Christopher Robin (film)

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Christopher Robin
Christopher Robin poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarc Forster
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Starring
Music by
CinematographyMatthias Koenigswieser
Edited byMatt Chessé
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • July 30, 2018 (2018-07-30) (Burbank)
  • August 3, 2018 (2018-08-03) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$75 million[3][4]
Box office$197.7 million[5]

Christopher Robin is a 2018 American fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Marc Forster and written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder, from a story by Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson. The film is inspired by A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard's Winnie-the-Pooh books[6] and is a live-action/CGI follow-up of the Disney franchise of the same name. The film stars Ewan McGregor as the title character, alongside Hayley Atwell and the voices of Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Sara Sheen, and Toby Jones. The story follows an adult Christopher Robin as he loses his sense of imagination, only to be reunited with his old stuffed bear friend, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Plans of a live-action Winnie the Pooh adaptation were announced in April 2015, and Forster was confirmed as director in November 2016. McGregor signed on as Christopher Robin in April 2017 and principal photography began in August of that year in the United Kingdom, lasting until November.

Christopher Robin had its premiere in Burbank, California on July 30, 2018.[7] Released in the United States on August 3, 2018, by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film grossed over $197 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film in Disney's Winnie the Pooh franchise surpassing The Tigger Movie released in 2000, and received mostly positive reviews from critics, with praise for McGregor, Cummings, and Garrett's performances, musical score, and visual effects.[8] The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 91st Academy Awards. This is also the first Winnie the Pooh film to be rated PG by the MPAA, unlike the fully animated films, nearly all of which had received a G rating from the MPAA.

Plot[edit]

Christopher Robin is leaving for boarding school, so his friends from the Hundred Acre WoodWinnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, and Rabbit – throw a goodbye party. Christopher comforts Pooh and tells him that he will never forget him.

Christopher goes to boarding school, where he is reprimanded for drawing pictures of Pooh in class. His experiences at boarding school and the death of his father force him to mature quickly and he forgets all about the Hundred Acre Wood and his friends there. He grows up, meets and marries architect Evelyn, with whom he has a daughter named Madeline. He serves in the British Army during World War II. After the war, he works as an efficiency expert at Winslow Luggages. He neglects his family due to his demanding job and plans on sending Madeline to boarding school. With the company hitting hard times, Christopher's boss, Giles Winslow Jr. tells him to decrease expenditures by 20%, largely by choosing which employees to lay off, and to present his plan on Monday. This causes Christopher to miss joining his family at their countryside cottage in Sussex for a summer-ending weekend.

When Pooh awakens and is unable to find his friends, he decides to travel through Christopher's door and finds himself in London. He reunites with Christopher, who is shocked to see Pooh, but takes him back to his London home. After a night and morning of chaos, Christopher escorts Pooh back to Sussex on the next train.

After sneaking past Christopher's cottage, the two enter the Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher becomes exasperated by Pooh's absent-mindedness and fear of Heffalumps and Woozles. Christopher tells Pooh that he is not a child anymore, before the two get separated in the fog. Then after he heard an Heffalump’s noise and get knocked out by an Heffalump and Woozle trap, Christopher discovers Eeyore and Piglet, who lead him to the others, hiding in a log out of fear of a Heffalump (revealed to be the loud noise of a rusty weathercock from Owl's house after the wind made it fall from its tree while they were having tea). Unable to persuade his friends that he is truly Christopher Robin, he pretends to defeat the Heffalump to convince them. Finally believing that it is Christopher Robin, they joyfully greet him. When they reunite with Pooh at their meeting spot, Christopher apologizes for getting upset earlier. Christopher tells Pooh how lost he feels, but Pooh reminds him that they have found each other and comforts him with a hug. The next morning, Christopher rushes from the Hundred Acre Wood to make his presentation as Tigger gives him his briefcase. On the way, he encounters his family, but much to Madeline's disappointment, he leaves to go to London.

