Tulip Fever

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Tulip Fever
Tulip Fever poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Produced by Alison Owen
Screenplay by
Based on Tulip Fever
by Deborah Moggach
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Eigil Bryld
Edited by Rick Russell
Distributed by Worldview Entertainment
Release date
  • August 13, 2017 (2017-08-13) (Soho House)
  • September 1, 2017 (2017-09-01) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $25 million[2]
Box office $8.4 million[1]

Tulip Fever is a 2017 historical / romantic drama film directed by Justin Chadwick and written by Deborah Moggach and Tom Stoppard, adapted from Moggach's novel of the same name. It stars Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O'Connell, Zach Galifianakis, Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger, Matthew Morrison and Cara Delevingne. The plot follows a 17th-century painter in Amsterdam who falls in love with a married woman whose portrait he has been commissioned to paint.

Filmed in the summer of 2014, Tulip Fever was delayed numerous times before finally being released in the United States on September 1, 2017 by The Weinstein Company. It grossed $8 million worldwide against its $25 million budget.


Set in the Netherlands in the 17th century, during the period of the tulip mania, the film tells the story of an artist Jan (Dane DeHaan) who falls for a married young woman Sophia (Alicia Vikander) while he's commissioned to paint her portrait by her husband Cornelis (Christoph Waltz). The two invest in the risky tulip market in hopes of building a future together.

The story begins with 17 year old Sophia, an orphan, being betrothed to the elderly Cornelis. In return for the marriage, her sisters are able to travel to New Amsterdam (New York) in the new world, where they have an aunt awaiting them. Sophia is unhappy in the marriage, since Cornelis seems to be concerned only with siring an heir. Cornelis has his friends show him their children, and there is talk of giving the new orphan bride Sophia six months to conceive and provide him with an heir. He already suffers from a mistake he made in the past, with his previous wife: she miscarried their first child and when Cornelis asked the doctor to save the second child over the wife, he feels that God punished him by taking his wife and his child away. Meanwhile, Sophia goes to a doctor, Dr Sogh, to find out why she is unable to conceive. Dr Sogh misunderstands Sophia and offers to impregnate Sophia himself. Sophia slaps him and returns home.

Cornelis decides to hire a painter, so that he would at least be remembered as having had a beautiful young wife, should he have no heir to continue his legacy. Sophia agrees, but as soon as the young painter Jan arrives to paint the couple, he and Sophia fall in love. Jan sends a note to Sophia, asking her to send him a vase with tulips. She shows up at his door with the tulips, and they consummate their love.

Meanwhile, Sophia's friend, the housemaid Maria, is having an affair with the neighborhood fishmonger, Willem. Willem is also speculating in the tulip market, and is doing quite well - expecting to be independently prosperous and able to marry Maria, he even sells his business to another fishmonger. One day, Sophia borrows Maria's cloak and heads to a rendezvous with Jan. Willem, seeing Sophia in the cloak, mistakes her for Maria, and follows her to her rendezvous. Crushed by what he thinks is Maria's unfaithfulness, he goes to a pub to drown his sorrows. There a prostitute robs him of the large sum he has built up on the tulip market. When he tries to retrieve the money, he is beaten up and forcibly inducted into the navy for causing a ruckus.

Jan plots to escape to the new world with Sophia, after having success of his own in the tulip speculation market. He hears that the nuns at St. Ursula (the convent Sophia came from) raise tulips in their gardens. Jan attempts to steal some of the bulbs, but is knocked out by the abbess of St. Ursula. When he regains consciousness, he apologises and the abbess gives him the bulbs Willem had bought before he was thrown into the navy.

Maria realises she is pregnant by Willem. With Willem gone, the baby will be born out of wedlock. Maria explains her condition to Sophia and threatens to reveal Sophia’s affair to Cornelis, if Cornelis were to find out about her pregnancy. Maria tells the audience in voice-over she is embarrassed at having made such a threat against her friend. Sophia conspires with Maria and decides to pass off the pregnancy as her own. When the baby is born, Sophia will pretend to die in childbirth, so she can leave to be with Jan, and Maria will get to raise the child as her own.

After Maria gives birth to a daughter and Sophia pretends to die, Cornelis is griefstricken at the loss of his wife. Sophia, under her shroud, weeps as she realizes that she has deeply hurt Cornelis with her deceit. While she is being carried away in a coffin, she regrets what she has done. When she later returns to the home, she catches sight of Cornelis lovingly cradling the baby, and decides that it's too late for things to go back to how they were. She flees back to the convent where she was raised.

Jan has one last transaction that will get him enough money to let him and Sophia leave the city and also pay off all his creditors. He tasks his friend, Gerrit, who is a drunk, with accomplishing this transaction, imploring him not to get drunk along the way. Gerrit completes the transaction and then does get drunk. In the ensuing revelry he eats the cargo he was carrying. When he tells Jan and Jan's creditors how he ate the "onion", they all know they have been ruined. The tulip bubble has burst. Jan goes to find Sophia, but finds her bright blue silk cloak in the river instead, which she cast off while fleeing back to the convent. He thinks she has flung herself into the canal as a result of the crashed tulip market.

