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Tom & Jerry (2021 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tom and Jerry
A grey cat, on a skateboard, with a mouse on his head, looks shocked as they speed down the middle of a city street full of traffic.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTim Story
Written byKevin Costello
Based onTom and Jerry
by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced byChris DeFaria
Starring
CinematographyAlan Stewart
Edited byPeter S. Elliot
Music byChristopher Lennertz
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • February 26, 2021 (2021-02-26) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$50–79 million[3][4]
Box office$136.5 million[3][5]

Tom & Jerry (marketed as Tom & Jerry: The Movie)[6] is a 2021 American live-action/computer-animated slapstick comedy film based on the titular cartoon characters of the same name created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, produced by Warner Animation Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the second theatrical film based on the characters, following Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992), and the third to animate them in the contemporary real world with humans, following Anchors Aweigh (1945) and Dangerous When Wet (1953), like the original cartoons.[7] The film's story follows Tom enlisted to catch Jerry, before his presence ruins New York City's fanciest hotel and its planned wedding.

The film is directed by Tim Story and written by Kevin Costello.[8] It stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Colin Jost, Rob Delaney, Pallavi Sharda, Jordan Bolger, Patsy Ferran, and Ken Jeong in live-action roles, with Nicky Jam, Bobby Cannavale, and Lil Rel Howery in voice roles. The titular characters are voiced by William Hanna via archival recordings, with additional vocals from Kaiji Tang and André Sogliuzzo (though the characters are listed as themselves in the credits). Starting with a live-action film in 2009, to an animated film in 2015, and to a hybrid film blending stylized animation and live-action in 2018 (with filming beginning in 2019),[9] the film languished in development hell as the studio spent years finding a writer to pen the most faithful take on the franchise and characters for a feature film.[10][11]

Tom & Jerry was theatrically released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on February 26, 2021, along with a one-month simultaneous streaming release on HBO Max. The film was a box office success and grossed $136 million worldwide against a $79 million production budget. However, it received generally negative reviews from critics, who criticized the human characters and screenplay, but praised its animation and sense of nostalgia.[12]

Plot

In a world co-populated by humans and cartoon animals, Tom Cat, who dreams of becoming a pianist, moves to Manhattan and buskes in Central Park while Jerry Mouse is in search of a new home. After Tom's keyboard is destroyed in an altercation, he chases Jerry, but accidentally tackles a young woman named Kayla Forester, causing her to lose her job. Down on her luck, Kayla wants to prove her talents and looks for a position at New York's fanciest hotel, the Royal Gate, where Jerry moves in and Tom fails to break in. Kayla, with a stolen resume, is hired to help plan a high-profile wedding and gets a tour of the hotel, while Jerry's usual antics involve stealing food and items to ramp up his new home, and Tom plans more strategies to enter the hotel and capture Jerry.

Local celebrities Preeta Mehta and her fiancé Ben are greeted, as they arrive, along with their pets Spike and Toots. All, except for Spike, are unaware of Jerry stealing from Preeta's handbag. As the couple and their pets are escorted to their room, Jerry's presence is revealed, which puts the wedding and the hotel at risk. Kayla offers to catch Jerry, but fails and realizes that he'll be hard to catch. After many failed attempts, Tom successfully enters the hotel, and his ensuing chase after Jerry wrecks a hotel room. Due to noise complaints, Kayla comes to check, but she befriends Tom, due to their shared goal of catching Jerry. Owner Mr. Dubros hires Tom to exterminate Jerry, while Tom and Kayla's boss Terence threatens to fire them, if Tom can't catch Jerry.

After many failed attempts, Tom designs an elaborate mouse trap and gets Jerry out of the hotel. Meanwhile, Kayla helps with the wedding plans and learns from Preeta that her engagement ring is missing. Jerry returns and reveals to Kayla that he had Preeta's ring, and he agrees to give it back to her, if she lets him live in the hotel. Before Kayla can agree, Terence returns from walking Spike, and notices Tom looking for Jerry hiding in Kayla's coat pocket, but creates a huge scene that causes Spike, Tom, and Jerry to destroy the hotel's lobby.

Terence is suspended, while Kayla is promoted to event manager, for returning the ring stolen by Jerry. Kayla tells Tom and Jerry that they will have to get along and spend the next day bonding, if they want to stay in the hotel, to which they reluctantly agree. While Kayla takes care of the hotel and manages the wedding with the crew, Tom and Jerry explore the city, but are imprisoned at a pound, after inadvertently disrupting a New York Yankees baseball game by committing fan interference. A vengeful Terence separately visits Tom and Jerry, and feeds them lies of what they said about each other behind their back, inciting them to a battle at the ceremony that throws the wedding into carnage and destroys the rest of the hotel.

After Kayla comes clean and leaves in humiliation, Terence evicts Tom and Preeta renounces the wedding. A sorrowful Tom and Jerry put their differences aside, and convince Kayla and the hotel crew, including a sceptical Terence, to salvage the wedding. While the pair lure Preeta and Toots to Central Park, where the wedding is held at. Kayla promises to Preeta that Tom and Jerry have atoned for their behaviour, and Ben apologizes to Preeta for his extensive expenses, in light of impressing her dad. Kayla and the stolen resume's owner reconcile with each other and get jobs at the hotel, while Tom strives to be a pianist and plays the piano for Toots, with Jerry joining the party, until a mishap causes them to fight again.

In a post-credit scene, Ben receives a bill for both weddings.

Cast

  • Chloë Grace Moretz as Kayla Judith Forester, a young inexperienced wedding planner of the Royal Gate Hotel who enlists Tom to catch Jerry
  • Michael Peña as Terence Mendoza, the event manager of the Royal Gate Hotel, and the boss of Tom and Kayla
  • Colin Jost as Ben, the groom of the Royal Gate Hotel's planned wedding and Spike's owner
  • Rob Delaney as Mr. Henry Dubros, the jovial general manager and owner of the Royal Gate Hotel
  • Pallavi Sharda as Preeta Mehta, the bride of the Royal Gate Hotel's planned wedding, and Toots' owner
  • Jordan Bolger as Cameron, a bartender at the Royal Gate Hotel
  • Patsy Ferran as Joy the Bell Girl, a socially awkward Royal Gate Hotel bellhop
  • Ken Jeong as Chef Jackie, a chef and baker at the Royal Gate Hotel
  • Paolo Bonolis as wedding guest
  • Ozuna as assistant hotel staff

Voice and animated cast

Production

Development

Plans for a Tom and Jerry film were announced in 2009, as a live-action/CGI hybrid film, following the success of Alvin and the Chipmunks. It would've followed Tom and Jerry's origins over a Chicago backdrop, and would've been produced by Dan Lin, from a script written by Eric Gravning.[17]

On April 6, 2015, plans shifted from a live-action film to a CGI-animated film, with a script written by Bryan Schulz and Cornelius Uliano.[18][19] It would've followed a young family moving into a New England country house inhabited by Jerry, to which they adopt a stray cat named Tom to get rid of him, until the duo decide to learn about friendship and family, to protect the family and their house from an outside threat.[20] A big majority of the script ended up being recycled for Tom and Jerry: Cowboy Up!.

In October 2018, Tim Story was hired to direct a Tom and Jerry film set to blend "classic animation and live-action",[21][22] inspired by the same technique used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which would begin filming in 2019, with a script written by Kevin Costello that was pitched in 2017[23] and purely influenced from the original cartoons.[24][7][25][26] It was reported that Story immediately mentioned his "admiration for the characters and how he'd love tackling that property.", when he was in discussions with Warner Bros. executives about what he was interested in directing.[27] Claiming that it was his dream project to direct a Tom and Jerry film.[28] While Costello's idea was to place the cat and mouse in a fancy New York hotel.[29] Director Tim Story, producer Chris DeFaria, and writer Kevin Costello all aimed to make the film stay in the vein of the original cartoons and characters that they also agreed to use the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons as reference material for the film, which the studio gave them access to.[30][31] In addition to the original Tom and Jerry theatrical shorts and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the film also took inspiration from silent cinema.[32] During production, Story also ran through many of the classic shorts from memory,[33][34] went back to read about the history behind the franchise,[35] and hoped the film will appeal to both longtime fans and a new generation of audiences.[36]

