Child's Play (2019 film)
Child's Play is a 2019 horror film film written by Tyler Burton Smith and directed by Lars Klevber. Serving both as a remake of the 1988 film of the same title and a reboot of the Child's Play franchise, it follows a family terrorized by a high-tech doll who becomes self-aware and subsequently murderous. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, and Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky.
|Directed by||Lars Klevberg|
|Screenplay by||Tyler Burton Smith|
|Based on||Child's Play|
by Don Mancini
|Music by||Bear McCreary|
|Edited by||Tom Elkins|
|Box office||$45 million|
The development of a Child's Play remake was announced in July 2018. Klevberg signed on as director from a script by Burton Smith, saying in an interview he drew inspiration from the 1982 science fiction film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Principal photography lasted from September to November 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Child's Play was theatrically released in the United States on June 21, 2019, by Orion Pictures through United Artists Releasing. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $45 million worldwide against a $10 million budget.
The multinational Kaslan Corporation has just launched Buddi, a revolutionary line of high-tech dolls designed to be lifelong companions to their owners, learning from their surroundings, and acting accordingly, quickly becoming a success for children worldwide. At a Kaslan assembly factory in Vietnam, an employee is fired by his supervisor for unsatisfactory performance. In retaliation, the employee tampers with the Buddi doll that he is assembling by disabling all of its safety protocols, before committing suicide. Since nobody notices this, the doll is packaged alongside others in preparation for international delivery.
In Chicago, Illinois, retail clerk Karen Barclay and her 12-year-old hearing-impaired son Andy have moved into their new apartment. In an attempt to cheer Andy up and make up for the unease caused by the relocation and her new boyfriend Shane, Karen blackmails her boss, Wes, in order to procure a Buddi doll, giving it to Andy as an early birthday gift. Wes selects the defective specimen. Once Andy activates the doll, he names himself "Chucky" and becomes attached to his owner. Over time, Chucky helps Andy befriend two other kids in the building — Falyn and Pugg — but also begins to display violent tendencies. For instance, he tries to strangle the Barclays' pet cat after he scratches Andy, and one night, while he and his friends gleefully watch a horror film, Chucky starts mimicking the violence on the screen, approaching the trio with a kitchen knife before Andy disarms him.
The next morning, Andy arrives home to find that his cat is dead; Chucky admits to having killed him so that he would not hurt Andy anymore. Karen locks the doll in a closet, but he escapes and terrorizes Shane, which leads him to confront Andy. After overhearing Andy's pleas for Shane to be gone, Chucky follows Shane home, where it is revealed that Shane is married with children and is having an affair with Karen behind his wife's back. While Shane is outside taking down Christmas lights, Chucky breaks his legs and activates a tiller that scalps and kills him. The following day, Chucky delivers Shane's skinned face as a gift to a horrified Andy.
While police detective Mike Norris begins an investigation, Andy, Falyn, and Pugg disable Chucky and throw him in the garbage. Building voyeur and electrician Gabe finds the doll and takes him to the basement to prepare him for an online sale. Now fully repaired, Chucky tortures and murders Gabe with a table saw. After making his way back to the ground level, Chucky lands in possession of another kid named Omar and proceeds to kill Norris' mother, Doreen, in a controlled car crash. Meanwhile, Andy fails to convince Karen that the doll has become murderous, and she takes Andy along to her next shift work at the local shopping mall to keep him nearby.
Suspecting that Andy is the killer, Norris travels to the mall and arrests him just as Chucky takes full control of the building. Chaos is unleashed as several employees and customers are brutally killed by rampaging Buddi dolls while Chucky triggers the mall's lockdown sequence. Amid the massacre, Wes is murdered, Norris is wounded, and Andy and his friends manage to reach the exit, only for Andy to be forced to return when Chucky reveals that he is holding Karen hostage, intending to kill her. Andy manages to free his mother while being attacked by Chucky, before stabbing him in his power cell. However, the doll attempts to attack again, only to be shot by Norris and beheaded by Karen. While paramedics tend to Karen, Norris, and other survivors outside the mall, the kids destroy and burn Chucky's body in a nearby alleyway.
In the aftermath of Chucky's killing spree, Kaslan Corporation CEO Henry Kaslan issues a statement regarding Chucky's programming, announcing a massive Buddi dolls recall. As one of the dolls is being placed into storage, its eyes flicker red and the doll smiles, revealing that Chucky transferred his artificial intelligence awareness into a new body.
