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The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010 film)

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The Sorcerer's Apprentice
A long haired man wearing a glowing dragon ring.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon Turteltaub
Screenplay by
Story by
Based onThe Sorcerer's Apprentice
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Produced byJerry Bruckheimer
CinematographyBojan Bazelli
Edited byWilliam Goldenberg
Music byTrevor Rabin
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • July 8, 2010 (2010-07-08) (Fantasia Film Festival)
  • July 14, 2010 (2010-07-14) (United States)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$150 million[1]
Box office$215.3 million[2]

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a 2010 American action adventure fantasy film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Jon Turteltaub, and released by Walt Disney Pictures, the team behind the National Treasure franchise. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel with Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, and Monica Bellucci in supporting roles.

The film is named after a segment in Disney's non-consecutive film pair the 1940 film Fantasia and the 1999 film Fantasia 2000 called The Sorcerer's Apprentice starring Mickey Mouse (with one scene being an extensive reference to it), which in turn is based on the late-1890s symphonic poem by Paul Dukas and the 1797 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ballad. Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), a "Merlinean", is a sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan, fighting against the forces of evil, in particular his nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), while searching for the person who will eventually inherit Merlin's powers ("The Prime Merlinean"). This turns out to be Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a physics student, whom Balthazar takes as a reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling apprentice a crash course in the art and science of sorcery, in order to stop Horvath and Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige) from raising the souls of the evil dead sorcerers ("Morganians") and destroying the world.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice made its premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival on July 8, 2010, and was theatrically released by Disney in the United States on July 14. The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office failure, grossing only $215 million against a $150 million budget.[3]


In Britain 740 AD, Merlin has three apprentices: Balthazar Blake, Veronica Gorloisen, and Maxim Horvath. Horvath betrays Merlin by allying with Morgana le Fay, an evil sorceress who mortally wounds Merlin before Veronica rips Morgana's soul from her body and absorbs it into her own. As Morgana attempts to kill Veronica from within, Balthazar stops her by imprisoning Morgana and Veronica in the "Grimhold", a magical prison in the shape of a nesting doll. Before dying, Merlin gives Balthazar his dragon figurine that will identify the Prime Merlinean, Merlin's descendant and the only one able to defeat Morgana. Throughout history, Balthazar searches for his descendant and imprisons Morganians, sorcerers who try to release Morgana, including Horvath, into the Grimhold.

In 2000, in New York City, a 10-year-old Dave Stutler encounters Balthazar in his Manhattan antique store. When Balthazar gives Dave Merlin's dragon figurine, the statue comes to life to form a ring, revealing his status as the Prime Merlinean. As Balthazar retrieves a book meant to teach magic, Dave accidentally opens the Grimhold, releasing Horvath. Balthazar and Horvath battle for possession of the Grimhold and are imprisoned in an ancient Chinese urn with a ten-year lock curse while Dave flees with the ring.

Ten years later, Dave is a physics student at NYU. The ten-year imprisonment curse of the urn ends, releasing both Horvath and Balthazar. Horvath pursues Dave and the Grimhold. Balthazar rescues Dave, riding an animated steel eagle adapted from a Chrysler Building gargoyle. Dave refuses to help Balthazar, having been under psychiatric care since their first meeting, until Balthazar agrees to leave after finding the Grimhold. They track the Grimhold to Chinatown, where Horvath has released the next Morganian, Sun Lok. Dave defeats Sun Lok, and Balthazar retrieves the Grimhold. Dave changes his mind and agrees to become Balthazar's apprentice. He also becomes romantically involved with his childhood crush, Becky, against Balthazar's wishes and advice.

To get back the Grimhold, Horvath enlists the help of Drake Stone, a celebrity magician who is also a Morganian. They attempt to kill Dave, but Balthazar saves him. Cued by Horvath, Dave demands to know the truth about Balthazar's quest. Balthazar reveals that Morgana is trapped in the Grimhold with Veronica. Morgana, if freed, would cast a spell called "The Rising", which would revive sorcerers from the dead and enslave mankind. As the Prime Merlinian, Dave is the only one who can stop her.