Working on Tom and Jerry was a hugely exciting and intimidating experience. There’s a reason these characters are still so popular, 81 years later, all over the world, and I wanted to be extremely careful to honor that. Tom and Jerry had to be themselves, look like themselves, not talk like themselves, and obviously, engage in absurd, gleeful, over-the-top cartoon violence. I had so much fun going through the old shorts, trying to break everything down on a character level, and finding ways to recontextualize classic elements in a way that felt nostalgic but new.

— Kevin Costello

Casting

In March 2019, it was reported that Zoey Deutch and Olivia Cooke were frontrunners for the lead live-action role of Kayla, "who teams up with Tom to stop the pesky Jerry from ruining an important event for herself." Additionally, Sofia Carson, Elle Fanning, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariel Winter, Naomi Scott, Meg Donnelly, Hailee Steinfeld, Yara Shahidi, Kelly Marie Tran, Becky G and Isabela Moner were all in consideration for the role.[37] Later that month, it was reported that Peter Dinklage was being considered for the role of Terrance, Kayla's boss and the human antagonist of the film.[38] In April, Chloë Grace Moretz was in final negotiations to star in the film.[39][40] Moretz described Kayla as "a lot like Jerry" and as "a girl who gunned for what she wanted to achieve but realizes that time and honesty is what will prevail in the end", as well as "a total goofball", the latter aspect which allowed Moretz to "lean into who [she is] in real life".[41] She also said Kayla is "a little unlikeable with some of the decisions she makes", yet she still wanted the character to feel likeable.[32] Moretz was inspired in her performance by Bob Hoskins' performance as Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as well as by actresses Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, Lucille Ball, and Meg Ryan.[32] Moretz, an avid fan of the source material, also says the film harkens back to the Tom and Jerry we love.[42] In May 2019, Michael Peña joined the cast in the role Dinklage was eyed for.[43] Colin Jost, Ken Jeong, Rob Delaney, Jordan Bolger and Pallavi Sharda were added to the cast in July.[44][45] Patsy Ferran was revealed to be part of the cast in September 2019.[46] Besides Moretz, Peña, Jost, Jeong, Delaney, Bolger, Sharda and Ferran have also all grown up with Tom and Jerry and were thrilled to take their roles.[30][47][48][49] When Chloë was also first given the script, she was openly anxious about the film and worried that a more modern take on the characters wouldn't work. She ended up being proud of the film's faithfulness to the material and characters, and felt it's a great way to introduce them to a new generation of audiences.[50]

In November 2020, Nicky Jam and Lil Rel Howery revealed that they have been cast in the film in voice roles.[51][52] On December 2, 2020, Jam revealed that he will be the voice of Butch Cat in the film.[53]

Filming

Principal photography began in July 2019 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Hertfordshire, England.[54] The film was shot by cinematographer Alan Stewart, on the Sony VENICE cinema cameras and Panavision Primo 70 and Primo Artiste Lenses.[55] Animators were present during filming, allowing cast members to improvise while figures of the animated characters were handled by puppeteers.[32] Filming ended before the industry's temporary shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[56]

Visual effects and animation

Both visual effects and animation services were provided by Framestore, who hired 3D animators with experience and passion for 2D animation to animate the film. The animators used a stylized 3D/CGI VFX modeling medium to help create animation techniques and custom tools (such as lighting and rendering) used for 2D animation, to help maintain the look, feel, and spirit of the classic 2D animation and art style of the original classic shorts from the 1940s and 1950s.[57][58] The animators also used early Tom and Jerry shorts from the '40s and '50s as reference and inspiration for the animation sequences.[59] Work on the animation was done remotely during the pandemic, with the filmmakers doing creative exploration on certain shots, and finalizing material through production groups.[60][56] Numerous animators who worked on films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam have also been involved with the animation of the movie.[30] Director Tim Story passionately coined the term "2D+ animation", for the technique of stylizing 3D animation to embrace the look and feel of 2D animation.[61]

