|Directed by||John R. Leonetti|
|Written by||Barbara Marshall|
|Produced by||Sherryl Clark|
|Edited by||Peck Prior|
Busted Shark Productions
|90 minutes (theatrical)|
91 minutes (unrated)
|Box office||$23.5 million|
Wish Upon is a 2017 American supernatural horror film, directed by John R. Leonetti, written by Barbara Marshall, and starring Joey King, Ki Hong Lee, Sydney Park, Shannon Purser, Sherilyn Fenn, Elisabeth Rohm, and Ryan Phillippe. The film follows a teenage girl who is given a magic musicbox that grants seven wishes, but kills someone close to her each time it does.
Clare Shannon, a seventeen-year-old high school outcast, is haunted by the memory of her mother's suicide that she witnessed as a young child. Her father, Jonathan, a former musician and compulsive hoarder who dumpster dives as a hobby, finds a Chinese music box and gives it to her as an early birthday gift. Clare deciphers one of the numerous inscriptions on the box as "Seven Wishes," and absentmindedly wishes for Darcie, her tormentor and school bully, to "rot," at which point Darcie develops necrotizing fasciitis and is admitted into the ICU. That same day, Clare's dog Max dies in her house's crawlspace after seemingly being eaten alive by rats. Clare realizes that the box grants wishes, but does not understand that her wishes come with consequences.
Clare makes a second wish that a popular boy named Paul falls in love with her. As a result, her wealthy uncle dies. Upon hearing the news of his death, Clare then wishes she will be in the will. The relative leaves everything to Clare. Consequently Mrs. Deluca, a friendly neighbor, suffers a fatal accident. Clare enlists the help of her classmate Ryan Hui to decipher the symbols. Ryan's cousin Gina helps Clare decipher the meaning of the symbols saying that each of the seven wishes upon wished, comes with consequences and that the rules have to be followed. Clare's fourth wish is for her father to stop being a dumpster diver and he immediately has a personality shift. Soon after, Gina deciphers the meaning of the phrase which says "When the music ends, the blood price is paid." After she warns Ryan, she dies. Ryan finds Gina's body and confronts Clare about making wishes on the music box, which she denies.
Clare makes a fifth wish that she is popular, but Clare is soon unhappy with the consequent attention and that she loses her relationship with her friends. As a consequence of the wish, Meredith gets stuck in an elevator and, when the cable snaps, falls to her death.
Ryan reveals that after the seventh wish is granted, the music box will claim the soul of the owner. Attempts to destroy the box are unsuccessful. Furthermore, because June, a friend, has stolen the box, Clare loses her popularity and everything else she wished for. Clare recovers the box, but June is injured after falling down a staircase. Nevertheless, Clare's sixth wish is that her mother never committed suicide. Clare's mom knocks on her bedroom door along with two younger sisters. Clare later rummages through her mom's paintings and sees a picture of the music box. She concludes that her mom was one of the previous owners of the music box and that it must have led to her original suicide.
When Clare realizes her dad pays the price for the sixth wish, Clare's seventh wish is to go back to the day her father found the box, erasing all that has happened. This allows her to find the box before her dad does, she then asks Ryan to bury the box. Clare believes all is well, but she is killed when Darcie accidentally hits her with her car, in order to pay the final blood price. The music box can be heard after Clare's death, indicating that the seventh wish to reverse time would be balanced by her own death and that the music box had indeed claimed her soul in the end.
In a mid-credits scene, Ryan prepares to bury the music box, but becomes intrigued by the inscription about the seven wishes and decides against burying the box, hence starting the vicious death cycle that Clare went through again.
- Joey King as Clare Shannon, a high schooler who discovers a Chinese music box that grants her seven wishes.
