Coraline is a 2009 American stop-motion animated dark fantasy-horror film written and directed by Henry Selick based on the 2002 novella of the same name by Neil Gaiman. Produced by Laika as its first feature film, Coraline stars the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr., and Ian McShane. The film depicts an adventurous girl named Coraline finding an idealized parallel world behind a secret door in her new home, unaware that the alternative world contains a dark and sinister secret.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Henry Selick|
|Written by||Henry Selick|
by Neil Gaiman
|Music by||Bruno Coulais|
|Distributed by||Focus Features|
|Box office||$124.6 million|
The film was released in United States theaters on February 6, 2009 by Focus Features after a world premiere at the Portland International Film Festival, and received critical acclaim. The film made $16.85 million during opening weekend, ranking third at the box office, and by the end of its run had grossed over $124 million worldwide, making it the third highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time after Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Chicken Run. Coraline won Annie Awards for Best Music in an Animated Feature Production, Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production and Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production, and received nominations for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Eleven-year-old Coraline Jones and her parents, Mel and Charlie, move into an old mansion that has been divided up and is now known as the Pink Palace Apartments. Due to her parents struggling to complete their gardening catalog, Coraline is often ignored. Coraline meets the landlady's grandson, Wyborne "Wybie" Lovat, and the feral Black Cat who follows him around. Wybie later leaves Coraline a button-eyed rag doll he discovered in his grandmother's trunk that eerily resembles her. Soon after, Coraline discovers a small door in the living room that is bricked up and can only be unlocked by a button-shaped key.
That night, a mouse guides Coraline through the door, now a portal to a seemingly more colorful and cheerful version of her real home. Coraline meets her Other Mother and Other Father, button-eyed doppelgängers of her parents that appear more attentive and caring. Coraline later goes to bed and awakens in the back real world.
Wybie tells Coraline about his grandmother's twin sister who disappeared in the house as a child. Coraline’s neighbors, Mr. Bobinsky, an eccentric Russian gymnast who supposedly runs a mouse circus, and retired burlesque actresses Misses Spink and Forcible, cryptically warn her about the door and of imminent danger.
Coraline visits the Other World for a second and third time; where, accompanied by the Other Wybie, she is entertained by the Other Bobinsky and his mouse circus, and the Other Spink and Forcible. Coraline also encounters the Black Cat, who is able to traverse the two worlds and speak in the Other World. The Other Mother invites Coraline to stay in the Other World forever, on the condition she have buttons sewn over her eyes. Horrified, Coraline goes to bed, but finds, when she wakes up, she is still in the Other World. When Coraline demands to return home, the Other Mother transforms into a more menacing version of herself and imprisons Coraline in a mirror. There, Coraline meets the ghosts of the Other Mother's previous child victims, including Wybie's great aunt. The spirits reveal that the Other Mother, whom they call the "Beldam," used the same doll Coraline had (each time disguised as the child in question) to spy on them, taking advantage of their unhappiness and luring them into the Other World. After they agreed to let her sew buttons on their eyes, the Beldam "ate up" their lives, trapping their souls. Coraline promises to free them by finding their eyes. The Other Wybie frees her from the mirror and helps her escape back to the real world.
Coraline finds her parents missing, eventually realizing they have been kidnapped by the Beldam. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible give Coraline an adder stone for bad/lost things. That night, Coraline returns to the Other World accompanied by the Cat, where she proposes a game to the Beldam: if she can find the ghosts' eyes and her parents, they will all go free; if not, she will remain in the Other World and let the Beldam sew buttons over her eyes.
Coraline ventures into the now-hostile Other World, using the stone to find the children's eyes; with each eye she collects, part of the Other World disintegrates until only the living room is left. Coraline sees the Beldam in her true form, a metallic skeletal-humanoid arachnid creature with needle-like hands. She is warned that even if she wins, the Beldam will never let her go. Coraline tricks the Beldam into unlocking the portal and finds her parents trapped in a snow globe. Coraline throws the Cat at the Beldam; the Cat claws out her button eyes, blinding her. Coraline narrowly escapes through the door and manages to close and lock it with the help of the ghosts, severing the Beldam's right hand in the process.
Coraline's parents reappear in the real world with no memory of what happened to them. That night, the ghost children appear in Coraline's dream to thank her for freeing them, but warn her that the Beldam, as long as she is alive, she will never stop looking for the key. Coraline decides to drop it down an old well near her home, but before she does, the Beldam's severed hand attacks her. Wybie arrives and, after a struggle, smashes the hand with a stone. Coraline and Wybie throw the key and shattered hand into the well and seal it shut.
Soon after, Coraline and her parents, who have finally finished their catalog, host a garden party for their neighbors. Wybie introduces his grandmother Mrs. Lovat, and Coraline prepares to tell her story. The Black Cat walks behind the Pink Palace signpost and disappears.
- Dakota Fanning as Coraline Jones, a curious 11-year-old girl with blue hair
- Teri Hatcher as Mel Jones, Coraline's mother, and the Beldam/Other Mother, an evil witch that rules the Other World
- Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French as April Spink and Miriam Forcible, respectively, a pair of retired burlesque actresses
- Keith David as The Cat, a sarcastic, mysterious, nameless black cat from Coraline's world who appears and disappears at will and has the ability to speak in the Other World
- John Hodgman as Charlie Jones, Coraline's father, and as the Other Father.
