Peter Rabbit (film)

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Peter Rabbit
Peter-rabbit-teaser.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWill Gluck
Produced by
  • Will Gluck
  • Zareh Nalbandian
Written by
  • Rob Lieber
  • Will Gluck
Based onPeter Rabbit
by Beatrix Potter
Starring
Music byDominic Lewis[1]
CinematographyPeter Menzies Jr.
Edited byChristian Gazal
Production
company
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • February 3, 2018 (2018-02-03) (The Grove)
  • February 9, 2018 (2018-02-09) (United States)
  • March 22, 2018 (2018-03-22) (Australia)
Running time
95 minutes[3]
Country
LanguageEnglish
Budget$50 million[5]
Box office$351.3 million[6]

Peter Rabbit is a 2018 3D live-action/computer-animated comedy film directed by Will Gluck and written by Rob Lieber and Gluck, based on the stories of Peter Rabbit created by Beatrix Potter. The film stars the voice of James Corden as the title character, alongside Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, and Sam Neill in live-action roles, and the voices of Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, and Margot Robbie. The film was released on February 9, 2018, and grossed $351 million worldwide. A sequel is set to be released on January 15, 2021.

Plot[edit]

In England's Lake District, Peter Rabbit, his cousin Benjamin Bunny, and triplet sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, spend most of their days picking on old Mr. McGregor and stealing vegetables from his garden. They are friends with a kindhearted local woman named Bea who spends her time painting pictures of the rabbits as well as the surrounding nature. Bea took on a motherly role with the rabbits after their mother's death. Their father had been killed and eaten in a pie by Mr. McGregor when they were still young. One day, Peter is forced to leave his jacket in Mr. McGregor's garden and goes back to retrieve it. However, it was a trap set by Mr. McGregor who catches him, but suddenly dies of a heart attack due to decades of unhealthy eating habits. Enthralled, Peter invites all of the local animals and takes over Mr. McGregor's manor.

Meanwhile, in London, Mr. McGregor's great-nephew, Thomas McGregor, an uptight, controlling workaholic, works in the toy department of Harrods department store where he waits for a promotion to associate general manager. He indifferently accepts the news about his great-uncle's death, someone he was completely unaware of, but is infuriated over losing the promotion to a lazy nephew of the managing director and is fired for losing his temper. His now-former manager encourages him to get a hobby and spend some time in the country.

When Thomas learns that his great-uncle's manor is valuable and that he's inherited it, he decides to appraise and prepare it for resale in order to start his own toy store to get even with his former employers. He kicks out Peter and the animals and begins to upgrade the security of the garden wall and gates, despite Bea's objections. When Peter and a reluctant Benjamin sneak back into the garden, Thomas catches the latter and attempts to drown Benjamin in a river, but hesitates. Benjamin's relatives rescue him; Thomas instead accidentally drops a prized set of binoculars that Bea had given him earlier, forcing him to retrieve it.

Thomas and Bea end up falling in love with each other, which causes Peter to become jealous and determined to separate them. Peter and Thomas start a war with each other by setting traps and other offensive nuisances. Things get out of hand when Peter rewires an electric fence set up by Thomas, prompting Thomas to throw dynamite in Peter's burrow. After the rabbits trigger Thomas' allergy to blackberries, Thomas attacks them in the garden with some of the dynamite and tells Peter that his antics caused him to become aggressive. When Peter detonates the dynamite to prove to Bea that Thomas was using it, he ends up blowing up the burrow, which causes the tree on top to collapse on Bea's art studio. Bea ignores Thomas's explanation of the rabbits' involvement and breaks up with him. Thomas goes back to London to work at Harrods again.

Peter feels remorseful for what he has done, and upon learning that Bea intends to leave the neighborhood, he and Benjamin head to London to bring Thomas back. Tricking Thomas into thinking he was imagining the rabbits’ ability to talk, Peter explains to Thomas to follow his heart. They rush back to the country, where Peter shows Bea the detonator and presses it for her to see; thus confirming Thomas’ previous claims that the rabbits were responsible for the explosion. Peter and Thomas explain to Bea and plead for her not to move away.

