Monster Trucks (film)

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Monster Trucks
Monster Trucks poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by Steven Chorney
Directed byChris Wedge
Produced by
Screenplay byDerek Connolly
Story by
Music byDave Sardy
CinematographyDon Burgess
Edited byConrad Buff IV
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • December 21, 2016 (2016-12-21) (France)
  • January 13, 2017 (2017-01-13) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$125 million[2]
Box office$64.5 million[3]

Monster Trucks is a 2016 American action comedy film produced by Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies and Disruption Entertainment for Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Chris Wedge and written by Derek Connolly, from a story by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Matthew Robinson.[4] The film stars Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Barry Pepper and Holt McCallany, and follows a high schooler who finds an escaped monster living in his truck.

Principal photography of the film began on April 4, 2014, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. It was released by Paramount Pictures in the United States on January 13, 2017, and received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Monster Trucks grossed $64 million worldwide against its $125 million budget, leading it to be labeled as a box office bomb, losing the studio over $120 million.[5][6][7]


Terravex Oil is in the midst of a fracking operation near a lake in North Dakota, overseen by CEO Reece Tenneson and geologist Jim Dowd. The operation releases three subterranean creatures from an underground water system and destroys the drilling rig. Two are captured by Terravex, but one of them escapes the site. Meanwhile, high school senior Tripp Coley is looking for something to do to escape the life of his family; his parents are divorced, his mother Cindy is in a relationship with Rick, the town's sheriff, who fails to take him seriously. That is why he's taken up a part-time job at a local junkyard, where he builds a pickup truck in hopes of being able to leave his town but the truck doesn't have a working drivetrain to put his plans to action. One night, Tripp encounters the escaped creature in the junkyard and captures it, but the creature escapes before he can seek authorities.

The next day Tripp, along with classmate Meredith (who is tutoring Tripp in biology), finds the creature has a diet of oil and it takes shelter within the hood of his truck. He quickly befriends him, names him Creech, and promises to help him get home. Tripp modifies the truck to give Creech more control over the truck as a makeshift engine, the truck essentially acting as a 'wheelchair' for Creech to operate on land, and Meredith becomes quite impressed and surprised at Creech's speed and talent. Meanwhile, Tenneson is still concerned about the incident at the drilling rig that exposed Creech, since similar experiments have revealed the existence of other creatures. He decides to protect the company's image by drilling poison into a hole leading to the underwater tunnels, and by sending hired mercenary Burke to kill their captured creatures, to the objection of Jim, as he finds the monsters have significant intelligence and emotions, as well as a hive mind intelligence that allows both of the captured specimens to learn what was only directly taught to one.

Tripp and Meredith go see Tripp's father Wade to seek help, but Wade sells Tripp out to Burke. Tripp and Meredith escape in the truck with Creech, but not before destroying Wade's trailer. Tripp, Meredith and Creech are chased by Burke and his team along with Rick. Tripp, Meredith and Creech manage to escape by jumping over a train, and camp at a hunting cabin owned by Meredith's father near the lake, while Rick chastises Burke for attempting to follow them himself.

When Creech gets the sense something bad will happen to the other creatures, he heads to the Terravex headquarters where the other creatures are being held captive. Tripp and Meredith follow Creech using Meredith's cellphone, as Tripp left his phone in the truck. When they arrive, they find Creech's parents, but are attacked by Terravex workers. Creech arrives and is captured; Tripp and Meredith are taken to Tenneson, and he tells them to forget about Creech along with his parents and has Burke escort them out.

Sympathetic to the creatures' plight, Jim decides to help Tripp and Meredith rescue the creatures. With the help of Tripp's junkyard boss, Mr. Weathers, they acquire two more trucks, one being a repossession from a rich teen who had failed to make payments, and another being the birthday present of his friend Sam Geldon, whose father owns a local car dealership. They modify the trucks for Creech's parents to control similar to Creech in Tripp's truck. Jim helps the group by stealing the Terravex truck on which the monsters, Creech's parents, are loaded on. At the dealership, the creatures take control of the modified trucks based on Creech's own experience, and the group make their escape up the mountain leading to the tunnels.