- John Linnell as the Other Father's singing voice
- Robert Bailey Jr. as Wyborne "Wybie" Lovat, the geeky, nervous 11-year-old grandson of Coraline's landlady Mrs. Lovat. Wybie does not appear in the novel; his character was created for the film adaptation so that the viewer "wouldn't have a girl walking around, occasionally talking to herself".
- Ian McShane as Sergei Alexander Bobinsky, nicknamed "Mr. B," a former Chernobyl liquidator and one of Coraline's neighbors, who owns a jumping mice circus.
- Carolyn Crawford as Mrs. Lovat, Wybie's grandmother and the owner of the Pink Palace Apartments
- Aankha Neal as Sweet Ghost Girl, Mrs. Lovat's missing twin sister, Wybie's great-aunt and the most recent victim of Beldam.
- George Selick as Ghost Boy, the second and only male victim of Beldam.
- Hannah Kaiser as Tall Ghost Girl, the first victim of Beldam interpreted by her Midwestern clothing.
- Marina Budovsky as Photo Friend #1, a friend of Coraline's back home in Michigan.
- Harry Selick as Photo Friend #2, a friend of Coraline's back home in Michigan.
Director Henry Selick met author Neil Gaiman just as Gaiman was finishing the novel Coraline, and given that Gaiman was a fan of Selick's The Nightmare Before Christmas, he invited him to make a possible film adaptation. As Selick thought a direct adaptation would lead to "maybe a 47-minute movie", his screenplay had some expansions, such as the creation of Wybie. When looking for a design away from that of most animation, Selick discovered the work of Japanese illustrator Tadahiro Uesugi and invited him to become the concept artist. One of Uesugi's biggest influences was on the color palette, which was muted in reality and more colorful in the Other World, similar to the film The Wizard of Oz. Uesugi declared that "at the beginning, it was supposed to be a small project over a few weeks to simply create characters; however, I ended up working on the project for over a year, eventually designing sets and backgrounds, on top of drawing the basic images for the story to be built upon."
Coraline was staged in a 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) warehouse in Hillsboro, Oregon. The stage was divided into 50 lots, which played host to nearly 150 sets. Among the sets were three miniature Victorian mansions, a 42-foot (12.8 m) apple orchard, and a model of Ashland, Oregon, including tiny details such as banners for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. More than 28[clarification needed] animators worked at a time on rehearsing or shooting scenes, producing 90–100 seconds of finished animation each week. To add the stereoscopy for the 3D release, the animators shot each frame from two slightly apart camera positions.
Every object on screen was made for the film. The crew used three 3D printing systems from Objet in the development and production of the film. Thousands of high-quality 3D models, ranging from facial expressions to doorknobs, were printed in 3D using the Polyjet matrix systems, which enable the fast transformation of CAD (computer-aided design) drawings into high-quality 3D models. The puppets had separate parts for the upper and lower parts of the head that could be exchanged for different facial expressions, and the characters of Coraline could potentially exhibit over 208,000 facial expressions. Computer artists composited separately-shot elements together, or added elements of their own, which had to look handcrafted instead of computer-generated – for instance, the flames were done with traditional animation and painted digitally, and the fog was dry ice.
At its peak, the film involved the efforts of 450 people, including from 30 to 35 animators and digital designers in the Digital Design Group (DDG), directed by Dan Casey, and more than 250 technicians and designers. One crew member, Althea Crome, was hired specifically to knit miniature sweaters and other clothing for the puppet characters, sometimes using knitting needles as thin as human hair. The clothes also simulated wear using paint and a file.
The soundtrack for Coraline features songs in French composer Bruno Coulais, with one, "Other Father Song", by They Might Be Giants. The Other Father's singing voice is provided by John Linnell, one of the singers from the band. They had initially written 10 songs for the film; when a melancholy tone was decided, all but one were cut. Coulais' score was performed by the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and features choral pieces sung by the Children's Choir of Nice in a nonsense language. Selick mentions that the main soloist, "a young girl you hear singing in several parts of the film," is coincidentally named Coraline. Coraline won Coulais the 2009 Annie Award for best score for an animated feature.
- Soundtrack list
Coraline was theatrically released on February 6, 2009.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on July 21, 2009, by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. A 3-D version comes with four sets of 3-D glasses—specifically the green-magenta anaglyph image. Coraline was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2009. A 3-D version of the film was also released on a 2-Disc Collector's Edition. The DVD opened to first week sales of 1,036,845 and over $19 million in revenue. Total sales stand at over 2.6 million units and over $1 in revenue. A two-disc Blu-ray 3D set, which includes a stereoscopic 3D on the first disc and an anaglyph 3D image, was released in 2011.
