Planet 51

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Planet 51
Canadian theatrical release poster
Directed byJorge Blanco
Produced byIgnacio Pérez Dolset
Guy Colins
Screenplay byJoe Stillman
Story byJorge Blanco
Marcos Martínez
Ignacio Pérez Dolset
Javier Abad
StarringDwayne Johnson
Jessica Biel
Justin Long
Gary Oldman
Seann William Scott
John Cleese
Music byJames Brett
Edited byAlex Rodriguez
Distributed byDeAPlaneta Distribución
TriStar Pictures
(United States)
Entertainment Film Distributors
(United Kingdom/Ireland)
Release date
  • 14 November 2009 (2009-11-14) (Westwood)
  • 20 November 2009 (2009-11-20) (United States)
  • 27 November 2009 (2009-11-27) (Spain)
  • 4 December 2009 (2009-12-04) (United Kingdom)
Running time
91 minutes[2]
United Kingdom[3]
United States[3]
Budget49 million[4]
($70 million)[5]
Box office$105.6 million[5]

Planet 51 is a 2009 3D computer-animated science fiction comedy film directed by Jorge Blanco, written by Joe Stillman, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott and John Cleese. An international co-production by Spanish, British and American companies,[3] and produced by Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios and HandMade Films,[6] the film was originally acquired for North American distribution by New Line Cinema, but then sold to Sony Pictures before completion.[7]

Originally titled Planet One,[8] the film was completed on a $70 million budget, which, as of 2010, was the most expensive film produced in Spain.[4] Planet 51 was released on November 20, 2009 by TriStar Pictures.[7]


On Planet 51[N 1], green extraterrestrials live peacefully in a society reminiscent of the United States during the 1950s. One day, a mysterious landing module lands in the town of Glipforg. NASA[N 2] astronaut Charles T. "Chuck" Baker emerges from it and is shocked to find the planet inhabited. Chuck escapes to the town's planetarium, where he meets teenage alien Lem, who works there part-time. Realizing Chuck is not a threat, Lem agrees to help return him to his spacecraft before command module Odyssey in Planet 51's orbit departs for Earth and leaves him stranded. Planet 51's army, led by the paranoid General Grawl, arrives to inspect the spacecraft. Grawl, after Chuck's MP3 player is accidentally started[N 3], deduces that the astronaut is an alien invader bent on turning planet's population into zombies, and a manhunt ensues throughout Glipforg.

Lem enlists the help of his best friend Skiff, a science fiction aficionado with conspiracy theories about the so-called "Base 9", to hide Chuck away from the army. During his efforts to conceal Chuck, Lem inadvertently upsets his neighbor and crush Neera, who believes the alien is friendly, and is also fired from his job when his boss discovers Chuck. In Lem's room, Chuck reunites with a dog-like NASA probe called Rover, which freed itself from the army's base after tracking Chuck with a GPS and headed for the city and which befriends a small, domesticated Xenomorph. After the army searches Lem's home for traces of the alien, Lem and Skiff move Chuck to a comic book store Skiff works at, where Glipforg's news station manages to capture Chuck acting out references to Earth's pop culture, which is misinterpreted as alien threats. After escaping the store from the invading army, Grawl has Chuck's spacecraft moved to a secret location. Chuck is later captured by Grawl's forces during a festive movie premiere in town, and is slated to have his brain removed by alien scientist Professor Kipple. When Lem defends Chuck, Kipple deems him a zombie minion. Chuck, resigned to his fate, pretends to release Lem from his "mind control" and is taken away with Rover to Base 9, which Grawl inadvertently reveals.

