Peter Rabbit (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Will Gluck|
by Beatrix Potter
|Narrated by||Margot Robbie|
|Music by||Dominic Lewis|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Edited by||Christian Gazal|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$351.2 million|
Peter Rabbit is a 2018 American 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, with Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, and Margot Robbie also starring. The film was released on February 9, 2018, and grossed $351 million worldwide. A sequel is set to be released on February 7, 2020.
In England's Lake District, Peter Rabbit, his cousin Benjamin Bunny, and Peter's triplet sisters Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, spend most of their days picking on Mr. Joe McGregor and stealing vegetables from his garden. They are friends with a local woman named Bea who spends her time painting pictures of the rabbits as well as the surrounding nature. Bea takes on a mother-like relationship with the rabbits due to the death of their parents, who were killed by McGregor. One day, Peter is forced to leave his jacket in McGregor's garden and goes back to retrieve it. McGregor spots and 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 McGregor's manor.
Meanwhile in London, McGregor's great-nephew Thomas McGregor, an uptight, controlling workaholic, works at 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 his friends and begins to upgrade the security of the garden wall and gates, despite Bea's objections. When Peter and Benjamin sneak back into the garden, Thomas catches the latter and attempts to drown Benjamin in a river. His cousins rescue him; Thomas instead accidentally drops a prized set of binoculars that Bea had given him earlier, forcing him to retrieve it.
Thomas and Peter start a war with each other by setting up traps and other offensive nuisances. Thomas and Bea end up falling in love with each other, which causes Peter to become jealous and wanting to separate them more. This all culminates when Peter rewires an electric fence set up by Thomas, prompting Thomas to throw dynamite at Peter's burrow. Thomas then attacks Peter in the garden, telling 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 knocking down the tree on top of the burrow, which crushes Bea's art studio. Bea, ignoring Thomas’s explanation of his quarrel with the rabbits, breaks up with him, and he goes back to London to work at Harrods again.
Peter feels bad for what he has done, and upon learning that Bea intends to leave the neighborhood, he and Benjamin head to London to find Thomas at Harrods. Tricking Thomas into believing he was imagining the rabbits’ ability to communicate, Peter apologizes for his part of the conflict and convinces Thomas to follow his heart. They rush back to the country, where Peter shows Bea the detonator and presses it for her to see, confirming Thomas’s previous claims that the rabbits were responsible for the explosion. Peter and Thomas apologize and convince Bea not to leave her home.
Wishing to remain with Bea, Thomas no longer wants to sell the manor but discovers that an unpleasant wealthy couple had already bought the house and finalized the sale. Peter and his 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 permits the wildlife to freely take food from the garden as long as it's within reason. Peter and his family restore the burrow with Bea and Thomas’s help. Thomas sets up his own toy shop in the village, where Bea showcases her illustrations of the rabbits.
- Domhnall Gleeson as Thomas McGregor
- Rose Byrne as Bea
- Sam Neill as Mr. McGregor
- Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Harrods General Manager
- Felix Williamson as Derek
- James Corden as Peter Rabbit
- Daisy Ridley as Cottontail Rabbit
- Margot Robbie as Flopsy Rabbit and the Narrator
- Elizabeth Debicki as Mopsy Rabbit
- Colin Moody as Benjamin Bunny
- Sia as Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
- Domhnall Gleeson as Mr. Jeremy Fisher
- Rose Byrne as Jemima Puddle-Duck
- Sam Neill as Tommy Brock
- Fayssal Bazzi as Mr. Tod
- Ewen Leslie as Pigling Bland
- Christian Gazal as Felix D’eer
- Rachel Ward as Josephine Rabbit
- Bryan Brown as Peter's father
- David Wenham as Johnny Town-Mouse
- Will Reichelt as JW Rooster II
In August 2016, Will Gluck was reported to direct from a script by Gluck and Rob Lieber. James Corden was cast to voice Peter Rabbit, and Rose Byrne was selected to play one of the live-action roles. Gluck produced the film along with Zareh Nalbandian of Animal Logic, which will be providing the visual effects and animation for the film.
Daisy Ridley and Elizabeth Debicki joined the cast in September 2016, and the live action production was scheduled to commence in Sydney, Australia, in January 2017. The next month, Domhnall Gleeson was cast as Thomas McGregor, the descendent of the original Mr. McGregor, and Margot Robbie joined the cast, expected to voice a bunny. In November, Sia was cast as Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
On December 18, 2016, a first image of the title character, along with the film's logo, was revealed. Production began in December 2016. Live action scenes were filmed at Centennial Park in Sydney. In March 2017, filming took place at Mortuary railway station, Sydney, which was depicted as London Paddington station.
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".
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."
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." On November 7, a new trailer for the United Kingdom was released.
Peter Rabbit grossed $115.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $235.9 million in other territories (including $20.5 million in Australia), for a worldwide total of $351.2 million, against a production budget of $50 million.
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. It ended up making $25 million over the weekend, finishing second at the box office behind Fifty Shades ($38.8 million). 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.
In the UK, Peter Rabbit became the biggest family film of 2018, overtaking Pixar's Coco with $56.3 million. Totals from other markets include China ($26.5 million), Australia ($20.2 million), France ($12.3 million) and Germany ($12.1 million).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64% based on 133 reviews and an average rating of 5.8/10. 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." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.
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. In response, Sony published a statement saying "We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize".
Sony is developing a sequel set to be released on February 7, 2020. Gluck will return to write and direct the film.
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