Pooh realizes that Tigger removed Christopher's paperwork when drying his briefcase, so Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore travel to London to get it back. They meet Madeline, who recognizes them from her father's drawings. Madeline joins them, wanting to dissuade her father about boarding school. Evelyn follows after discovering a note Madeline left. At the meeting, Christopher discovers that his briefcase contains items from the woods that Tigger left for him (including Eeyore's detachable tail). Evelyn arrives and Christopher joins her to search London for Madeline. Madeline's group stow away in Winslow company crates, but Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet are accidentally thrown out, and they encounter Christopher and Evelyn in the process. Pooh and Madeline arrive near the Winslow building and reunite with Christopher's group, but Madeline accidentally trips on the stairs and loses all but one of the papers, upsetting her and Pooh. Christopher assures Madeline of her importance to him and that he will not send her to boarding school.

Using his remaining paper, Christopher improvises a new plan involving reducing the prices of luggage, selling their luggage to everyday people to increase demand and giving employees paid leave. Winslow Jr., who was hoping to lay off some of the staff, dismisses the idea, but Winslow Sr. warms to it and agrees to the plan. Winslow Jr. is humiliated as Christopher points out that he contributed nothing to the plan, having been golfing all weekend.

Christopher, along with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet, finally takes his family into the Hundred Acre Wood to meet the rest of his friends. As everyone relaxes and has food, Pooh and Christopher both share a tender moment together at their thoughtful spot.

In a mid-credits scene, the employees of Winslow's are seen having fun at the beach while Richard M. Sherman performs Busy Doing Nothing on a piano. Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger are relaxing on beach chairs with Eeyore saying "Thank you for noticing me".

Cast[edit]

  • Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin:
    A businessman working as an efficiency expert at Winslow Luggages who was once an imaginative boy. McGregor said that "[he] was very charmed by the script and the fact that they take Christopher Robin as a man [of his] age and that Winnie the Pooh comes back to him in a difficult time in his life. [McGregor found] it really moving",[9] and said that "[Christopher] recognizes that he would like to be closer to [his daughter]", and said that "there was something of coming together as a father and a daughter" that appealed to him as a father of 4 daughters.[9] McGregor said that "[the actors' performances] wouldn't be nearly as effective, wouldn't feel as real and good, if it wasn't for [the voice cast]", as he has someone he can play opposite to.[9] McGregor stated that "[he] really [likes] playing [Christopher Robin], and [he] really [felt] like [he] wanted to play" the character.[9] Atwell said that McGregor's performance can let people see "the Man, but underneath [the audience] see the boy that he was".[10] Director Marc Foster said that McGregor was "the perfect Christopher Robin", as he felt he "was able to capture [the] spirit that was needed to portray Christopher Robin as an adult person".
  • Orton O'Brien as Young Christopher Robin.[11]
  • Hayley Atwell as Evelyn Robin:
    Christopher's wife who works as an architect. Foster said that "it was important for [him] to find" in Atwell "a very strong woman" that also is relatable and "can stand up for herself and doesn't play a victim or play into that because ultimately when [Christopher Robin] denies his love to [Evelyn], she's still a woman who believes in him, but also strong enough to stand up for herself".[12] McGregor was happy when he was told that Hayley Atwell was also cast for the film, having previously worked together on Cassandra's Dream. Atwell said that the film's story is "a charming one, and a funny one, and ultimately a story about a man coming back to his family" which she felt will appeal audiences.[10]
  • Bronte Carmichael as Madeline Robin:
    Christopher's daughter. McGregor said that Bronte's performance "is so natural" and "really really good",[9] a sentiment which Atwell shared, stating that she was "sweet", and felt that "[her performance] was really moving to watch" and that she "embodied the character of Madeline with the same feel that the books had with Christoper Robin".[10] Carmichael called the film something "good for adults and for children", with adults finding it "emotional and moving", while the film's humor will make audiences "smile and really enjoy it".[13] She also hoped adult audiences "will reconnect with children and have more family trips, and maybe play a few more games with the kids" after watching the film, and felt it has "a really special message".[13] Foster called Carmichael "one of the very most gifted children actor [he] ever worked with".
  • Elsa Minell Solak as 3-year-old Madeline Robin.

