Peter Pan (2003 film)

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Peter Pan
Peter Pan 2003 film.jpg
International theatrical release poster
Directed byP. J. Hogan
Screenplay by
Based onPeter and Wendy
by J. M. Barrie
Produced by
CinematographyDonald McAlpine
Edited by
Music byJames Newton Howard
Distributed by
Release dates
Running time
113 minutes[2]
Budget$130 million[3]
Box office$122 million[4]

Peter Pan is a 2003 fantasy adventure film directed by P.J. Hogan and written by Hogan and Michael Goldenberg. The screenplay is based on the 1904 play and 1911 novel Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J.M. Barrie. Jason Isaacs plays the dual roles of Captain Hook and George Darling, Olivia Williams plays Mary Darling, while Jeremy Sumpter plays Peter Pan, Rachel Hurd-Wood plays Wendy Darling, and Ludivine Sagnier plays Tinker Bell. Lynn Redgrave plays a supporting role as Aunt Millicent, a new character created for the film.

After completing the script, Hogan and Goldenberg were given approval by Great Ormond Street Hospital, which held the rights to Barrie's story. Principal photography took place in Australia at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Queensland from September 2002 to May 2003.

Peter Pan premiered at the Empire in Leicester Square, London on 9 December 2003 and was theatrically released by Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Revolution Studios in the United Kingdom on 24 December 2003 and in the United States on 25 December 2003. The film received positive reviews from critics but only grossed $122 million worldwide. With an estimated budget of $130.6 million (not including marketing costs), the film was a box office failure resulting in a $70–95 million loss.


In 1904 in the nursery of the Darling household, located in central London, England, Wendy Darling tells her younger brothers John and Michael stories of Captain Hook and his pirates. Unbeknownst to the children, Peter Pan listens to Wendy's stories from outside their nursery window. When their Aunt Millicent arrives, she judges Wendy to be reaching womanhood and advises the Darlings to focus on Wendy's future prospects. One night, Wendy sees Peter return to the nursery to watch her sleep, but he is chased off by the family's nurse dog, Nana. At school, Wendy is caught by her teacher drawing a picture of Peter. During an attempt to stop the messenger from delivering a disciplinary letter, Wendy embarrasses her father in front of his superiors when Nana chases her into the bank. Mr. Darling chains Nana outside and declares that Wendy will leave the nursery.

Peter and Tinker Bell visit the nursery again to look for Peter's shadow, which Nana had bitten off during his previous visit. He introduces himself to Wendy, who then sews his shadow back onto him. Peter invites Wendy and her brothers to Neverland so she can tell her stories to his gang of Lost Boys. They use Tinker Bell's fairy dust, and fly to Neverland. Nana breaks free and alerts Mr. and Mrs. Darling, but they arrive too late. Captain Hook and his pirate crew are alerted to Peter's return to Neverland and fire a cannon at Peter, Wendy, Michael, and John. Tinker Bell tricks the Lost Boys into shooting Wendy out of the sky with an arrow, who mistake her for a bird. When Peter arrives, they find her alive, as the arrow hit the acorn he had given her which she had made into a necklace. Peter banishes Tinker Bell and ends their friendship.

Wendy awakens and agrees to the Lost Boys' request to be their “mother”, while Peter takes the role of their father. Meanwhile, John and Michael encounter Tiger Lily, a Native American princess, and all three are captured by Hook and his crew, who take them to the Black Castle. Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys save them, as Hook is chased by the crocodile who has followed him for years. After a celebration at the Native American camp, Peter shows Wendy the fairies' home and the two share a romantic dance. Hook spies on the two of them and convinces Tinker Bell that Peter will eventually choose to leave Neverland for Wendy. When Wendy asks Peter to express his feelings, he angrily demands she return home, refusing to believe that he can ever feel love without having to grow up before flying off. Peter then returns to the Darling nursery and tries unsuccessfully to shut the open window, determined to keep Wendy in Neverland.

Tinker Bell leads Hook's men to Wendy's makeshift "house" and they carry a sleeping Wendy back to the Jolly Roger, where Captain Hook tries to entice Wendy to become a pirate and sends her back to the Lost Boys, unaware she is being followed. Wendy ultimately decides against becoming a pirate but urges her brothers to return home with her, as they are starting to forget their parents. The Lost Boys eventually decide to join them, to Peter’s dismay. As Wendy says goodbye to Peter, she leaves him a cup of medicine to drink. When Wendy leaves the hideout, she is ambushed by Hook's crew, who capture her along with the rest of the boys. Captain Hook poisons Peter's medicine but Tinker Bell intervenes and drinks the poison. Devastated, Peter repeatedly proclaims his belief in fairies, which reaches out to the residents of London and revives Tinker Bell. Peter saves Wendy and frees the Lost Boys and the children fight Hook's crew. Hook forcefully uses Tinker Bell's fairy dust to grant him the ability to fly. During their duel, Hook taunts Peter about Wendy wanting to abandon him, and how she will eventually grow up and marry another man. Weakened, Peter falls to the ship and is incapacitated. Hook allows Wendy to say goodbye to Peter before he kills him, and she kisses him, which brings back his happiness.

