Nim's Island

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Nim's Island
Nim's Island poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by Paula Mazur
Screenplay by
  • Joseph Kwong
  • Paula Mazur
  • Mark Levin
  • Jennifer Flackett
Based on Nim's Island
by Wendy Orr
Music by Patrick Doyle
Cinematography Stuart Dryburgh
Edited by Stuart Levy
Distributed by
Release date
  • April 4, 2008 (2008-04-04)
Running time
96 minutes
Language English
Budget $37 million[2]
Box office $100.1 million[2]

Nim's Island is a 2008 American-Australian adventure film written and directed by Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin. It stars Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, and Gerard Butler. The story is based on the children's story of the same name by Wendy Orr. A young girl, Nim, seeks help from the author of her favorite adventure series when her scientist father goes missing. Nim, though, lives on an island in the South Pacific. The author, Alexandra Rover, is agoraphobic and lives in San Francisco. While Rover attempts to overcome her agoraphobia in order to set out in search of her, Nim tries to overcome her fear of losing her father. In the meantime, a cruise ship company attempts to invade Nim's island with uncouth Australian tourists. Nim's Island was released on 4 April 2008 by 20th Century Fox. The film received mixed reviews from critics and earned $100,076,342 on a $37 million budget.


Nim (Abigail Breslin) is an 11-year-old girl whose mother, Emily, has died. Nim's father, Jack Rusoe (Gerard Butler), a marine biologist, has told her that Emily was swallowed by a blue whale after it was scared by a ship called The Buccaneer. Nim lives with her father on a South Pacific island and has several local animals for company: Selkie the sea lion, Fred the bearded dragon, Chica the sea turtle, and Galileo the pelican. Jack takes the boat for a two-day scientific mission to find Protozoa nim (a new species of plankton he named after his daughter); he wants to take his daughter along, but she convinces him that she needs to stay to oversee the imminent hatching of Chica's eggs and can manage on her own; they will be able to communicate by satellite phone.

Nim, who is fond of Alex Rover adventure books written by Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), receives an email addressed to her father with an inquiry about his field of knowledge. The sender, "Alex Rover", seems to be the explorer, but is actually Alexandra, a neurotic San Franciscan who constantly imagines that she is speaking to her fictional character Alex Rover (also portrayed by Butler). An email conversation follows. She goes to the island with the volcano, but is injured.

Jack suffers a shipwreck in a cyclone, making it impossible for him to communicate with Nim, and does not return as planned. Galileo brings Jack things he needs to fix his ship. Nim explains the situation to "Alex", but Alexandra suffers from agoraphobia and never leaves the house or even opens the door. The island is visited by loud, ugly tourists from Brisbane, Australia, whom Nim believes to be pirates. As the tourists approach the island, Nim makes it seem uninhabitable by catapulting lizards to shore. She also makes a fire in the crater of the volcano, which fools the tourists into thinking the volcano is erupting. By rolling down boulders to simulate an avalanche. While doing this, she inadvertently triggers an actual eruption. Without revealing herself, she gets out of the crater just in time as a plume of ash bursts out. Down at the beach the tourists scramble to the boats. One of them, a boy, Edmund, sees and catches up with Nim. He is confused by her presence and she tells him she lives on the island. He tells the others, but they do not believe him. Meanwhile, Alexandra travels to the island to "rescue" Nim, but she, expecting "Alex" (the fictional male character), at first rejects Alexandra.

Nim later relents and they share a meal. The next day, Nim starts to cry, reasoning that her ever-successful father would be back by then if he were still alive. Fortunately, Jack reaches the island windsurfing on a makeshift catamaran. Jack and Alex meet and begin to get to know each other (Alex amazed at Jack being identical to how she pictured her fictional character), and the film ends with them all playing on the beach using a coconut as a ball.



Shooting took place on Hinchinbrook Island, off the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia over three weeks and ended in October 2007.[8]


The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 51% of 101 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.7/10. The site's consensus reads: "Despite good intentions, Nim's Island flounders under an implausible storyline, simplistic stock characters, and distracting product placement."[9] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 55 out of 100 based on 24 reviews.[10] In its opening weekend, Nim's Island grossed $13.3 million in 3,513 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #2 at the box office behind 21.[11] The film had a US box office gross of $48 million and a foreign gross of $52 million, for a total gross of $100 million worldwide.[2] The film was nominated by the Visual Effects Society Awards in the category of Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture.[12]

Home media release[edit]

Nim's Island was released on DVD on 5 August 2008. It opened at #1 at the DVD sales chart, selling 466,326 DVD units and earning $8.4 million. As per the latest figures, 1,013,100 DVD units have been sold, grossing $21.4 million in the US.[13]


The score to Nim's Island was composed by award-winning composer Patrick Doyle. He recorded his score with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Sony Scoring Stage during the week of 3 February 2008. This marked the first time in a decade that he recorded a score in Los Angeles.[14]

The song playing over the closing credits is "Beautiful Day" by U2.

The film's soundtrack CD was released on 8 April 2008 from Varèse Sarabande.[15]


A sequel, Return to Nim's Island, was released theatrically in Australia on 4 April 2013 in 77 screens with an opening weekend box office take of AUS$176,848. It aired on the Hallmark Channel on 15 March in the U.S. and was released on DVD 19 March 2013, exclusively to Wal-Mart, and two days later on 21 March worldwide. Box Office Mojo reports AUS$1.1 million in revenues overall.[16]

Bindi Irwin replaced Abigail Breslin as Nim Rusoe, Toby Wallace replaced Maddison Joyce as Edmund, and Matthew Lillard replaced Gerard Butler as Jack Rusoe, Nim's father.


  1. ^ a b "Nim's Island (2008)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Nim's Island". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Michael Fleming (1 April 2007). "Foster, Breslin circle 'Island'". Variety. Retrieved 24 December 2007. 
  4. ^ Pamela McClintock (17 May 2007). "Butler sets sail for 'Island'". Variety. Retrieved 24 December 2007. 
  5. ^ Susan Wloszczyna (9 November 2007). "First look: All is idyllic on 'Nim's Island'". USA Today. Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "Nim's Island". Retrieved 24 December 2007. 
  7. ^ "Nim's Island". Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  8. ^ "Nim's Island filming reaps 'spectacular' Hinchinbrook footage". ABC Online. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Nim's Island Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 5 April 2008. 
  10. ^ "Nim's Island (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 6 April 2008. 
  11. ^ "Nim's Island (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 April 2008. 
  12. ^ "7th Annual VES Awards". visual effects society. Retrieved December 21, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Nim's Island (2008) - Financial Information". Retrieved 20 April 2018. 
  14. ^ Dan Goldwasser (25 February 2008). "Patrick Doyle records his score to Nim's Island in Los Angeles". Retrieved 26 February 2008. 
  15. ^ "Nim's Island soundtrack". Retrieved 20 April 2018. 
  16. ^ "Return to Nim's Island". Retrieved 20 April 2018. 

External links[edit]