Book to Box Office: The Little Prince
Based On: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, published 1943
Expected Release Date: March 18, 2016 (U.S.)
Directed by: Mark Osborne
Summary: Stranded in the Sahara Desert, an aviator learns the universe’s lessons of most import from a young fellow from an extraordinary little planet. Years later, the same, now elderly aviator, shares his story of the little prince with an equally extraordinary little girl.
Working For It: Global praise in its literary form. In the different synopses printed on the back of The Little Prince books, one word remains constant: beloved. Having different versions of the same book, without hesitation, it is true. Fans of The Little Prince will share in delight that a cherished story for decades will be told in an added dimension. Despite being discouraged to be an artist at such a young age, author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry illustrated all of the major characters providing a basis for those imagination-challenged and early drafts of character sketches for animators build around.
Working Against It: Global praise in its literary form. Purists will see the film adaptation as further evidence in the decline of movie writing and/or an inadequate homage for the departed, and still unfound, Saint-Exupéry. The film based on which movie it previews before, takes aim at children as the target audience. The material covered in The Little Prince carries a heavy, mature tone. Quite possibly, the messages become too difficult to convey or there are simply too many of them resulting in an overwhelming feeling.
Wild Card: Riley Osborne, the voice of the little prince. A quick search for Riley Osborne generates limited results. The only direct references being cited in a Wiki page and the trailer. With his first words, “If you please…draw me a sheep,” the little prince came to be. The little prince does not give a sense of arrogance but a sense of wisdom, a stubborn wisdom. Osborne’s portrayal of dismay, his argumentative tone, and incessant inquisitiveness can consequently make or break the character and in essence, the entire film. It is, by far, the most pivotal role to cast. The lack of previous works, or more accurately, no access to any previous work by Osborne creates both a disconcerting and tactful feeling. It’s disconcerting because how can an individual with little or no shared public experience fill the shoes? On the other hand, Osborne’s inexperience becomes tactful because Osborne’s voice bears no association with other productions and it is only fitting an immature voice, to voice mature musings.
Prediction: The film premiered last year in May at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival followed by wide release on July 29 in France. Domestically, how will The Little Prince do? By the numbers, because “grown-ups like numbers,” it will remain in the shadow the animation giants. For the grown-ups, The Little Prince, will resonate in a new medium for the next generation so that we can continue to talk about “boa constrictors and jungles and stars” without forgetting.
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures