The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a 2018 American fantasy adventure film directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston and produced by Mark Gordon and Larry Franco, from a screenplay by Ashleigh Powell. Co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and The Mark Gordon Company, it is a retelling of E. T. A. Hoffmann's 1816 short story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", as well as of Marius Petipa and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1892 ballet The Nutcracker, about a young girl who is gifted a locked egg from her deceased mother and sets out in a magical land to retrieve the key. The film stars Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written byAshleigh Powell
Based on
Produced by
CinematographyLinus Sandgren
Edited byStuart Levy
Music byJames Newton Howard
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • October 29, 2018 (2018-10-29) (Dolby Theatre)
  • November 2, 2018 (2018-11-02) (United States)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$120–133 million[2]
Box office$174 million[3]

The film was announced in March 2016 with Hallström directing from a script by Powell. Much of the cast signed on that summer, and filming began in October at Pinewood Studios, lasting through January 2017. In December 2017, it was announced Johnston would direct a month of reshoots, with Hallström agreeing to Johnston receiving co-directing credit. The reshoots were written by Tom McCarthy, who went uncredited, and Powell received a sole credit as screenwriter. Composer James Newton Howard scored the film, adapting elements from Tchaikovsky's music for the 1892 ballet, while Gustavo Dudamel served as conductor, leading the London Philharmonia Orchestra.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on October 29, 2018, and was released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in the United States on November 2. The film grossed $174 million worldwide against a production budget between $120–133 million, making it a box office bomb and losing Disney over $65 million.[4] It received generally negative reviews, with criticisms of its story and Knightley’s performance, although the film's visual effects and aesthetics were praised.

Plot edit

On Christmas Eve in Victorian London, Benjamin Stahlbaum gives his children Louise, Clara, and Fritz the presents his wife Marie had set aside for them before she died. Clara receives an egg-shaped box that she cannot unlock, together with a note saying "Everything you need is inside". The family goes to a Christmas Eve party, hosted by the children's godfather and skilled engineer Drosselmeyer. Clara asks Drosselmeyer how to unlock her egg. He reveals that he made the egg for Marie when she was younger.

Benjamin becomes angry at Clara for refusing to dance with him, and they insult each other. Clara finds a string with her name on it, signifying her gift, and follows it into a forest in a parallel world where she sees a key. Before she can grab it, a mouse snatches it and crosses a frozen river. Captain Philip Hoffman, the Nutcracker, leads Clara across the bridge into the Fourth Realm, where they barely escape the mouse king and Mother Ginger, the regent of the Fourth Realm. Captain Philip brings Clara to the palace, where she meets the regents of each land: the Sugar Plum Fairy of the Land of Sweets; Shiver of the Land of Snowflakes, and Hawthorne of the Land of Flowers. They tell Clara they are at war with the Land of Amusements, which they refer to as "the Fourth Realm". It is also revealed that Marie was the beloved Queen of this magical land and, thus, Clara is the princess.

The Sugar Plum Fairy explains that Marie created this world as a young girl and that she animated everyone with a machine that can turn toys into real people. Sugar Plum says this machine can be used to defend the three realms against Mother Ginger, but it needs a key matching the one for Clara's egg. Sneaking into the Fourth Realm, Clara and Philip steal back the key from Mother Ginger (ignoring her warning that Sugar Plum is lying to them), but Clara is disappointed to discover that the egg is only a music box.

Sugar Plum uses the machine to bring toy soldiers to life and orders them to attack the Fourth Realm. She then reveals that she lied about Mother Ginger, who had resisted Sugar Plum's plan to take over all four realms in revenge for her perceived abandonment by Marie, and that the machine can turn this world's people back into toys as well. She imprisons Clara, Captain Philip, and the male regents, causing Clara to blame herself.

Clara opens her egg-shaped music box again and discovers a mirror, illustrating that all she needed was herself. She and the other prisoners escape. One of Mother Ginger's mice shows Clara into the engine room, and Captain Philip convinces Mother Ginger to help overthrow Sugar Plum. Clara shuts down the machine while fighting off soldiers with Mother Ginger's aid. Sugar Plum attempts to turn Mother Ginger back into a toy, but Clara tinkers with the engine so it aims back at Sugar Plum when activated, turning her back into a porcelain doll and rendering her entire army lifeless.

