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British Movie Toons

     "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman Animations / Dreamworks Animation)


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 Wallace and Gromit
   The Curse of
  the Were-Rabbit
     (2005)
  
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producers: Aardman / DreamWorks
   animation:
stop-motion animation
      run time: 85 mins

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    "Something wicked this way hops!"
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    Something strange is afoot in the allotments and gardens around Wallace and
    Gromit's West Wallaby Street home. Prized vegetables are being devoured, and
    their destruction looks like putting paid to the annual Vegetable Competition at
    Tottington Hall. Oh, but the culprit isn't just some small bucktoothed bunny.
    All the clues point to something much larger, more bucktoothed, more "bunnified"
    indeed, and Wallace and Gromit are soon in hot pursuit...

    Here it is, folks. It's the movie Aardman fans have long been waiting for and it
    doesn't disappoint. Nick Park and friends have spun us a spooky treat, stuffed
    with Hitchcockian thrills, B-movie chills, and - um, vegetables - as our
    heroes combat a Upper Class Oaf, his gnashing dog, and a rabbit with pointy
    teeth, straight out of Monty Python!

    The oaf in question is Victor Quartermaine, a swine with a shotgun and a
    yearning for the carrot-haired Lady Tottington. Victor is aided and abetted by
    his fang-stuffed pet Philip. Other new stars include the kooky Reverend Hedges,
    schoolteacher Miss Thripp, Mrs Mulch, Mr Windfall, and PC McIntosh. The
    voice cast includes star turns from Ralph Fiennes as Victor, Helena
    Bonham-Carter as Lady T. and comedian Peter Kay as the buffoonish
    policeman ("Watch out! - There may be a large rabbit dropping!"). And
    Toonhound's favourite? - That has to be the great gibbering perormance
    of Nicholas Smith as Reverend Hedges. He's a toothy tunic-wearing treat
    to behold!

    Unless you've been living in your own allotment over the last two decades, you'll
    know that Wallace and Gromit are the biggest plasticene stars in the UK. Via
    three award-winning half-hours films, several tv adverts and idents, a series of
    cracking shorts and half-an-island's worth of merchandising, Wallace and Gromit
    have scaled the heights of popularity. Verily, they are to Blighty what Mickey
    Mouse and Bugs Bunny are to the USA.

    "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" cost $30m (17m) to produce. It hopped onto
     cinema screens five years after Aardman's first animated feature film
     Chicken Run.
     
    
» Eagle-eyed viewers will notice new additions to some of the characters: Lips.
       That's right, Lady T and Mr. Quartermaine have rather large and malleable lips
       around their mouths, so they can over-express themselves gleefully!
   
    
» What's in a marrow? Well, quite a lot, as it happens. You see, Americans
       aren't supposedly familiar with the term, so the pressure was on to re-shoot
       scenes using the term "squash". But that would have been a very costly
       amendment, given the change in required mouth movements. So a
       compromise was reached. Thus, we in the UK still have the word "marrow",
       where the Americans hear the word "melon"...

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    Production timeline


     February 2002
     Long-discussed, but never quite finalized, the Wallace and Gromit movie
     is at last officially announced to the world, and its fanfare dovetails neatly with
     completion of the "Cracking Contraptions" short film series. It also gets a title.
     "The Great Vegetable Plot" is to go in to production upon completion of another
     Aardman film project, "Tortoise Vs Hare", and the film is mysteriously described
     as being "a vegetarian horror film"...

     June 2002
     Work on "Tortoise Vs Hare" is suspended indefinitely, owing to script and story
     problems, allowing Wallace and Gromit to leapfrog into production...

     July 2003
     Wallace and Gromit get a title change. The film is now being referred to as
     "Curse of the Were-Rabbit"...    

     October 2003
     The film officially starts shooting. The character names of Lady Tottington and
     Victor Quartermaine are revealed, together with the owners of their star voices...

      'Imagine' - talking to Nick Park...    'Imagine' - shots of some 'Were-Rabbit' folks?

     December 2003
     "Were-Rabbit" features in a BBC1 documentary about animation. Alan Yentob's
     "Imagine" film was shown on 10th December 2003 and it included shots of
     the Aardman crew working on the new film. The show gave us our very first
     glimpse of Lady Tottington and friends - although they weren't named during
     the documentary....

