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Magina is a 2003 American animated musical dark fantasy romantic drama film produced by Paramount Feature Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was directed by Simon Wells and written by TBA and was loosely based on the play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Featuring the voices of Jodi Benson, Elijah Wood, David Ogden Stiers, Alfred Woodard, Mandy Patinkin, Sean Connery, and Tony Jay, it tells the story of a mysterious, yet magical girl named Magina, who is locked away in an isolated fortress. She meets a young French immigrant named Olin, who falls in love with her. But Magina is unaware that she is framed and cursed under witchcraft and is being hunted down by Judge Warren and his team of pilgrims as the two try to find a new home to escape.

Development of Magina began at Warner Bros. Feature Animation in 1996 when Ash Brannon, who had previously worked as a animator and co-writer on Space Jam, conceived the film's original concept, but production did not begin until 2000, now at Paramount Feature Animation, set for a December 2002 release. The film's production was fraught with severe difficulties, particularly for its disastrous test screening which proved to be too frightening to children. In 2001, when Ash Brannon stepped down as director to focus on other projects, Simon Wells was approached to direct the film and revise the story while also removing 13 minutes of footage from the initial cut, and to abandon the previously-planned PG-13 rating, and as a result it was delayed to 2003. Some of the film's production team also visited Essex County for inspiration. The film was animated using traditional animation, with extensive use of computer-generated imagery. Its songs were written by Stephen Schwartz, with Randy Edelman composing the film's score.

Magina premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on November 14, 2003, and was released in the United States on November 26. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its animation, musical score, voice performances, and songs, but criticized its storyline and darker nature, and compared the film unfavorably to FiddleGriff Animation's iconic fantasy films, such as Reversal of the Dragon Heart (1988) and The Dragon Prince (1990). It is also considered to be one of the darkest films from Paramount Animation as it deals with mature themes such as hysteria, damnation, homicide, depression, sin, mental health, and indoctrination. Grossing only $82.5 million on a $90 million budget, Magina performed poorly at the box office and was a box office bomb, though it later sold well in-home media. Paramount suffered a $130 million loss for the film as well as loss on other string of films from Paramount that year (such as The Core, Timeline, Marci X and Feature Animation's own The Western Sheriffs that same year) that were not offset by this film, which nearly made its animation division file for bankruptcy and led Paramount Backlot animation facility to abandon traditional animation for computer animation after the released of Star Trek: The Enterprise Corps in 2004, much to the dismay of the animation community, until 2011's ImagnationWorld It is considered to be one of the biggest box office bombs in animation history, which also resulted in Paramount shutting down both their secondary Spain animation studio for good as well as Hyperion Animation in 2004 due to the Feature Animation division's restructuring.

Despite the reception, Magina was nominated for a number of awards, including five Annie Awards as well as a nomination for Best Animated Feature at the 76th Academy Awards, losing to Pixar's Finding Nemo, and the Magina would end seeing success on home media and airings in later years, which has given Magina a new legions of fans, as the film has since become a cult classic and is widely considered to be one of the most underrated animated films ever made, which Paramount has noticed within the past few years, announcing Magina II at the 2021 Paramount Summit, which is set to be released in theaters in 2023.

Plot

In 1773 Salem Village, Massachusetts, an elderly man tells his grandson the story of a beautiful young woman named Magina whose magical powers led to tragedy. In 1692, five-year-old Magina and her mother who is accused of witchcraft are pursued through the woods by a group of pilgrims on a witch hunt. The mother managed to hide Magina in an abandoned cottage, but is later found and sentenced to be executed by the pilgrims. In the cottage, the lone child is then encountered by woodland animals, including the hedgehog Flint, who raise and befriend her. Adopted into the animal society, the child chooses herself to be called "Magina", a name she made up meaning magic as she has magical powers ever since she was born.

Years later, back in 1710, Magina is reluctant to leave her isolated cottage to see the outside world, fearing she would get humiliated by the outside society. Meanwhile, at a farm in Salem Village, a kind, yet awkward young man who had just moved with his family from France named Olin fulfills his childhood dream of becoming a pilgrim in order to hunt down witches so that it could wipe out witchcraft for good. However, his parents Telea and Eben find their son too scrawny and weak to become a witch hunter, only to be humiliated by the other villagers. One night, Olin decides to explore in the forest, hoping he could find a witch to hunt despite his parents' warnings, but later ends up entering Magina's cottage where he encounters Magina. They quickly bond and end up falling in love, while Olin discovers Magina's magical powers.