Terravex gives chase up the mountain and the group escape by using the trucks to jump over the edge of the mountain. On the way, Rick helps Tripp and the group escape from Burke, preventing Burke from ramming them off the road and later stealing a large truck to block the road to prevent further pursuit. After realizing the poison has been inserted, Tripp gets into a head-on battle with Burke, who attempts to push him into the drilling hole, but ends when Tripp and Creech overturn Burke's truck, destroying the poison machine and killing Burke when his truck is thrown into the equipment, only for Tripp to fall into the hole. Creech saves him from drowning before he and his parents depart back home and Terravex is exposed by the group for the experimentation that was harming the creatures' habitat. Tenneson is arrested[further explanation needed], Tripp and Rick develop on good terms and together build a new engine for the truck, and Tripp and Meredith begin a relationship.



On July 31, 2013, Paramount Animation announced that they were developing a new live-action/animated franchise, with an entry film titled Monster Trucks, and Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger set to write the film's script.[4] Chris Wedge was set to direct the film, which was produced by Mary Parent, with an initial release date set for May 29, 2015.[4][17] Production took place in Vancouver Film Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia.[18] On February 19, 2014, Jane Levy and Lucas Till joined the cast of the film.[8][19] On March 24, Amy Ryan was cast in a role,[9] and later that week, Holt McCallany joined the cast as a villain.[14] On April 1, Frank Whaley and Danny Glover joined the cast of the film.[11] Later that month, Thomas Lennon joined as well,[15] and on April 14, Barry Pepper joined the cast.[12] On April 24, Tucker Albrizzi, who starred in Big Time Rush, joined the cast,[16] with Rob Lowe added five days later.[10][20]

In December 2013, it was announced that the film's production would begin in early April 2014 in Vancouver,[21] with filming wrapping up in mid-July, and the studio Vancouver Film Studios was booked for the production.[18] Principal photography began on April 4, 2014, in Kamloops, British Columbia.[22] Filming was spotted on May 13, 2014 in downtown Chilliwack, British Columbia.[23][24]


The release date was shifted several times. It was initially set for May 29, 2015, but on January 26, 2015, the film was pushed back to December 25, 2015, a date first assigned for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.[25] On May 5, 2015, the film was pushed back again, to March 18, 2016.[26] On November 10, 2015, the film's release date was pushed back one final time, to January 13, 2017.[27]

On September 21, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter stated Paramount would take a $115 million writedown on the film due to its expected poor performance at the box office.[28]

Home media[edit]

Monster Trucks was released on Digital HD on March 28, 2017[29] and on Blu-ray and DVD on April 11, 2017.[30]


Box office[edit]

Monster Trucks grossed $33.4 million in the United States and Canada and $31.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $64.5 million.[3]

In North America, Monster Trucks was released alongside the openings of The Bye Bye Man and Sleepless, as well as the wide releases of Silence, Patriots Day and Live by Night, and was expected to gross $8–10 million from 3,119 theaters in its opening weekend.[31] It ended up making $11 million ($14.2 million over the four-day MLK weekend), finishing 7th at the box office.[32]

Due to its $125 million budget, as well as additional amounts spent on promotion, the film was labeled a box office bomb.[5][6][7] Deadline Hollywood calculated the film lost the studio $123.1 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[33]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 32% based on 94 reviews and an average rating of 4.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Despite flashes of inspiration, the singularly high-concept Monster Trucks shows that it takes more than monsters and trucks to create a compelling feature film."[34] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 41 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[35] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[36]