Peter finally defeats Hook, who is swallowed up by the crocodile. Peter covers the Jolly Roger in fairy dust and flies Wendy and the boys back to London where they are reunited with Mr. and Mrs. Darling, who decide to adopt the rest of the Lost Boys. Slightly, who got lost on the way to London and arrives at the house late, is adopted by Aunt Millicent. Mr. Darling shows the kids how sorry he is for his previous action. Peter promises Wendy that he will never forget her and that one day he will return to visit her, before heading back to Neverland with Tinker Bell. Wendy, now an adult, narrates that she never did see Peter again, but she continues to tell his story to her own children, and in turn to their grandchildren.


  • Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan: A young boy who doesn't want to grow up. Unlike other versions, Peter's feelings and even his mere presence affect various aspects of the weather.
  • Jason Isaacs as:
    • Captain Hook: The captain of the Jolly Roger and Peter's archenemy: Peter cut off Hook's hand and fed it to a crocodile which has followed him ever since.
    • Mr. Darling, the Darlings' father.
  • Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy Darling: the eldest child of the Darling family who captures Peter's heart and acts as a surrogate mother to the Lost Boys and her younger brothers, John and Michael.
    • Saffron Burrows plays the adult Wendy, who narrates the film. Burrows appears in the deleted epilogue.
  • Lynn Redgrave as Aunt Millicent: the maternal aunt of the three Darling children. Aunt Millicent is an original character created for the film.
  • Richard Briers as Mr. Smee: Hook's humorous and dimwitted first-mate.
  • Olivia Williams as Mrs. Darling: the matriarch of the Darling family.
  • Harry Newell as John Darling: the middle child of the Darling family.
  • Freddie Popplewell as Michael Darling: the youngest child of the Darling family.
  • Ludivine Sagnier as Tinker Bell: Peter's fairy companion who is jealous of Wendy.
  • Rebel as Nana: the dog nurse of the Darling family.
  • Carsen Gray as Tiger Lily: the daughter of a Native American chief.
  • Kerry Walker as Miss Fulsom: a strict schoolteacher.
  • Mathew Waters as the Messenger Boy

The Lost Boys[edit]

The Pirate Crew[edit]



The film is dedicated to Dodi Al-Fayed, who was executive producer of the 1991 film Hook. Al-Fayed planned to produce a live action version of Peter Pan, and shared his ideas with Diana, Princess of Wales (who was President of Great Ormond St Hospital), who said she "could not wait to see the production once it was underway." Al-Fayed's father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, co-produced the 2003 adaptation of the tale after his son died in the car crash which also killed Diana, Princess of Wales.[5] Finding Neverland, a film about J. M. Barrie and the creation of Peter Pan, was originally scheduled to be released in 2003, but the producers of this film – who held the screen rights to the story – refused permission for that film to use scenes from the play unless its release was delayed until the following year.[citation needed]


Contrary to the traditional stage casting, the film featured a young boy in the title role. Since the first stage production of the story, the title role has usually been played by a woman, a tradition followed in the first film adaptation. Two subsequent animated adaptations have featured a male voice actor as Peter Pan, and a Soviet live-action film adaptation for television cast a boy to play the role. This film was the first live-action theatrical release with a boy playing the part. The casting of a single actor to play both George Darling and Captain Hook follows a tradition also begun in the first staging of the play.

Brie Larson originally auditioned for Wendy Darling.[6]


Principal photography began on 17 September 2002 and concluded on 5 May 2003, taking place entirely inside sound stages on Australia's Gold Coast, Queensland.[7][8] According to Fisher, the decision to shoot in Australia was based on the low value of the Australian dollar at that time.[8] Hogan had originally planned on filming in a variety of locations such as Tahiti, New Zealand, and London but abandoned this idea after scouting some of the locations.[9] Filming on sound stages did help "retain some of the theatricality of the original play", something which Hogan thought was important.[10]

Visual effects[edit]