- Aubrey Plaza as Karen Barclay, Andy's widowed single mother who does not believe her son that Chucky is a killer
- Gabriel Bateman as Andy Barclay, Karen's 13-year-old son with a hearing aid who comes into the possession of the Chucky doll
- Brian Tyree Henry as Detective Mike Norris, a police detective investigating Chucky's murders
- Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky, a Buddi doll who is reprogrammed into a murderous killer
- Tim Matheson as Henry Kaslan, the founder and CEO of Kaslan Corporation, the company that manufactures the Buddi dolls
- Beatrice Kitsos as Falyn, one of Andy's new friends
- Ty Consiglio as Pugg, one of Andy's new friends
- Marlon Kazadi as Omar, Andy's neighbor and one of his new friends
- David Lewis as Shane, Karen's boyfriend
- Carlease Burke as Doreen Norris, the Barclays' neighbor and Norris's mother
- Nicole Anthony as Detective Willis, a police detective and Norris's partner
- Trent Redekop as Gabe, an electrician of the Barclays' apartment
- Amro Majzoub as Wes, Karen's boss at the local shopping mall
- Phoenix Ly as Chien, the fired Kaslan employee who maliciously reprograms the Buddi doll that becomes Chucky
On July 3, 2018, it was announced that a Child's Play remake was in development at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with a different creative team than the original film series. Lars Klevberg signed on as director, with a script by Tyler Burton Smith (of Polaroid and Quantum Break fame, respectively). It and It Chapter Two collaborative team Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg served as producers. In September 2018, Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey Plaza, and Brian Tyree Henry were set to star. In November 2018, Ty Consiglio and Beatrice Kitsos joined the cast.
Principal photography began on September 17 and wrapped on November 8, 2018, in Vancouver, Canada. Reshoots occurred on December 15–16 and in April 2019. MastersFX, a visual effects company, took six weeks to prepare and assemble seven practical animatronic puppets, each with interchangeable arms and heads that performed a variety of required actions on set, with some help from Pixomondo, who provided the CGI for the film.
We asked, thinking there was no way it would ever happen, and he said, 'Yes.' He was the first choice, a big swing, and it just happened... I mean, first of all, to have an icon reimagining an iconic character is an incredible gift, and to have an actor and a voice performer who is as celebrated as Mark Hamill, and as gifted as he is, I mean it's incredible. He's taking on this challenge with a huge amount of energy and really come at it in a very serious way. And it's really something to watch him create a character, and sort of embody it, and I get to sit there and watch Mark Hamill record. It's just incredible.
Bear McCreary composed the score through a "toy orchestra" inspired by "Chucky's toy-store origins" with toy pianos, hurdy-gurdies, accordions, plastic guitars and otamatones. The soundtrack was released by Waxwork Records on vinyl which featured liner notes by the composer.
The first official image of Chucky was released on September 21, 2018. The teaser poster was released on November 12, 2018, revealing that for the film's adaptation the Good Guys dolls would be called Buddi, referencing the My Buddy doll that influenced the original character's design. A WiFi symbol over the "i" in "Buddi" teases the character's hi-tech functions, being similar to robot toys, such as Furby and RoboSapien. Orion Pictures launched a marketing website for the fictional Kaslan Corporation, ahead of the film's release. The first trailer premiered on February 8, 2019, with the release of The Prodigy.
The film's theatrical poster was released on April 17, 2019 and the second trailer on April 18, 2019. On May 16, 2019, a behind-the-scenes video was uploaded to Orion Pictures' YouTube channel, which shows how Chucky was brought to life for the film. Beginning April 2019, several posters alluding to Toy Story 4 were released, featuring Chucky brutally killing characters of the animated franchise, using the Toy Story 4's teaser posters' background. Both films had June 21, 2019 releases. On June 24, a poster was unveiled to coincide with the impending release of Annabelle Comes Home, altering one of that film's posters to imply Chucky's attack on the Annabelle doll.
Child's Play grossed $29.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $15.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $45 million, against a production budget of $10 million.
In the United States and Canada, Child's Play was released alongside Toy Story 4 and Anna, and was projected to gross $16–18 million from 3,007 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $6.1 million on its first day, including $1.65 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $14.1 million, and finishing second, behind Toy Story 4. The film dropped 68.6% in its second weekend to $4.4 million, falling to eighth.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on 205 reviews, with an average rating of 5.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Child's Play updates an '80s horror icon for the Internet of Things era, with predictably gruesome – and generally entertaining – results." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 48 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest score of the series.
Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com gave the film three out of four stars, calling it "nastier, more playful, and just as good if not better than the original film." Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian gave the film a positive review, with 4/5 stars, calling it a "Chilrazor-sharp and exquisitely gruesome toy story". Jeremy Dick from MovieWeb also liked the film, writing "Child's Play is the perfect horror movie remake and should now serve as a prime example of what others should do. It's highly entertaining and tons of fun, and I say that as a huge fan of the original."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 2 out of 5 stars, writing, "MIA is the original's perverse originality... in a misguided satire of the digital era and millennial consumerism". Variety's Peter Debruge was also negative, stating, "This is the new normal for horror movies: The screenplays have to seem hipper than the premise they represent, which puts Child's Play in the weird position of pointing out and poking fun at all the ways it fails to make sense."
"For me, this was just trying to make this the best movie possible. Like, never foreshadowing any detailed plan of where you want to go as a franchise. But yeah, for me I think I love the Buddi bear concept".
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