Wishing to remain with Bea, Thomas no longer wants to sell the manor; but they discover an unpleasant wealthy couple (who Thomas had encountered earlier and been tormented by) had already bought the house and finalized the sale. Peter, his family and friends use their tricks to force the couple out of the house, allowing Thomas to move back in. Thomas and Bea resume their relationship, and he allows the wildlife to take food from the garden within reason.

Peter and his family restore the burrow and the yard with Thomas and Bea's help. Thomas sets up his own toy shop in the village, where Bea showcases her paintings of the rabbits.

Cast[edit]

Live-action actors[edit]

Voice cast[edit]

The Singing Sparrows were voiced by Jessica Freedman, Shana Halligan, Katharine Hoye, Chris Mann, Chad Reisser and Fletcher Sheridan.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The film was first revealed in April 2015 through email leaks as a result of the Sony Pictures hack.[7] The official announcement of the film came that December.[8]

In August 2016, Will Gluck was reported to direct from a script by Gluck and Rob Lieber.

Casting[edit]

In August 2016, James Corden was cast to voice Peter Rabbit, and Rose Byrne was selected to play one of the live-action roles.[9]

Daisy Ridley and Elizabeth Debicki joined the cast in September 2016, and principal photography was scheduled to commence in Sydney, Australia, in January 2017.[10][11][12]

The next month, Domhnall Gleeson was cast as Thomas McGregor, the descendant of the original Mr. McGregor, and Margot Robbie joined the cast, expected to voice a bunny.[13][14] In November, Sia was cast as Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.[15]

Filming[edit]

On December 18, 2016, a first image of the title character, along with the film's logo, was revealed.[16] Production began in December 2016.[17][18] Live action scenes were filmed at Centennial Park in Sydney.[19] In March 2017, filming took place at Central railway station, Sydney, which was depicted as London Paddington station along with Mortuary railway station being depicted as the country station.[20]

Visual effects[edit]

Gluck produced the film along with Zareh Nalbandian of Animal Logic, which provided the visual effects and animation for the film.[9] The crew peaked at 80 animators, working as 6 core teams, each with a lead animator and a technical animator.[21]

Release[edit]

Peter Rabbit was originally scheduled to be released on March 23, 2018,[8] but it was moved up to February 9, 2018.[22]

Trailer criticism[edit]

The first trailer received negative feedback from critics and fans of the character, many of whom labelled the film as being too modern and insulting to Beatrix Potter's works. Collider called the trailer "garbage" and a "low brow 'comedy' cringe fest".[23]

Stuart Heritage from The Guardian stated that "the Peter Rabbit film looks like the result of some blisteringly inept manhandling [...] there's something genuinely harrowing about the sight of Peter Rabbit – gentle, Edwardian Peter Rabbit – thoughtlessly injuring some birds, or grabbing a pile of lettuce leaves and making it rain like a banker in a strip club, or literally twerking" and argued "there is no way on Earth that [Beatrix Potter would] have ever given the green light to a slow motion car crash like this."[24]

Metro writer James Baldock found that the trailer was "so gut wrenchingly bad" and that "if the movie lives up to its two minute preview – [it] is set to be the greatest abomination to grace the big screen since The Emoji Movie." He finished by writing "Listen carefully, and you can just about hear the sound of Beatrix Potter, turning furiously in her grave."[25] On November 7, a new trailer for the United Kingdom was released.[26]

Home media[edit]