Voices[edit]

  • Winnie the Pooh:
    A honey-loving teddy bear who lives in the Hundred Acre Wood. Atwell said that many of Pooh's lines were taken from A. A. Milne's original books, which she felt it managed to capture "the wisdom of Pooh" whom she said is "a bear of very little brain, but also a bear of very big heart".[10] Kristen Burr felt that "They were so lucky to get Jim [Cummings], as soon as the audience hear[s] him read his lines, a feeling of nostalgia washes over the audience and makes them smile".
  • Tigger:
    A toy tiger who lives in the Hundred Acre Wood who loves to bounce around on his tail like a spring.[10]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Initially in 2003, Brigham Taylor, inspired by the last chapter of The House at Pooh Corner, pitched to Disney an idea about a Winnie the Pooh film focusing on an adult Christopher Robin. However, due to other Pooh projects being in development at the time, the project was not pitched for a film.[1] Kristin Burr later convinced Taylor to resurrect the project, which the two then started working on.[1]

On April 2, 2015, Walt Disney Pictures announced that a live-action adaptation based on the characters from the Winnie the Pooh franchise was in development which would take a similar pattern to 2010's Alice in Wonderland, 2014's Maleficent, and 2015's Cinderella. Alex Ross Perry was hired to write the script and Brigham Taylor hired to produce the film, about an adult Christopher Robin returning to the Hundred Acre Wood to spend time with Pooh and the gang.[16] On November 18, 2016, it was reported that the studio had hired Marc Forster to direct the film, titled Christopher Robin, and the project would have "strong elements of magical realism as it seeks to tell an emotional journey with heartwarming adventure."[17] On March 1, 2017, Tom McCarthy was hired to rewrite the existing screenplay.[18]

Casting[edit]

On April 26, 2017, Ewan McGregor was announced to play the title character while Allison Schroeder was recruited to do additional work on the script.[19][20] On June 22, 2017, it was revealed that Gemma Arterton had been in negotiations to portray the wife of the title character but, ultimately, she passed on the role.[21] In August and September 2017, Hayley Atwell and Mark Gatiss were cast as Evelyn, Christopher Robin's wife and Giles Winslow, Christopher Robin's boss, Nick Mohammed was cast as Piglet, while Jim Cummings was confirmed to be reprising his role as Winnie the Pooh, and Brad Garrett was revealed to be voicing Eeyore.[22][23][24][25] In January 2018, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo and Toby Jones were cast as Rabbit, Kanga and Owl respectively. Chris O'Dowd was originally set to voice Tigger, but his lines were re-dubbed by Cummings, who has played the character partially since 1988 and fully since 2000, after audiences in test screenings reacted negatively towards how O’Dowd voiced the character.[26][27]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the film began in early August 2017, in the United Kingdom,[28][29][21] and concluded on November 4, 2017.[30] Much of the filming of the Hundred Acre Wood scenes took place at Ashdown Forest, which was the original inspiration for the setting, as well as Windsor Great Park, at Shepperton Studios and at Dover seafront and the former Dover Marine Station, now the town's cruise terminal which doubled as a London railway station.[1]

Music[edit]

Jóhann Jóhannsson was hired to score the film, shortly before his death on February 9, 2018.[31] The film is dedicated to his memory.[1] Klaus Badelt was announced as taking over composing duties for Jóhannsson,[32] but the score was ultimately written by Jon Brion[33] and Geoff Zanelli.[34]

At an Academy event, songwriter and Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman revealed that the film would feature the iconic "Winnie the Pooh" theme, and that he was working on three new songs for the film,[35] titled "Goodbye Farewell", "Busy Doing Nothing" and "Christopher Robin",[1] with the first one being performed by the voice cast,[1] and the last two by Sherman.[1] Sherman said that he found "very special to be back at the Hundred Acre Wood" as "Winnie the Pooh became a dear friend of [his] when Walt gave [to the Sherman Brothers] the assignment to write songs for the first Winnie the Pooh short film",[1] and felt the film has "a wonderful story".[36] Sherman said that he wrote "Busy Doing Nothing" based on the fact that "[Pooh] is always busy. Doing nothing. And he's very proud of the fact he does nothing", and said "it was fun to write".[36] He called the song "Christopher Robin" "a sweet, nostalgic, memory of a love song between Winnie the Pooh and Christopher [Robin]", and said the lyrics "are part of the storyline [of the film]".[36]

