A tortured animated movie you definitely don’t remember buckles up on streaming
Barring several instances of Pixar either firing directors midway through production and/or tearing up scripts to rebuild a story from the ground up, animated movies don’t typically tend to endure difficult and torturous existences. However, the story of Wonder Park is something else entirely.
On paper, a whimsical family film about a young girl with a big imagination discovering the amusement park of her dreams has come to life is exactly the sort of thing you could dump the kids in front of for a couple of hours.
Throw in the combined might of Paramount and Nickelodeon driving the project, on top of a voice cast that featured well-known names like Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, and Ken Jeong, and you’ve got all the pieces for a diverting 85-minute adventure.
Instead, Wonder Park kicked off production in September 2014, but wouldn’t make it to theaters until five years later. During that period, first-time director and Pixar veteran Dylan Brown was fired by Paramount following an investigation into claims of misconduct, while Jeffrey Tambor was also ejected from the ensemble after his own string of controversies.
The studio then offered several other key creatives the credit, but they all refused because they wanted to safeguard their own careers knowing they had a dud on their hands, so Wonder Park was fascinatingly released without a director being named at all.
In the end, the movie flopped after earning less than $120 million at the box office, immediately being consigned to a footnote in history. Until this weekend, that is, after FlixPatrol revealed Wonder Park had emerged from the wilderness to nab a place on the iTunes most-watched list.