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Hop is a 2011 American live-action/computer-animated adventure comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. The second feature film from Illumination, it was directed by Tim Hill and produced by Chris Meledandri and Michele Imperato Stabile. The film stars Russell Brand as E.B., the Easter Bunny (Hugh Laurie)'s son who would rather drum in a band than be like his father; James Marsden as Fred O'Hare, a human who is out of work and wishes to become the next Easter Bunny himself; and Hank Azaria as Carlos, an evil chick who plots to take over the Easter organization.
The film was released on April 1, 2011 in the United States and the United Kingdom. Despite receiving negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office success, grossing $184 million worldwide against its $63 million budget. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on March 23, 2012, in Region 1.
On Easter Island, a young rabbit named E.B. is intended to succeed his father as the Easter Bunny. Intimidated by the calling's demands and ignoring his father's orders, E.B. runs away to Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming a drummer. So his father sends the Pink Berets out to find him. Meanwhile, Carlos the Chick plots a coup d'état against him to take over Easter.
At Van Nuys, E.B. is hit by Fred O'Hare, an out-of-work, job-hopping slacker who was driving to his sister Sam's boss's house he is house-sitting, while his parents forced him to move out. Feigning injury, E.B. persuades Fred to take him in as he recovers, but when E.B. causes trouble, Fred attempts to release him in the wilderness. E.B. persuades to help him by claiming to be the Easter Bunny, whom Fred as a child had witnessed delivering eggs.
E.B. sees the Berets closing in on him and hides inside a business where Fred is having a job interview. E.B. enjoys a successful recording session with The Blind Boys of Alabama as their substitute drummer, but ruins Fred's job interview. In the process, E.B. gets a tip about a possible audition for David Hasselhoff, who invites him to perform on his show.
Afterward, Fred attends his adoptive younger sister Alex's school Easter pageant with E.B. hiding in a satchel. E.B., alarmed that the Pink Berets have apparently found him due to the three bunny suit shadows on a wall and disgusted by Alex's awful rendition of "Peter Cottontail", dashes out and disrupts the show.
Fred feigns a ventriloquist's act with E.B.'s cooperation as his dummy and they lead the show in singing, "I Want Candy". Both Fred's father, Henry, and Alex, are angry about the upstaging, but Fred is inspired to be the Easter Bunny himself. E.B. is skeptical, but he agrees to train the human and finds that Fred has some genuine talent for it.
As the Pink Berets close in on him, E.B. prepares a decoy to fake his death and leaves for Hasselhoff's show. The Berets see the decoy and, horrified that the human has apparently killed E.B., capture Fred and take him to Easter Island. Fred is held captive and confronted by E.B.'s father and Carlos about killing E.B. Carlos pretends to be upset about E.B.'s death, silences Fred (who tries to reveal the truth of the decoy) and seizes control of the Easter factory.
Meanwhile, at the Hoff Knows Talent live show, E.B. is in his dressing room preparing for his performance but his reflection begins to berate him for acting selfish and leaving Fred. Just then a production assistant arrives to tell him that he is next to perform. E.B. leaves his dressing room and begins to feel guilty about leaving Fred so he discusses the situation with Hasselhoff, who advises him to go back and help his friend.
E.B. finds evidence of Fred's capture and races back to the factory. He confronts Carlos, but is immobilized in gummy candy and tossed into the chocolate bunny carving line. Fred and E.B.'s father are tied up with black licorice and are to be boiled alive; Fred eats through the licorice to allow them to escape, something his fellow captive was unwilling to do because of the poor taste of the candy. E.B. survives by dodging the blades.
Carlos, now a chick-bunny combination due to the magic of The Egg of Destiny, battles with E.B. and beats him with an elbow drop easily due to his size and then tries to lead the Egg Sleigh out with his sidekick Phil directing with light up wands, but E.B. improvises a drum session that makes Phil uncontrollably driven to dance to the beat and provides the wrong signals, causing a crash to subdue Carlos.
After being defeated, Carlos is made to pull the Egg Sleigh. E.B. then apologizes to his father for his selfishness, and he and Fred are crowned co-Easter Bunnies.
The cast in order of production notes listing:
- James Marsden as Fred O'Hare, a human who takes in E.B. to recover after he accidentally hits him with his car. When he was younger, Fred saw E.B.'s father at work very early one Easter morning and ever since, he has had a secret dream of doing the job himself.
- Coleton Ray as Young Fred
- Kaley Cuoco as Samantha "Sam" O'Hare, Fred's younger sister
- Gary Cole as Henry O'Hare, who is Fred, Sam, and Alex's father
- Elizabeth Perkins as Bonnie O'Hare, Henry's wife and Fred, Sam and Alex's mother
- Tiffany Espensen as Alex O'Hare, Fred and Sam's adoptive younger sister
- David Hasselhoff as Himself, the host of "Hoff Knows Talent"
- Chelsea Handler as Mrs. Beck, the lady who interviews Fred in his job interview
- Russell Brand as a "Hoff Knows Talent" production assistant.
