The Bad Guys (film)

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Albert Flores

The Bad Guys is a 2022 American computer-animated heist comedy film loosely based on the children's book series of the same name by Aaron Blabey, produced by DreamWorks Animation Studios and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film was directed by Pierre Perifel (in his feature directorial debut), written by Etan Cohen, and stars the voices of Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Alex Borstein, and Lilly Singh. It tells the story of a criminal group of anthropomorphic animals who, upon being caught, pretend to attempt to reform themselves as model citizens, only for their leader to find himself genuinely drawn to changing his ways as a new villain has his own plans.

Work on the film started in 2018; the characters and themes drew inspiration from various crime films and anime series such as the Ocean's Eleven franchise, Lupin III, Pulp Fiction, and Beastars, while the inspiration for the film's animation style came from Sony Pictures Animation's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). Production began at DWA Glendale and some additional production assets were borrowed from Jellyfish Pictures, with voice acting being done remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bad Guys was released in several countries beginning March 16, 2022, and in the United States on April 22, in 2D and RealD 3D formats. It received generally positive reviews from critics for its animation, writing, humor and voice acting. +more It has grossed $249. 9 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing animated film of 2022.

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Plot

In a world where humans and anthropomorphic animals co-exist, cool-headed pickpocket and robber Mr. Wolf leads The Bad Guys, a gang of infamous criminal animals who commit brazen thefts and evade police chief Misty Luggins and the authorities, due to the public's opinion of them as inherently "bad" animals.

After being insulted by Governor Diane Foxington on live television, Wolf convinces his gang to pull off a heist to steal a trophy called the Golden Dolphin before it is awarded to the year's recipient, guinea pig philanthropist Professor Marmalade, at a gala. During the heist, Wolf inadvertently helps an elderly woman and is praised for the good deed, leading to Wolf becoming confused at a "weird feeling" (his reaction to being thanked). +more After the gang is exposed and arrested as result of their failed escape attempt, Wolf persuades Foxington to let Marmalade reform them, planning to take advantage of them to steal the award again.

Marmalade invites the gang to his home, but they struggle with his lessons, unable to adapt to good behavior. After a "heist for good" to rescue a herd of guinea pigs from a research lab fails due to Wolf's second-in-command, Mr. +more Snake, eating them, Foxington decides to call off the experiment but relents when Wolf confesses that he became a criminal because he despises being hated for his species; she admits she understands and has hope for him. Wolf contemplates the matter and finds himself rescuing a cat from a tree, which Marmalade records and publishes, turning the public image of the gang around. However, Snake fears that he is losing touch with his friend.

The gang plans to execute a new heist to steal the award again during a gala, but Wolf hesitates to do his part of the plan, and fails. Suddenly, the meteorite on display is stolen, causing the gang to be blamed for the theft. +more When they are arrested, Marmalade meets them in private and reveals that he was in disguise as the old woman whom Wolf had helped, he stole the meteorite, and he had planned for the gang to take the blame. Wolf reacts by lashing out but is seen doing so by the public, reinforcing their negative opinion of The Bad Guys. In prison, Wolf explains to his gang that he does not want to be a criminal anymore and that they can improve, but Snake refuses, believing that the world will never see them as anything other than monsters. As they are led to their cells, a mysterious person, later found to be Foxington, rescues them. Wolf then identifies her as The Crimson Paw, a criminal mastermind who suddenly stopped commiting crimes.

Upon reaching safety, the gang abandons Wolf and refuse to accept that they can change. When they return to their hideout, they find it completely emptied of their loot, as Wolf revealed its location to Foxington earlier at the gala as compensation for his crimes. +more After Snake willingly gives the childish Mr. Shark their last Push Pop out of kindness, the others realize that they can change their ways and proceed to join Wolf. However, Snake denies it and abandons them to ally with Marmalade, who plans to use the meteorite to power a mind-control device to hypnotize an army of guinea pigs into stealing his own charity funds for personal use.

