A Wrinkle in Time (2018 film)
A Wrinkle in Time is a 2018 American science fantasy adventure film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell, based on Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 novel of the same name. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Whitaker Entertainment, the story follows a young girl who, with the help of three astral travelers, sets off on a quest to find her missing father. The film stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Storm Reid, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Zach Galifianakis, and Chris Pine.
|A Wrinkle in Time|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ava DuVernay|
|Based on||A Wrinkle in Time|
by Madeleine L'Engle
|Music by||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography||Tobias A. Schliessler|
|Edited by||Spencer Averick|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios|
|Box office||$133.4 million|
It is Disney's second film adaptation of L'Engle's novel, following a 2003 television film. Development began in 2010, with DuVernay signing on to direct in February 2016. Principal photography began on November 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Near the end of filming, production moved to New Zealand, where photography ended on February 25, 2017. With an estimated production budget of $103 million, the film became the first $100-million-budget live-action film to be directed by a black woman.
With a total production and marketing budget of around $250 million, the film was a box office bomb, with losses of up to $131 million. The film received mixed reviews, with critics taking issue "with the film's heavy use of CGI and numerous plot holes", while others "celebrated its message of female empowerment and diversity".
Thirteen-year-old middle school student Meg Murry struggles to adjust to her school and home life since her father Alex, a renowned scientist, mysteriously disappeared while studying astrophysics when she was very young. Both Meg and her mother Kate believed he had solved the question of humanity's existence and was teleported to another world.
One evening, Meg's younger brother Charles Wallace welcomes Mrs. Whatsit, a red-haired stranger in an extravagant white dress, into the Murry family house. Mrs. Whatsit claims that the tesseract, a type of space travel Alex was working on, is real. The next day, while walking their dog, they meet one of Meg's classmates, Calvin O'Keefe. He joins them to go to the house of Mrs. Who, a friend of Charles who speaks only in quotations.
Meg and Charles invite Calvin to dinner. Afterwards Meg and Calvin go into her backyard where Mrs. Whatsit appears with Mrs. Who and another woman, Mrs. Which. The three reveal themselves as astral travelers and lead Meg, Calvin, and Charles through a tesseract, transporting them to a distant planet named Uriel, third planet from the star Malak in Messier 101.
After learning from the flowers that Alex has been to Uriel and since departed, Mrs. Whatsit transforms into a large flying creature and takes the children into the atmosphere where they see a dark shadow called The IT. After gaining the women's trust, Meg and the others tesser to another planet called Orion in the 'belt' of the namesake constellation to meet with a seer, the Happy Medium, to seek his help to find Alex.
Happy Medium shows them that Meg's father tessered to Uriel, then Ixchel, and got trapped when he tessered to the planet Camazotz, The IT's homeworld. After Mrs. Which explains that The IT represents all greed, anger, pride, selfishness, and low self-esteem in the world, she shows the children personal examples of these characteristics, including an elderly friend and neighbor of Charles getting mugged at a bus stop, Meg's school bully Veronica's extreme self-consciousness about her weight, and that Calvin, despite being popular at school, is forced and abused by his father to be a perfectionist. Given the news that Alex is in danger on Camazotz, the three Misses insist that they all travel back to Earth to regroup and make a plan, but Meg's strong will not to leave without her father overrides the tesseract, and she unintentionally redirects them to Camazotz.
Upon arriving on Camazotz, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who find they are unable to stay because Camazotz's evil is stronger than their light. Before they depart, they bestow gifts: Mrs. Who gives Meg her glasses which can see what is really there, Mrs. Whatsit gives Meg the knowledge of her faults, and Mrs. Which gives the command to never separate.
After the Misses leave, trees sprout up out of the ground and a forest appears. Meg and Calvin get separated from Charles by the wild forest. They desperately race to get to the wall to prevent a tornado-earthquake storm called the Land Monster that is destroying the forest. Once creatively getting past the wall by using the Land Monster, they reunite with Charles and find themselves in a look-alike neighborhood where all the children are bouncing balls in perfect sync. After calling their children inside, one woman invites them to come inside her house for a meal, but Meg declines the offer and reminds Calvin and Charles not to trust anyone.
The surroundings change again and the three children find themselves on a beach where they meet The IT in its bodyguard form, Red. He offers the starving children food and tells them that Alex is safe and happy. He says there is nothing to worry about, but Calvin and Meg realize something is wrong when Charles says that the food tastes like sand. When Red starts repeating a times table, Charles is hypnotized by the rhythm, enabling The IT to take control of his mind.