Lem gets his job back, but is determined to rescue Chuck. Joined by Skiff, Neera, her younger brother Eckle, and Rover (who escaped the army again), Lem tracks down Base 9's location in the desert to a gas station where Skiff inadvertently opens a gate to the underground base. They free Chuck from Professor Kipple and find his spacecraft, but they are cornered by Grawl and his forces. Bent on eliminating Chuck, Grawl reveals has the base rigged to explode. Lem tricks the General into activating the countdown. Enraged, Grawl attempts to shoot Lem, but misses and the stray bullet ignites an explosive, causing Grawl to be trapped under debris. Chuck rescues Grawl before launching his spacecraft into Planet 51's orbit, escaping Base 9's destruction. After admiring Planet 51's view from space, Lem successfully asks Neera out on a date, while Grawl expresses his gratitude to Chuck for saving him. Chuck returns his friends home and allows Rover to stay behind with Skiff, who has connected with the probe, and bids Lem and the rest of Glipforg farewell before launching back into space, but the last seconds of the film reveal that the little Xenomorph befriended by Rover is on board.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Justin Long as Lem Kerplog, a teenage boy living on Planet 51. Justin Long also voices Rover.
  • Jessica Biel as Neera, a teenage girl and Lem's love interest.
  • Dwayne Johnson as Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker, a NASA human astronaut from Minnesota.
  • Freddie Benedict as Eckle, Neera's younger brother who is a huge fan of the "Humaniacs" comic books and movies, but films are strictly forbidden by his mother fro watching them.
  • Gary Oldman as General Grawl, afraid of an alien invasion and is convinced that Chuck is an evil, mind-controlling alien who turns people into "alien zombies".
  • John Cleese as Professor Kipple, a phony scientist on Planet 51, determined to study Chuck's brain.
  • Seann William Scott as Skiff, Lem's best friend, who works at a comic store.
  • Mathew Horne as Soldier Vesklin, a gullible soldier.
  • James Corden as Soldier Vernkot, a gullible soldier.
  • Alan Marriott as Glar, a ukulele-playing hippie.


Planet 51 is based on the original idea by Jorge Blanco, Marcos Martínez, Ignacio Pérez Dolset and Javier Abad. The film finished production by June 2009.[9]

The name change from Planet One to Planet 51 was a result of the demands made from another entity branded Planet One, which produces children and teen TV programmes. They made contact with the film's producers early on to resolve the trademark and brand confusion issues. The Spanish film company made an offer to Planet One for all ownership rights to their "Planet One" trademarks and related website URLs. Planet One chose not to take that offer and to protect their brand and trademarks that have been active for many years. As a result, the film's producers chose to rename the film Planet 51. This is a reference to the high top secret military base Area 51 where conspiracy theorists claim that data and specimens from a space alien landed on Earth in 1947 are stored.

Lem was named by screenwriter Joe Stillman after Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem. Since the film was intended to be a parody of American pulp science fiction shot in Eastern Europe, Stillman thought it would be hilarious to hint at the writer whose works have nothing to do with little green men [10] (Stanisław Lem is known to be highly critical towards American science fiction).[citation needed] LEM was also the acronym for the part of the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the moon, Lunar Excursion Module.


In November 2007, New Line Cinema had picked up the United States distribution rights; the studio itself was to release the film in the summer of 2009.[6] However, TriStar Pictures became the film's home after New Line Cinema sold the rights to them through Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group.[7] According to the Variety magazine, New Line Cinema's owner, Warner, "decided to let the pic go after the producers insisted on a November release, when Warner is releasing its sixth Harry Potter pic."[7] The new distributor moved the U.S release date from the summer of 2009 to November of that year.[7]

Home media[edit]

The film was released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on Blu-ray and DVD on 9 March 2010.[2]


Box office[edit]

The film was released in 3,035 cinemas, grossing $3.2 million on its opening day and $12.6 million over the weekend, resulting in the number four position at the box office behind 2012, The Blind Side and The Twilight Saga: New Moon respectively.[11] During its theatrical run, it made over $42 million, with a total of $105 million worldwide.

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 22% of critics gave Planet 51 positive reviews based on 108 reviews with an average score of 4.2/10. The site's consensus reads: "Planet 51 squanders an interesting premise with an overly familiar storyline, stock characters, and humor that alternates between curious and potentially offensive."[12] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, gave it a metascore of 39, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews" , based on 21 reviews.[13]

Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly graded the film a B, as it "delivers a few pleasant surprises, including a smart story".[14] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave 2½ stars out of 4 and positively wrote of the film being "perfectly pleasant as kiddie entertainment, although wall-to-wall with pop references to the American 1950s."[15] However, some critics such as Markovitz,[14] Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer,[16] and Brian Miller of The Village Voice[17] acknowledged Planet 51 as "an E.T. in reverse".