The website for Coraline involves an interactive exploration game where the player can scroll through Coraline's world. It won the 2009 Webby Award for "Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics", both by the people and the Webby organization. It was also nominated for the Webby "Movie and Film" category. On June 16, 2008, D3 Publisher announced the release of a video game based on the film. It was developed by Papaya Studio for the Wii and PlayStation 2 and by Art Co. for Nintendo DS. It was released on January 27, 2009, close to the film's theatrical release. The soundtrack was released digitally February 3, 2009, by E1 Music, and in stores on February 24, 2009.
According to Paul Dergarabedian, a film business analyst with Media by Numbers, for the film to succeed it needed a box office comparable to Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which had grossed $16 million its opening weekend and ended up making more than $192 million worldwide; prior to the film's release, Dergarabedian thought Laika Studios "should be really pleased" were Coraline to make $10 million in its opening weekend. In its US opening weekend, the film grossed $16.85 million, ranking third at the box office. It made $15 million during its second weekend, bringing its U.S. total up to $35.6 million, $25.5 million of which came from 3D presentations. As of November 2009, the film has grossed $75,286,229 in the United States and Canada and $49,310,169 in other territories, for a total of $124,596,398 worldwide.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 90% based on 268 reviews, with an average rating of 7.81/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "With its vivid stop-motion animation combined with Neil Gaiman's imaginative story, Coraline is a film that's both visually stunning and wondrously entertaining." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
David Edelstein said the film is "a bona fide fairy tale" that needed a "touch less entrancement and a touch more ... story." A. O. Scott of The New York Times called the film "exquisitely realized," with a "slower pace and a more contemplative tone than the novel. It is certainly exciting, but rather than race through ever noisier set pieces toward a hectic climax in the manner of so much animation aimed at kids, Coraline lingers in an atmosphere that is creepy, wonderfully strange and full of feeling."
|Academy Awards||Best Animated Feature||Henry Selick||Nominated|
|American Film Institute Awards||Best 10 Movies||Won|
|Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production||Henry Selick||Nominated|
|Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production||Dawn French||Nominated|
|Best Music in an Animated Feature Production||Bruno Coulais||Won|
|Best Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production||Travis Knight||Nominated|
|Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production||Shane Prigmore; Shannon Tindle||Won|
|Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production||Christopher Appelhans; Tadahiro Uesugi||Won|
|Best Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production||Chris Butler||Nominated|
|Annecy International Animated Film Festival||Best Feature – Tied||Won|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|BAFTA Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|BAFTA Children's Award||Best Feature Film||Won|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Cinema Audio Society Awards|
|Lifetime Achievement||Henry Selick||Won|
|Career Achievement (sound designer/re-recording mixer)||Randy Thom||Won|
|EDA [Alliance of Women Film Journalists] Award|
|Best Animated Female ([the character of] Coraline)||Won|
|Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Animated Feature Film||Nominated|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Music, Dialogue and ADR Animation in a Feature Film||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Best Animated 3D Movie of 2009||Nominated|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||Producer of the Year in Animated Motion Picture||Nominated|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|St. Louis Film Critics Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Visual Effects Society Awards|
|Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Claire Jennings, Henry Selick||Nominated|
|Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Coraline – Lead Animators Travis Knight and Trey Thomas||Nominated|
|Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||John Allan Armstrong, Richard Kent Burton, Craig Dowsett||Nominated|
|Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture||Deborah Cook, Matthew DeLeu, Paul Mack, Martin Meunier||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
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Run Time 100m 19s
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...Seeing a real 11-year old girl in peril,...
- Ulaby, Neda (February 5, 2009). "Henry Selick, Keeping Stop-Motion Moving Ahead". NPR. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
The title character, aged 11,..
- "The Making of Coraline", Coraline DVD
- McNichol, Tom (February 2009). "Hollywood Knights". Portland Monthly. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
- Desowitz, Bill (January 23, 2009). "Tadahiro Uesugi Talks 'Coraline' Design". Animation World. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- Mesh, Aaron (February 4, 2009). "Suspended Animation". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
- "Backstage view (19th of 21 backlot production photos)". David Strick's Hollywood Backlot. Los Angeles Times. August 7, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
Backstage view of the facility in which Coraline's stop-motion animation is filmed in Portland, Oregon. The Coraline stage is divided into approximately 50 units separated by black curtains. Each unit contains a different set that is in the process of being dressed, lit, rigged or shot.
- J. McLean, Thomas (September 16, 2008). "On the Set with 'Coraline': Where the Motion Doesn't Stop". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- Objet Geometries (February 5, 2009). "Objet Geometries' 3-D Printers Play Starring Role in New Animated Film Coraline". PR Newswire UK. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- Capone (February 2, 2009). "Capone Talks with Coraline Director and Wizard Master Henry Selick". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Movie Coraline – DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
- "13th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners". The Webby Awards. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- Remo, Chris (June 16, 2008). "D3 Announces Coraline And Shaun The Sheep Adaptations". Gamasutra. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
- "Holdovers Live Under Killer Friday Debut". Box Office Mojo. February 15, 2009. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
- "Coraline (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- "Coraline Reviews". Metacritic. February 5, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
- Edelstein, David (February 1, 2009). "What You See Is What You Get". New York Magazine. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
- Scott, A.O. (February 6, 2009). "Cornered in a Parallel World". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
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