Olin returns back home the next morning to explain to Telea and Eben about Magina but Judge Warren, minister Reverend Williams, and some other pilgrims enter the farm, explaining to the family that Magina is a witch who will put a curse to the entire village, unless they could stop the witchcraft and sentence her to execution. They cryptically warn Olin about Magina and of imminent danger, but Olin refuses to believe the statement and returns to the forest to visit Magina again, where the two spend another time together. Olin convinces Magina to leave the cottage, but is compelled to explain "witchcraft" to her when he mentions the alleged witchcraft in the village.

At this time, one of the Salem villagers eventually discovers Olin's relationship with Magina and warns the judges including Warren and Williams, and they rally the entire village into sentencing Magina to execution. Later, Olin offers Magina to come with him to stop the curse, but Magina inadvertently unleashes her witchcraft powers to Olin, seriously injuring him and revealing her dark truth. Realizing that Magina is the witch all along, Olin angrily drives her away in a fit of despair for lying to him. Shocked and horrified at what she has done, Magina runs away in a fit of fear before she is captured and convicted by the town council who overheard the loud sounds coming from Magina's powers when she was injuring Olin. As she soon gets sentenced to execution, Magina confronts Warren who recognizes her as the daughter of one of the executed people who were accused of witchcraft and eventually reveals he killed her mother during the witch hunt years ago when Magina was young. This in turn completely triggers Magina's magical powers in a fit of rage and grief to attack Warren and the other judges and avenge her mother's death, transforming into a cataclysmic vengeful spirit.

Olin, along with Telea, Eben, Flint and the other forest animals, manage to arrive at the chaos in time to calm Magina down while clarifying the situation to the judges and sparing Magina's life. However, Magina's overpowered strengths cause her to get weaken. Judge Warren takes advantage of this and tries to shoot her, but Olin steps in and intervenes, tacking Warren, which in turn causes him to misfire, missing Magina. After seeing the attempted murder, the villagers turn on the Judge and detain him for hurting their comrade and sentence Judge Warren to 15 years in the town’s prison, ending his Warren's of terror. With the curse broken, this causes Magina to fade away. Confessing his love to her, Olin kisses Magina just before she disappears and transforms into a spirit. This also releases the spirit of her mother, who silently thanks Olin for freeing her daughter before she and Magina head to the afterlife, while Olin takes Flint in care, a little something to remember her by.

Back to the present day in 1773, the elderly man finishes telling his grandson the story, revealing that he is Olin and saying how much he missed Magina. The film ends with Olin watching Magina's spirit out the window right before she disappears, leading Olin to believe that she is still alive and immortal (albeit in her spirit form), even so does her mother.

Cast

  • Jodi Benson as Magina, a young navy blue-haired woman with magical powers who is accused of witchcraft and is isolated away in a cottage. William Jennings served as the supervising animator for Magina.
    • Taylor Momsen as a younger Magina.
  • Elijah Wood as Olin, a young French immigrant who helps Magina find a safe shelter to prevent from execution. Aaron Lohr provides Olin's singing voice. Alexander Bates and Bob Cokinn served as the supervising animators for Olin.
    • Tony Jay as an elderly Olin, the narrator.
  • David Ogden Stiers as Judge Warren, the ruthless and arrogant judge who accused and punished Magina for witchcraft and is on the hunt to execute her. Pete Candeland served as the supervising animator for Warren.
  • Alfre Woodard as Telea, Olin's caring mother. Chris Abazzi served as the supervising animator for Telea.
  • Mandy Patinkin as Eben, Olin's father. Nester Ormond served as the supervising animator for Eben.
  • Sean Connery as Reverend Williams, a minister who is known for his knowledge of witchcraft. Bill Aalen served as the supervising animator for Williams.
  • John Kassir as Flint, Magina's pet hedgehog whom the latter accompanies. Todd Wilderman served as the supervising animator for Flint.
  • Amy McNeill as Magina's Mother, the unnamed mother of Magina who was killed during the witch hunt when Magina was a child.
  • Spencer Breslin as Olin's Grandson, the unnamed grandson of Olin at the end of the film.
  • Ash Brannon as Thomas
  • Phil Morris as John