Thanked for restoring peace among the Realms and the destruction of Sugar Plum, Clara promises to visit in the future. After saying goodbye to Captain Philip, she returns to London, where time has hardly passed since she left. She and Benjamin apologize to each other and she finally decides to dance with him. He accepts, and Clara opens her music box. Benjamin reveals that the music was the first song that he and Marie had ever danced to. They dance throughout the night in the ballroom.

Cast edit

  • Mackenzie Foy as Clara Stahlbaum, a young girl who travels into the Four Realms, searching for a key of a gift from her late mother Marie.
  • Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, the regent of the Land of Sweets.
  • Jayden Fowora-Knight as Captain Philip Hoffman, a nutcracker who helps Clara on her journey.
  • Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger, regent of the Land of Amusements (also known as The Fourth Realm).
  • Morgan Freeman as Drosselmeyer, Clara's godfather, a skilled engineer, who gives her a magical gift that once belonged to her mother.
  • Eugenio Derbez as Hawthorne, regent of the Land of Flowers.
  • Richard E. Grant as Shiver, regent of the Land of Snowflakes.
  • Misty Copeland as the Ballerina Princess, a gifted dancer in the mysterious Four Realms.
  • Matthew Macfadyen as Benjamin Stahlbaum, Clara's father and a widower following the death of his wife Marie.
  • Anna Madeley as Queen Marie Stahlbaum, Clara's late mother who created and ruled over the Four Realms as a child.
  • Sergei Polunin as the Sweets Cavalier, a dancer who performs alongside the Ballerina Princess.
  • Ellie Bamber as Louise Stahlbaum, Clara's older sister.
  • Tom Sweet as Fritz Stahlbaum, Clara's younger brother.
  • Jack Whitehall as Harlequin, a guard at The Palace of the Four Realms.
  • Omid Djalili as Cavalier, another guard at The Palace of the Four Realms and Harlequin's cohort.
  • Meera Syal as the Stahlbaum's Cook, a staff member in the Stahlbaum household.
  • Charles "Lil Buck" Riley as the Mouse King, ruler of the legion of mice. Riley also provided the choreography and motion capture performance for the character.
  • Prince (the horse) as Jingles the Horse
  • Gustavo Dudamel as Conductor
  • Max Westwell as Flower Cavalier
  • Aaron Smyth as Snow Cavalier

Production edit

Development edit

On March 4, 2016, the project was first announced, which stated that Walt Disney Pictures was developing The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, with Lasse Hallström set to direct, continuing its model of developing classic fairy tales. The project is based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann, with Ashleigh Powell on board to write the script. The Mark Gordon Company is also on board as a co-production company with Mark Gordon producing with Lindy Goldstein executive producing for the company.[5]

Casting edit

In July 2016, Mackenzie Foy, Misty Copeland, and Morgan Freeman joined the cast.[6][7][8] In August 2016, Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren joined the cast.[9][10] In September 2016, Ellie Bamber joined the cast.[11] In October 2016, Miranda Hart joined the cast,[12] however, her character was later removed from the film. In March 2017, Eugenio Derbez confirmed that he had been cast in the film.[13] Later Jack Whitehall joined the cast.

Filming edit

Filming began in October 2016 in South Kensington and Pinewood Studios in England and wrapped in late January 2017.[14] In December 2017, it was reported that Joe Johnston would direct 32 days of reshoots, written by Tom McCarthy, due to Hallström being unavailable. Hallström would still oversee post-production.[15] It was later revealed that Hallström and Johnston had voluntarily decided to receive joint directorial credit for the film.[16]

Music edit

The music was adapted in part from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker from 1892 by James Newton Howard, altering the original and adding new tracks as well.[17] For the recording, Gustavo Dudamel conducted the London Philharmonia Orchestra, while Lang Lang was the piano soloist.[18] Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo contributed the original duet "Fall on Me" for the film, which premiered on Dancing with the Stars' "Disney Night" on October 22, 2018.[19] The film's soundtrack album was released on October 26, 2018, by Walt Disney Records.[18]

Release edit

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was released on November 2, 2018 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, replacing the original date set for Disney's live-action adaptation of Mulan.[20][21]

