The Movie". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. p. 111. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
  7. ^ Peters, Megan (July 22, 2016). "Hey Arnold! Movie To Premiere Next Thanksgiving". Comicbook.com. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Ryan Vo (December 19, 2017). "YTV: Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie Promo (2017) (30 sec)". YouTube. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "HEY ARNOLD! The Jungle Movie". HOYTS.
  10. ^ "Reviews for Hey Arnold!: The Movie". Metacritic. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  11. ^ Epstein, Ron J. (January 3, 2003). "Review of Hey Arnold! The Movie". DVD Talk. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  12. ^ "Watch Hey Arnold! The Movie Online". Netflix. June 28, 2002.
  13. ^ Isis Briones (July 22, 2016). "New 'Hey Arnold!: The Jungle' Movie Cast Photos". Teen Vogue. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Keely Flaherty (October 6, 2017). "The New "Hey Arnold" Movie Trailer Will Make You Feel Every Emotion On The Spectrum". BuzzFeed. Retrieved October 10, 2017.

External links[edit]