Meg and Calvin pursue Red and Charles, forcing their way through the beachgoing crowds. They find themselves trapped in a seemingly empty, white spherical room in "CENTRAL Central Intelligence". Charles's personality is different and he insults Meg and Calvin as Red shuts down and disappears. Using Mrs. Who's glasses, Meg discovers and climbs an invisible staircase to a room where her father is imprisoned. After a tearful reunion, Meg brings Alex out of captivity, but Charles, under the influence of The IT's power, forcefully drags them to meet his master. As Calvin and Meg fall under The IT's power, Alex opens another tesser and prepares to escape with the two of them, abandoning Charles. Meg refuses and projects herself out of the tesser. When she confronts Charles, she realizes The IT uses deception and hatred only to fuel its power. Expressing her love for her brother and using the knowledge that she is imperfect, Meg frees Charles as well as lifting the IT's control over Camazotz. The three Misses reappear and congratulate Meg's victory. Mrs. Which says that she and Charles became true warriors, and they tesser back home.
After returning home, Meg and Charles are reunited with their parents and they assure each other that they love each other. Calvin leaves Meg to confront his father after saying a few words to Meg. She stares at the sky, thanking the Misses.
- Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, an astral being as old as the universe
- Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit, an astral being whose favorite planet is the planet Uriel
- Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, an astral being from the planet Ixchel
- Storm Reid as Meg Murry, a gifted young girl
- Lyric Wilson as young Meg
- Levi Miller as Calvin O'Keefe, Meg's classmate and friend
- Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace Murry, Meg's precocious adoptive six-year-old brother
- Chris Pine as Dr. Alexander Murry, Meg and Charles Wallace's long-lost father and Kate's husband
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dr. Kate Murry, Meg and Charles Wallace's mother and Alex's wife
- Zach Galifianakis as Happy Medium, a seer from the planet Orion.
- Michael Peña as Red, a form of The IT
- Andre Holland as James Jenkins, the principal of Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace's school
- Rowan Blanchard as Veronica Kiley, a student who bullies Meg and later becomes nice to her
- Bellamy Young as Camazotz Woman, a mother from the Camazotz neighborhood
- Conrad Roberts as Elegant Man, an elder neighbour and friend of Charles Wallace.
- Yvette Cason as Teacher, a gossipy, jealous teacher
- Will McCormack as Teacher, another gossipy, jealous teacher
- Daniel MacPherson as Mr. O'Keefe, Calvin's abusive father
In October 2010, Walt Disney Pictures retained the film rights for the 1962 novel A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, which had previously been made as a 2003 television film. Following the financial success of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), Disney hired Jeff Stockwell to write the screenplay for Cary Granat and his new Bedrock Studios. Granat had previously worked with Disney on the Chronicles of Narnia and Bridge to Terabithia films. The project's budget was slated to be $35 million, which the company compared to District 9 and Bridge to Terabithia, both of which were made for less than $30 million.
However, A Wrinkle in Time was part of a new California Film Commission tax credit program, which offset production costs considerably. On August 5, 2014, Jennifer Lee was announced as the screenwriter, taking over from Stockwell, who wrote the first draft.
On February 8, 2016, it was reported that Ava DuVernay had been offered the job of directing the film, and she was confirmed to direct later that same month. She became the first nonwhite woman to direct a live-action film with a production budget of more than $100 million. The decision received positive sentiments in the media industry. Oprah Winfrey was happy to see this because DuVernay herself broke barriers for nonwhite people in the film industry. "So I do imagine, to be a brown-skinned girl of any race throughout the world, looking up on that screen and seeing Storm, I think that is a capital A, capital W, E, some, AWESOME, experience."
Irene Monroe of The Cambridge Day expressed her feelings that Ava DuVernay was a superb choice of a director, due to the fact that she was able to correctly highlight and expose the struggles experienced by young African-American girls.
On July 26, 2016, Variety reported that Oprah Winfrey began final negotiations to join the film to play Mrs. Which, the eldest of the three Mrs. Ws, celestial beings who guide the children along their journey. On September 7, 2016, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling were in talks to join the film, with Witherspoon to play Mrs. Whatsit, a chatty, grandmotherly sprite, and Kaling to play the quotation-reciting Mrs. Who. On September 13, 2016, Storm Reid was cast in the lead role of Meg Murry, a young girl traumatized by the disappearance of her scientist father years before.
In October 2016, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine were cast as Meg's parents, Drs. Kate and Alex Murry. On November 1, 2016, additional cast announcements included Zach Galifianakis as Happy Medium, André Holland as Principal Jenkins, Levi Miller as Calvin, and Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace, along with Bellamy Young, Rowan Blanchard and Will McCormack. Later, Michael Peña joined the cast to play Red. The film producers are James Whitaker and Catherine Hand.
Principal photography on the film began November 2, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. Tobias A. Schliessler was the film's cinematographer, Naomi Shohan was production designer, Paco Delgado was costume designer, and Rich McBride was the film's visual effects supervisor. During production, DuVernay asked McBride to be as flexible as possible on visual effects sequences to enable her to make changes and incorporate new ideas during shooting.
After Los Angeles, production moved to New Zealand for two weeks. During the last two weeks of February 2017, filming locations for A Wrinkle in Time were in Central Otago, New Zealand. Actors and crew were in New Zealand for two weeks to shoot scenes in the Southern Alps, including at Hunter Valley Station near Lake Hāwea, with cast and crew treated to a traditional Māori powhiri and karakia. Filming wrapped up in New Zealand's South Island after two weeks, and DuVernay declared the cast and crew's love for New Zealand in an Instagram post.
