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Timeless Classic that just got better - Annie (2014 film) Tags: annie 2014 Jamie Foxx Quvenzhané Wallis Rose byrne Bobby Cannavale Cameron Diaz

Annie is a 2014 American musical comedy-drama film directed by Will Gluck and produced by Village Roadshow Pictures and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment for Sony Pictures' Columbia Pictures. A contemporary adaptation of the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name, which was in turn based upon the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, the film stars Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role and Jamie Foxx in the role of Will Stacks, an update of Daddy Warbucks. The film co-stars Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz.

The third film adaptation following Columbia's 1982 theatrical film and Disney's 1999 made-for-television film, Annie began production in August 2013 and opened on December 19, 2014amidst a scandal over accusations of government hacking in North Korea. The film received generally negative reviews.

In Harlem, a class of young children are doing presentations on former presidents. 10-year-old Annie Bennett (Quvenzhane Wallis) does her report on Franklin D. Roosevelt as a performance piece, and she gets her classmates to join her in by stomping their feet and making noises.

Annie visits a restaurant called "Lou's" where she waits for her parents to show up and finally reclaim her. They never come. Annie gets back to her foster home and rejoins her foster sisters - Isabella, Tessie, Mia, and Pepper. They're looked over by the mean Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), who used to be a performer and is now miserable for having to take care of the girls. The girls lament not being adopted ("Maybe").

Hannigan wakes the girls up early on Saturday to make them clean their house as an inspector from Social Services is set to arrive ("It's The Hard Knock Life"). The inspector visits, and Hannigan flirts with him. After he leaves, the girls notice that he dropped a document containing their records. Annie takes it and seizes the opportunity to seek out her real parents. Annie stops by Lou's to do some work to get the money needed to get the documents.

Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a cell phone mogul and owner of "Stacks Mobile" is running for mayor. He is supported by his adviser Guy (Bobby Cannavale), his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne), and bodyguard Nash (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje). Will is a germaphobe and not very popular with voters compared to the current favorite Harold Gray (Peter Van Wagner). Will goes to feed the homeless and tries to eat the mashed potatoes to show how much he cares, only for him to spit it out in the face of a homeless man.

Annie is unable to learn anything about her parents since she's not in the system. She walks home depressed ("Tomorrow"). She sees two boys annoying a dog. Annie runs, yelling at them to stop. Will saves Annie from being hit by a vehicle.

A video of Will's heroic act hits the web, and he moves up several points. Guy suggests to him that he find Annie and use her to make himself look good for the public. Will sends Grace to get Annie.

Will offers Annie his place for a temporary stay. She knows there's a catch, and he admits the plan. She jokes that he could be president if she moved in. The adults get somebody to approve the temporary guardianship for Will. Annie then takes a tour around the place and is impressed with everything ("I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here").

Will sets the plan in motion by allowing Annie out to do whatever she wants. They adopt the dog from the streets (to Will's dismay), and Annie names it Sandy. He later takes Annie and the foster girls to the premiere of a movie called MoonQuake Lake'. The girls are taken back to the foster home, and Hannigan orders them to take back all the nice things they got. She once again bemoans her current position in life ("Little Girls"). Gray gets endorsed by Michael J. Fox, leading Will to get a bit desperate. He decides to take Annie on a ride over the city in his chopper ("The City's Yours").

Annie joins Will, Grace and Guy at the Guggenheim Museum for a Stacks Mobile event called "A Night at The Museum". Will invites Annie up on stage for the people to see her in her red dress. She sings "Opportunity", and the orchestra joins in. After the performance, Guy tells Annie to read a speech that he wrote. Annie is quiet and leaves the stage upset. Will and Grace run after her, and Annie admits that she doesn't know how to read. Will says he will get her a tutor.

Guy devises a plan to get fake parents for Annie to get her off Will's hands. Guy teams up with Hannigan to set their scheme in motion ("Easy Street"), because, if Will looks heroic and reunites Annie with her parents, Guy gets a nice reward. Hannigan later auditions a bunch of actors to play the part, but is not pleased with any of them.

While the film incorporates notable songs from the original Broadway production, written by composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Martin Charnin, the songs themselves were rearranged by Sia and Greg Kurstin to reflect its new contemporary setting. Executive music supervisor Matt Sullivan explained that there was a desire to make the film's use of music "seamless" rather than "abrupt", and to maintain the integrity and familiarity of the musical's most iconic songs, including "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard Knock Life". The songs were rearranged with a percussive, pop-inspired style: in particular, "It's the Hard Knock Life"—whilst maintaining the use of "natural" sounds for its rhythm, was updated in a hip hop style. Lyrics to some songs were also updated to reflect the differences in the film's storyline and settings. Sia and Kurstin wrote three new songs for the soundtrack, including "Opportunity", "Who Am I", and "Moonquake Lake". Sia additionally co-wrote "The City's Yours" with Stargate.