Additional voices

  • Jack Angel
  • Michael Bell
  • Bob Bergen
  • Rodger Bumpass
  • Frank Welker
  • Jennifer Darling
  • Debi Derryberry
  • Paul Eiding
  • Sherry Lynn
  • Cynthia Marion
  • Edie McClurg
  • Mickie McGowan
  • Laraine Newman
  • Phil Proctor
  • Jan Rabson
  • Evan Sabara
  • Jim Ward

Production

Development

Warner Bros. Feature Animation conceived the concept for Magina in 1996 after wrapping up production on Space Jam, envisioning a romantic "boy meets girl Rapunzel style story" but with a supernatural twist and set in a Massachusetts town inspired by Arthur Miller's The Crucible and a bit more of a darker film in the likes of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. As The Great Showtime was nearing the end of production In 1997, Ash Brannon developed his concept into a forty-page film treatment and sent it to then-Paramount Feature Animation president TBA, who wrote back with simply "Wow." By the summer of 1997, the project began development under the working title The Legend of Magina and was originally slated for release in 2000 with Ash Brannon directing and TBA producing. TBA, who had co-written the screenplay for TBA, came on board to write an early draft of the script. TBA created the original design, sets, characters, and core storyline, but was never formally named director as he was focusing directing Mistress Masham's Repose. Therefore, in May 1998, Paramount pushed its release date back to 2001 to accommodate Mistress Masham's Repose.

In 2000, when production on Mistress Masham's Repose was finished, TBA went back to The Legend of Magina as co-director and production went underway shortly. In October 2000, Paramount scheduled a new release date of December 20, 2002 for the film, and announced TBA as a co-director with TBA and having given exclusive control of the story. Shortly before the release of Mistress Masham's Repose in December, TBA, TBA and several other Paramount animators including production designers TBA and TBA and art director TBA took a trip to Essex County, Massachusetts, where they explored Salem and Danvers (originally Salem Village) and learned more about the history of the Salem witch trials to help take inspiration for the film's elements. Following TBA's departure from Paramount to join 20th Century Fox Animation in early 2001, the studio turned to former Disney animator Chris Jenkins (who was finished working on Atlantis: The Lost Empire) to replace TBA as the film's producer. In June 2001, the film's title was shorten as just Magina, with TBA rewriting the original screenplay by TBA. The original title would end up being for the 2004 GBA video game of the same name though.

Editing and revisions

In mid 2001, a test screening for the partially finished cut of Magina was held at a private theater in the Paramount backlot where the feature animation studio was also located. Near the film's climax, whilst receiving praise from older audiences, it was proved to be too intense and frightening for the majority of younger children in the audience (most of whom burst into tears and quickly left the theater with their parents before it was even finished). After the test audience's mostly-negative reaction, Paramount Feature Animation head of production, the infamous Marc Shindale insisted that 13 minutes of footage be cut to attain a PG rating instead of a PG-13 rating, and Ash Brannon was so dissatisfied with Marc Shindale's decision, that he left Paramount Feature Animation to work at FiddleGriff Animation as an art director for the Percy Jackson film series.

Shortly after, Ash Brannon was replaced by Simon Wells, who had just finished working on FiddleGriff's 2001 film, Wizards of Glowerhaven to help revise the film, while co-director TBA left the film to work on other projects for Paramount. In December 2001, Magina was pushed back from December 20, 2002, to July 2, 2003 so that the film could be reworked. The Wild Thornberrys Movie, a GameToons Studios and Nickelodeon Movies was later given the slot of December 20, 2002. In February 2002, due to the delay, Paramount laid off 59 employees of its feature animation department. In June 2002, the film's release date was moved forward four months later from July 2, 2003, to November 26, 2003 in order to avoid competition with DreamWorks Animation's Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas This caused the originally planned dates for Welcome to ToonVille to be moved from November 26, 2003 to July 2, 2004 and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie to be moved from July 2, 2004 to November 19, 2004.

