A Wrinkle in Time is a 2018 American 3D science fantasy adventure film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Madeleine L'Engle. The film stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Storm Reid, Zach Galifianakis, and Chris Pine. The story follows a young girl who, with the help of three astral travelers, sets off on a quest to find her father, who went missing after discovering a new planet.
Principal photography began on November 2, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. With an estimated production budget of around $103 million, the film became the first live-action film with a nine-digit budget to be directed by a woman of color. A Wrinkle in Time premired at the El Capitan Theatre on February 26, 2018, and with a theatrical release on March 9, 2018, through the Disney Digital 3-D, Real D 3D, and IMAX formats. The film received mostly negative reviews, with critics "taking issue with the film's heavy use of CGI and numerous plot holes" while some "celebrated its message of female empowerment and diversity". With a total production and marketing budget of around $250 million, the film was a box office bomb, grossing just $132 million worldwide and losing Disney at least $86 million.
|A Wrinkle in Time|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ava DuVernay|
|Based on||A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
|Music by||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography||Tobias A. Schliessler|
|Edited by||Spencer Averick|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$132.4 million|
Thirteen-year-old middle school student Meg Murry struggles to adjust to both her school and home life ever since her father Alex, a well-renowned scientist, mysteriously disappeared (while he was studying astrophysics) when she was very young. Both Meg and her mother Kate believe he solved the question of humanity's existence and theorize he was teleported to another world.
During the night, Meg's younger brother Charles Wallace welcomes Mrs. Whatsit, a red-haired stranger in an extravagant white dress, into the Murry family house. Mrs. Whatsit claims that the tesseract, a type of space-travel Alex was working on, is real, and leaves soon after. The next day, one of Meg's classmates, Calvin O'Keefe, joins them to go to the house of Mrs. Who, another strange woman who speaks only in quotations and seems to know Charles Wallace.
When Calvin joins Meg and Charles Wallace in their backyard, Mrs. Whatsit appears with Mrs. Who and another woman, Mrs. Which, who is the oldest and appears as a giant. The three reveal themselves as astral travelers, and lead Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace through a tesseract taking them to a distant planet named Uriel.
Mrs. Whatsit transforms into a beautiful green flying creature, and takes the children up into the atmosphere, where they see a dark shadow known as The IT. Mrs. Which tells Meg her father's experiments resulted in his being captured by The IT, a malevolent entity plotting to take over the universe. Gaining the women's trust, Meg and the others tesser to another planet where a seer known as the Happy Medium resides.
The Happy Medium shows them Meg's father is trapped on a planet called Camazotz, The IT's homeworld. Mrs. Which also explains that The IT represents all of the greed, anger, pride, selfishness, and low self-esteem in the world. He shows them examples of these characteristics, including a friend and neighbor of Charles Wallace getting mugged at a bus stop, her school enemy Veronica Kiley’s extreme self-consciousness about her weight and her resulting dieting habits, and that Calvin, despite being popular at school, is neglected and bullied by his father. The three Mrs. propose that they travel back to Earth to regroup, but Meg's strong will to find her father overrides the tesseract, and she accidentally redirects them to Camazotz instead.
Upon arriving on Camazotz, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who find that they are unable to stay, because Camazotz's evil is stronger than their light. Before they depart, they bestow gifts upon Meg: Mrs. Who's glasses, the knowledge of Meg's faults, and the command to never separate.
The trio treks through Camazotz's hazardous traps before reaching a crowded beach where they meet the IT's bodyguard, Red. He offers the starving children food and tells them that Alex is safe and happy. He reveals to them there is nothing to worry about here, but Calvin and Meg realize something is wrong when Charles Wallace proclaims that all of the food tastes like sand. When Red starts repeating the times tables, Charles Wallace is hypnotized by the rhythm, allowing the IT to take full control of his mind.
When Meg and Calvin pursue Charles Wallace, they find themselves in a seemingly empty room. Using Mrs. Who's glasses, Meg finds an invisible staircase leading to the room where her father is being kept prisoner. After bringing him out of captivity, the IT's power allows Charles Wallace to forcefully drag them to finally meet his master. As Calvin and Meg fall under the IT's power, Alex opens another tesser and prepares to leave with the children, abandoning Charles Wallace. Meg refuses and projects out of the tesser herself, leaving her alone. When she confronts Charles Wallace, she realizes the IT uses deception and hatred for power. Using her love for her brother and the knowledge that she is imperfect, Meg frees Charles Wallace from the control of the IT and releases Camazotz from the control of the evil entity. The three Mrs. return and tell Meg that it is time for her to tesser for herself.
After returning home, Meg thanks the women for their help rescuing her father. They part ways, and Veronica begins acting nicer to her. The film ends with the Murry family celebrating a joyful reunion and Calvin going home to confront his father.
In October 2010, it was announced that Walt Disney Pictures had retained the film rights for the 1962 novel A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, which had previously been made as a 2003 television film. Following the financial success of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), Disney announced that they had hired Jeff Stockwell to write the screenplay for Cary Granat and his new Bedrock Studios. Granat had previously worked with Disney on the Chronicles of Narnia and Bridge to Terabithia films. The project's budget was slated to be $35 million, which the company compared to District 9 and Bridge to Terabithia, both of which were made for less than $30 million. On August 5, 2014, Jennifer Lee was announced as the screenwriter, taking over from Stockwell, who wrote the first draft. On February 8, 2016, it was reported that Ava DuVernay had been offered the job of directing the film, and she was confirmed to direct later that same month. She became the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a production budget over $100 million.
