Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThor Freudenthal
Screenplay by
Based onDiary of a Wimpy Kid
by Jeff Kinney
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyJack N. Green
Edited byWendy Greene Bricmont
Music byTheodore Shapiro
Production
companies
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
  • March 19, 2010 (2010-03-19)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$15 million[3]
Box office$75.7 million[4]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a 2010 American comedy film directed by Thor Freudenthal and based on Jeff Kinney's 2007 book of the same name.[5][6][7] The film stars Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron. Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, and Chloë Grace Moretz also have prominent roles. It is the first installment in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film series.[8]

The film was theatrically released on March 19, 2010, in the United States by 20th Century Fox. The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, earned $75.7 million on a $15 million budget, and was followed by three sequels, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017). It has also gained a cult following in recent years. It is the only live-action film in the series to be directed by Thor Freudenthal, before being replaced by David Bowers for the rest of the live-action installments.

Plot

11-year-old Greg Heffley is apprehensive about beginning middle school. A week before starting school, his older brother Rodrick plays a prank on him at 4:00 in the morning, making him think that he’s late for school and their family wake up and scold Greg for making all the noise and Rodrick gets off scot-free. On the actual first day, he quickly discovers the ups and downs, such as the missing stall doors in the boys' bathroom and the difficulties of obtaining a seat during lunch. During P.E. class, Greg and his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, escape from a game of Gladiator and learn from their friend, Chirag Gupta, about a moldy piece of cheese on the basketball court that makes anyone who touches it an outcast and that the only way to get rid of what is known as “the Cheese Touch” is to pass it on to someone else. They also meet Angie Steadman, a seventh-grader who isolates herself from the other students to "survive". Greg states his intention of becoming the most popular student in school.

The next day, Greg signs up for wrestling but suffers back-to-back humiliating losses against Fregley, an eccentric outcast, and his elementary school arch-enemy, Patty Farrell, making him decide to quit wrestling. On Halloween, while Greg and Rowley are out trick-or-treating, a group of teenage boys, Pete Hosey, Carter and Wade, drive by in a pickup truck and spray a fire extinguisher at them. When Greg threatens to call the police, the boys chase him and Rowley to Greg’s grandmother's house, but the latter two escape them after Greg accidentally damages the truck.

The boys join the Safety Patrol, and they try out for a contest that offers a student a chance to become the new cartoonist for the school paper as a replacement for Brian Little, who recently got glandular fever, causing him to be out for 3 months. Greg accidentally breaks Rowley's arm, prompting other students to take pity on Rowley, thus making him popular. Greg's envy towards him only increases when Rowley wins the cartoonist contest. During a Safety Patrol assignment, Greg walks kindergartners down a neighborhood street without Rowley, but panics when he encounters a truck identical to the teenagers' from Halloween and hides the kids in a construction zone. After being spotted by a neighbor, Mrs. Irvine, who mistakes him for Rowley, he abandons the kindergarteners and flees. To his bewilderment, Rowley is suspended from Safety Patrol, but Greg eventually confesses the truth to him, offering it as a joke. Distraught at Greg's consistent mistreatment of him, Rowley ends their friendship. Greg is eventually dismissed from Safety Patrol while Rowley is reinstated as team captain and finds a new best friend in their classmate, Collin Lee.

Greg decides to pursue popularity without Rowley by joining the school's production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. At the audition, Greg is offered the role of Dorothy due to his soprano voice. He declines the role, and Patty threatens the teacher, Mrs. Norton, into casting her instead. Greg agrees to play as a tree after learning from Chirag that the trees get to throw apples at Dorothy, but this scene is cut from the play and replaced with a musical number, much to his dismay. During the performance, Greg refuses to sing when he notices Rodrick mockingly videotaping him. This prompts Patty to angrily berate him onstage, and Greg begins throwing apples at her, causing the performance to end in chaos, and Greg gets beaten up by Patty again. Later on, Greg reluctantly attends the school’s mother-son dance, where he, at the encouragement of his mother Susan, tries to reconcile with Rowley, but is rejected. He can only dejectedly watch as Rowley and his mother win the crowd over with a dance routine to "Intergalactic" by the Beastie Boys.

One day at recess, Greg and Rowley loudly confront each other and a circle of students encourage them to fight; however, neither of them are good at fighting. The teenage boys from Halloween arrive at the scene and force Rowley to eat part of the cheese after the other kids, except for Greg, are chased inside the school. They flee the scene when the school's P.E. teacher, Coach Eduardo Malone, arrives, but when the other kids come back out and notice that the cheese has been eaten, Greg takes the blame to save Rowley's reputation at school, mending their friendship, and Greg ends up having the Cheese Touch for real.

At the end of the school year, Greg and Rowley make the yearbook Class Favorites page as "Cutest Friends”.

Cast

Production

The filming of Diary of a Wimpy Kid was in Vancouver and wrapped up on October 16, 2009.[citation needed]

The official trailer for Diary of a Wimpy Kid was released virally on January 21, 2010 and was shown in theaters with Tooth Fairy.[9] A poster for the film was released shortly after. Another trailer was shown with Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.[10]

The official Facebook account for Diary of a Wimpy Kid had uploaded three clips from the film, as of March 1, 2010.[11] In the United Kingdom and Ireland the film was released in cinemas on August 25, 2010.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack was released on CD by La La Land Records with the score composed by Theodore Shapiro, containing 34 tracks.