Meanwhile, Foxington reveals to Wolf that she reformed when she attempted to steal the Golden Dolphin herself but realized that she was only what everyone saw her as, and then decided to instead help people. Wolf and Foxington break into Marmalade's home to steal the meteorite, only to be captured by Marmalade and Snake. +more They are rescued by the rest of The Bad Guys, and then steal the meteorite and foil Marmalade's heist. They arrive at the police station to turn in the meteorite, until Wolf decides to give Snake a chance to return despite his betrayal. During the chase, Marmalade betrays Snake to get Wolf to return the meteorite, and steals the meteorite back.

After rescuing Snake from falling to his death and destroying Marmalade's mind-control helmet, the gang surrenders to the authorities to prevent Foxington from revealing her former criminal past. Marmalade attempts to take credit for recovering the meteorite, but it is revealed to be a fake planted by Snake, who had faked his defection, secretly switched it for a meteorite-shaped lamp, and overcharged the real one inside Marmalade's basement, causing it to destroy Marmalade's residence. +more Then, a diamond Marmalade stole from Foxington falls from his suit, which Luggins recognizes as having been stolen by the Crimson Paw years ago. Implicated as the Crimson Paw and revealed to be the meteorite thief, Marmalade is arrested.

In a mid-credits scene set a year later, the gang is released early from prison in light of their good behavior and leave with Foxington, having reformed and going to their new jobs.

Voice cast

Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf, a witty, charming, pickpocket gray wolf and the leader of the "The Bad Guys" gang, who also acts as the gang's getaway driver. +more He can also break the fourth wall to address the viewers about certain things. * Marc Maron as Mr. Snake, a sarcastic and cynical safe-cracking snake, Wolf's second-in-command, and best friend. * Awkwafina as Ms. Tarantula, a sharp-tongued and sarcastic expert hacker tarantula also known as "Webs" or "Mata Hairy". * Craig Robinson as Mr. Shark, a childish and sensitive master of disguise shark. * Anthony Ramos as Mr. Piranha, a short-fused, loose-cannon piranha and the "muscle" of the gang. Piranha has a tendency to fart when he is nervous. * Richard Ayoade as Professor Marmalade, a pompous guinea pig philanthropist who suggests that Wolf's group start doing "good deeds", and secretly intends to steal from his own charity. * Zazie Beetz as Diane Foxington / The Crimson Paw, a red fox serving as the governor of the state where the movie is set in, and Wolf's love interest. She is also revealed to be a former criminal mastermind. * Alex Borstein as Police Chief Misty Luggins, the hot-tempered human chief of police who is determined to arrest The Bad Guys at any cost. * Lilly Singh as Tiffany Fluffit, a local human news reporter with the tendency to exaggerate her reports. * Barbara Goodson voices an old woman that Wolf intended to pickpocket. She is later revealed to be one of Marmalade's disguises.

Production

Development

On July 22, 2017, Australia's The Daily Telegraph reported that several studios had expressed interest in adapting Aaron Blabey's book series The Bad Guys into a feature film. In March 2018, DreamWorks Animation announced the development of a film based on the book series, with Etan Cohen writing the screenplay. +more The following year, in October, it was reported that the film would be directed by Pierre Perifel in his feature directorial debut, with Cohen and Hilary Winston set to co-write the film's script. The film was described as having "a similar twist on the heist genre that Shrek did on fairy tales, and what Kung Fu Panda did for the kung fu genre". Winston was only credited for Additional screenplay material with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs writer Yoni Brenner while the film was executive produced by Cohen, Blabey, and Foundation Media's Patrick Hughes. The cast was announced on July 28, 2021.

Animation, design, and influences

Inspiration for the design of the film came from Sony Pictures Animation's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which opened an opportunity for DreamWorks to pitch something that was more illustrative and stylized than their other films. Character designs took inspiration from Hergé, Akira Toriyama, Uderzo, André Franquin and Moebius and a mix of styles from directors such as Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, Michael Mann’s Heat, Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven, and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. +more The film was inspired by anime and manga series such as Beastars, Sherlock Hound and Lupin III as well as the French-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine, due to how it influenced the approach to the characters. The crew worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the animation for the film was provided by DWA Glendale, Jellyfish Pictures, who previously worked with DreamWorks on The Boss Baby: Family Business, How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming and Spirit Untamed, handled the additional asset production services using proprietary softwares like Premo and Moonray, alongside with a new tool called Doodle - created for the 2D effects and for allowing the animators to move the lines around the character rigs. The film's opening diner scene, inspired by the similar opening scene from Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, is the longest one-shot in DreamWorks Animation history - it lasts two minutes, 25 seconds and seven frames.

