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AFI research collection
Reference Type The Age newspaper
Title Monster Hit: Where the Wild Things Are tops US Box Office
Town Melbourne
State VIC
Country Australia
Publication Date 19-10-2009
Citation Date
Comments I very much enjoyed reading this article published in the Age newspaper in October 2009. It highlighted how successful an Australian film had been in the capital of cinema, Hollywood. To me personally, that is a very important achievement. The article told the story of how a much loved children's classic was turned into a film that both shocked and delighted American audiences and also cleaned up at the Box Office.

I believe the information in the article was intended for the general population. However as it is the Age, not the Herald Sun, the language is slightly more complicated. The information could be used for many purposes such as academic but also as an example of how Australian films can be very successful in an overseas market. This point could really open up the debate on whether the Australian film industry is truly dead.

The article offers comprehensive and up to date coverage of not only the success of Where the Wild Things Are but also the challenges faced during the production of the film. The information provided in the article is reliable as it comes from a credible and respected newspaper. Good research and accuracy being two foundations of the paper. However some bias may be present as the Age is an Australian newspaper covering the story of an Australian film's success.

Synopsis A year ago Hollywood was asking "Where are the Wild Things?"

Now we know.

It is number one at the North American box office.

Spike Jonze's risky version of the beloved children's book,Where the Wild Things Are, shot three years ago at Melbourne's Central City Studios and picturesque locations in the Victorian countryside and beaches, had a record opening in North American theatres on the weekend.

The film debuted at number one with $US32.5 million in tickets sold, exceeding most analysts' predictions.

The $US11.9 million it earned on Friday was the highest one-day result for a PG-rated live-action film released in North America in October.

It crushed the much-hyped second-placed movie, the vengeance thriller, Law Abiding Citizen, starring Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and one of Hollywood's hottest leading men, Scotland's Gerard Butler.

Law Abiding Citizen managed just $US21.3 million in its opening weekend.

The story behind how Where the Wild Things Are came out of Hollywood's abyss to open number one could be worth an Oscar.

For several years dark clouds hovered above the film and rumours suggested it would never be released.

Shot in 2006 by Oscar-nominated American director-writer Jonze, the film involved actors wearing huge furry suits created by Jim Henson's famed creature shop and, according to the Los Angeles Times, early test screenings left children in tears and asking their parents if they could leave early.

The early screenings also suggested the child star of the film, played by Max Records, came off as unlikable and a brat.

Warner Bros continued to push the film's release date back, adding to the bad buzz.

It was originally set to land in North American theatres in October last year.

Warner Bros chief Alan Horn put out the fire by telling theLA Times last year the film release was delayed so the studio could give Jonze more time and money to "get it right".

The film reportedly cost between $US80 million and $US100 million.

"We'd like to find a common ground that represents Spike's vision but still offers a film that really delivers for a broad-based audience," Horn said.

"We obviously still have a challenge on our hands."

Helping and hurting the film's release were mixed reviews, with Americas top critics loving or hating Where the Wild Things Are.

Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday summed up the love/hate relationship by opening her review with: "Is Where the Wild Things Are a work of art or a desecration? Let the wild rumpus start."

Where the Wild Things Are may have one more surprise up its furry sleeve.

With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences increasing from five to 10 nominations for the best picture Oscar for the coming Academy Awards, there may be just enough Academy members to snare a nomination for Jonze's risky adventure.

It has plenty of star power, with best actor winner Forest Whitaker, The Sopranos' James Gandolfini and Hollywood actress Catherine Keener along with Australians Steve Mouzakis (The Secret Life of Us), Angus Sampson (Underbelly) and Nick Farnell (Underbelly andMarshall Law).

Where the Wild Things Are opens in Australia on December 3.

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tags: Box Office The Age 
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