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Pete's Dragon (2016 film)

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Pete's Dragon
Petes dragon 2016 film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Lowery
Produced by James Whitaker
Screenplay by
  • David Lowery
  • Toby Halbrooks
Based on Pete's Dragon
by Malcolm Marmorstein
"Pete's Dragon"
by Seton I. Miller
S.S. Field
Starring
Music by Daniel Hart
Cinematography Bojan Bazelli
Edited by Lisa Zeno Churgin
Production
companies
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • August 8, 2016 (2016-08-08) (El Capitan Theatre)
  • August 12, 2016 (2016-08-12) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65 million[2]
Box office $143.7 million[2]

Pete's Dragon is a 2016 American fantasy comedy-drama adventure film directed by David Lowery, written by Lowery and Toby Halbrooks, and produced by James Whitaker. The film is a live-action reworking of the 1977 live-action/animated musical film of the same name written by Malcolm Marmorstein. The film stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, and Robert Redford.[3] The film tells the story of an orphaned feral boy who befriends a dragon in the Pacific Northwest, and the ensuing repercussions of their discovery by the town's local residents.

Pete's Dragon premiered at the El Capitan Theatre on August 8, 2016 and was theatrically distributed by Walt Disney Pictures in the United States in 2D, Disney Digital 3-D, and RealD 3D formats on August 12, 2016.[4] The film received positive reviews from critics and has grossed $143 million worldwide against a $65 million production budget.[2]

Plot

In 1977, Pete Healy, a five-year-old boy, is on a road trip with his parents when their car flips off the road following a near-collision with a deer. Pete’s mom and dad are killed, but Pete survives the accident and is chased into the forest by a pack of wolves. He is rescued by a huge dragon with green fur, yellow eyes, and wings. The dragon quickly bonds with Pete and becomes protective of the boy. Pete names the dragon "Elliot" after the character of a lost puppy from his favorite book.

Six years later, Pete, now 11, spots a lumberjack crew chopping down trees near his home. Natalie, the daughter of the ethical site foreman Jack, spots and chases him. When Natalie accidentally falls from a tree, her screams attract her father Jack and his girlfriend, park ranger Grace Meacham. Pete tries to run away, but Gavin, Jack's pragmatic brother, accidentally knocks him unconscious. After realizing that Pete has vanished, Elliot stumbles around looking for him and ends up knocking over a tree near the lumber camp, leading Gavin to organize a hunting party to find him. Meanwhile, Pete wakes up in a local hospital, which he escapes in an effort to return to the forest. Before the police can catch the boy, Grace finds Pete and asks him to come to her home and promises to take him to the forest the next day.

Gavin and his men locate Pete and Elliot's treehouse, but when they try to search it, Elliot reveals himself and scares them away. He follows them to town trying to find Pete. After seeing Pete settling in with Grace's family, he leaves. After Pete gives Grace a drawing of Elliot, she shows her father, Mr. Meacham. He says that he discovered the same dragon as a young man. He advises her to trust Pete, and to find Elliot.

The next day, Pete, Grace, Natalie, and Mr. Meacham travel to the forest to meet Elliot. A group of hunters led by Gavin surprise Elliot and shoot him with tranquilizer darts, then lock him up in Jack's warehouse. Before the authorities can inspect the dragon, Pete and Natalie free him from his chains and escape on a lumber truck with Mr. Meacham.

Angered, Gavin sets up a roadblock at the bridge to stop them. When Elliot tries to fly, he crashes into the truck, damaging its brakes and it goes through the barricade. Confused and frightened, Elliot perches on top of the bridge and starts breathing fire at the police. The bridge begins to collapse under the intense heat, causing Grace and Jack's truck to fall through. Gavin tries to save the pair from falling to their deaths. Elliot emerges from the ravine with Grace and Jack riding safely on his back. With a firefighting helicopter approaching, Pete decides to flee with Elliot back to the woods.

Pete pleads with Elliot to let him stay so he can protect him from his attackers, just as Elliot protected him. However, Elliot concludes that as long as they stay close together, Pete will always be in danger. He points out Pete's book to encourage him to return to stay with Grace and Jack. Pete is reluctant & worried for Elliott's safety, but ultimately trusts the dragon's judgment. After a very tearful hug, Elliot returns to the mountains and Pete returns to live with Grace and Jack as his new family.