Music

On June 22, 2021, Daniel Pemberton was signed to compose the score for the film, having previously composed the soundtrack for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. A song "Good Tonight" written by Pemberton and Gary Go was made and released on March 18 by Back Lot Music, performed by Anthony Ramos, who does the additional lyrics with Will Wells. +more The album was released on March 31 with two other new songs included with "Good Tonight", includes a cover of "Feelin' Alright" by Elle King (released on March 25) and "Brand New Day" by The Heavy. Director Pierre Perifel, producer Damon Ross and composer Daniel Pemberton recorded backup vocals on Brand New Day. Following the release of the film on April 22, a new remix of "Good Tonight" was released by Party Pupils.

Additionally, "Stop Drop Roll" by Can't Stop Won't Stop, "Howlin' for You" by The Black Keys, "Fly Me to the Moon" by Julie London and "Go" by The Chemical Brothers are heard in the film but not included in the soundtrack album. Furthermore, "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish was only featured in the trailers.

Marketing

The film's marketing campaign began on December 14, 2021, with the release of the first trailer, one first-look photo, and a cast table read. The first trailer was also shown during theater screenings of Sing 2. +more A second trailer, released on February 23, 2022, accumulated nearly a quarter of a billion views by the time of the film's release. Social media analytic RelishMix said the film had a social media reach of 220 million before its debut, which was significantly lower than Sonic the Hedgehog 2s reach of 445 million, though they noted the high subscriber rate of the child-friendly Dreamworks YouTube channel. A television spot aired during the Super Bowl pre-game garnered 8. 5 million views when it was released on YouTube. Overall, fourteen promotional YouTube videos attracted 110. 1 million views. The Bad Guys also had a tie-in with the 2022 March Madness tournament, featuring a virtual bracket for the film's characters and commercials during pre and post-game coverage on TNT and TBS. A Snapchat AR lens of Mr. Wolf and a TikTok trend set to Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy" were used to promote the film. Deadline Hollywood said Universal took advantage of April Fool's Day (April 1), the day tickets went on sale, with the release of another Snapchat AR lens that went viral after it was used by popular influencers such as MrBeast and Michael Le, gaining 21. 5 million views and over 1. 8 million likes on TikTok.

Release

On October 7, 2019, it was reported that the film would be theatrically released on September 17, 2021, taking over the release date of Spooky Jack. In December 2020, the film was delayed with The Boss Baby: Family Business taking its original slot, though it was confirmed that it would get a new date "within the coming weeks" due to the COVID-19 pandemic. +more In March 2021, the release date was scheduled to April 15, 2022. In October 2021, it was pushed back again by one week to April 22. The Bad Guys had a red carpet screening at the Ace Hotel Los Angeles on April 12, 2022, with Beetz in attendance. On March 1, 2022, Universal pulled the release in Russia in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Home media and streaming

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment released The Bad Guys on DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray and for digital download in the United States on June 21, 2022. The film was released on NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service on July 1, 2022. +more As part of their 18-month deal with Netflix, the film was streaming on Peacock for four months, then moved to Netflix on November 1, 2022 for the next ten, and then return to Peacock for the remaining four.

Reception

Box office

The Bad Guys grossed $97 million in the United States and Canada, and $152.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $249.9 million.

In the United States and Canada, The Bad Guys was released alongside The Northman and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and was projected to gross $13-20 million from 4,008 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $8 million on its first day, including $1. +more15 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $24 million, topping the box office. Deadline Hollywood noted that the over-performance was thanks to a diverse turnout, big marketing push, and recent success of family films. Women made up 56% of the audience during its opening. The ethnic breakdown of the audience showed that 40% Caucasian, 25% Latino and Hispanic, 20% African American, and 9% Asian or other. The film grossed $16. 2 million in its second weekend, finishing first again. It made $9. 6 million in its third weekend and $7 million in its fourth, both times finishing second behind newcomer Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It stayed in the box office top ten until its eleventh weekend.

