He needs air! And he’ll get it: the latest film adaptation of The Little Prince, which has also been a Soviet-Lithuanian film, a German TV movie, an anime series, and perhaps most famously a Stanley Donen musical, will see distribution in the U.S. via Netflix after Paramount rather dramatically dropped it days before it was supposed to premiere theatrically. (They did release it in its native France and other territories, where it was quite successful, having grossed nearly $80 million thus far, but animated films that aren’t just for kids tend to do better overseas.)
Paramount’s last animation pick-up, Anomalisa, grossed less than $3 million worldwide despite an Oscar nomination, though it was always going to be a tough sell with its R-rated puppet sex and grown-up angst. The Little Prince is based on a beloved book that channels grown-up angst into a cute surface story about a small boy in a galaxy of tiny planets.
One of the issues with adapting the book, though, is that it’s very short, so this latest film, which blends CG and stop-motion, has the book’s aviator narrator recounting his tale as an old man, and then turns into a sequel to the book as the young girl who listens to his stories continues his adventures. If that sounds like it’s taking excessive liberties, they are hardly unprecedented. The anime series went on for 26 episodes with many new stories, while author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s wife’s niece wrote a sequel book. The original is both subject to interpretation and wide open in its universe.
The English-language dub of this new movie stars the voices of James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Mackenzie Foy, Benicio del Toro, Paul Giamatti, Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, and Albert Brooks. With Franco playing the Fox, we’ll see if he still isn’t very good company, per the Psychotica song based on the book (a personal fave):
Nerdist has reached out to Netflix for official comment but has not received a response as of this publication.
Featured image: Mikros Image/Paramount International