In the years that follow, Grace and Jack marry and adopt Pete as their son. Not only has Elliot slowly faded from the town's memory, but Gavin has learned to be more scrupulous and has moved on from the experience. Pete and his family eventually go on vacation, and see that Elliot is finally reunited with his fellow dragons.

Cast

  • Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace Meacham, a forest ranger.
  • Oakes Fegley as Pete Healy, a young orphan who lives in the forest with Elliot the Dragon.
    • Levi Alexander as 5-year-old Pete
  • Wes Bentley as Jack Magary, a widowed lumber mill owner who is Natalie's father and Grace's boyfriend. He has a moral compass and tries to restrain his brother Gavin's more unethical tendencies.
  • Karl Urban as Gavin Magary, a hunter and lumberjack who is Jack's brother and Natalie's uncle. He is a pragmatic man who chafes under his brother's scruples.[5]
  • Oona Laurence as Natalie Magary, Jack's daughter and Gavin's niece.
  • Robert Redford as Mr. Meacham, Grace's father
  • Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Sheriff Gene Dentler
  • Marcus Henderson as Woodrow, a lumberjack
  • Aaron Jackson as Abner, a lumberjack
  • Phil Grieve as Bobby, a lumberjack
  • Jim McLarty as Ranger Wentworth
  • Ian Harcourt as Deputy West
  • Steve Barr as Deputy Smalls
  • John Kassir as the voice of Elliot the Dragon

Production

In March 2013, Walt Disney Pictures announced it would remake Pete's Dragon, as non-musical, dramatic film to be written by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks, and directed by Lowery. Disney intended to rework the core story as a dramatic story, rather than a musical. It set the new work in the Pacific Northwest of the early 1980s, rather than the Northern New England of the early 1900s in the 1977 film.[6][7]

The film was shot in live-action using Panavision Panaflex cameras. The dragon, Elliot, was entirely animated by Weta Digital in CGI, instead of the original hand-drawn animation.[8][9]

On September 19, 2014, Disney cast Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence to star as Pete and Natalie.[10] On October 2, Barrie M. Osborne was set to be the executive producer for the film.[11] On October 16, Robert Redford was in early talks to play a local storyteller who remembers seeing a dragon in the woods.[8] On November 20, Bryce Dallas Howard was in talks for the female lead role, a forest ranger who finds the boy and does not believe his stories about a dragon.[12] On January 7, 2015, Wes Bentley joined the cast of the film.[13] On January 9, Michael C. Hall was also added to the cast.[14] On January 29, Karl Urban replaced Hall.[15]

Principal photography commenced in January 2015 in New Zealand, with Lowery directing.[16] Rehearsals began early January 2015,[17] while news reported the beginning of the shooting on January 26, 2015, set to last through April.[8][18] Live-action filming locations included Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Wellington, while CGI was done at Stone Street Studios.[19] On February 10, 2015, a press release confirmed that principal photography had commenced.[9] Shooting took place in and around Wellington and Rotorua, before transferring to Tapanui, where the old Blue Mountain Lumber mill was used as the mill in the film, and the main street became Millhaven for two weeks.[20][21] Production concluded on April 30, 2015.[22]

Soundtrack

Pete's Dragon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album / Film score by Daniel Hart
Released August 12, 2016
Recorded 2016
Studio Air Studios
British Grove Studios
Genre Soundtrack, Film score
Length 75:29
Label Walt Disney
Producer
  • Daniel Hart
  • Jake Jackson
  • David Lowery (exec.)
  • Jim Whitaker (exec.)
  • Adam Borba (exec.)
Daniel Hart film scores chronology
Lost in the Sun
(2015)Lost in the Sun2015
Pete's Dragon
(2016)
Half the Perfect World
(2016)Half the Perfect World2016

Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore was originally chosen to write the music for the film. He was replaced during post-production by Daniel Hart, who had previously worked with director Lowery on other films, most notably Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013).[23] The soundtrack was released on August 12, 2016 by Walt Disney Records. Candle on the Water was the only original song to be featured on the 2016 soundtrack from the 1977 soundtrack. Though the song was not used in the film, it was re-recorded by Okkervil River for the 2016 soundtrack. The original version, performed by Australian singer Helen Reddy (who played Nora in the original film), was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1977.

