|Tom & Jerry|
|Directed by||Tim Story|
|Produced by||Chris DeFaria|
|Written by||Kevin Costello|
|Music by||Christopher Lennertz|
|Edited by||Peter S. Elliot|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$118.1 million|
Tom & Jerry (marketed as Tom & Jerry: The Movie) 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 the Warner Animation Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the second theatrical film based on the characters following 1992's Tom and Jerry: The Movie. The film follows Jerry taking refuge in a fancy hotel, which has a young employee teaming up with Tom to exterminate Jerry before his presence threatens the hotel and its important wedding that's set to take place.
The film is directed by Tim Story and written by Kevin Costello. It stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Colin Jost, Rob Delaney, Pallavi Sharda 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, Mel Blanc and June Foray via archival recordings, alongside Frank Welker, Kaiji Tang and André Sogliuzzo, though the characters are listed as themselves in the credits. Originally announced as a live-action/computer-animated film in 2009, the film languished in development hell for several years. Plans eventually shifted to producing an entirely animated film, in the same vein as the original theatrical shorts, in 2015. The film again became a live-action/animated hybrid in 2018, with animation produced by the Warner Animation Group, and filming beginning in 2019.
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, receiving generally negative reviews from critics. It grossed $118.1 million on a $79 million budget and was the ninth highest-grossing film of 2021.
In Manhattan, Tom, who dreams of becoming a pianist, plays in Central Park, while his longtime rival Jerry is in search of a new home. After Tom's keyboard is destroyed in a fight, he chases Jerry but bumps into Kayla Forester. Looking for a position at New York's fanciest hotel, the Royal Gate, Kayla presents a stolen resume as her own and is hired to help set up a high-profile wedding. Jerry takes refuge into the hotel, while Tom comes up with various strategies to enter the hotel to get Jerry.
Local celebrities Preeta Mehta and her fiancé Ben arrive, along with their pets Spike and Toots. As the couple are escorted to their room, Jerry's presence is revealed, which puts the wedding and the hotel at risk. Kayla offers to help catch Jerry, but fails and eventually befriends Tom by teaming up with him to pursue Jerry. After many failed attempts, Tom designs a big mouse trap and gets Jerry out of the hotel. Meanwhile, Kayla learns from Preeta that her engagement ring is missing. Jerry returns and reveals to Kayla that he had Preeta's ring with him, and, he agrees to give it back to her if she lets him stay in the hotel. Before Kayla can agree, Terence returns from walking Spike, and the ensuing chase destroys the hotel lobby.
Terence is put on leave, while Kayla takes over as event manager for returning the ring stolen by Jerry. Kayla tells Tom and Jerry that, if they want to stay in the hotel, the pair will have to get along and spend the whole next day far away from the hotel, to which they agree. While Kayla takes care of the hotel and manages the wedding with the crew, Tom and Jerry bond during their trip but are taken to a pet compound after they inadvertently disrupt a baseball game. Terence separately visits Tom and Jerry, and tells lies of what the pair said to each other behind their backs, which incites them to fight at the wedding, resulting in the rest of the hotel getting destroyed.
Tom and Jerry finally decide to work together and convince Kayla and the hotel crew, which includes a reluctant Terence, to salvage the wedding, to make up for the hotel being destroyed by their cat-and-mouse battle. The wedding is held at Central Park, where Ben apologizes to Preeta because of the extensive expenses, in light of impressing her dad. Kayla gets a job at the hotel along with the woman whose resume she had taken, and, Tom and Jerry are allowed to stay at the hotel as well, with Tom also achieving his career as the hotel's pianist.
Plans for a live-action Tom and Jerry film were announced in 2009, after the success of Alvin and the Chipmunks, and would’ve followed Tom and Jerry's origins over a Chicago backdrop. The film would’ve been produced by Dan Lin, from a script written by Eric Gravning.
On April 6, 2015, plans shifted from a live-action film to a fully animated film, that would stay "in the same vein as the source material".