  1. ^ "Monster Trucks [2D] (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. September 14, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  2. ^ David Lieberman (September 21, 2016). "'Monster Trucks' Drove Viacom's $115M Charge Even Before Its Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Monster Trucks (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Finke, Nikki (July 31, 2013). "Paramount Animation Plans 'Monster Trucks' Live Action-Toon Franchise: In Final Talks With Blue Sky's Chris Wedge To Direct". Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Faughnder, Ryan (January 13, 2017). "2017's first big flop? How Paramount's 'Monster Trucks' went awry". Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Box Office: Ben Affleck, Martin Scorsese, And 'Monster Trucks' Flop Over MLK Weekend". Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Lang, Brent (January 12, 2017). "Box Office: 'Hidden Figures,' 'Patriot's Day' in Tight Race, 'Monster Trucks,' 'Live by Night' Brace to Flop". Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Paramount Wants Lucas Till & Jane Levy in 'Monster Trucks' Toy Movie". February 19, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Amy Ryan Gears Up For 'Monster Trucks'; Blake Jenner Creeps Into 'Crawlspace;' Pablo Larrain Helms 'Scarface'". May 20, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Rob Lowe driving Monster Trucks". April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c "Frank Whaley, Danny Glover Joining Lucas Till in 'Monster Trucks' (Exclusive)". May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Paramount's 'Monster Trucks' Adds Barry Pepper". Deadline Hollywood. April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Monster Trucks (2016)" – via
  14. ^ a b "Holt McCallany Revs Up Villainous Role In Paramount's 'Monster Trucks'". May 20, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Thomas Lennon Straps In For Paramount's 'Monster Trucks'". Deadline Hollywood. April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Chrissie Fit Cast In 'Pitch Perfect 2′; Shohreh Aghdashloo To Narrate 'Alam High School'; Tucker Albrizzi Joins 'Monster Trucks'". Deadline Hollywood. April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  17. ^ "Paramount Animation Looking to Tackle Monster Trucks". August 1, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Big-budget 'Monster Trucks' to roll into Vancouver in April". December 29, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  19. ^ "Lucas Till - Lucas Till and Jane Levy to star in Monster Trucks". contactmusic. April 29, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  20. ^ "Rob Lowe Joins 'Monster Trucks'". April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  21. ^ "Updated production office info for Chris Wedge's MONSTER TRUCKS filming in Vancouver to begin early April". Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  22. ^ "START: Big-Budget Live-Action Movie MONSTER TRUCKS Begins Filming". yvrshoots. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  23. ^ Hellinger, Mike (May 12, 2014). "Chilliwack buzzing with film shoot downtown this week". Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  24. ^ J. Henderson, Paul (May 15, 2014). "Downtown Chilliwack turns into Monster Trucks movie set". Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  25. ^ Pamela McClintock. "Paramount Shifts 'Mission: Impossible 5' Release Date to Summer 2015". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  26. ^ Dave McNary. "Monster Trucks Release Date Pushed Back to 2016". Variety. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  27. ^ McNary, Dave (November 10, 2015). "Paramount Sets 'SpongeBob 3' for 2019, Delays 'Monster Trucks' to 2017". Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  28. ^ McClintock, Pamela; Masters, Kim (September 21, 2016). "'Monster Trucks' Leads Viacom to Take $115M Write-Down". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  29. ^ "Monster Trucks (2016)". DVDs Release Date. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  30. ^ Hunt, Bill. "Planet Earth II 4K official, plus Monster Trucks, Saturday Night Fever update & Star Wars: Ralph McQuarrie book deal". The Digital Bits. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  31. ^ "Mark Wahlberg's 'Patriots Day' and 'La La Land' to battle 'Hidden Figures' for box office win". Los Angeles Times.
  32. ^ "'Hidden Figures' Stays Smart, But Why Are So Many Movies Bombing Over MLK Weekend?". Deadline Hollywood.
  33. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 29, 2018). "What Were The Biggest Bombs At The 2017 B.O.? Deadline's Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  34. ^ "Monster Trucks (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  35. ^ "Monster Trucks reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  36. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore. com.

External links[edit]