The film was released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on digital platforms on April 20, 2018. A Blu-ray and DVD and 4K Ultra HD followed on May 1, 2018.[27] The Blu-ray disc extra features include a mini movie and three featurettes, "Shake Your Cotton-Tail Dance Along", a seven-minute behind-the-scenes "Peter Rabbit: Mischief in the Making" and "Flopsy Turvy" which focuses on the triplet sisters.[28] In the United States a Special Garden Edition Blu-ray-DVD was released as a Target Exclusive with a bonus disc featuring a seventeen-minute featurette titled "Make Your Own Garden".[29]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Peter Rabbit grossed $115.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $235.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $351.2 million, against a production budget of $50 million.[6]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Fifty Shades Freed and The 15:17 to Paris, and was projected to gross around $16 million from 3,725 theaters in its opening weekend, with some estimates as high as $25 million.[30] It ended up making $25 million over the weekend, finishing second at the box office behind Fifty Shades ($38.8 million).[31] The film dropped 30% in its second weekend to $17.5 million ($23.4 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend), finishing second behind newcomer Black Panther.[32]

In the UK, Peter Rabbit became the biggest family film of 2018, overtaking Pixar's Coco with $56.3 million.[33] Totals from other markets include China ($26.5 million), Australia ($20.2 million), France ($12.3 million) and Germany ($12.1 million).[34]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64% based on 144 reviews and an average rating of 5.76/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Peter Rabbit updates Beatrix Potter's classic characters with colorfully agreeable results that should entertain younger viewers while admittedly risking the wrath of purists."[35] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[36] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[37]

Olly Richards at Empire gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, praising the "splendid" animation and Gleeson's performance, though he felt that Corden had been miscast.[38] Chris Nashawaty at Entertainment Weekly gave the film a 'B' grade, saying it was "clever, and funny, and moves as fast as a tyke on a sugar bender", noting its differences with the source material.[39] Robbie Collin at The Daily Telegraph gave it 2 out of 5 stars, praising the "appealing double act" of Gleeson and Byrne but comparing the film unfavourably to Paddington and criticising the characterisation of Peter Rabbit.[40] Susan Wloszczyna on RogerEbert.com gave it 2 out of 4 stars, agreeing that Peter "goes from likably cheeky chap to sneering sadist".[41]

Mark Kermode was critical of the film associating itself with the books, saying "If you’ve read the books you will be appalled," and adding "I think if you can read you’re likely to be appalled."[42] James Corden's father, Malcolm, complained about the review and the description of his son as "appallingly irritating".[43][44]

Controversy[edit]

In the first week after the film's release, groups in multiple countries criticized it for "allergy bullying" and called for an apology from Sony. The accusations focused on a scene where Thomas McGregor — whose character has a known severe allergy to blackberries — is pelted with the berries until one enters his mouth, causing him to enter anaphylactic shock and grab for his Epipen.[45][46][47] In response, Sony published a statement saying "We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize".[48] In his review, Robbie Collin said "...it is a horrible scene – not because allergies are comedically untouchable, but because it makes Peter an irredeemably nasty piece of work."[40]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date Category Recipients Result Ref.
Teen Choice Awards August 12, 2018 Choice Fantasy Movie Peter Rabbit Nominated [49]
Choice Fantasy Movie Actor James Corden Nominated
AACTA Awards December 3, 2018 Best Production Design Roger Ford, Lisa Thompson Won [50]
Best Original Music Score Dominic Lewis Nominated

Sequel[edit]

Sony is developing a sequel set to be released on January 15, 2021 (after being rescheduled from its original April 2020 date following the COVID-19 pandemic). Gluck returns to write and direct the film.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ filmmusicreporter (September 5, 2017). "Dominic Lewis to Score 'Peter Rabbit'". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Film Releases". Variety Insight. Variety Media. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  3. ^ "PETER RABBIT (PG)". BBFC. February 6, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Peter Rabbit (2018)". AllMovie. RhythmOne. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Pressburg, Matt (July 17, 2017). "Why Sony, LStar Movie Finance Deal Fell Apart: Flops, 'Ghostbusters' and Feet on Desk (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
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External links[edit]