Monster Trucks (film)
|Directed by||Chris Wedge|
|Screenplay by||Derek Connolly|
|Edited by||Conrad Buff IV|
|Music by||Dave Sardy|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$64.5 million|
Monster Trucks is a 2016 American monster action comedy film produced by Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies and Disruption Entertainment for Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Chris Wedge, in both his live-action directorial debut and first directorial effort outside of Blue Sky Studios, and written by Derek Connolly, from a story by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Matthew Robinson. 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.
The film premiered on December 21, 2016 in France. It was released by Paramount Pictures in the United States on January 13, 2017, and received mixed reviews from critics. A box office failure, Monster Trucks grossed $64 million worldwide against its $125 million budget.
Terravex Oil is in the midst of a fracking operation 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. Meanwhile, high school senior Tripp Coley has taken up a job at a junkyard, where he builds a pickup truck in hopes of being able to leave his town. The truck doesn't have a working drivetrain (no engine). 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, discovers that the creature feeds on oil, and has taken shelter in the hood of his truck. He befriends him, names him Creech, and promises to help him get home. Tripp modifies the truck to give Creech more control as a makeshift engine. The truck acts as a 'wheelchair' for Creech to operate. Meanwhile, Tenneson is still concerned about the incident at the drilling rig, 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 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. Tripp, Meredith and Creech are chased by Burke and his team along with Rick. They escape by jumping over a MRL local with an EMD MP15DC lead train, and camping at a hunting cabin.
When Creech gets the sense something bad will happen to the other creatures, he heads to Terravex headquarters where other creatures are being held captive. Tripp and Meredith follow Creech. When they arrive, they find Creech's parents, but are attacked by Terravex workers. Creech is captured, and Tripp and Meredith are taken to Tenneson.
Jim decides to help Tripp and Meredith rescue the creatures. They acquire two more trucks. They modify the trucks for Creech's parents to control. Jim helps the group by stealing the Terravex truck on which Creech's parents are loaded. At the dealership, the creatures take control of the modified trucks, and the group make their escape up the mountain leading to the tunnels.
Terravex gives chase up the mountain and the group escapes. 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. Creech saves Tripp 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 for his crimes, Tripp and Rick develop on good terms and together rebuild a V8 engine for the truck, and Tripp and Meredith begin a relationship.
- Lucas Till as Tripp Coley, a high school senior.
- Jane Levy as Meredith, Tripp's tutor and love interest.
- Amy Ryan as Cynthia "Cindy" Coley, Tripp's mother, Wade’s ex-wife, and Rick’s new live-in wife.
- Rob Lowe as Reece Tenneson, the film's main antagonist.
- Danny Glover as Mr. Weathers, Tripp's paraplegic boss.
- Barry Pepper as Sheriff Richard "Rick" Lovick, the local sheriff, Cindy's new live-in husband, and Tripp’s stepfather.
- Holt McCallany as Burke, Reece's henchman and one of the film's villains.
- Frank Whaley as Wade Coley, Tripp's estranged father and Cindy's ex-husband.
- Thomas Lennon as Dr. Jim Dowd, a scientist.
- Tucker Albrizzi as Sam Geldon, Tripp's friend.
- Samara Weaving as Brianne
- Daniel Bacon as Technician
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. The pitch was created by Paramount's president Adam Goodman alongside his four year old son. Chris Wedge was set to direct the film, which was produced by Mary Parent, with an initial release date set for May 29, 2015. Production took place in Vancouver Film Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. On February 19, 2014, Jane Levy and Lucas Till joined the cast of the film. On March 24, Amy Ryan was cast in a role, and later that week, Holt McCallany joined the cast as a villain. On April 1, Frank Whaley and Danny Glover joined the cast of the film. Later that month, Thomas Lennon joined as well, and on April 14, Barry Pepper joined the cast. On April 24, Tucker Albrizzi, who starred in Big Time Rush, joined the cast, with Rob Lowe added five days later.
In December 2013, it was announced that the film's production would begin in early April 2014 in Vancouver, with filming wrapping up in mid-July, and the studio Vancouver Film Studios was booked for the production. Principal photography began on April 4, 2014, in Kamloops, British Columbia. Filming was spotted on May 13, 2014 in downtown Chilliwack, British Columbia.
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. On May 5, 2015, the film was pushed back again, to March 18, 2016. On November 10, 2015, the film's release date was pushed back one final time, to January 13, 2017.
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.
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. It ended up making $11 million ($14.2 million over the four-day MLK weekend), finishing 7th at the box office.
Due to its $125 million budget, as well as additional amounts spent on promotion, the film was labeled a box office bomb. Deadline Hollywood calculated the film lost the studio $123.1 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 32% based on 98 reviews and an average rating of 4.6/10. 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." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 41 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Some contemporary reviews were more complementary, however. Kristy Puchko cited it as a "treasure that feels like a heady relic from the ’90s" in IndieWire’s 2017 critic’s survey of the Craziest Hollywood Movies of the 21st Century, while Sean Egan called it a “live-action cartoon that recalls the goofy, good-hearted Amblin family films of yore” in AM New York Metro’s Best Films of 2017 list. Further, audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
By 2021, the film's reputation had improved slightly, with Douglas Laman of Looper observing that a cult following had developed for the film  while Chris Evangelista penned an essay for The Guardian arguing for the films merits.
Thomas Lennon mentioned on his Twitter in 2022 that he is still under contract for two sequels.
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- "I loved Monster Trucks too. Technically I'm still under contract for 2 sequels!". Twitter.com. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
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