Additional animation work was also done to its cinematography. To help recreate the realistic yet vibrant world of the original cartoons, aspects like the sky, leaves, and some stylized objects the characters use were shaded to look 2D[62], and the original cartoons were also used as reference for its production design (including its details, like vibrancy and color palette saturation). As Story said:

As we were talking before about design, there's a homage to the older world that we wanted to bring. There's a famous short where Jerry goes to Manhattan – I think it's called "Mouse in Manhattan" — and he goes to Manhattan, and he sees New York for the first time and the skyscrapers. We wanted to be sure that we were able to kind of recreate the sense of that.

— Tim Story, in an interview to Below the Line [63]

Music

On July 22, 2020, it was announced that Tim Story's recurring collaborator and composer Christopher Lennertz was set to compose the score of the film.[64] The album was released by WaterTower Music on February 12, having 30 tracks.[65] For the film's music, Lennertz and the crew also looked back to the music of the original cartoons as inspiration.[36] Which even includes creating an exclusive theme tune for Tom and Jerry that plays during the end credits of the movie.[66] A short version of the theme tune is also available on the soundtrack.[67]

For the movie's sound design, editor Peter S. Elliot used many of the same sound effects from the original MGM cartoons and edited them to sound beefier.[11]

Release

Theatrical and streaming

Tom and Jerry was released in the United States on February 26, 2021, by Warner Bros. Pictures, in theaters and for a month streaming on HBO Max. The movie coincidentally released on Tex Avery's birthdate, in which the movie stars for a brief second one of Avery's characters, Droopy, in an animal shelter and on a Joker parody billboard.[68][69][70] It is the first film to officially debut the new Warner Animation Group logo to match with the new shield that Warner Bros. debuted in November 2019.[71] It was originally scheduled to be released on April 16, 2021,[72] but was pushed up to December 23, 2020.[73] The film was then pushed back to March 5, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before moving up a week in order to avoid competition with Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon.[74] Samba TV estimated that 1.2 million U.S. households streamed the film over its opening weekend on HBO Max.[75] By the end of its first month, the film was watched in over 2.6 million U.S. households.[76]

On March 8, 2021, some HBO Max viewers who attempted to watch the film were accidentally shown Zack Snyder's Justice League, a movie which was supposed to release 10 days later. HBO Max quickly fixed the issue within two hours.[77]

Marketing

A float of the characters appeared in the 94th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to promote the film.[78]

On September 1, 2020, it was announced that Australian toy company Moose Toys and the Lego group made a deal with Warner Bros. to make merchandise for the film.[79]

On February 20, 2021, Warner Bros. released two new shorts onto HBO Max titled Tom and Jerry Special Shorts to honor the 81st anniversary of Tom and Jerry, as well as to promote the film. These shorts share the same animation style and come from the same crew of HBO Max's new Looney Tunes Cartoons, also produced by Warner Bros. Animation.[80][81][82][better source needed] The shorts were removed a month later for unknown reasons, but were brought back on July 8, 2021.[83] The film's writer, Kevin Costello, has also seen the shorts and acclaimed them.[84]

On March 6, 2021, Rob Delaney had been the star guest Announcer for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, whereas the titular characters made an appearance themselves with Sir Tom Jones.[85][86]

Home media

The film was available for rent on April 16, while Warner Bros. Home Entertainment released it on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital on May 18, 2021.[3][87][88] The film was re-added to HBO Max on July 15, 2021.