In October 2018, it was announced that Tim Story would direct a live-action/animated Tom and Jerry film for Warner Bros., which would begin filming in 2019. It was reported that Story was in discussions with Warner Bros. executives about what he was interested in directing, even before directing the new Shaft film. When the Tom and Jerry film was brought up, Story immediately "mentioned his admiration for the characters and how he'd love tackling that property."
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. 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. In April, Chloë Grace Moretz was in final negotiations to star in the film. 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". She also said Kayla is "a little unlikeable with some of the decisions she makes", yet she still wanted the character to feel likeable. 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. In May 2019, Michael Peña joined the cast in the role Dinklage was eyed for. Colin Jost, Ken Jeong, Rob Delaney, Jordan Bolger and Pallavi Sharda were added to the cast in July. Patsy Ferran was revealed to be part of the cast in September 2019.
In November 2020, Nicky Jam and Lil Rel Howery revealed that they have been cast in the film in voice roles. On December 2, 2020, Jam revealed that he will be the voice of Butch Cat in the film.
Principal photography began in July 2019 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Hertfordshire, England. The film was shot by cinematographer Alan Stewart, on the Sony VENICE cinema cameras and Panavision Primo 70 and Primo Artiste Lenses. Animators were present during filming, allowing cast members to improvise while figures of the titular characters were handled by puppeteers. Filming ended before the industry's shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Animation services were provided by Framestore, who hired 3D animators with a passion for 2D animation for the project. The strategy the animators used was to base the animation off a stylized 3D/CGI VFX modeling medium through a vintage 2D finish by creating innovative rigging, animation techniques used to create 2D animation, and custom tools such as lighting and rendering, resulting in the film's 3D/CGI animation maintaining the look, feel, and spirit of 2D animation, in the vein of the original classic shorts in the 1940s and 1950s. The animators also used early Tom and Jerry shorts as reference and inspiration for the animation sequences. 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.
On July 22, 2020, it was announced that Tim Story's recurring collaborator and composer Christopher Lennertz is set to compose the score of the film. The album was released by WaterTower Music on February 12, having 30 tracks.
Tom & 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. 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. It was originally scheduled to be released on April 16, 2021, but was pushed up to December 23, 2020. 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. Samba TV estimated that 1.2 million U.S. households streamed the film over its opening weekend on HBO Max.
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.
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 style and crew of the other HBO Max original Looney Tunes Cartoons, also produced by Warner Bros. Animation.[better source needed]. The shorts were removed a month later for unknown reasons.
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 ($16.4 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. 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." 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.
The film was initially released in seven international markets, grossing $1.45 million; Singapore led with $457,000. 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).
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 31% of 125 critics have given the film a positive review, 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." According to Metacritic, which has assigned the film a weighted average score of 32 out of 100 based on 20 critics, the film received "generally unfavorable reviews". 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.
The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore said 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."
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." Peter Debruge of Variety said: "Yes, this movie is a hybrid, which means Tom and Jerry have a full cast of flesh-and-blood co-stars, but [director Tim Story] set a simple rule from the opening scene, and he sticks to it: Every single animal in the movie, from singing pigeons to an executive-suite goldfish, is presented as an endearingly designed cartoon character... it's good enough to go down easy."
DiscussingFilm gave the film 2/5, highlighting that even its beloved characters and detailed animation can't save its "dull and uninteresting" plot. They label it a "hollow retelling of films already seen before" with subpar writing, acting, and imagination.
Tom and Jerry in New York is an upcoming HBO Max original animated series produced by Warner Bros. Animation that is based on this movie, which will follow Tom and Jerry as new guests of The Royal Gate Hotel, with their antics and mayhem that is expected to follow all across Manhattan, New York City. It is expected to be released on July 1, 2021.
The only issue we have, and we're sorry to say this as we're usually big fans of the ampersand [...] is the replacement of the 'and' with an ampersand. The handwritten, underlined 'and' of previous iterations was spot on stylistically, and the style of this ampersand just doesn't seem to fit.
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