Wreck-It-Ralph did surprisingly well over the weekend at the box-office. The movie opened with a $49 million, setting the largest box-office opening ever for Disney Animation Studios. Yeah, you heard me. Bigger than The Lion King, Aladdin and many others. The film currently holds an 85% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and we here at NR gave the film a very unanimous “A.”
Recently, Wreck-It-Ralph director Rich Moore sat down with Forbes magazine to talk about just how they get all those video game characters in the movie.
No, we went to the people. I would introduce myself and say, “My name is Rich Moore. I’m making this animated film about video games, the characters in them, and what they do when they’re off the clock. We would be amiss not to have your character in the movies, since these games are such seminal games. This is how we’d like to use them.”
I would pitch through the scenes that the characters appeared in. Nine times out of ten they would say, “That’s great. Yes, we want to be a part of this.” In a way it was easy, but in a way it also took a lot of preparation in going and meeting and just being honest about how we wanted to use their characters.
I look at it this way, at Disney, if someone came to our studio and said, “We want to use Mickey Mouse, I would want to know how they’re going to use Mickey Mouse in their piece.” So I just made it abundantly clear what the intentions were. Like I say, most of the time we would get a really positive response.
Noticeably missing from the film was everyone’s favorite Italian plumber, Mario. In an earlier interview with producer Clark Spencer, he revealed why he wasn’t in the movie and how they had to use specific guidelines for certain characters.
“The hard thing was, we were trying to work out the right way to use a character like Mario. It had to be organic to the film, we didn’t want to just paste him in there. For Bowser, it made perfect sense for him to be a member of the Bad Anon group. For Mario himself we couldn’t think of the right way to incorporate him into the film, and so we didn’t do it.”
“The games companies were very specific – there’s a scene in which Bowser drinks a cup of coffee, and they were very specific about how Bowser would drink coffee. The other thing that was fascinating to me was that all of the companies know how tall their characters are. There was lots of conversation about which character would be the biggest character in that Bad Anon scene. Even to the specifics of centimeters. But that was helpful, because we wanted it to be authentic. We had a scene where we wanted the rings to come out of Sonic, and SEGA said the only way that happens is if he falls over, and we didn’t have him fall over in the scene, so we actually went back and re-animated it.”
Spencer also reveals in the interview an interesting note about where it is exactly that they were able to talk to all the video game developers about being included in the movie. Well where else can you meet all the developers at the same place at the same time? E3.
“Rich and I went to E3, and pitched the movie to all the different game companies, talking about the concept. What was great about that was we developed a one-on-one relationship [with the people at the game companies], and people warmed to the idea. So they felt like it could be something interesting, but they were still a little skeptical, as they were giving their own creative characters over to Wreck-It Ralph. And so we said we’d keep them involved in the process, and give them the script pages. We showed them the models, we showed them the early animation tests, and even the final animations.
We brought them along the entire way, and it made companies willing to participate, because they felt like we were going to be true to their characters. As a result we got pretty much almost anything we wanted, because the companies started feeling the momentum and everybody pretty much said yes to us.”
The fact that they pitched the movies at E3 just puts the icing on the cake for me. Rich also commented on the possibly of doing a sequel.
“I think should we be so lucky to do a sequel, I think it would be great to explore online gaming and home games. We have some ideas of how we could do that. It was fun to begin it in an arcade, and I think that we really tapped into the nostalgia that it has attached to it. If we were to do a sequel, I think we need to bring it up-to-date, so we’re working on ideas that would bring it into modern gaming, not just arcade cabinets.”
Would you like to see a sequel to Wreck-It-Ralph? If so, which video game characters would like to see make a cameo? Wreck-It-Ralph is currently in theaters everywhere.