- Raegan Revord as young Clare
- Ki Hong Lee as Ryan Hui, one of Clare's classmates who helps her investigate the music box
- Sydney Park as Meredith McNeil, one of Clare's close friends
- Shannon Purser as June Acosta, one of Clare's close friends
- Sherilyn Fenn as Mrs. Deluca, the Shannons' neighbor and friend
- Elisabeth Rohm as Johanna Shannon, Clare's deceased mother
- Ryan Phillippe as Jonathan Shannon, Clare's father and a dumpster diver
- Mitchell Slaggert as Paul Middlebrook, Clare's classmate whom she is attracted to
- Josephine Langford as Darcie Chapman, one of Clare's classmates who regularly bullies her
- Alice Lee as Gina Hsu, Ryan's cousin who helps decipher the text on the music box
- Alexander Nunez as Tyler Manguso, one of Darcie's and Paul's friends
- Daniela Barbosa as Lola Sanchez, Darcie's close friend and Paul's girlfriend
- Kevin Hanchard as Carl Morris, Jonathan's friend
- Victor Sutton as Uncle August, Clare's wealthy uncle
- Jerry O'Connell as Lawrence Hart, a previous owner of the music box. O'Connell was not credited for the role.
Director John R. Leonetti summarized Wish Upon as different from similar "The Monkey's Paw"-esque stories for the depth of the character Clare, particularly her tough childhood and the inability to stop using the music box even as she realizes what it really does.
The film is loosely based on W. W. Jacobs' short story The Monkey's Paw. The film's screenplay was voted to the 2015 Black List. Catherine Hardwicke was originally planned to direct the film, but she later was removed from the project. Afterward, producer Sherryl Clark sent a draft of the script to John R. Leonetti; he explained that while he did enjoy the script, "I didn't completely jump on at first because I had other things going on." However, another draft sent by Clark four months later caught his eyeballs, and he took on directing duties from there. While most of the contents of the original drafts were seen in the final cut, there were alterations. A sequence where Carl almost gets hit by a truck, which referenced Billy Hitchcock's death in Final Destination (2000), was removed as the filmmakers ultimately didn't want to make a Final Destination-esque product. During filming, the scene of Jonathan in his car with a flat tire was pulled "right out of our ass" to serve as a diversion to Meredith's elevator death.
On July 27, 2016, it was announced that Wish Upon would be directed by John R. Leonetti. The film is produced by Sherryl Clark from her production company, Busted Shark Productions, and written by Barbara Marshall. On August 2016, Joey King was cast in the film's lead role, and on November 9, 2016, Ki Hong Lee was announced to have also joined. King was Leonetti's first choice for Clare Shannon, as the two previously worked together on The Conjuring (2013); and the director wanted to feature Shannon Purser in the film after seeing her in Stranger Things. The film began production in November 2016 in Toronto. Shot on an Arri Alexa at 3.4K resolution, Wish Upon was directed by Leonetti to look natural, departing from the stylized visual aesthetics of other horror films.
The film's teaser trailer was released on February 9, 2017. The first trailer debuted on March 22, 2017, and the second trailer was released on May 22, 2017. Wish Upon was released in theaters on July 14, 2017 in the U.S., and July 22, 2017 in the U.K.
Wish Upon was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on October 7, 2017. The Blu-ray also includes the director’s Unrated Cut of the movie which is one minute longer and favoured by the director.
Broad Green Pictures granted seven fan wishes submitted via the film's official website.
Wish Upon grossed $14.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $9.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $23.5 million, against a production budget of $12 million.
In North America, Wish Upon was released alongside the opening of War for the Planet of the Apes, as well as the wide expansion of The Big Sick, and was projected to gross $8–10 million from 2,100 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $376,000 from Thursday night previews at 1,659 theaters and $2.3 million on its first day. It went on to debut to $5.5 million for its opening weekend, finishing seventh at the box office.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 19%, based on reviews from 94 critics, with an average rating of 4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Wish Upon is neither scary nor original, but its fundamental flaws as a horror movie may make it destination viewing for after-midnight camp genre enthusiasts." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 32 out of 100, based on reviews from 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.
Andrew Barker of Variety wrote: "By any normal standards, teen horror flick Wish Upon is a pretty bad movie. But its badness is of such a distinct and kooky character that it can’t help but exert an inadvertent charm."
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Wish Upon received a C CinemaScore, not unusual for a horror title.
- Barker, Andrew (July 13, 2017). "Film Review: 'Wish Upon'". Variety.