Outside the U. S. +more and Canada, the film earned $8. 5 million from 25 international markets in its opening weekend. This included a strong $1. 7 million opening in Spain, where it finished ahead of The Batman and tied with Encanto as the best debut in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. In its second weekend, it made $6. 5 million from 37 markets. Its third weekend added $10. 5 million, which included a $3. 1 million debut in the UK and $1. 7 million from Australia, where the film had the best opening for an animated film since the start of the pandemic. It made $7. 5 million in its fourth weekend, which included a debut in France of $1. 5 million. The film crossed the $50 million mark outside the U. S. and Canada in its fifth weekend, ahead of its North American release, after adding $6. 5 million. In its sixth weekend, the film made $5. 9 million, which Deadline Hollywood noted as a "terrific 9% drop" before its release in China on April 29. The film added $9 million in its seventh weekend. This included an opening of $4. 53 million in China, where it received a "strong" 9. 1/10 rating from audiences on the Maoyan website. The film earned $7. 2 million the following weekend, which included a debut of $1. 93 million in Korea. The Bad Guys also surpassed the gross of Encanto in China. It made $6. 7 million in its ninth weekend, crossed the $100 million overseas mark in its tenth weekend, and added another $5. 8 million in its eleventh weekend. It made $8. 9 million the following weekend, surpassing the earnings of Moana and Toy Story 4 in China. In its thirteenth weekend, it made $3. 5 million.

Critical response

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average score of 4 out of 5 stars.

The Washington Posts Kristen Page-Kirby gave 3 stars out of 4, and concluded: "The moral of the story doesn't pack a huge wallop. Not that it needs to. +more (We can't all be Encanto. ) Still, it's clever, visually interesting and very, very funny. Even when the humor goes lowbrow, it makes narrative sense. A joke about flatulence is a lot funnier when it's essential to the plot. The Bad Guys gets that. In fact, The Bad Guys gets a lot of things. It knows precisely what it is - and what it sets out to do, it does well. It's a heist film with heart and humor, and where's the crime in that?" IGNs Ryan Leston gave a rating of 8 out of 10 and wrote: The Bad Guys is a slick, hilarious heist movie with buckets of laughs and a lot of heart. It's Ocean's Eleven meets Little Red Riding Hood with Sam Rockwell's Wolf going on a charm offensive to stay out of jail… and he might just win you over in the process. Richard Ayoade has a blast as the sanctimonious Professor Marmalade and the entire voice cast brings their A-game with some stellar gags that will get you roaring with laughter. The Bad Guys is a fun, family-friendly caper that's bursting with action and brimming with laughs. " Chicago Sun-Times's Richard Roeper gave the film 3. 5 stars out of 4, and commented that "The animation combines computer-generated 2D and 3D with a look that will remind you of a Saturday-morning cartoon-only much crisper and more dazzling. There's nothing photorealistic about the animation; it's stylized and has very specific definition of Heist Movie Los Angeles, with the sky so bright it's almost overexposed, and yet somehow creating a bit of a noir vibe. This is a great-looking film with terrific performances, some lovely messaging and a steady parade of solid laughs-some the kids will enjoy and just as many targeted squarely at the grown-up kids in the audience. ".

The Guardians Wendy Ide gave 3 stars out of 5 and said: "Like Roger Rabbit, the pacing owes a debt to the demented frenzy of classic Looney Tunes animations, but the film also nods to heist movies, notably the Oceans series. It's deliberately preposterous - the disguises are rarely more convincing than the kind of false nose and moustache combo you might find in a cracker. +more But there's a kernel of believability where it matters: in the easy repartee and fully fleshed friendships. It's sharp, silly and frequently very funny. ".

Accolades

The film was awarded the title of Truly Moving Picture Award at the 2022 Heartland Film Festival.

Future

In April 2022, after the film was released, Perifel said that he would love to do a sequel.

2020s children's adventure films

2020s children's animated films

2020s children's comedy films

American children's animated adventure films

American children's animated comedy films

Animated films based on children's books

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