Dreamworks is probably recoiling in horror at this weekend’s seamonster news. The film made $2.3 million on its first day, including $725,000 from Thursday night previews. The film went on to debut to $5.2 million, finishing in sixth and becoming the worst three-day opening weekend ever for a DreamWorks Animation film, putting the entire project under water. The film joins Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in historically bad performance for the past weekend, where the Harrison Ford flick pulled in a mere $60M, and The Flash, which only made $55M. It seems that there are only so many box office dollars to go around, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has sucked all the oxygen out of the room.
The misfire of Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken at the box office is a bit mysterious. All the right parts are there. It’s made by the people at Dreamworks who brought us Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon. It features the voice of Lana Condor (Jubilation Lee, aka Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and double-Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who had the title roles in Cat Ballou (1965) and Barbarella (1968) as the voice of Ruby’s grandmother.
The ocean is a mysterious world, and humans know more about the surface of Mars than they do the ocean floor. Most of what humans know about the oceans and their creatures is wrong. Krakens aren’t evil monsters, they’re heroic protectors of the deep. Mermaids, on the other hand, mermaids are evil. They just have great PR.
Ruby Gillman wants to be a normal teenager, but she’s a kraken princess destined to be a hero. Besides, as any parent knows, normalcy and teenager just don’t go together. As if algebra homework isn’t enough to worry about, Ruby is coming into her powers, but she doesn’t know how to use them yet. As the great Stan Lee said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Did I mention she was destined to be a hero? Is Ruby strong enough to bear the weight of her destiny?
What do you think? Does Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken look like it will be fun? Even if it’s not, an hour and a half of air conditioning is worth the price of a movie ticket in this weather. The movie is rated PG, so almost everyone in the family can go see it. The rating is for rude humor (it is a movie about teenagers after all), some action (aka cartoon violence) and thematic elements. Parents of very young children may wish to wait until they can speak with someone whose judgment they trust has seen the movie first, and discussed it with them. Just because it’s a cartoon doesn’t guarantee it’s child-friendly. Some children find sea monsters frightening. Some may be upset by the idea of evil mermaids. PG stands for parental guidance: guide.
Cast and Crew
- Rachel Laponte of Screenrant referred to it as a “stunning voice cast.”
- Lana Condor (Ruby Gillman) not only appeared in X-Men:Apocalypse as Jubilee but played Koyomi in Alita: Battle Angel. She was Lara Jean in the All the Boys I’ve Loved Before franchise.
- Oscar winner Jane Fonda (Cat Ballou, 80 for Brady, Agnes of God, On Golden Pond, 9 to 5, and too many other movies to mention) voices Grandmamah.
- Sam Richardson ( Richard Splett in Veep, Sam Duvet in Detroiters) voices Uncle Brill.
- Oscar and Emmy nominee Toni Collette (Lynn Sear in The Sixth Sense) voices Agatha Gillman, Ruby’s overprotective mother.
- Her father, Arthur Gillman, is voiced by Colman Domingo (Unicron in Transformers: ,Rise of the Beasts, Ralph Abernathy in Selma).
- Little brother Sam is voiced by Blue Chapman (JJ Perry in Council of Dads, Zabeth in Undone).
- Jaboukie Young-White (Ethan Clade in Disney’s Strange World) gives voice to Ruby’s human friend Connor.
Making their directorial debut are the team of Kirk DeMicco (writer of The Croods and Racing Stripes) and Faryn Pearl, who has art department experience in Trolls World Tour, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and Big City Greens. The script is by the writing team of Pam Brady (producer of South Park), Brian C. Brown (writer for Briarpatch, producer of Legion), and Elliott DiGuiseppi (editor on Teen Wolf, director of Space Age Rumrunners of the Roaring ’20s.)
Despite Dreamworks SKG’s best efforts to build buzz about the film, the movie industry is still a crapshoot, and unfortunately Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken has rolled snake eyes.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is available in both 3D and normal. It’s in theaters everywhere, having opened June 30.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.