Reception

Box office

Tom and Jerry grossed $46.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $90 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $136.5 million.[3][5]

In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $4 million from 2,479 theaters on its first day of release. It went on to debut to $14.1 million, the second-best opening weekend of the pandemic behind Warner Bros.'s December release Wonder Woman 1984 ($16.7 million). The opening weekend audiences were 51% female and 46% under the age of 17, while 35% was Hispanic, 33% Caucasian, 21% African American, and 11% Asian.[4] David Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, said of the figure: "With half of theaters still closed, the pandemic still a threat, and Tom & Jerry available at home, this is a very good opening."[89] In its second weekend the film grossed $6.6 million and in its third made $4 million, finishing second behind newcomer Raya and the Last Dragon both times.[90][91]

The film was initially released in seven international markets, grossing $1.45 million; Singapore led with $457,000.[92] By its second weekend of international release the film was playing in 16 markets, including debuting at number one in Brazil ($746,000) and Mexico ($395,000).[93]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 30% based on 128 reviews, with an average rating of 4.70/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "It isn't the worst of the long-squabbling duo's feature-length adventures, but Tom & Jerry is disappointingly short on the anarchic spirit of their classic shorts."[94] On Metacritic, the film a has weighted average score of 32 out of 100 based on 20 critics, the film received "generally unfavorable reviews".[95] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 79% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 60% saying they would definitely recommend it.[4]

The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore said that audiences should just "rewatch Roger Rabbit instead" and wrote: "Tim Story's Tom & Jerry is five to ten minutes of action that might have worked in one of the cartoon duo's shorts, surrounded by an inordinate amount of unimaginative, unfunny human-based conflict."[96] Kevin Maher of The Times gave the film a score of 1 out of 5 stars, writing: "nothing will prepare you for the tone-deaf nature of this live-action abomination that inserts our cartoon protagonists, Who Framed Roger Rabbit-style, into a crass Manhattan misadventure about a celebrity wedding gone awry."[97] Benjamin Lee of The Guardian gave the film a score of 2 out of 5 stars, writing: "While there's little to truly loathe in Fantastic Four and Ride Along director Tim Story's frantic new take on Tom & Jerry, there's also an equal lack of anything to truly love; this is a serviceable, if entirely forgettable attempt to relaunch an old property for a new audience."[98] Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent gave the film a score of 1 out of 5 stars, describing it as "the cinematic equivalent of a sausage casing stuffed with mystery meat", though she praised Moretz's performance.[99]

Matt Fowler of IGN gave the film a score of 6/10, and wrote: "Tom & Jerry is a sufficient family offering with a cool cast, a sparkling soundtrack, and occasional fun. It's too bad that Tom and Jerry often feel like afterthoughts in their own film and that there wasn't much more for them to do other than serve the story of others."[100] Charlotte O'Sullivan of the Evening Standard gave the film a score of 3 out of 5 stars, writing: "Ignore catty reviews that present this caper as soulless. Though horribly flawed, its internal organs are in the right place."[101] A staff of The Banner named Brooke Price, who also mentions the film's production as reference, was positive on the film, praising its nostalgic feel, its blend of classic animation and live-action, and its faithfulness to the source material.[102] Peter Debruge of Variety was also positive on the film and said: "Truth be told, the movie's a pretty faithful extension of the frenemies' long-running feud — basically, the two cannot peacefully coexist under the same roof — and as such, we should be grateful to director Tim Story (Shaft) and screenwriter Kevin Costello (Brigsby Bear) for not dropping a two-ton anvil on our nostalgia, the way so many big-studio toonsploitation projects have in recent years."[70]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2021
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Time Waster Remake or Sequel Award Tom and Jerry Nominated [103]
She Deserves a New Agent Award Chloe Grace Moretz Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Family Movie Tom and Jerry Nominated [104]
2022
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel Nominated [105]
Worst Screen Combo Tom & Jerry (aka Itchy & Scratchy) Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Tom and Jerry Nominated [106]

Television spin-off

Tom and Jerry in New York is an HBO Max original animated series produced by Warner Bros. Animation (outsourced by Renegade Animation, the team behind the 2014 Cartoon Network TV series The Tom and Jerry Show) that is a follow-up to the film, which follows Tom and Jerry as new residents of the Royal Gate Hotel, with their usual antics and mayhem to follow them all over the hotel and beyond, going across Manhattan, New York City. It was released on July 1, 2021.[107]

References

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External links

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