Willem, returning after his stint in the navy, goes to see Maria at Cornelis's house. Maria is furious with him when he explains that he was in Africa, but they sort out their misunderstandings and reconcile. Cornelis, in the next room, overhears their loud quarreling and the reveal of the conspiracy. He makes his peace with the truth, and departs for the Indies, but only after first leaving the house to Maria, Willem, and the baby girl he loved as his own.

Eight years later, Jan has nothing left except the paintings of his lover, Sophia. The abbess of St. Ursula praises him for his talent, and commissions him to paint a mural in the church. When Jan looks down from painting the mural, he sees Sophia has joined the convent and smiles. The movie ends with the maid Maria and her fishmonger husband Willem eating dinner with their children. It is revealed that the film’s voiceover is Maria explaining the events which led to their family fortune to her first-born, Sophia, who is named in tribute after her mistress and friend.



The film was originally planned to be made in 2004 on a $48 million budget, with Jude Law, Keira Knightley and Jim Broadbent as lead actors, John Madden as director and Steven Spielberg producing through DreamWorks. However, the production was halted days before it was scheduled to start filming as a result of changes in tax rules affecting film production in the UK.[4][5]

On July 8, 2013, the Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye reported that Justin Chadwick would direct the film with Alicia Vikander attached to star in the role of Sophia and that Matthias Schoenaerts was being sought for the male lead. Bamigboye reported that Chadwick together with producers Alison Owen and Harvey Weinstein, decided to cast Vikander for the film.[6][7]

In 2014, Alison Owen partnered with Weinstein to restart the film after re-acquiring the rights to the film from Paramount Pictures.[8][9] In October 2013, Dane DeHaan was in talks to join the cast.[10][11] In February 2014, Christoph Waltz joined the cast.[12] In April 2014, Holliday Grainger, Cara Delevingne, and Jack O’Connell joined the cast.[13][14][15] In June 2014, Judi Dench was cast as the abbess of St. Ursula, who takes in orphaned children.[16] That same month Tom Hollander, Cressida Bonas, and David Harewood joined the cast.[17][18][19] In August 2014, Matthew Morrison joined.[20] Deborah Moggach, author of the novel, also appears in the film.[9] Harvey Weinstein offered Harry Styles the role of Mattheus, but the singer turned it down due to scheduling conflicts, and Matthew Morrison was cast instead.[20][21]

The crew of Tulip Fever included cinematographer Eigil Bryld, production designer Simon Elliott, costume designer Michael O’Connor, hair and make-up designer Daniel Phillips and editor Rick Russell.[22] Tom Stoppard adapted the screenplay for the film.[23] The London-based Welsh portrait artist Jamie Routley did the original portraits that are seen in the film.[24] Danny Elfman composed the film's score.[25]


Filming took place at Cobham Hall in Cobham, Kent, Norwich Cathedral,[19] Holkham (in Norfolk),[26] Tilbury (in Essex), Kentwell Hall (in Suffolk), and at Pinewood Studios on various dates throughout June and July in 2014.[27] Filming also took place in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire.


Footage from the film was screened in May 2015 at the 68th Cannes Film Festival.[28] In December 2015, the first image of the film featuring Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz was released.[29] The film was originally scheduled to be released in November 2015, but was pushed back to July 15, 2016[30] and then delayed again until February 24, 2017.[31][32] It was then pulled from the schedule,[33] and later moved to August 25, 2017.[34] On August 16, 2017, the film was again delayed, this time being pushed back a week to September 1.[35] The film premiered on August 13, 2017, at London's Soho House.[36]

Box office[edit]

As of February 5, 2018, Tulip Fever has grossed $2.4 million in the United States and Canada and $5.9 million in other territories for a total of $8.3 million, against a production budget of $25 million.[1]

In North America, Tulip Fever was projected to gross $1–2 million from 765 theaters in its opening weekend.[37] It ended up debuting to $1.2 million ($1.5 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend) in what was the worst combined holiday weekend since 1998.[38] Despite adding seven theaters in its second weekend, the film dropped 75.4% to $285,300, the 37th biggest such drop in history.[39]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 9% based on 53 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Tulip Fever is a lush, handsomely-mounted period piece undone by uninspired dialogue and excessive plotting."[40] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized average rating to reviews, the film has an average score of 38 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[41]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 1 star out of 4, saying, "Tulip Fever, which was shot in 2014 but only hitting theaters now after years of recutting, retooling and release-date reshuffling, should have been allowed to die on the vine ... The film just sits there onscreen like a wilting flower with nothing to nourish it."[42]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award/Festival Category Nominee(s) Result
Fünf Seen Film Festival Audience Award
Justin Chadwick

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Paramount, which initially acquired rights to the film, were only given a studio credit in the final film.


