wicked this way hops!"
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
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
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
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
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!
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"...
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"...
Work on "Tortoise Vs Hare"
is suspended indefinitely, owing to script and story
problems, allowing Wallace and Gromit
to leapfrog into production...
Wallace and Gromit get a title change.
The film is now being referred to as
"Curse of the Were-Rabbit"...
The film officially starts shooting.
The character names of Lady Tottington and
Victor Quartermaine are revealed, together
with the owners of their star voices...
"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 film receives its first promotional
splash at the Westminster Dog Show in
the USA, and you can still see the results on
site. The first film
trailer followed shortly after, together with
the launch of the official web
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!
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
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...
"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...
"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...
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
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!...
Grand Day Out
Matter of Loaf and Death
of the Were-Rabbit
2 / DreamWorks / February 2005
of the Were-Rabbit (Widescreen Edition)
1 / DreamWorks / February 2005
an Aardman Animations production
Park, Steve Box
Jennings, Carla Shelley, Peter Lord,
David Sporxton, Nick Park
Rose, Cecil Kramer
Box, Nick Park, Bob Baker, Mark Burton
Oliver, Dave Alex-Riddett
prod design: Phil
McCormick, Greg Perler
Peter Sallis (Wallace)
Fiennes (Victor Quartermaine)
Bonham Carter (Lady Tottington)
Smith (Reverend Hedges)
Kay (P.C. McIntosh)
Smith (Mrs Mulch)
McEwan (Miss Thripp)
John Thomson (Mr Windfall)