Track listing

No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."The Dragon Song"Bonnie “Prince” Billy2:28
2."Something Wild"Lindsey Stirling and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness3:43
3."Nobody Knows"The Lumineers3:08
4."Something on Your Mind"St. Vincent2:59
5."So Long, Marianne"Leonard Cohen5:38
6."Gina Anne"Bosque Brown2:40
7."An Adventure" 3:04
8."Are You Gonna Eat Me?" 2:31
9."Brown Bunny" 1:01
10."Reverie" 2:52
11."Tree Fort" 1:03
12."North Star" 1:25
13."Bedtime Compass" 2:15
14."Timber" 1:19
15."Breathe" 2:27
16."Gavin Knows What He's Doing" 3:42
17."You Are Not Alone" 1:58
18."Elliot Gets Lost" 4:26
19."Takedown" 1:44
20."It'll Be Just Like It Used to Be" 2:03
21."Follow That Dragon" 3:01
22."Elliot at the Bridge" 2:19
23."Abyss" 1:35
24."Go North" 1:44
25."Saying Goodbye" 5:03
26."The Bravest Boy I've Ever Met" 2:46
27."The Dragon Song Revisited"Bonnie “Prince” Billy2:34
28."Candle on the Water"Okkervil River4:01
Total length:75:29

Reception

Box office

Pete's Dragon grossed $76.2 million in North America and $67.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $143.7 million, against a budget of $65 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Pete's Dragon opened on August 12, 2016, across 3,702 theaters, of which 2,884 were in 3D, and 150 were premium large-format screens, as well as in 57 D-Box and 16 Dolby Cinema sites.[24] It was projected to gross $20–25 million in its opening weekend.[25] The film did not have Thursday night previews, and made $7 million on its first day, Friday.[26] In its opening weekend, it earned $21.5 million, finishing third at the box office, behind Suicide Squad and Sausage Party.[27] The opening was reminiscent of Disney's July release The BFG, which also carried strong reviews into the weekend only to deliver $18.7 million in its first three days,[28] and far from the $67–116 million debuts of other Disney live action-adaptations, such as Cinderella, Maleficent, Oz: The Great and Powerful, The Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland. However, many box office critics did not worry about the opening figure, given the film's modest budget, and the fact that the film is not anywhere near as well known as those films' respective source material.[26][29] Disney’s distribution chief Dave Hollis was optimistic that film would become profitable by saying, "People who are coming out of the theater are just loving it and their advocacy is going to help us put together a nice, solid run."[30] Forbes noted that the film did not have any box office draws other than the stellar reviews and the notion of another Disney "live-action fairy tale."[26] Although the film witnessed a steep decline on its second Friday (-55%), it fell just by 47.2% on its second weekend, grossing $11.3 million.[31] On its third weekend, it fell just by 35%, grossing $7.3 million.[32] The following weekend, Pete's Dragon declined only 14.7%, grossing $6.5 million and moved up to fourth place.[33][34]

Outside North America, Pete's Dragon received a scattered release pattern.[35] The film was released day-and-date in conjucture with its U.S. premiere in 12 markets (roughly 30% of the overseas market), including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Russia.[24] It earned a total of $5.3 million, with Russia ($1.5 million), Italy ($1.4 million) and the U.K. ($1.1 million) representing its largest takings.[35] Moreover, it also opened in France ($1.8 million).[36] It had just a 1% drop in attendance in the U.K. in its second weekend.[36] It expanded to Germany the following weekend and continued its roll out in Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Korea throughout September, and finally Japan on December 23.[25][35]

Critical response

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 88%, based on 217 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Pete's Dragon continues Disney's current live-action winning streak with an update that gives the original a visual overhaul without overwhelming its sweet, soulful charm."[37] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 71 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[38] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A".[39]