Release

Tie-in book

Main article: The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary

A tie-in book, written by Kinney, called The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary, was published on March 16, 2010, by Amulet Books (an imprint of Abrams Books). It includes film stills, storyboards, preliminary concept drawings and also behind-the-scenes information to humorously chronicle the making of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. It also includes some new illustrations.[12][13]

Home media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 3, 2010. The Blu-ray version features six pages from Rowley's diary, Diary of an Awesome, Friendly Kid. The film was released on the streaming service Disney+ on November 12, 2019; its launch date.[14]

Reception

Critical response

Review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 54%, based on 106 reviews with an average rating of 5.51/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Unlike its bestselling source material, Diary of a Wimpy Kid fails to place a likable protagonist at the center of its middle-school humor – and its underlying message is drowned out as a result."[15] It also holds a rating of 56/100 at Metacritic, based on 26 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16] Audience surveyed by CinemaScore gave this film an "A-."[17]

Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, writing "It's nimble, bright and funny. It doesn't dumb down. It doesn't patronize. It knows something about human nature."[18] Glenn Whipp of the Associated Press was less positive, saying, "In transferring the clean, precise humor of Kinney's illustrations and prose to the big-screen, the material loses just a bit of its charm."[19] At the Movies host David Stratton gave the film one star while co-host Margaret Pomeranz gave it half a star. Stratton called the film "tiresome" and said there was "nothing remotely interesting in Thor Freudenthal's direction or the screenplay." Pomeranz disliked the character of Greg Heffley, saying "I really thought he was unpleasant. I did not want to spend time with him. I could not wait for the end of this film."[20]

OregonLive.com gave the movie a C+ grade, criticizing it for being "too often dull, unappealing and clumsy, hobbled by unnecessary changes and inventions that add no charm, energy or, truly, point."[21]

Box office

Despite a lack of distinctive marketing, Diary of a Wimpy Kid drew a decent crowd, opening to $22.1 million on approximately 3,400 screens at 3,077 sites, in second place at the weekend box office behind Alice in Wonderland but beating out the heavily hyped The Bounty Hunter.[22] It was the biggest start ever for a non-animated, non-fantasy children's book adaptation. Diary of a Wimpy Kid grossed more in its first three days than other film adaptions to children's novels like How to Eat Fried Worms and Hoot grossed in their entire runs.[22] The film grossed $64,003,625 in North America and $11,696,873 in other territories for a worldwide total of $75,700,498.[23]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2011 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award Favorite Movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor Zachary Gordon Nominated [24]
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor Robert Capron Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor Alex Ferris Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress Laine MacNeil Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Chloë Grace Moretz, Laine MacNeil, Grayson Russell, Karan Brar, and Alex Ferris Nominated

Expanded franchise

Sequels

Main article: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (film series)

Three sequels were released in 2011, 2012 and 2017 respectively. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was released on March 25, 2011. It was based on the second book in the series, Rodrick Rules. Zachary Gordon reprised his role in the film. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days was released on August 3, 2012, and is based on The Last Straw and Dog Days, including scenes from both books. An animated short film, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Class Clown, was released along with the DVD of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. A film based on The Long Haul was released in May 2017 featuring a new cast starring Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, and Tom Everett Scott, but received generally negative reviews.

Animated reboot

Main article: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021 film)

An animated reboot directed by Swinton Scott was released on Disney+ on December 3, 2021. Unlike the other films, this was the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid film to be animated fully in computer-generated imagery and features Greg and the characters in colors. Originally set as an adaptation of Cabin Fever by Kinney, it was re-announced in 2018 as an animated series but switched to an CGI movie in 2019. It stars Brady Noon, Ethan William Childress, and Chris Diamantopoulos.[25]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)". British Film Institute. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  3. ^ "Movie Projector: No 'Bounty Hunter,' 'Repo Men' or 'Wimpy Kid' can upstage 'Alice' (updated)". Los Angeles Times. March 18, 2010. Archived from the original on August 28, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2010. The modestly budgeted picture cost 20th Century Fox's movie label Fox 2000 only about $15 million to produce
  4. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Breznican, Anthony (September 29, 2009). "First Look: 'Wimpy Kid' actor embraces being 'a likable jerk'". USA Today. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (August 3, 2009). "Steve Zahn to star in 'Wimpy Kid'". Variety. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  7. ^ McCarron, Heather (October 12, 2009). "Nothing 'Wimpy' about local author's success". Milford Daily News. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  8. ^ Kara Warner (July 29, 2016). "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Announces Its Brand New Leads for Fourth Film, The Long Haul". People. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Diary of A Wimpy Kid Theatrical Trailer".
  10. ^ Official Wimpy Kid Movie on Facebook (January 2010). "Wimpy Kid Movie Poster".
  11. ^ Official Wimpy Kid Movie on Facebook (January 2010). "Facebook | Official Wimpy Kid Movie".
  12. ^ "Jeff Kinney to make The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary".
  13. ^ The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary, Book Details Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  14. ^ Alexander, Julia (October 14, 2019). "Disney+ launch lineup: Every movie and TV show available to stream on day one". The Verge. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  15. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  16. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  17. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". CinemaScore. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  18. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid review".
  19. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  20. ^ David Stratton, Margaret Pomeranz (September 29, 2010). "29 September 2010". At the Movies. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. September 29, 2010.
  21. ^ "Review: 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' isn't 'Wimpy' enough". OregonLive.com. March 18, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Weekend Report: 'Alice' Tops Again, 'Diary', 'Bounty' Neck-and-Neck". Box Office Mojo. March 22, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  23. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  24. ^ "32nd Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Archived from the original on March 20, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  25. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (September 2, 2021). "Animated 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' Movie Hits Disney+ in December". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 8, 2021.