  1. ^ a b c "Tulip Fever (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ "The Long, Strange Trip of Tulip Fever to Theaters". The Atlantic. August 31, 2017. 
  3. ^ "'Tulip Fever' starring Allentown native Dane DeHaan is on area screens, finally". The Morning Call. 30 August 2017. Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2018. 
  4. ^ "Judi Dench to star in Tulip Fever movie". bbc.co.uk. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Why 'Tulip Fever' Took Nearly 20 Years to Reach the Screen (Guest Column)". The Hollywood Reporter. August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  6. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (8 July 2013). "Go on, Rupert, give Mojo a go! Grint could swap Potter for grisly gangland murder". Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (8 July 2013). "Alicia Vikander To Star In Long-Developing 'Tulip Fever,' Matthias Schoenaerts Sought For Role". indiewire.com. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "In Conversation: Alison Owen (Producer of Saving Mr. Banks, Shaun of the Dead, Tamara Drewe)". Film Doctor. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Walsh, John (4 July 2015). "'If only men realised how easy it is to get any woman just by having a natter': Deborah Moggach on her Best Exotic stories". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Bambigboye, Biz (October 31, 2013). "Colin Firth and 'sea widow' Kate Winslet hit choppy waters in new film". Dailymail. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ Jaugernauth, Kevin (October 31, 2013). "Dane DeHaan Feeling 'Tulip Fever,' Melisandre Feels 'Incarnate,' Alan Arkin & Amanda Seyfried Have A 'Wonderful Time' & More". Indiewire. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ Kemp, Stuart (8 February 2014). "Christoph Waltz Picks 'Tulip Fever' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Yamato, Jen (24 April 2014). "UK Model Cara Delevingne In Talks For 'Tulip Fever' & 'Pan' Roles". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  14. ^ Williams, Owen (21 February 2014). "Holliday Grainger Has Tulip Fever". empireonline.com. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (14 March 2014). "Naomie Harris spies new secret service role: Bond star becomes Ms Perkins". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "Judi Dench to star in Tulip Fever movie". bbc.co.uk. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Milan, Mark Robert (11 June 2014). "Cressida Bonas Cast In New Weinstein Movie Prince Harry's ex sets sights on Hollywood". www.royal-fans.com. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Anna Kendrick To Voice Lead In 'Trolls'; David Harewood Joins 'Tulip Fever' Cast". www.deadline.com. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Knights, Emma (13 June 2014). "Filming begins for Tulip Fever at Norwich Cathedral". eveningnews24.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Campbell, Tina (20 August 2014). "One Direction star Harry Styles could have been in a movie kissing Cara Delevingne, but hey, didn't have the time". metro.co.uk. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Jaafar, Ali (11 March 2016). "One Direction Singer Harry Styles Offered Role In Christopher Nolan's 'Dunkirk'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  22. ^ "Tulip Fever". cathedral.org.uk (Norwich Cathedral). Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Williams, Owen (6 June 2014). "Judi Dench Has Tulip Fever". empireonline.com. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Tulip Fever starring Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz & Dane DeHaan ... coming soon? (First look)". chapter1-take1.blogspot.co.uk. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  25. ^ "Danny Elfman to score Justin Chadwick's Tulip Fever". Film Music Reporter. September 27, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Filming for Tulip Fever takes place in Holkham as well as Norwich Cathedral". edp24.co.uk. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  27. ^ Britcher, Chris (23 April 2014). "Film extras from Kent wanted for Tulip Fever movie". Your Medway. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  28. ^ Furness, Hannah (15 May 2015). "Cannes: Cressida Bonas's screen career blooms with Tulip Fever". telegraph. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "Alicia Vikander : The Danish Girl Star Jumps Out of a Plane and Talks Overnight Fame". Vogue.com. December 14, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015. 
  30. ^ McClintock, Pamela (April 26, 2016). "Alicia Vikander's 'Tulip Fever' Gets Summer Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  31. ^ Busch, Anita (July 6, 2016). "Alicia Vikander-Starring 'Tulip Fever' Moved To 2017 By TWC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  32. ^ Bramesco, Charles (June 30, 2016). "What to See at the Movies in July". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  33. ^ Winfrey, Graham (February 13, 2017). "The Weinstein Company's 'Tulip Fever' Release Date Pushed Back to Later in 2017". Indiewire.com. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Weinstein Co. Replanting 'Tulip Fever' In The Summer". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  35. ^ "'Tulip Fever' Release Date Shifts Into September". Deadline Hollywood. August 16, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Alicia Vikander goes glam in gothic gown as she leaves boyfriend Michael Fassbender at home to attend star-studded screening for Tulip Fever". The Daily Mail. August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Box office: Hitman's Bodyguard to threepeat over tepid Labor Day weekend". Entertainment Weekly. August 31, 2017. 
  38. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 3, 2017). "Labor Day Weekend The Worst Since 1998 As 'Hitman's Bodyguard' Holds No. 1 For 3rd Weekend With $12.9M". Deadline Hollywood. 
  39. ^ "Crazed Clown Cashes Smashes Sept., Genre Records As Stephen King's 'It' Pulls In $123M+ Opening". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 10, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Tulip Fever (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Tulip Fever reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  42. ^ Travers, Peter (September 1, 2017). "'Tulip Fever' Review: This D.O.A. Period Piece Should've Died on the Vine". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 5, 2017. 

External links[edit]