"Up, Down and Touch the Ground" and "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers", both written by Richard and his brother Robert B. Sherman and performed by Cummings as Pooh and Tigger, respectively, are also included in the film.[1] The film's soundtrack, featuring Zanelli and Brion's score, and Sherman's new songs, was released on August 3, 2018.[37]

All tracks are written by Geoff Zanelli and Jon Brion except where noted.

Track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)ArtistLength
1."Storybook"  1:22
2."Goodbye Farewell"Richard M. ShermanJim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Mohammed & Sara Sheen1:19
3."Not Doing Nothing Anymore"  2:49
4."I Would Have Liked It to Go on For a While Longer"  2:04
5."Chapters"  2:59
6."Evelyn Goes It Alone"  2:33
7."Easy to Lose Your Way on a Foggy Day"  2:04
8."Through the Tree"  1:25
9."It's Not Stress, It's Pooh"  1:28
10."Train Station"  2:28
11."Sussex"  1:12
12."Returning to the Hundred Acre Wood"  4:26
13."Did You Let Me Go?"  3:37
14."Swimmer or Sinker"  2:11
15."Heffalump Battle"  1:30
16."Is It Christopher Robin?"  1:40
17."But I Found You, Didn't I?"  2:35
18."Madelyn's Red Balloon"  0:54
19."Expotition to London"  4:14
20."Nothing Ever Bad Came from Bouncing"  1:40
21."A Father of Very Little Brain"  3:34
22."My Favorite Day"  2:43
23."I Do Nothing Every Day"  2:57
24."Busy Doing Nothing"ShermanSherman0:45
25."Christopher Robin"ShermanSherman1:18

Visual effects[edit]

Visual effects studios Framestore and Method Studios, are leading the animation for the Hundred Acre Wood characters, with Overall Vfx Supervisor Chris Lawrence and Animation Supervisor Michael Eames leading the teams.[38]

Release[edit]

Christopher Robin premiered in Burbank, California on July 30, 2018,[7] and was released on August 3, 2018 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.[39] The film was denied release in China, as some have speculated it was due to Chinese netizens drawing comparisons between Winnie the Pooh and Chinese leader Xi Jinping since mid-2017. Other industry insiders speculated it was likely due to reasons such as the film's size and the presence of other Hollywood films in the market.[40][41]

Marketing[edit]

The first teaser poster for the film was released on March 5, 2018 and the first teaser trailer was released the following day.[42]

The new poster for the film was released on May 24, 2018 and the new trailer was released the following day during Ewan McGregor's appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[43]

Home media[edit]

Christopher Robin was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 6, 2018.[44] The film debuted in second place behind Incredibles 2 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart for the week ending on November 11, 2018.[45] The film premiered on Netflix USA and Canada on March 5, 2019.[46]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Christopher Robin grossed $99.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $98.4 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $197.6 million.[5]

In the United States and Canada, Christopher Robin was released alongside The Spy Who Dumped Me, The Darkest Minds, and Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time?.[47] The film made $9.5 million on its first day, including $1.5 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $24.6 million, finishing second at the box office behind holdover Mission: Impossible – Fallout.[48][49] The film fell 47% to $13 million in its second weekend, finishing third behind The Meg and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.[50][51] The film finished sixth in its third through fifth weekends, grossing $8.9 million, $6.3 million, and $5.3 million, respectively.[52][53][54]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 73% based on 260 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Christopher Robin may not equal A. A. Milne's stories – or their animated Disney adaptations – but it should prove sweet enough for audiences seeking a little childhood magic."[55] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[56] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.[48]

Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times reviewed the film this way: "Once Christopher Robin softens its insufferable, needlessly cynical conception of the title character, it offers more or less what a Pooh reboot should: a lot of nostalgia, a bit of humor and tactile computer animation."[57] And David Sims of The Atlantic wrote, "It's an odd, melancholic experience that at times recalls Terrence Malick as it does A. A. Milne, but there will certainly be some viewers in its exact wheelhouse."[58] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and said, "Pooh's wisdom and kindness cannot be denied. The same impulses worked for the two Paddington movies, God knows. Christopher Robin isn't quite in their league, but it's affecting nonetheless."[59] Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair gave the film a positive review and heavily praised the voice performance from Cummings, calling it "Oscar-worthy". Overall, he said, "As Winnie the Pooh (and Tigger too), the veteran voice actor gives such sweet, rumpled, affable life to the wistful bear of literary renown that it routinely breaks the heart. Cummings's performance understands something more keenly than the movie around it; he taps into a vein of humor and melancholy that is pitched at an exact frequency, one that will speak to child and adult alike. His Pooh is an agreeable nuisance and an accidental philosopher, delivering nonsensical (and yet entirely sensible) adages in a friendly, deliberate murmur ringed faintly with sadness. I wanted to (gently) yank him from the screen and take him home with me, his fuzzy little paw in mine as we ambled to the subway, the summer sun fading behind us. He's a good bear, this Pooh."[60]

Conversely, Alonso Duralde of TheWrap called the film "slow and charmless" and wrote, "What we're left with is a Hook-style mid-life crisis movie aimed at kids, designed to shame parents who spend too much time at the office and not enough with their families."[61] Helen O'Hara of Empire magazine gave the film a 2 out of 5 stars and said "Everyone's trying hard, but they can't quite live up to the particularly gentle, warm tone of Pooh himself. Unlike the bear of very little brain, this is a film pulled in different directions with entirely too many thoughts in its head".[62]

The performance of Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin was particularly well received. David Fear of Rolling Stone said, "He's an actor who can roll with this movie's punches, whether it requires him to be light on his feet or dragged down by existential despair, exhilarated by childlike play or exasperated by a house-wrecking creature who says things like, 'People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day'." [63] Adam Forsgren for East Idaho News wrote, "First and foremost is McGregor's performance in the title role. The guy sells being the put-upon, overburdened office drone so well that it's a treat to see him begin to rediscover his younger self and let himself play...McGregor is the glue that holds this whole movie together." [64] Stephanie Zacharek of Time magazine stated, "But it's doubtful the movie would work at all if not for McGregor: He turns Christopher's anxiety into a haunting presence, the kind of storm cloud that we can all, now and then, feel hovering above us. Yet McGregor is also an actor capable of expressing unalloyed delight. And when, as Christopher Robin, he finally does, some of that delight rubs off on us too." [65] Brian Lowry also noted in his review for CNN, "Give much of the credit to McGregor in the thankless task of playing opposite his adorably furry co-stars, ably handling the comedy derived from the fact that he doesn't dare let others see them." [66]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
People's Choice Awards November 11, 2018 The Family Movie of 2018 Christopher Robin Nominated [67]
San Diego Film Critics Society December 10, 2018 Best Visual Effects Runner-up [68]
Golden Tomato Awards January 11, 2019 Best Kids and Family Movie 2nd Place [69]
Annie Awards February 2, 2019 Character Animation in a Live Action Production Arslan Elver, Laurent Laban, Kayn Garcia, Claire Blustin, Marc-André Coulombe Nominated [70]
Visual Effects Society Awards February 5, 2018 Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature Chris Lawrence, Steve Gaub, Michael Eames, Glenn Melenhorst and Chris Corbould Nominated [71]
Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature Arslan Elver, Kayn Garcia, Laurent Laban and Mariano Mendiburu for Tigger Nominated
Humanitas Prize February 8, 2019 Family Feature Film Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder, Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson Nominated [72]
Academy Awards February 24, 2019 Best Visual Effects Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould Nominated [73]
Golden Trailer Awards May 29, 2019 Best Animation/Family Christopher Robin ("Into The Wood") Nominated [74]
Best Home Ent Family/Animation Christopher Robin ("Announce Trailer") Nominated

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