Sony first announced the remake in January 2011, with Jay-Z and Will Smith serving as producers and Smith's daughter Willow, attached to play the lead role. In February 2011, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy became front-runner to direct the film, but by March, he had declined.

The production soon began seeking a screenwriter, with actress Emma Thompson being considered. No developments arrived until May 2012, when Will Smith appeared on Good Morning America and provided updates, including that the film would be set in modern-day New York City, that Thompson was providing a script, and that Jay-Z would also provide newly written songs for the film. In July 2012, We Bought a Zoo screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna wrote a second draft of the script. In August, it was announced production was to begin in Spring 2013.

In January 2013, Easy A director Will Gluck was hired to direct, but Willow Smith had dropped out.

By February 2013, Beasts of the Southern Wild star and Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis had replaced Smith in the lead role, and the film had scheduled a Christmas 2014 release.

In March 2013, the search for the rest of the cast continued, with Justin Timberlake rumored for the role of Daddy Warbucks. This was proven false when Jamie Foxx signed on for the role, now named Will Stacks. In June 2013, Cameron Diaz was cast as Miss Hannigan, after Sandra Bullock declined.

In July 2013, Rose Byrne joined the cast as Grace Farrell, Stacks's faithful assistant and in August, Boardwalk Empire star Bobby Cannavale joined the cast as a "bulldog political adviser" to Will Stacks. In September, the rest of the cast was announced with Amanda Troya, Nicolette Pierini, Eden Duncan-Smith, and Zoe Colletti as Annie's foster sisters.

As of September 19, 2013, principal photography had begun. Shooting was done at Grumman Studios. Other scenes were filmed at the new Four World Trade Center.

While "rooted in the same story" according to Gluck, the 2014 film adaptation is a contemporary take on the 1977 Broadway musical and contains some differences from the original: The setting was changed from the 1930's—the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency and the Great Depression, to present-day New York City. The opening school scene features class presentations by both the new Annie, and a student representing her classic appearance, discussing aspects of and parallels between the economic states of the two settings, such as the New Deal and the modern lower class.

The character of Oliver Warbucks was modified to create William Stacks, an entrepreneur in the technology sector (particularly, the mobile phone industry) turned politician, who is trying to run for Mayor of New York City. Annie also no longer lives in an orphanage, but is kept in foster care.

The film officially premiered at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City on December 7, 2014.

On November 27, 2014, Annie was one of several films leaked by the "Guardians of Peace", a group that the FBI believes has ties to North Korea, following its breach of Columbia's parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment. Within three days of the initial leak, Annie had been downloaded by an estimated 206,000 unique IPs. By December 9, the count had risen to over 316,000. The chief analyst at BoxOffice.com felt that despite this, the leak was unlikely to affect Annie 's box office performance.

Annie opened on December 19, 2014 and earned $5,289,149 on its opening day. In the first weekend, the film made $15,861,939, ranking third in the domestic box office behind other new releases The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. As of December 28, the film has grossed $45,835,000 in North America and $1,236,337 overseas for a worldwide total of $47,071,337.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 29% approval rating, based on 115 reviews, with an average score of 4.4/10. The site's consensus reads, "The new-look Annie hints at a progressive take on a well-worn story, but smothers its likable cast under clichés, cloying cuteness, and a distasteful materialism." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 33 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".

Entertainment Weekly described its soundtrack as an autotuned "disaster", noting that "you won't ever hear a worse rendition of 'Easy Street' than the one performed by Diaz and Cannivale—I promise.", and concluding that "aside from an unintentional homage to Zoolander that is so tone-deaf it'll make you guffaw, Annie goes out of its way to make viewing it a hard-knock life for us."

PopMatters magazine rated Annie 3 out of 10, saying "In its aggravatingly choreographed frenzy, the party scene epitomizes Annie, its trying too hard both to be and not be the previous Annies, its trying too little to be innovative or vaguely inspired. It’s as crass as Miss Hannigan and as greedy as Stacks, at least until they learn their lessons. The movie doesn’t appear to learn a thing."

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave Annie one-and-a-half stars, describing the adaptation as being "wobbly" and "unsatisfying", criticizing the commercialized nature of the plot changes, concluding that it was "finesse-free and perilously low on the simple performance pleasures we look for in any musical, of any period."

IGN.com praised Wallis and Foxx for being "on-point" throughout much of the film, but still felt that Annie was "miscast in a few places, overlong, and filled with unnecessary meta jokes (including one ill-timed Kim Jong-il jab) and social media 'upgrades.'", and that Diaz's performance was "terminally terrible", "making the film instantly un-fun whenever she's onscreen.

Source: Wikipedia

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