Award Category Nominee Result
Artios Award[18] Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Animation Feature Ruth Lambert and Robert McGee Nominated
Cinema Writers Circle Awards[19][20] Best New Artist Jorge Blanco Won
European Film Awards[21] Best Animated Feature Film Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad and Marcos Martínez Nominated
Goya Awards[22][23] Best Animated Film Won
Best Original Song Tom Cawte For the song "Stick It to the Man" Nominated


Planet 51
Soundtrack album
Released10 November 2009 (digital)
17 November 2009 (CD)
LabelDecca Label Group

The soundtrack album for the film was released by Decca Label Group on 10 November 2009 (digital) and 17 November 2009 (CD).[24][25]

1."Lollipop"Sophie Green2:30
2."Long Tall Sally"John Sloman2:10
3."Tried To Save the World"Tom Cawte3:49
4."Ding Ding a Boom Boom"Keith Murrell2:25
5."Gonna Be a Star"Tom Cawte3:35
6."Be Bop a Lula"Chris Cawte3:01
7."Greased Lightnin'"Lance Ellington3:10
8."Unchained Melody"Keith Murrell3:37
9."Mr. Sandman"Peter Gosling2:30
10."Stick It to the Man"Tom Cawte3:29
11."Space Oddity"Keith Murrell5:19
12."Planet 51 Orchestral Suite"London Metropolitan Orchestra7:19
Total length:42:54

Video games[edit]

A video game based on the film was announced in November 2009. The game was published by Sega and was released on Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 on 17 November 2009.[26] The console versions was developed by Pyro Studios and the Nintendo DS version was developed by Firebrand Games.[27] Zed Group, a long-time customer of Trinigy's, worked on the online version of the game with the Vision Engine.[28] There are also Planet 51 games for iPhone,[29][30] mobile devices and Facebook, developed by Zed Worldwide, which belongs to the Ilion's owner's brother.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The name is never mentioned in the film, but the title suggests it is named "Planet 51".
  2. ^ Although the NASA logo is shown in the film, posters and covers show a fictional "Space Agency" logo.
  3. ^ This scene is probably inspired to the scene of Back to the Future in which "Darth Vader from planet Vulcan" pretends to fuse 1955 George McFly's brain with a walkman playing Van Halen.


  1. ^ "Cine y producción audiovisual". Grupo Planeta. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b Kapko, Matt (9 March 2010). "Planet 51 on Blu-ray and DVD, Plus More". Animation World Network. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "Planet 51 (EN)". Lumiere. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b Adler, Tim (4 April 2010). "New Spanish Film Law Bad for Hollywood". Deadline. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Planet 51". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b Hopewell, John (27 November 2007). "New Line lands on 'Planet 51′". Variety. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e Siegel, Tatiana; McNary, Dave (8 July 2008). "'Planet 51′ heads into Sony orbit". Variety. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  8. ^ *"Planet One Poster" from TrailerAddict, 12 December 2007.
  9. ^ "ILION AND HANDMADE FILMS TAKE NEW LINE TO ANOTHER PLANET". Ilion Animation Studios. 26 November 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2008.[dead link]
  10. ^ Lem wśród zielonych ludzików
  11. ^ "'New Moon' wolfs down $140.7M in opening weekend". Associated Press. Google News. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Planet 51 Movie Reviews, Pictures". IGN Entertainment. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  13. ^ "Planet 51 (2009): Reviews". CNET Networks. Metacritic. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  14. ^ a b "Planet 51 Movie Review". Entertainment Weekly. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  15. ^ "Planet 51 Movie Review". Chicago Sun-Times. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  16. ^ "The astronaut's the alien on 'Planet 51'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  17. ^ "The Pleasantly Mediocre Planet 51". The Village Voice. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  18. ^ "2010 Artios Award Winners". Casting Society of America. 1 November 2010. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Medallas del CEC a la producción española de 2009". Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  20. ^ Belinchon, Gregorio (9 February 2010). "Celda 211 triunfa en los premios CEC". El Pais. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Three nominees for the Best Animated Feature Film prize". Cindeuropa. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Los Goya 2010 - Finalistas" (PDF). Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  23. ^ Hopewell, John (14 February 2010). "'Cell 211' dominates Goya awards". Variety. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Planet 51 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  25. ^ "Planet 51". Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Planet 51 Game Details Announced". IGN. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  27. ^ Jones, Simon (17 June 2009). "FIREBRAND Games Announces Planet 51 The Game On Nintendo DS". Peppermint. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  28. ^ Graft, Kris (13 October 2009). "Planet 51 Online Game Using Trinigy Vision Engine". Gamasutra. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  29. ^ "Planet 51". iTunes. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  30. ^ "Planet 51 Racer". iTunes. Retrieved 29 June 2012.

External links[edit]