‘Annie’ Trailer and Poster: It’s a Hard Knock Life in New York

Published 6 months ago by , Updated March 6th, 2014 at 5:18 pm,

The Annie musical – inspired by Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie comic strip (which debuted in 1924) – has been around since the latest 1970s; multiple film and TV adaptations have sprung up over the decades since then, including John Huston’s 1982 movie (starring the likes of Albert Finney, Carol Burnett and Tim Curry) and Disney’s 1999 made-for-TV feature of the same name (featuring Kathy Bates, Victor Garber and Alan Cumming).

So, if you do the math, we’re about due for a new screen revival of the Annie musical, which shall arrive later this year, courtesy of producers Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Annie (2014) is a full-blown modernization of the original musical, complete with new (read: contemporized) renditions of famous tunes like “Tomorrow” and “Hard-Knock Life” (supervised by Jay-Z), in addition to a post-millennial setting and tweaked backdrop. The eponymous character will be played by Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) in this version, having replaced the original candidate in Willow Smith – something that most of us can probably agree is for the best.

Here is the synopsis for the 21st-century Annie cinematic redux:

Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014.  Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz).  But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in.  Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around.

No surprise, it looks and sounds as though the new Annie - based on a script that was co-penned by director Will Gluck (Easy A) and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (We Bought a Zoo) – makes all the moves you would expect, in order to update the original story about a plucky orphan in Depression-era America for a tale about a young New Yorker living in a post-2007 Recession world. For more on that, you can watch the first trailer above, then check out the teaser poster, below:

annie 2014 poster 570x845 Annie Trailer and Poster: Its a Hard Knock Life in New York

Judging by the first trailer, the music, characters and world in general has been refurbished, to look shinier than ever – but still kid-friendly and slightly cartoony. Good thing too, since Annie is meant to appeal mostly to a younger generation unfamiliar with previous iterations of the musical, though there’re also a fair number of longtime musical fans out there who’re more than game for a re-imagining of Annie.

On that note: yes, some people have complained – and surely will continue to complain – about the race-changing of certain characters in this cinematic redo, despite the fact that a non-white (and non-red-haired) Annie isn’t new ground for the original Broadway stage musical. There’s nothing new to add to that debate right now (for a related discussion, see our superhero movie casting feature), beyond mentioning that there’s no denying the fine work previously done by the lead acting talent (Oscar-nominee Wallis and Oscar-winner Foxx) – and here, the pair look to be in fine form as ever, with decent chemistry to boot.

quvenzhane wallis annie remake Annie Trailer and Poster: Its a Hard Knock Life in New York

On the other hand, the people collaborating behind the scenes on the Annie are a bit of wild card. McKenna’s no stranger to churning out crowd-pleasing fare, though many would agree that her fluffy crowd-pleasing scripts can be all over the place in terms of quality (see: The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, Morning Glory); that we’re already getting Facebook references and other “trendy” jokes in the trailer alone doesn’t bode so well – at least, not for Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan.

Similarly, Gluck has a couple of well-received box office successes under his belt, though he’s also begun to earn something of a reputation for making films that openly thumb their noses at conventions – before ultimately kowtowing to them, anyway (see: Friends with Benefits). For those reasons, we’ll just have to wait and see if this new version of Annie really is as witty, hip, and fresh as it’s being positioned.

… If not, well, there are far worse ways to spend a couple hours than watching cute-as-a-button Wallis sing and dance.

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Annie opens in U.S. theaters on December 19th, 2014.

Source: Yahoo! Movies

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  1. Does she sound really autotuned or is that just me?

    Other than that (which is inevitable in a musical movie haha) it looks like a lot of fun!

    • Whether or not she was auto-tuned…she sounds like she was auto-tuned.

    • Yeah, I kind of heard that too. It seems like she might not have the best singing voice and they’re using a computer to make up for it. But I won’t be too critical of that since she’s just a little girl. Either way I’m sure this movie will find an audience.

  2. I’d rather piss glass than watch this.

    • Sounds like you need to change your diet! ha…

    • Amen! Preach on!

  3. This film will be a joke.

    • And it will still make over $400 million internationally. The last one made a billion, 3/4 of it international.

    • oops, wrong movie. That was about the new transformers p.o.s.

  4. A New Muppet Movie is an extreme good. An Annie remake is an extreme bad.

  5. IS this a joke?!? What a horrible cast and the music..oh the God awful autotune sounds…

  6. The orphanage owner annoyed me in the trailer, I can’t imagine watching a whole movie with her, and while I never liked Annie, I bet a lot of people who will hate this movie.

    • I bet a whole lot of people who will hate this movie too.

  7. …Rose Byrne is so sexy.

    work work work work bussss it open

  8. I was ready to hate this, but it actually iooks pretty good.

    I’ll always prefer the original setting to this modern one, but heck. Looks like a fun time.

