Sony's Peter Rabbit trailer is rubbing everybunny the wrong way. The half-animated, half-live-action flick is one of two animal-centric trailers released Thursday, and audience reception for the two couldn't be further apart.
Fox Searchlight debuted the first look at Isle of Dogs, the newest animated feature from acclaimed offbeat director Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Sony Pictures laid an egg with the first trailer for Peter Rabbit, a "funny animal" animated and live-action blend from director Will Gluck (Friends With Benefits, Annie).
Audience response could not have been more different for the two animated feature trailers launched today. pic.twitter.com/ZJ3agPWtCV— Cartoon Brew (@cartoonbrew) September 22, 2017
As pointed out by Cartoon Brew on Twitter, Isle of Dogs racked up over 800,000 views with 19,000 "likes" and just 415 "dislikes." Peter Rabbit had less bounce in its step, bringing in only a little more than 19,000 views but carrying 618 "likes" and 507 "dislikes." (At the time of this writing, Isle of Dogs has passed one million views with 22,000 thumbs up and 497 thumbs down, while Peter Rabbit has brought in 31,000 views with 702 thumbs up and 633 thumbs down.)
Anderson's Isle of Dogs, inspired by Rankin/Bass stop-motion holiday classics and the works of Akira Kurosawa, reunites Bill Murray and Edward Norton with the director, bringing together a cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Ken Watanabe, Harvey Keitel, Scarlett Johansson, Mari Natsuki, Liev Schreiber and Tilda Swinton.
Peter Rabbit, based on Beatrix Potter's classic and beloved children's stories from the early 1900's, will come to life as an "irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude," in Sony's own words, with the computer generated hare voiced by James Corden. Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne star as the live-action leads, with Gleeson's Mr. McGregor competing against the anthromorphic rabbit for the affections of Byrne's (human) Bea, because nothing says "happy Valentine's Day" like having a swaggy rabbit as a romantic rival. The voice cast includes Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley and Elizabeth Debicki as triplet bunnies Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.
Online reaction to the trailer has been overwhelmingly negative. "Just saw the Peter Rabbit trailer," Christopher Johnson wrote on Twitter. "There is a special place in movie hell for everyone involved." Writes Sarah Dire, "I don't think I've ever been so deeply offended by anything in my life."
"Beatrix Potter was a Wonder Woman," another commentator tweeted. "A genius. A fantastic human. She'd be fuming at that Peter Rabbit film." "Did I just see Peter Rabbit make it rain with lettuce on the girl bunnies?" another Twitter user said. "That's a tad unsettling."
In 1936, Potter refused an offer from Walt Disney himself, who wished to turn Peter Rabbit into an animated film. (Disney wouldn't premiere Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, his first animated feature, until 1937.) We can't say for sure, but if Potter were around today to see Sony's Peter Rabbit, we could guess she wouldn't be very hoppy.
Peter Rabbit bounds into theaters February 9, 2018, and Fox will let out Isle of Dogs on March 23.
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