Box office edit

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms grossed $54.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $119.1 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $174 million.[3] Deadline Hollywood calculated the film lost the studio $75-90 million when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[4] The film's status as a box office flop was attributed by TheWrap to a poor release date only two days after Halloween, a bloated budget and a lack of interest on the behalf of audiences in the Nutcracker concept.[22]

In the United States and Canada, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was released alongside Nobody's Fool and Bohemian Rhapsody, and was projected to gross $20–24 million from 3,766 theaters in its opening weekend.[23] It made $5.89 million on its first day, including $625,000 from Thursday night previews, the lowest figure for a Disney film released in over 2,000 theaters since The Finest Hours in January 2016. It went on to debut at $20.35 million, finishing second behind Bohemian Rhapsody. It was the third big-budgeted film to post a disappointing opening for Disney in 2018 after A Wrinkle in Time and Solo: A Star Wars Story, although Deadline Hollywood, who blamed the early-November release date and poor reviews, noted Disney's Marvel and Pixar films from 2018 would offset any possible losses the film would suffer.[2] The film fell 53% in its second week to $9.5 million, finishing fourth.[24]

The film was released in 45 other countries alongside the US, grossing $39.2 million. As of December 23, 2018, Its top markets were China ($16.2 million), Italy ($11.1 million), Germany ($9.4 million), and the United Kingdom ($7.1 million).[25]

Home media edit

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD on January 29, 2019 by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Blu-ray extras include featurettes, five deleted scenes, and music videos for "Fall on Me" by Andrea Bocelli featuring his son Matteo Bocelli, and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite performed by Lang Lang.[26]

Reception edit

Critical response edit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 32% based on 203 reviews with an average rating of 5.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Lacking a transporting yuletide story or dazzling dance routines, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a hollow holiday confection that's lovely to look at – and easy to forget."[27] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[28] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[29] PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it 49% "definite recommend".[2]

David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a grade of "D+", calling the film "empty but eye-popping." He went on to write, "Watching a visually spectacular but virtually soulless new family movie like The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, it's tempting to wonder if such eye-popping dreck has any hope of sticking with impressionable young audiences. Is there any chance that the kids of today might be nostalgic for this hyper-saturated nonsense tomorrow?"[30] Alonso Duralde of TheWrap also gave the film a negative review, writing "The 'child travels to a magical land and learns things' trope has been the basis of many beloved stories, from The Wizard of Oz to The Phantom Tollbooth to The Chronicles of Narnia. But it's not a foolproof device, particularly when the magical land in question never makes much narrative sense; besides, how can the Four Realms be magical when the London where Clara already lives is so obviously a cartoon? Both the 'real' world and the fake one are ugly, overdone, and lacking any visual connection to gravity let alone reality."[31]

Accolades edit

Accolades received by The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2018 Golden Trailer Awards Best Animation/Family Walt Disney Pictures
Nominated [32]
2018 HMMA Award Best Original Song - Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Film "Fall on Me" (song):
Ian Axel (written by)
Chad Vaccarino (written by)
Matteo Bocelli (written and performed by)
Fortunato Zampaglione (written by)
Andrea Bocelli (performed by)
Nominated [33]
2019 Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Live Action Production Richard Oey
Adrien Annesley
Allison Orr
William Yap
Shan Hao
Nominated [34]
2019 CDG Award Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film Jenny Beavan Nominated [35]
2019 Golden Trailer Awards Best Title/Credit Sequence for a Feature Length Film (or Video Game) Walt Disney Studios
The Hive
Nominated [36]
2019 HPA Award Outstanding Color Grading - Feature Film Tom Poole
Company 3
Nominated [37]
2019 Teen Choice Award Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie Actress Keira Knightley Nominated [38]