- Russell Brand as E.B., a rabbit who would rather be a drummer than be the next Easter Bunny.
- Django Marsh as Young E.B.
- Hank Azaria as Carlos, the leader of the Easter Chicks and the film's main antagonist, who has grown tired of always being the Easter Bunny's number two (or lieutenant) and decides to lead a coup d'état.
- Azaria also voices Phil, Carlos's fun-loving sidekick who is friends with E.B. and enjoys music more than working.
- Hugh Laurie as E.B.'s father, the current Easter Bunny who wants E.B. to take over the family business instead of becoming a drummer.
ADR Loop Group
- Matt Adler
- Jeff Fischer
- Scott Menville
- Veronica Alicino
- Elisa Gabrielli
- Michelle Ruff
- Kirk Baily
- Jackie Gonneau
- Justin Shenkarow
- Kate Carlin
- Richard Horvitz
- Marcelo Tubert
- Vicki Davis
- Hope Levy
- Bridget Hoffman
- Dave Zyler
- David Cowgill
- Steve Alterman
- Juan Pope
- Will Shadley
- Emily Hahn
- Isabella Acres
- Seth Dusky
E.B. was designed by Peter de Sève, most famous for the work on the Ice Age characters. The CGI animation of the film was made by Los Angeles-based Rhythm & Hues Studios.
The theme song ("I Want Candy") was performed by Australian pop singer Cody Simpson.
Universal teamed up with 92 major companies to promote Hop, including Holiday Inn, Krispy Kreme, Lindt, Kraft Foods, The Hershey Company, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Comcast, Kodak, Hallmark, HMV and Burger King. The premiere of Hop took place at Universal Studios Hollywood on March 27, 2011. James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Hugh Laurie, David Hasselhoff, Cody Simpson and costumed characters of E.B., Carlos, Phil and the Pink Berets all attended the event.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment released Hop on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on March 23, 2012, in North America, and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc back on August 29, 2011, in the United Kingdom. The US Blu-ray Disc/DVD combo pack also features an original short film titled Phil's Dance Party.
Hop received mixed to negative reviews from critics. On review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 25% based on 134 critics and an average 4.4/10. The critical consensus reads: "It's impressively animated, but Hop's script is so uninspired that not even James Marsden's frantic mugging can give it any bounce." Metacritic gave the film a 41/100 based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Although the movie has received some praise for its concept, CGI animation, and character designs, it was criticized for its weak plot, awkward voice acting, inappropriate moments (especially the Playboy Bunny mansion scene) in a family film, unfunny jokes and a mean-spirited environment. As a result, this film was (and still is) despised by the Illumination fanbase and is considered their worst film ever. The subplot involving Carlos the Easter Chick was also considered to be insensitive to Mexican Americans by some reviewers.
Hop opened at #1 at the Friday box office in the U.S. and Canada, earning $11.4 million, beating Source Code and Insidious, two other films that opened that weekend. It then topped the weekend box office with $37.5 million, then making it the 2nd highest opening weekend in 2011 behind Rango, until Rio came out. It also topped the box office in the United Kingdom in its opening weekend, with £1,392,740. Hop held onto the #1 spot in the U.S. and Canada for its second weekend, with a 42% drop, and grossed $21.4 million.
During its second week, it beat the four new nationwide releases, Arthur, Hanna, Soul Surfer and Your Highness. In the 2011 Easter weekend, Hop increased 13.7% from its third weekend, with a gross of $12.5 million, and crossed the $100 million mark in North America, becoming the third 2011 film to reach this mark after Rango and Just Go with It. Hop earned $108.1 million in North America and $75.9 million in other countries, bringing its worldwide total to $184 million.
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A video game adaptation based on the film was released exclusively for the Nintendo DS and published by 505 Games.
Doodle Jump game
In 2011, Doodle Jump launched a Hop-themed game app for the iPhone. On March 18, the TV advertisement for the game was posted onto YouTube by the film's official YouTube channel.
Five books based on the film have been released:
- Chicks Versus Bunnies: a children's paperback picture book
- Hop: The Chapter Book: a story book based on the film's plot
- Hoppy Bunnies: a children's board book with finger puppets
- Hop: Meet the Easter Bunny: a paperback picture book about the Easter Bunny's workshop
- Counting Chicks: a hardcover picture book
A large range of licensed merchandise was released in connection with the film, including toys, stuffed animals, many sorts of candy, T-shirts, cookie decorating kits, baked goods and other products from Kraft Foods. Some items were available exclusively at Walmart stores. Burger King launched a line of Hop-themed toys included in their kids meals throughout April 2011.
Original score soundtrack
The film's official thirty five track original score soundtrack (from Back Lot Music) was released in stores on April 5, 2011. However, on iTunes it was released a month earlier in March.