The film was ultimately cut by thirteen minutes, with existing scenes rewritten and reanimated for continuity. Many of the cut scenes involved extended character interactions, but other trims involve violent and disturbing content, including Magina's ghostly witch form in the final act of the film. While most of the scenes were seamlessly removed from the film, TBA sequence contains rather recognizable lapses because the removal of the scenes of TBA as well as TBA, creates a jump in the film's soundtrack

Casting

Coming soon!

Animation

During the development of Magina and when Shrek was almost finished with production, Pacific Data Images asked Paramount If they would be interested in sharing the "tradigital animation" technique, which is a blend of traditional hand-drawn animation and computer animation used in DreamWorks' Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, asking that Games in turn share with them any improvements that were made. Paramount and Games agreed, resulting in most of the "tradigital" technique for Oceanic (2001), Bone (2002), The Martian Chronicles (2002), The Western Sheriffs (2003), Magina (2003) and Star Trek: The Enterprise Corps (2004) being produced in-house by Paramount Feature Animation with some additional help from Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Bardel Entertainment, and AKOM, but some very important tools were those produced by Pacific Data Images for DreamWorks.

For Magina, TBA

Music

Main article: Magina/Soundtrack

Release

Theatrical

Magina was originally going to be released on December 20, 2002, however, In December 2001 it was pushed back from December 20, 2002, to July 2, 2003 so that the film could be reworked and give the production team more time to finish the film with The Wild Thornberrys Movie taking over its original slot. In June 2002, the film's release date was moved forward four months later from July 2, 2003, to November 26, 2003 in order to avoid competition with DreamWorks Animation's Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. Magina's world premiere was on November 14, 2003, at Los Angeles' Dolby Theater. The film was theatrically released in the United States on November 26, 2003. The North American theatrical release was accompanied by GameToons short film "A Sponge Out of Mind", The film was also released in IMAX theaters.

Trailers

  • The teaser trailer was released on December 13, 2002, and was later attached to theatrical screenings of The Martian Chronicles and The Wild Thornberrys Movie; it was later shown with Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, The Jungle Book 2, Agent Cody Banks, The Western Sheriffs, Piglet's Big Movie, The Alaina Gleen Movie, and Finding Nemo.
  • The first trailer was released in June 2003, and was shown with Rugrats Go Wild, Hulk, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Tooned Out and Freaky Friday.
  • The final trailer was released in September 2003, and was shown with School of Rock, Good Boy!, Brother Bear, Elf, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and The Cat in the Hat.
  • TV Spots aired on various networks between September 12, 2003 and December 27, 2003.
  • DVD Promos aired on various networks and Paramount DVDs between February 20, 2004 to June 15, 2004

Marketing

Burger King promoted the film with a set of 6 Big Kids' meal toys featuring the characters from the film at the time of the film's release. The film also utilized internet marketing such as its own website. Hasbro produced a series of Magina figures. Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins also ran an 8-week limited time promotion of the film, selling products such as A brand new limited time sundae called "The Magic Blue Sundae". that's a combination of Oreo Cookies 'n Cream ice cream, blue velvet, crushed chocolate chip cookies, whipped cream and blue and white sprinkles and Magina Freeze Frame Cake. Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park had character meet-and-greets as a promotional tie-in to the movie. TBA.

Video games

Main article: Magina (video game)

A video game based on the film was released in November 2003 around the time of the film's release for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and PC. Published by Sega and developed by Visual Concepts. Although The game follows the plot of the movie, only differences are that there are some parts of the original draft and that it changes some aspects of the movie in order to fit within the Action-Adventure and Platformer genres. Upon release, the game received mixed, but mostly positive reviews with the Xbox version being the most well-received. The game would be re-released in 2004 as a Platinum Hits (Xbox) / Greatest Hits (PS2) / Player's Choice (GameCube) title after surpassing a million copies.

Secondary Article: The Legend of Magina (Game Boy Advance)

Another video game based off the film was released exclusively for the Game Boy Advance in January 2004, developed by WayForward and published by THQ (With Sega as co-publisher). Designed specifically with the weaker GBA hardware in mind, TBA.