On September 28, 2017, Ramin Djawadi was announced as the composer for the film, replacing Jonny Greenwood, who was initially chosen to compose and score the film. On February 20, 2018, it was announced that the soundtrack would feature appearances from Sade, Sia, Kehlani, Chloe x Halle, Freestyle Fellowship, DJ Khaled, and Demi Lovato.
A Wrinkle in Time premiered at the El Capitan Theatre on February 26, 2018, with its theatrical release on March 9, 2018. This was a month ahead of its initial release date of April 6, 2018.
The film became available for streaming on Disney+ on March 25, 2020.
A Wrinkle in Time grossed $100.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, and $32.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $132.7 million. A combined $250 million was spent on production and advertisement. Following Disney's Q2 earnings report in May 2018, Yahoo! Finance deduced the film would lose the studio $86–186 million, and in April 2019, Deadline Hollywood calculated the film lost $130.6 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues. The film's financial failure meant that Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to direct a film that earned and lost at least $100 million domestically.
In the U.S. and Canada, A Wrinkle in Time was released alongside The Hurricane Heist, Gringo, and The Strangers: Prey at Night, and was projected to gross $30–38 million from 3,980 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $10.2 million on its first day, including $1.3 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut at $33.3 million, finishing second behind Disney's own Black Panther ($41.1 million in its fourth weekend). In its second weekend, the film made $16.6 million, dropping 50% to fourth place. On June 15, in its 15th week of release, the film returned to a total of 285 theaters, often as part of a double-feature with Incredibles 2. It ended up making $1.7 million (a 1,600% increase from the previous weekend), pushing the total U.S. gross to $100 million.
Internationally, the film opened in six countries alongside the U.S. and grossed $6.3 million in its opening weekend, Russia being the largest market with $4.1 million.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 42% based on 318 reviews, and an average rating of 5.27/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A Wrinkle in Time is visually gorgeous, big-hearted, and occasionally quite moving; unfortunately, it's also wildly ambitious to a fault, and often less than the sum of its classic parts." On Metacritic, the film earned a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 75% overall positive score; audience members under age 18 gave it an average grade of "A-" and a positive score of 89%.
Alonso Duralde of TheWrap praised the film's visuals and performances, writing, "Awash in bold colors, bright patterns and ebullient kids, director Ava DuVernay's new take on 'A Wrinkle in Time' dazzles its way across time and space even if it doesn't quite stick the landing." David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "C+" and praised what he described as its ambition, saying: "It almost doesn't matter that the movie is too emotionally prescriptive to have any real power, or too high on imagination to leave any room for wonder; DuVernay evinces such faith in who she is and what she's doing that 'A Wrinkle in Time' remains true to itself even when everything on screen reads false." Jamie Broadnax, a freelance writer and member of the Critic's Choice Awards, tweeted that after seeing the film for the second time, she still was unable to conceptualize and take in the visuals displayed throughout the film and the numerous performances from various characters. Kat Candler, an American independent filmmaker, stated that the film was a "gorgeous love letter to the warriors of the next generation". Mercedes Howze of the New Pittsburgh Courier stated that the visuals were extraordinary and that the film "continues to make lasting impressions on innocent minds to change what it looks like to be a young black woman".
Vince Mancini of Uproxx gave the film a negative review, saying, "...if anything, the trouble with 'Wrinkle' is that you never really get a sense of DuVernay's personal touch. In fact, it feels a lot like Brad Bird's big-budget, equally smarmy 2015 Disney film Tomorrowland. Both attempt to be so broad and universal that they feel disconnected from anything human. But universality doesn't work that way, no matter how much you tell everyone to think like a kid." Conner Schwerdtfeger, former entertainment journalist for CinemaBlend, stated that the movie was "all over the place and underperformed," but that DuVernay deserves some praise for the attempt at filming the seemingly unfilmable. Sean Mulvihill, actor in "Living Luminaries: On the Serious Business of Happiness," stated that the film had no flow, and although some moments "come alive" in the film, it could not save it. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter felt that the film was "unable to charm or disarm" the audience. Wenlei Ma, film and TV critic of news.com.au, stated that, following the halfway mark in the film, movie-goers find themselves "not caring about the other characters besides Meg" and that it seemed to "drag" in the latter half. She highlighted the film's disappointment, regardless of the value parents find in the messages for children via quotations from Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Teen Choice Awards||August 12, 2018||Choice Fantasy Movie||A Wrinkle in Time||Nominated|||
|Choice Fantasy Movie Actress||Mindy Kaling||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||November 11, 2018||Family Movie of 2018||A Wrinkle in Time||Nominated|||
|St. Louis Film Critics Awards||December 16, 2018||Worst Film of 2018||A Wrinkle in Time||Won|||
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