On July 26, 2016, Variety reported that Oprah Winfrey had begun final negotiations to join the film, to play Mrs. Which, the eldest of the three Mrs. Ws, celestial beings who help guide the children along their journey. On September 7, 2016, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling were reported as being in talks to join the film, with Witherspoon to play Mrs. Whatsit, who presents as a chatty, grandmotherly hobo, and Kaling set for the quotation-reciting Mrs. Who. On September 13, 2016, Storm Reid was cast in the lead role of Meg Murry, a young girl traumatized by the disappearance of her scientist father years before. In October 2016, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine were cast as the parents of Meg, Dr. Kate Murry and Dr. Alex Murry, respectively. On November 1, 2016, more cast were announced, including Zach Galifianakis as the Happy Medium, André Holland as Principal Jenkins, Levi Miller as Calvin, and Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace, along with Bellamy Young, Rowan Blanchard and Will McCormack. Michael Peña later also joined the cast to play the character Red. The producers on the film are James Whitaker and Catherine Hand.
Principal photography on the film began on November 2, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. After Los Angeles, production moved to New Zealand for two weeks. Tobias A. Schliessler was the film's cinematographer, Naomi Shohan its production designer, Paco Delgado its costume designer, and Rich McBride its visual effects supervisor. During production, DuVernay asked McBride to be as flexible as possible on visual effects sequences to allow her to make changes and incorporate new ideas during shooting.
Filming for A Wrinkle in Time took place in multiple locations including Eureka, California, in Humboldt County, starting on November 29, 2016. Filming also took place at Eureka's Sequoia Park, located next to Sequoia Park Zoo. None of the film's major actors were present in Eureka. In mid-December, Pine was spotted during filming in Los Angeles.
During the last two weeks of February 2017, filming locations for A Wrinkle in Time were established to be in Central Otago, New Zealand. Actors and crew involved were in New Zealand for the two weeks to shoot scenes in the Southern Alps, including at Hunter Valley Station near Lake Hāwea, with cast and crew treated to a traditional Māori powhiri and karakia. Filming wrapped in New Zealand's South Island after two weeks, and DuVernay declared the cast and crew's love for New Zealand in an Instagram post.
On September 28, 2017, Ramin Djawadi was announced as the composer for the film, replacing Jonny Greenwood, who was initially chosen to compose, and scored the film. On February 20, 2018, it was announced that the soundtrack would feature appearances from Sade, Sia, Kehlani, Chloe x Halle, Freestyle Fellowship, DJ Khaled, and Demi Lovato.
A Wrinkle in Time was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, and DVD on June 5, 2018.
As of June 21, 2018, A Wrinkle In Time has grossed $100.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $32.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $132.4 million. With a combined $250 million spent on production and advertisement, the film needed to gross at least $400 million worldwide to turn a profit. Following Disney's Q2 earnings report in May 2018, Yahoo! Finance deduced the film would lose the studio anywhere from $86–186 million.
In the United States and Canada, A Wrinkle in Time was released alongside The Hurricane Heist, Gringo and The Strangers: Prey at Night, and was projected to gross $30–38 million from 3,980 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $10.2 million on its first day, including $1.3 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $33.3 million, finishing second behind Disney's own Black Panther ($41.1 million in its fourth weekend). In its second weekend the film made $16.6 million, dropping 50% to 4th place. On June 15, in its 15th week of playing, the film returned to a total of 285 theaters in an effort to cross the century mark domestically. It ended up making $1.7 million (an increase of over 1,600% from the previous weekend), pushing the total US gross to $100 million.
Internationally the film opened in six countries alongside the United States and grossed $6.3 million in its opening weekend, Russia being the largest market with $4.1 million.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 40%, based on 247 reviews, and an average rating of 5.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A Wrinkle in Time is visually gorgeous, big-hearted, and occasionally quite moving; unfortunately, it's also wildly ambitious to a fault, and often less than the sum of its classic parts." On Metacritic, which assigns normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 50 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 75% overall positive score; audience members under the age of 18 gave it a respective average grade of "A–" and positive score of 89%.
Alonso Duralde of TheWrap praised the film's visuals and performances, writing, "Awash in bold colors, bright patterns and ebullient kids, director Ava DuVernay's new take on A Wrinkle in Time dazzles its way across time and space even if it doesn't quite stick the landing." David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "C+" and praised what he described as its ambition, saying: "It almost doesn't matter that the movie is too emotionally prescriptive to have any real power, or too high on imagination to leave any room for wonder; DuVernay evinces such faith in who she is and what she's doing that A Wrinkle in Time remains true to itself even when everything on screen reads false."
Alex Hudson of Exclaim! gave the film a 5 out of 10, saying that it felt "like a missed opportunity. Rather than a family classic, all we get is a perfectly fine kids movie." Vince Mancini of Uproxx gave the film a negative review, saying, "...if anything, the trouble with Wrinkle is that you never really get a sense of DuVernay's personal touch. In fact, it feels a lot like Brad Bird's big budget, equally smarmy 2015 Disney film, Tomorrowland. Both attempt to be so broad and universal that they feel disconnected from anything human. But universality doesn't work that way, no matter how much you tell everyone to think like a kid."