     March 2005
     The film receives its first promotional splash at the Westminster Dog Show in
     the USA, and you can still see the results on their official site. The first film
     trailer followed shortly after, together  with the launch of the official web site.

     May 2005
     The week commencing 9th May 2005 proves to be a busy one. The film's
     very first teaser poster is revealed to the world, and is followed by a press event
     at the Cannes Film Festival. Festival folk are greeted by  the creative personnel,
     alongside a thirty foot high inflatable Gromit which threatens to blow away
     at any moment!

     September 2005
     For reasons known only to the distributors, this great British movie actually
     premieres in Australia, prior to its USA and UK launches. The World Premiere
     is held in Sydney on September 4th, before the movie rolls out nationwide, on
     15th September.

     UIP report first weekend takings of $1.75 million in Australia and $175,000 in
     New  Zealand. In its second weekend, the Australian takings dip a slight 20%
     to $1.17 million. The film 's accumulation of $3.67 million is 53% ahead that of
     "Chicken Run", which bodes very well indeed for other markets...

     October 2005
     "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" has its star-studded UK premiere on Sunday,
     2nd October, at the Odeon, Leicester Square. Charity screenings are held
     simultaneously in Bristol and Manchester, with proceeds going to Wallace
     and Gromit's Children's Foundation.

     The film hops on to screens in the USA and Canada on October 7th, where
     it takes $16m, and captures the #1 box office position for the weekend.
     At the same time, the movie accrues $5m in UK previews, prior to its
     nationwide launch on October 14th...

     December 2005
     "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" is ranked fourth in Screen International's
     Top 10 box-office chart for 2005, having accrued some £32m in the UK.
     The final North American tally proved disappointing, with only $53m
     in receipts, but the film's international and critical success is undisputed...

     January 2006
     With nearly all theatrical markets having been played out, "Were-Rabbit"
     has amassed $183m worldwide. The release of "King Kong" and "The Lion,
     the Witch and the Wardrobe" are expected to push the film down to 6th on
     the UK's box-office Top 10 for 2005. But even so, the film has still taken
     more than Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise's "War of the Worlds", here.
     in blighty. Which tells us that rabbits beat aliens, hands down at
     the box-office!

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    Were back!

    There's a burrow's worth of hidden detail in this movie, you know. And to prove
    it, Toonhound has returned to Tottington Hall with Wallace, Gromit, and
    Lady Tottington to track some of it down!...


    The Hound returns to Tottington Hall ifor another look at Aardman/DreamWorks' "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"!

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     See also

    
A Grand Day Out
     A Close Shave

     A Matter of Loaf and Death

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Were-Rabbit on DVD

     UK DVD
Curse of the Were-Rabbit
                Region 2 / DreamWorks / February 2005

     USA DVD 
Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Widescreen Edition)
                Region 1 / DreamWorks / February 2005

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    principle credits

     
DreamWorks Animation presents
     an Aardman Animations production
     

    directors:        
Nick Park, Steve Box
    producers:      
Claire Jennings, Carla Shelley, Peter Lord,
                          David Sporxton, Nick Park

    exec-prod:
     Michael Rose, Cecil Kramer
    writers:          
Steve Box, Nick Park, Bob Baker, Mark Burton
    d.o.p:             
Tristan Oliver, Dave Alex-Riddett
    prod design:
   Phil Lewis
    music:            
Julian Nott
    editors:
          Dave McCormick, Greg Perler              
    voices:           Peter Sallis (Wallace)
                         Ralph Fiennes (Victor Quartermaine)
                         Helena Bonham Carter (Lady Tottington)
                         Nicholas Smith (Reverend Hedges)
                         Peter Kay (P.C. McIntosh)
                         Liz Smith (Mrs Mulch)    
                         Geraldine McEwan (Miss Thripp)     
                         John Thomson (Mr Windfall)

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      On the web


       
W&G 
       The US site...

       Wallace & Gromit
       Aardman's official W&G site...

      Aardman Animations

       Aardman's award-winning studio site...
       
       Wallace and Gromit.net
       Excellent fan site with all the very latest W&G news..


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