The visual effects in the film are a mixture of practical and digital. The fairies that appear in the film are actors composited into the film with some digital enhancements. According to actor Jason Isaacs, the filmmakers were impressed with actress Ludivine Sagnier's performance and decided to abandon their plans to make Tinker Bell entirely computer animated.[11] The film also features a large, computer-generated crocodile. Another character, an animatronic parrot, appears in some scenes on the pirate ship. A complex harness was built to send the live-action actors rotating and gliding through the air for the flight sequences. They were then composited into the shots of London and Neverland, although they are sometimes replaced with computer-generated figures. One other aspect of bringing the story to life was the complex sword-fighting sequences, for which the actors were trained. Sumpter said that, "I had to train for five months before the shoot. I had to do harness training to learn how to fly and learn how to swordfight," and that, "I got stabbed a couple of times with a sword."[12] Hogan says that the flying scenes were very difficult to accomplish, but that, "it was tougher on the kids than it was for me. They were up there on the harness 12' off the ground, having to make it look like flying is easy and fun."[13] Sumpter grew several inches over the course of the film's production, requiring staging tricks to retain Hook's height advantage over Peter in face-to-face scenes late in the process. Hollywood-based producer Lucy Fisher also said that, "The window he flies out of had to be enlarged twice."[11]


This film was released in theatres on 18 December 2003 in Australia, on 24 December 2003 in the United Kingdom and on 25 December 2003 in the United States. The film was distributed by Universal Pictures in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and South Africa, and by Columbia Pictures in the rest of the world. While Universal distributed the film theatrically in France, the home video rights are handled by Sony there.


For the promotion of the film, the original novel of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie was re-released displaying the film's promotional material. A video game based on the film titled Peter Pan: The Motion Picture Event was released for Game Boy Advance on 4 November 2003, developed by Saffire and published by Atari Interactive, receiving mixed reviews from critics.


Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 76% based on 144 reviews, and an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Solid if far from definitive, this version of Peter Pan is visually impressive, psychologically complex and faithful to its original source."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half out of four stars.[16] MovieGuide has also favourably reviewed the film, calling it "a wonderfully crafted, morally uplifting movie that intentionally emphasizes the fantasy elements of the story both in dialogue and design of the film."[17]

Box office[edit]

Peter Pan earned $48,462,608 at the box office in the United States and another $73.5 million outside the US, which brings the worldwide total to nearly $122 million.[4] The film’s failure was partly due to its competition with the highly anticipated epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King released the week before, and the family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, which opened on the same day.


Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Jeremy Sumpter Best Performance by a Younger Actor Won
Best Fantasy Film Nominated
Rachel Hurd-Wood Best Performance by a Younger Actor Nominated
Janet Patterson Best Costumes Nominated

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Peter Pan Best Family Film – Live Action Nominated

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Rachel Hurd-Wood Best Youth in Film Nominated

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Peter Pan Best Live Action Family Film Nominated
Jeremy Sumpter Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Male Nominated

Visual Effects Society Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 Yusei Uesugi

Giles Hancock

Outstanding Matte Painting in a Motion Picture Nominated
Ludivine Sagnier Outstanding Performance by a Male or Female Actor in an Effects Film Nominated

Young Artist Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2004 Jeremy Sumpter Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Won
Peter Pan Best Family Feature Film – Drama Won
Rachel Hurd-Wood Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Nominated
Harry Newell Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actor Nominated
Carsen Gray Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actress Nominated


  1. ^ "Peter Pan (2003): Full Production Credits". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Peter Pan (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 9 December 2003. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  3. ^ "'Gigli's' Real Price Tag – Or, How Studios Lie About Budgets". The Wrap.
  4. ^ a b "Peter Pan (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Dodi Al-Fayed – Peter Pan". Archived from the original on 20 June 2011. The first step was for Dodi to negotiate an extension of the rights granted by the hospital to his father. He was in the process of doing that when he was killed.
  6. ^ "Brie Larson: AUDITION STORYTIME! (pt. 2)". YouTube. 3 September 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Peter Pan goes to Queensland". The Age. 27 June 2002. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b Mitchell, Peter (23 December 2003). "Dark days loom for Aussie film industry". The Age. Australia: The Age Company Ltd. Retrieved 11 September 2008.
  9. ^ Whipp, Glenn (29 December 2003). "Latest 'Pan' film lets boys be boys, preserves spirit of classic". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 13 May 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  10. ^ Ramshaw, Mark. "Peter Pan: Hook, Line and Tinker". VFXWorld. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 15 January 2004.
  11. ^ a b Wloszczyna, Susan (7 August 2003). "A Mature Peter Pan". USA Today. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
  12. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Interview with 'Peter Pan' Star, Jeremy Sumpter". Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  13. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Director PJ Hogan Discovers Neverland With 'Peter Pan'". Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  14. ^ "Peter Pan (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Peter Pan Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (24 December 2003). "Peter Pan Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  17. ^ "PETER PAN | Movieguide | Movie Reviews for Christians". Movieguide | The Family & Christian Guide to Movie Reviews. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2017.

External links[edit]