The film was one of 20 out of 2018's top-100 grossing movies in the US to be recognized with the ReFrame Stamp for hiring women in at least four of eight key production categories.[39]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms". AMC Theatres. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 4, 2018). "'Bohemian Rhapsody' Sends Thunderbolts And Lightning Through B.O. As Freddie Mercury Biopic Hits $50M Opening". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on November 4, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  4. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 8, 2019). "What Were The Biggest Bombs At The 2018 B.O.? Deadline's Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  5. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 4, 2016). "Disney Developing 'Nutcracker' Pic; Lasse Hallstrom to Direct". Variety. Archived from the original on November 30, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 27, 2016). "'Interstellar' Star Mackenzie Foy to Lead Disney's 'The Nutcracker' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (July 13, 2016). "Misty Copeland Joins Disney's 'Nutcracker' Movie". Variety. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (July 29, 2016). "Morgan Freeman in Talks to Join Misty Copeland in Disney's 'Nutcracker'". Variety. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  9. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (August 16, 2016). "Keira Knightley to play Sugar Plum Fairy in Disney's The Nutcracker". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 25, 2016). "Helen Mirren Joins Disney's 'The Nutcracker'". Variety. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  11. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 30, 2016). "'Nocturnal Animals' Ellie Bamber Set For Disney's 'Nutcracker And The Four Realms'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 11, 2016). "Miranda Hart Joins Disney's 'The Nutcracker'". Variety. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  13. ^ "Eugenio Derbez recibirá Premio CinemaCon". El Universal (in Spanish). March 21, 2016. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  14. ^ "Mary Poppins Returns films next week". January 26, 2017. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017. The studio's new take on the classic tale, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, wraps the four-month UK shoot imminently.
  15. ^ Kit, Borys (December 12, 2017). "Joe Johnston to Direct Disney's 'Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Reshoots (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (July 5, 2018). "Lasse Hallstrom, Joe Johnston to Share Director Credit on 'Nutcracker and the Four Realms' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 6, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  17. ^ Bundel, Ani. "'The Nutcracker & The Four Realms' Soundtrack Will Put You In The Holiday Spirit". Elite Daily. Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  19. ^ Fremont, Maggie (October 23, 2018). "Dancing With the Stars recap: Will a little Disney magic help our contestants perform?". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Archived from the original on October 23, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  20. ^ Snetiker, Marc (July 15, 2017). "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms debuts first trailer, sets release date". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 23, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  21. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (July 15, 2017). "Disney's 'Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Sets Fall 2018 Release, Bumping Live-Action 'Mulan'". The Wrap. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  22. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (November 4, 2018). "'Nutcracker and the Four Realms': 4 Reasons Why It Cracked at the Box Office". TheWrap. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  23. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (October 30, 2018). "Can 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Find Box Office Success Despite Tepid Reviews?". TheWrap. Archived from the original on October 31, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 11, 2018). "'The Grinch' Who Stole Business: Dr. Seuss Pic Opening To $66M As 'Overlord' & 'Spider's Web' Wither – Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  25. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (November 4, 2018). "'Bohemian Rhapsody' Makes The Rockin' World Go Round With $123M Global Weekend – International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on November 4, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  26. ^ Latchem, John (January 8, 2019). "Disney's 'Nutcracker' Comes Home Jan. 29". Media Play News. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  27. ^ "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on November 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  28. ^ "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  29. ^ Brad Brevet (November 1, 2018). "'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Nutcracker' and 'Nobody's Fool' Kick Off November 2018". Box Office Mojo. The film received an "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.
  30. ^ Ehrlich, David (October 31, 2018). "'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Review: Disney's Ballet-Inspired Blockbuster Is Hollow to the Core". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  31. ^ Durande, Alonso (October 31, 2018). "'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Film Review: This Sugarplum Is Rancid". TheWrap. Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  32. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (May 9, 2018). "Golden Trailer Awards: 'Black Panther,' 'Stranger Things,' 'Westworld' Among Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  33. ^ Xu, Linda (November 15, 2018). "Hollywood Music in Media Awards: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  34. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (February 2, 2019). "Annie Awards: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Wins Best Animated Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  35. ^ Desiree Murphy (February 20, 2019). "Costume Designers Guild Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List".
  36. ^ "Meet the 20th Annual Golden Trailer Award Nominees – Golden Trailer Awards". Golden Trailer Awards. May 9, 2019. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  37. ^ "2019 HPA Awards". HPA – Hollywood Professional Association.
  38. ^ Moreau, Jordan (June 19, 2019). "Avengers: Endgame, Riverdale, Aladdin Top 2019 Teen Choice Award Nominations". Variety. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  39. ^ Sun, Rebecca (March 6, 2019). "ReFrame Stamp Awarded to 29 Movies in 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 24, 2022.

External links edit