The movie was given three-and-a-half out of four stars in The New York Post by Kyle Smith who called it, "A cinematic enchantment" as well as, "one of the year’s best movies."[40] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote, "Thanks to director David Lowery's humanizing magic, this tale of an orphan boy and a dragon is that rare family film you really can take to heart."[41] Nancy Churnin of The Dallas Morning News gave the film a "B+" and said that while the remake, "may owe more to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, along with a dash of The Jungle Book than it does to the original Pete's Dragon," she overall concluded that "this story of two vulnerable souls who help each other find their way works, too."[42] Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail praised the film for its sincerity as well as its "honest effort to entertain and enthrall" audiences rather than simply being a cash grab.[43]

Glenn Kenny of The New York Times felt mixed about the film in his review saying, "It is slightly unfair to say that this reboot of Pete's Dragon is middling on a larger scale, but it's not entirely inaccurate either."[44] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "While Pete's Dragon does a fine job of evoking the delight one might feel at flying over hill and dale on the back of a mythological creature, it is less successful in rendering real human emotion."[45]

Accolades

Award Date of Ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Tomato Awards January 12, 2017 Best Kids/Family Movie 2016 Pete's Dragon 4th Place [46]
Heartland Film Festival October 30, 2016 Truly Moving Picture Award David Lowery, Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Won [47]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards March 11, 2017 Favorite Movie Pete's Dragon Nominated [48]
Saturn Awards June 28, 2017 Best Fantasy Film Pete's Dragon Nominated [49]

Home media

Pete's Dragon was released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on November 29, 2016.[50] The film topped the home video sales charts for the week ending on December 4, 2016.[51]

The movie is available on Netflix "watch instantly" as of March 15, 2017.[52]