Despite Balthazar's disdain for his relationship with Becky, Dave convinces him to allow him to meet her for a date. Dave tries to use magic to clean his lab but loses control of his animated cleaning mops, which forces him to cancel his date with Becky. He is saved because of Balthazar's intervention and gives up on magic until Becky unknowingly changes his mind. He returns to his lab just as Drake and Horvath steal the Grimhold. Horvath betrays Drake by stealing his magic.

Horvath releases the witch Abigail Williams, using her to kidnap Becky at the radio station, and then steals her magic. He threatens to kill Becky, forcing Dave to surrender his ring. Without the ring, Dave has no conduit to use his magic, so Balthazar goes after Horvath in Battery Park. Horvath releases Morgana, who begins the Rising Spell, while Horvath animates the Charging Bull sculpture and commands it to attack Balthazar. Dave arrives and stuns Horvath with a Tesla coil tied to Balthazar's car while Balthazar's eagle flies away with the bull. Becky disrupts the Rising Spell, stunning Morgana.

Balthazar takes Morgana, body and soul, from Veronica into himself, but Morgana escapes and tries to incinerate them. Dave succeeds in stopping her without his ring. Morgana overwhelms Balthazar and Veronica's shield spells, killing Balthazar when he intercepts a bolt meant for Veronica. Dave makes another, larger Tesla coil out of the square's lamp posts and power lines to stun her and then fires a plasma barrage, finally destroying her. He revives Balthazar by restarting his heart with plasma shocks, and Balthazar reunites with Veronica. Dave and Becky fly to France for breakfast on Balthazar's eagle.


Jay Baruchel


The basic idea for the film was mostly Nicolas Cage's, who wanted to explore a mystic world and play a character with magical powers, and following a suggestion by his producer friend Todd Garner, decided to make a feature-length movie based upon the Fantasia segment of the same name.[8][9] On February 12, 2007, this film was announced by Disney.[10] References to the original animation include the scene where Dave animates mops to clean his laboratory, and having Mickey Mouse's hat in the post-credits scene.[9]


The Sorcerer's Apprentice is set in New York City, and most scenes were shot on location, in places such as Washington Square Park and Chinatown's Eldrige Street. Dave's laboratory was filmed in either an abandoned subway station located under the New York City Hall or a studio recreation of it.[9] The Bedford Armory in Crown Heights held several of the movie's sets, including Dave's laboratory, complete with inactive Tesla coil generators, Drake Stone's penthouse apartment and even part of Chinatown.[11]

In the early morning hours of May 4, 2009, a Ferrari F430 being driven during filming of a chase sequence, lost control and careened into the window of a Sbarro restaurant in Times Square, injuring two pedestrians, one of whom was struck by a falling lamppost. Filming resumed the following night, when yet another accident occurred. The two accidents were blamed on rain making the roads slick.[12]

To make the magic more believable, it was decided to have an emphasis on practical, on-set effects, such as making real fire, with fluids or flash powder being used for colored flames. To provide a lighting reference for the plasma bolts, the actors wore gloves with LED displays to make them glow before adding the computer-generated shot. For floating objects, they were either thrown with wires or held by stuntmen wearing green chroma key suits.[9]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 40% based on 174 reviews with an average rating of 5.30/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It has a likable cast and loads of CGI spectacle, but for all but the least demanding viewers, The Sorcerer's Apprentice will be less than spellbinding."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100 based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of B+ on an A+ to F scale.[15]

Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter has said that "The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a tired relic of summer-movie cliches, clearly beaten to death by far too many credited writers."[16] Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half stars out of four and wrote "This is a much better film than The Last Airbender, which is faint praise, but it's becoming clear that every weekend brings another heavily marketed action 'comedy' that pounds tens of millions out of consumers before evaporating".[17]

Box office[edit]

The Sorcerer's Apprentice made an opening gross of $3,873,997 on its first day (Wednesday, July 14, 2010). It finished at #3 on its first weekend with $17,619,622 behind Inception and Despicable Me in the U.S. and Canada and gained another $8,928,219 on its first weekend internationally (in 13 countries) for a worldwide opening of $26,547,841. On October 28, 2010, The Sorcerer's Apprentice closed at the box-office in the United States and Canada with $63,150,991. As of December 12, 2010, it has earned $152,132,612 in other countries totaling $215,283,603 worldwide. Besides the U.S. and Canada, other countries where it grossed more than $10 million were Russia and the CIS ($13,630,194), France and the Maghreb region ($12,930,320) and Japan ($10,632,660).[2] Its largest international weekend was August 13–15, during which it grossed $14,091,169 in 42 countries. It occupies the fourth place on the all-time chart of Sword and Sorcery films in the U.S. and Canada, and the third place on the same chart worldwide.[18] In July 2010, Parade magazine listed the film #1 on its list of "Worst Box Office Disasters of 2010 (So Far)".[19]