Home media

Magina was released on VHS and DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment on March 23, 2004, The DVD release gave the viewer the option of viewing the film either in its original theatrical 2.39:1 aspect ratio or a modified 1.33:1 ratio (utilizing pan and scan), and contains an audio commentary by the filmmakers, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, an artwork gallery, supplements detailing the film's development, an optional DTS 5.1 track and with an option for visual mode The DVD however, contained a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and were THX certified, It was also released on Game Boy Advance Video in October 2004. During the first month of its home release, the film led in VHS sales and was third in VHS and DVD sales combined. Sales and rentals of the VHS and DVD combined would eventually accumulate $158 million in revenue by the end of 2004.

Magina made its television debut on FX in 2005.

On September 13, 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray.

The film was released on 4K Blu-ray on December 15, 2020.

On March 4, 2021, Magina, along with other Paramount Animation films, became available on Paramount+, which resulted in the film being removed from HBO Max.

Reception

Box office

Magina was expected to gross $30-35 million in its opening 5-day Thanksgiving weekend. However After making earning just $6.4 million and $10 million since its Wednesday start from 3,000 theaters, expectations were lowered to $15 million, The film ended up making $10.5 million in its opening weekend, It reached sixth place at the box office and faced competition from Brother Bear, Elf, Bad Santa, The Matrix Revolutions and The Haunted Mansion, There to four weeks later after its release, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Cheaper by the Dozen premiered in which Magina declined 45% in its second week to grossed $4.3 million finishing eighth The film closed on February 4, 2004, after earning $17.3 million in North America and $65.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $82.5 million.

Based on the box office receipts, The box office run of Magina flopped causing a loss of $130 million as well loss on other projects from Paramount in 2003 that weren't offset by this film for Paramount Pictures, On December 16, 2003, Paramount announced that, due to the film underperforming at the box office, Paramount Feature Animation would take a $130 million write-down, which harmed the company in which it nearly made the division file for bankruptcy. Although the division never filed for bankruptcy, the company did make the decision to shut down both Paramount Animation Madrid and Hyperion Animation in 2004 as a result of the failure and result of the Feature Animation restructuring.

Reasons for the film's financial failure included the Thanksgiving release date, delayed dates, audiences getting turned off by the darker tone, an aggressive marketing campaign which cost over $100 million, competition with films such as Brother Bear, Elf, Bad Santa, The Matrix Revolutions, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Cheaper by the Dozen and The Haunted Mansion, and disinterest in traditional animation in comparison to computer animation.

Critical reception

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Magina holds a 53% rating based on 119 reviews, with an average score of 6.1/10. Its consensus reads, "Magina shines as a darkly animated, beautifully sung love story loosely based off the play, The Crucible but an uninspired script and uncanny comparisons to Rapunzel but with a darker and supernatural witchcraft twist make all that grandeur wear out its welcome." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 57 out of 100 based on 31 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.

Coming soon!

Accolades

The film was TBD

Award Category Recipient Result
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Elijah Wood Won
Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Simon Wells Nominated
Annie Awards - Best Animated Feature

- Character Animation

- Music in an Animated Feature Production

- Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

- Magina (film)

- Magina (film)

- Stephen Schwartz, and Randy Edelman

- William Jennings

Nominated


Legacy

Canceled franchise

Before Magina premiered in cinemas, Paramount did, mentioned the possibilities of having direct-to-video sequel or prequel for Magina as well as a prequel television series. Universal Orlando was also planning on adding a water-based dark ride based off the movie for Universal's Islands of Adventure where Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is located today. TBA.

Coming soon!

Sequel

At the 2021 Paramount Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, it was officially annouced that a sequel called Magina II was officially in development with Universal Animation Studios developing the film on behalf of Paramount Animation. It is set to be released theatrically in 2023.

Coming soon!

Upcoming Director's cut

TBA

In General

  • Randy Edelman's "Love Theme" that was composed for the movie can be heard in the Star Corridor portion of Discovery Mountain's queue at DisneySEA
  • TBA.

Trivia

Transcripts

Main

To see the main transcript of the film, click here.

Trailers

To see the transcript for the trailers of the film, click here.

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