References

  1. ^ "Pete's Dragon (R)". British Board of Film Classification. July 28, 2016. Retrieved July 28, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Pete's Dragon (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  3. ^ Bulbeck, Pip (August 17, 2015). "New Zealand Merges Film Agencies". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  4. ^ Lesnick, Silas (January 13, 2015). "Pete's Dragon for Set for 2016, Ghost in the Shell for 2017". comingsoon.net. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Karl Urban replaces Michael C. Hall". Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  6. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (August 11, 2016). "How this director went from making small indie movies to Disney's $65 million new blockbuster". Business Insider. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  7. ^ "After Gritty Sundance Debut On ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’, David Lowery To Reinvent ‘Pete’s Dragon’ For Disney." Deadline Hollywood (March 19, 2013).
  8. ^ a b c Ford, Rebecca (October 16, 2014). "Robert Redford in Talks for Disney's 'Pete's Dragon'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Evry, Max (February 10, 2015). "Filming Begins on PETE'S DRAGON Remake; Karl Urban and Wes Bentley Join Cast". comingsoon.net. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 19, 2014). "Disney Finds Its Pete For 'Pete's Dragon' Remake". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ Caranicas, Peter (October 2, 2014). "Below the Line Bookings". Variety. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  12. ^ Kit, Borys (November 20, 2014). "Bryce Dallas Howard in Talks to Join 'Pete's Dragon'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  13. ^ Ge, Linda; Sneider, Jeff (January 7, 2015). "Wes Bentley Joins Robert Redford in Disney Remake 'Pete's Dragon'". TheWrap. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 9, 2015). "Michael C. Hall Joins Disney's 'Pete's Dragon' Remake". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  15. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 29, 2015). "Karl Urban to Replace Michael C. Hall in Disney's 'Pete's Dragon' Remake". TheWrap. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Casting call for Disney feature film Pete’s Dragon lead role." Archived August 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "David Patrick Lowery - Instagram". instagram.com. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  18. ^ "On the Set for 1/26/15: Michael Fassbender Begins Steve Jobs Biopic, Ryan Coogler Starts Rocky Spinoff & More". ssninsider.com. January 26, 2015. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
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  22. ^ Bernstein, Paula. "David Lowery's Production Diary for 'Pete's Dragon': Transitioning from Indie to Hollywood". Indiewire. Retrieved June 5, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Daniel Hart Scoring Disney's 'Pete's Dragon'". Film Music Reporter. May 2, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Anthony D'Alessandro (August 9, 2016). "'Suicide Squad' Secures Record Monday Haul For August, Eyes $51M-$54M In 2nd Weekend – B.O. Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  25. ^ a b Dave McNarry (August 9, 2016). "Box Office: 'Suicide Squad' to Easily Keep Top Spot Over 'Pete's Dragon,' 'Sausage Party'". Variety. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b c Scott Mendelson (August 13, 2016). "Friday Box Office: 'Sausage Party' Cooks 'Suicide Squad,' 'Pete's Dragon' Opens Just Okay". Forbes. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  27. ^ Scott Mendelson (August 14, 2016). "Weekend Box Office: 'Sausage Party' Sizzles With $33M, 'Pete's Dragon' Fails To Soar". Forbes. Retrieved August 14, 2016. 
  28. ^ Brad Brevet (August 14, 2016). "'Suicide Squad' Drops Big, But Remains #1 as 'Sausage Party' Eats Up the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 15, 2016. 
  29. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (August 13, 2016). "'Sausage Party' Loud In 2nd With $32M+ As 'Suicide Squad' Drops Its Guns: Saturday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  30. ^ Brent Lang (August 28, 2016). "Box Office: 'Sausage Party' Scores With $33.6 Million, 'Suicide Squad' Plunges in Second Weekend". Variety. Retrieved August 29, 2016. 
  31. ^ Scott Mendelson (August 20, 2016). "Friday Box Office: 'Sausage Party' And 'Pete's Dragon' Drop Off, 'Bad Moms' Hangs Tough". Forbes. Retrieved August 21, 2016. 
  32. ^ Scott Mendelson (August 28, 2016). "Weekend Box Office: 'Suicide Squad' Tops $600M Worldwide, 'Jason Bourne' Nets $50M In China". Forbes. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  33. ^ "September 2-4, 2016". Box Office Mojo. September 4, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  34. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (September 6, 2016). "How Much Oxygen Is Left For 'Don't Breathe' At Box Office? – Final Tuesday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  35. ^ a b c Nancy Tartaglione (August 14, 2016). "'Suicide Squad' Tops $243M Offshore & Rises To $466M Global; Will It Hang Onto #1 In 3rd Frame?- Intl Box Office Final". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 14, 2016. 
  36. ^ a b Nancy Tartaglione (August 22, 2016). "Universal Pictures 'Pets' Collars $674M WW; 'Suicide Squad' Necks $575M Through Sunday – Intl B.O. Final". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Pete's Dragon (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 22, 2018. 
  38. ^ "Pete's Dragon Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 21, 2016. 
  39. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. 
  40. ^ Kyle Smith (August 11, 2016). "'Pete's Dragon' is surprisingly one of the year's best movies". New York Post. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  41. ^ Peter Travers (August 11, 2016). "'Pete's Dragon' Review: Finally, a Summer-Movie Remake That Works". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  42. ^ Nancy Churnin (August 11, 2016). "Realistic 'Pete's Dragon' reboot owes more to 'E.T.' than the original, but that's OK (B+)". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  43. ^ Barry Hertz (August 12, 2016). "Pete's Dragon asks its audience to side with magic over cynicism". Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  44. ^ Glenn Kenny (August 11, 2016). "Review: In 'Pete's Dragon,' a Magical Bond in Peril Again". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  45. ^ Michael O'Sullivan (August 11, 2016). "'Pete's Dragon' gets a technological upgrade, but is a storytelling throwback". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Golden Tomato Awards - Best of 2016". Rotten Tomatoes. 12 January 2017. 
  47. ^ "Disney's Pete's Dragon Honored with the Truly Moving Picture Award". August 12, 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  48. ^ Levy, Dani (February 2, 2017). "Justin Timberlake and Kevin Hart Lead Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards Nominations". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  49. ^ McNary, Dave (March 2, 2017). "Saturn Awards Nominations 2017: 'Rogue One,' 'Walking Dead' Lead". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  50. ^ Silas Lesnick (November 29, 2016). "November 29, 2016: This Week on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD". Comingsoon.net. 
  51. ^ Thomas K. Arnold (December 8, 2016). "'Pete's Dragon' Tops Disney Trio of Best-Selling Discs". Variety. 
  52. ^ Sam Axmaker (February 27, 2017). "New on Netflix in March: 'Iron Fist,' 'The Discovery,' 'Pete's Dragon'". The Seattle Times. 

External links