Where the Wild Things Are

October 16th 2009
  • Adventure/Fantasy,
  • PG,
  • 94 min,
  • Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Cast: Catherine Keener, Benicio Del Toro, Forest Whitaker, Lauren Ambrose, Catherine O'Hara, Tom Noonan, Michael Berry, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Max Records, Alice Parkinson, Angus Sampson, Steve Mouzakis, Nick Farnell, John Leary, Sam Longley, Sonny Gerasimowicz, Kalia Prescott
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Writers: Dave Eggers, Spike Jonze
  • Producers: John B. Carls, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Vincent Landay, Maurice Sendak
  • Executive Producers: Jon Jashni, Scott Mednick, Thomas Tull
  • Art Directions: Sonny Gerasimowicz, William Hawkins, Christopher Tandon, Lucinda Thomson, Jeffrey Thorp
  • Castings: Justine Baddeley, Kim Davis
  • Costume Design: Casey Storm
  • D.O.P.: Lance Acord
  • Editors: James Haygood, Eric Zumbrunnen
  • Makeup: Chiara Tripodi
  • Musics: Karen O., Carter Burwell
  • Production Design: K.K. Barrett
  • Set Decoration: Simon McCutcheon


"Where the Wild Things Are" follows the adventures of Max, a head-strong young boy who leaves home after having a fight with his mother -- only to find himself in a mysterious forest bordering a vast sea. Misunderstood and rebellious, Max sets sail to the land of the Wild Things, where mischief reigns. The adventure film will use a unique process to bring the story to life, incorporating the most dynamic elements of voice performance, live-action puppetry and computer animation.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Filming Locations: Los Angeles, USA; Melbourne, Australia
  • MPAA Warning: Mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language
  • Production Budget: $80 million
  • Production Companies: Legendary Pictures, Playtone, Village Roadshow, Warner Bros. Pictures, Wild Things Productions
  • Production Schedule: August 2006 -

Featured Articles


- 'Eric Goldberg' was at one point attached to direct.

- The open call for Max was huge. It took several months and thousands of boys auditioned from several countries worldwide.

- Spike Jonze was approached by Maurice Sendak and was asked to take on the film adaptation. A movie had been on the burner since the early 90s, and Mr. Sendak had not being able to find anyone fitting to take it on.

- The creatures are being portrayed by actors in 6-8 foot tall costumes, with some additional animatronics, and computer-generated faces. The costumes were created by The Jim Henson Company, who were responsible for the Muppets and Labyrinth creatures.

- Throughout the writing process, Jonze and Eggers kept in close contact with Maurice Sendak, consulting and sharing script changes, models of the monsters, etc.

- It's said that Actors in the monster costumes would wear the head for no more than half an hour at time, after which they'd have 10-15 minute breaks in front of an air-conditioner. Stunt Performers would remain fully suited for hours at a time, without air conditioning.

- Numerous cameras followed the actors around to get our expressions and feelings. The images would then be digitally 'infused' onto the faces of the puppets and the how they moved would move based on the actors' performances.

- Originally, the film had a May 2008 release, which was pushed back to October 2008, after that, it was pushed back to a 2009 release.

- Filming began in 2005.

- Other actors auditioning for the role of Max included Griffin Armstorff, Jackson Pace and Bobby Coleman.

- The film was originally set for release from Universal, but disagreements with Spike Jonze led to him taking the film to Warner Bros.

- Michelle Williams was at one point cast to voice one of the Wild Things, but the role went to Lauren Ambrose. The reason given by the filmmakers for this was that Williams' voice didn't match what they're going for.

- Initially, Warner Brothers studio was so unhappy with Spike Jonze's final movie (it was much less family friendly than they imagined) that they wanted to re-shoot the whole $75 milion project in early 2008. Jonze was eventually given some more time and money by the studio in order to make the final product satisfying to both, the studio and himself.

- Though their names are not mentioned in the book, Maurice Sendak named the Wild Things after his aunts and uncles: Bernard, Tzippeh, Aaron, Moishe, etc. The Wild Things have names in the film, but are not named after Sendak's aunts and uncles.

- In Max Records' previous film The Brothers Bloom (2008), he played Mark Ruffalo's character when he was young. Ruffalo and Records co-star together in this film.

- Maurice Sendak heard that one of President Barack Obama's favorite books was Where The Wild Things Are, so he sent Obama's daughters signed books with little sketches in the front and immediately got back a hand-written thank you note from Obama.

- This is the first time any of the cast members appears in a movie released on IMAX screens.

- Lauren Ambrose described her character as a "eight-foot-tall Neanderthal, that looks just like her".

- Chloƫ Sevigny auditioned for the role of KW.

- In July 2006, less than six weeks before the start of shooting, the Henson-built monster suits arrived at the Melbourne soundstage where Spike Jonze and his crew had set up their offices. The actors climbed inside and began moving around. Right away, Jonze could see that the heads were absurdly heavy. Only one of the actors appeared able to walk in a straight line. A few of them called out from within their costumes that they felt like they were going to tip over. Jonze and the production crew had no choice but to tell the Henson people to tear apart the 50-pound heads and remove the remote-controlled mechanical eyeballs. This meant that all the facial expressions would have to be generated in post-production, using computers.

- Max Records's favorite scene in the original book, is when Max meet a sea monster. That scene is however not included in the film.

- Spike Jonze turned down the chance to make the movie fully animated, because he wanted people to feel the Wild Things, and thought it would be more exciting and dangerous, if a real kid were running around with the wild things.

- All the original songs in the movie were written and preformed by Karen Orzolek, credited as her stage name Karen O., the lead singer of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She got the job because she was dating director Spike Jonze at the time of production. They have since broken up.

Trailers & Clips

This film has no associated trailers or clips.

Worldwide Release Dates

  • 16 October 2009: Taiwan
  • 30 October 2009: Italy, Venezuela
  • 19 November 2009: Malaysia, Russia
  • 26 November 2009: Czech Republic, Portugal, Singapore
  • 27 November 2009: Romania, Sweden
  • 3 December 2009: Australia, New Zealand
  • 11 December 2009: Denmark, Estonia, Norway, Turkey, UK
  • 16 December 2009: France
  • 17 December 2009: Germany
  • 18 December 2009: Spain
  • 23 December 2009: Belgium
  • 1 January 2010: Brazil
  • 8 January 2010: Finland
  • 14 January 2010: Netherlands
  • 21 January 2010: Argentina
  • 30 January 2010: Japan