Martian Child

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For the novelette which the film was based on, see The Martian Child.
Martian Child
Martian child post.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Menno Meyjes
Produced by Ed Elbert
David Kirschner
Toby Emmerich
Written by David Gerrold
(based on his book)
Starring John Cusack
Bobby Coleman
Amanda Peet
Sophie Okonedo
Oliver Platt
Joan Cusack
Music by Aaron Zigman
Cinematography Robert D. Yeoman
Edited by Bruce Green
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
November 2, 2007
Running time
110 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $27 million
Box office $9,351,744[1]

Martian Child is a 2007 American comedy-drama film about a writer who adopts a strange young boy who believes himself to be from Mars. Martian Child was released on November 2, 2007. The film was directed by Menno Meyjes and produced by New Line Cinema. It stars John Cusack and Bobby Coleman.


David Gordon (John Cusack), a popular science fiction author, was widowed when his wife Mary died as they were trying to adopt a child. Two years later, David is finally matched with a young boy named Dennis (Bobby Coleman). Socially awkward, Dennis believes he is from Mars and only goes outdoors when under the cover of a large box to block out the sun's harmful rays. Although initially hesitant to adopt a boy by himself, David recognizes a part of him in Dennis and slowly coaxes him out of the box and into his home.

With the help of David's friend Harlee (Amanda Peet) and sister Liz (played by Cusack's real life sister Joan), David and Dennis begin an arduous process of learning about each other, from Dennis's incessant photo-taking habits, his inclination to eat only Lucky Charms, and his perpetual stealing, to David's continuing love of his wife, his love of baseball and his own struggles to be accepted by others.

As David teaches Dennis how to be an "Earthling," father and son earn each other's trust and eventually find someone who will love them unequivocally.


Background and production[edit]

The film is based on David Gerrold's award-winning semi-autobiographical novelette The Martian Child, which he later expanded to novel length. Gerrold had, in real life, adopted a son as an openly gay man. The novelette leaves the sexuality of the narrator undisclosed, however, the novel version identifies him as gay. In the film, the protagonist is straight and has a female love interest, a development which inspired criticism from members of the gay community.[2][3][4]


Martian Child's box office performance was poor, grossing only a little more than US$9 million. Rental and DVD sales of the film were good, although not enough to match the amount of money used to produce the film.[1] Critical reception was mixed to negative, with a 33% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

DVD release[edit]

Martian Child was released on DVD on February 12, 2008. It opened at #20 the DVD sales chart, selling 69,000 units for revenue of $1.3 million. As per the latest figures, 400,000 DVD units have been sold, acquiring revenue of $7,613,945. This does not include DVD rentals/Blu-ray sales.[5]


Award Category Nominee Result
29th Young Artist Awards[6] Best Family Feature Film Nominated
Best Performance by a Young Actor Bobby Coleman Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Martian Child". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ Why the Martian Child’s Daddy Isn’t Gay, May 8, 2007, blog entry from co-producer of Martian Child feature film]
  3. ^ Brian Juergens. "The Martian Child: where'd the gay go?". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  4. ^ "Martian Child — Movie and TV Reviews". Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  5. ^ "Martian Child". The Numbers. 
  6. ^ "29th Annual Young Artist Awards". Retrieved May 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]