Home media[edit]

The Sorcerer's Apprentice was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 30, 2010. It has sold 1,288,735 DVD units (equivalent to $21,609,680) since its release in DVD.[citation needed] Adding in its box-office revenue, the film's earnings sum up to $236,893,283.


The Sorcerer's Apprentice was nominated for Choice Summer Movie at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards.[20][21] It placed one of the Top Box Office Films at the 2011 ASCAP Awards.[22]


The film's score was composed by Trevor Rabin. It was released on July 6, 2010.[23][24]

The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Film score by
ReleasedJuly 6, 2010
GenreFilm score
LabelWalt Disney

All tracks are written by Trevor Rabin

1."Sorcerer's Apprentice"3:14
2."Story of the Prime Merlinian"4:02
3."Note Chase"0:39
4."Dave Revives Balthazar"2:41
6."The Urn"1:39
7."The Grimhold"1:39
8."Morgana Fight"2:59
9."The Ring"1:43
10."Walk in the Rain"0:43
11."Merlin Circle"2:01
12."Dave Has Doubts"0:53
13."Becky and Dave on Rooftop"1:24
14."Car Chase"3:54
15."Seeing Veronica"0:55
16."Story of Veronica"1:44
17."Horvath Made Off With the Grimhold"1:13
18."Kiss from Becky"0:33
19."Bull Fight"2:10
20."Balthazar Saves Veronica"1:13
21."Sorcerer’s Apprentice Suite"2:28
22."Fantasia Original Demo"4:50
Total length:43:24

The songs "Secrets" by OneRepublic and "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World are used in the film but do not appear on the album. Dukas' symphonic poem The Sorcerer's Apprentice which was used in scene where Dave brings a broomstick to life was used.[25]


  1. ^ Fritz, Ben (July 14, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Inception' headed for No. 1, 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' to open in third". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "14 Worst Performing Disney Movies Ever Made". Screen Rant. April 28, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (March 3, 2009). "Alfred Molina puts spell on 'Apprentice'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Graser, Marc (April 19, 2009). "Kebbell joins Disney's 'Apprentice'". Variety. Archived from the original on April 10, 2010. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  6. ^ Graser, Marc (May 14, 2009). "Monica Bellucci joins 'Sorcerer'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  7. ^ Maher, Kevin. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".
  8. ^ "How Nicolas Cage's Geeky Obessions Brought 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' to Life". Yahoo!. July 2, 2010. Archived from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d The Making of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The Making of The Sorcerer's Apprentice DVD: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (February 12, 2007). "Dis has Cage conjured up for 'Sorcerer'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  11. ^ "Visiting the Sets of Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. December 14, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "Cage stunt car in New York crash". BBC News. May 5, 2009. Archived from the original on July 2, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  13. ^ "The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  14. ^ "The Sorcerer's Apprentice Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  15. ^ "Sorcerer's Apprentice, The (2010) B+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  16. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (July 9, 2010). "The Sorcerer's Apprentice -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  17. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 13, 2010). "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  18. ^ "Sword and Sorcery (1980-Present)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on August 11, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
  19. ^ "10 Biggest Box Office Flops of 2010 (So Far)". Parade. July 19, 2010.
  20. ^ "Teen Choice Awards 2010: Winners and Nominees". The Morning Call. July 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  21. ^ Stransky, Tanner (August 9, 2010). "2010 Teen Choice Awards winners announced". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 8, 2015. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  22. ^ "Angelo Badalamenti, Alf Clausen Honored at ASCAP Film & TV Music Awards". Billboard. June 24, 2011. Archived from the original on November 26, 2022. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  23. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) by Trevor Rabin". iTunes. July 14, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  24. ^ "The Sorcerer's Apprentice Soundtrack (2010)". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  25. ^ "OneRepublic - Secrets - Review of the Single Secrets by OneRepublic". Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014. Quote: it plays prominently in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

External links[edit]