  9. A remake from a classics American movie with modern day racial swapping by its lead actors.
    Hmm… Why hasn’t the Internet exploded ?
    It was so unlike that time when Michael B.Jordan was cast as a black Human Torch.

    • Could it be that fewer people cared about a musical which was based on a comic strip from the 20′s which itself was based on a poem from the 1880s? hmm..

      If the musical didn’t feature the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow then I expect there would be an uproar from fans of musicals.

  10. why is annie black?
    why is johnny storm black?
    why can’t black people invent their own characters?

    • Finding it a little hard to look beyond skin colour are we?

    • Cameron Diaz is white and was the worst part of this trailer. :\

      • haha exactly

      • +1

      • Wait is she white? Or is she hispanic?

    • “Why don’t black people create their own characters?”

      Trolling so hard. You’re a clown.

    • You’re an ass-hole , pure and simple there is no need for any of that if your going to hate it hate it because its going to be a piece of garbage not race.

  11. MEH!

  12. Does anyone find the name “Benjamin Stacks” for Jamie Foxx hilarious? XD

    • I miss “Oliver Warbucks”!!

      • I guess Warbucks had to be updated to a more modern version of the name pun but still, bad movie is bad.

  13. Nothing but racist comments everywhere this trailer is uploaded

    • Most of what I’m seeing is legitimate criticism.

      Sure there’s some race-based stuff, but by no means are there “nothing but racist comments” here.

    • If by “racist” you mean “anti-Cameron Diaz”.

  14. Looks cute. No, I won’t go see it. But it looks cute.

    As for the “race change” people need to remember Annie was more about family. Her story is universal to every race. I always thought Annie was more about the message, not the character.

  15. I wanted to love this trailer, but… meh.

    To be clear, I have no problem with the race switching (Quvezhane Wallis looks great) but everything else just looks bland and generic. To be fair, this is a story that’s been done a million times before so I’m glad they’re doing something different with it, but it just doesn’t look as fresh and new as I hoped it would.

    The biggest disappointment (to me) in the trailer is the singing and dancing. Again, this is a story that we’ve seen several versions of before, and the musical aspect of this one just looks sub par in comparison to the other movies we’ve had. But who knows, I could be wrong (I wish the trailer showed more of the music to get us a better idea of it) and some of the comedy in the trailer just fell flat for me. I hope the movie is good, I’m just not too sure about this one.

  16. Looks absolutely awful. Knowing Will Smith was involved makes it many times worse.

  17. Cameron Diaz’s character looks awful. Everything else looks surprisingly not so awful. Rose Byrne is gorgeous, Jamie Foxx is awesome, and this looks to be an alright remake…….but then Cameron Diaz speaks and that good image is ruined.

  18. Shud have just made it similar tonally to Carmen: A hip hopera with Beyonce. Like isn’t Jay-z Exec Producing? Make it hip….hop…hip hop a potemus. – big daddy

  19. No no no no no no. Who green lighted this s**t?

  20. So… I might just see this movie, just for the soundtrack. Annie’s one of my favorite Broadway musicals, so I’ve been pumped for this

  21. I’ve never seen Annie on Broadway, so I don’t know if the characters are close to the original (obviously the racial switch), but the FIRST thing you hear is that horribly over the top character of Cameron Diaz. Ummm see ya. Cameron Diaz does just fine acting, its obviously the way its written, but EVERYTHING seems corny in the movie.

    Modernizing the songs is fine. Modernizing the story is fine. Make it a little more serious or gritty though. People see through corny right away.

    Will Smith LOVES these reboots though that will piss people off doesn’t he (his horrible son in Karate Kid)

    • I was thinking about how “corny” Diaz character seemed today. Maybe that is part of the whole race change gimmick, making white people look erratic brings in the target audience?? Maybe Will Smith wants to portray them this way??

      I don’t know, I liked everything else in the trailer. Just Diaz stuck out like a sore thumb and I know she can do some good acting.

  22. I guess little black kids can’t be orphans in need of adoption. Or, they can but it’s just that they can’t play Annie. A fictional character that represents any child in any dysfunctional situation wishing that someone would come along and remove them from said situation. How dare they dream that dream! Oh wait lets count the number of Hollywood celebrities that have adopted kids of color. But I guess not because we all know that they’re a bunch of weirdos in Hollywood. How about the average person that goes and adopts a kid from a foreign country, with the hopes of giving that child a better life… The nerve of Hollywood remaking a classic such as this; giving kids of color a positive, fun image. The nerve of Will Smith pissing off the greater moving going community with these cheap remakes. He should’ve just remained the much beloved backwards cap wearing buffoon from the fresh-prince of Bel-Aire. His kids and all other kids of color be damned for positive, fun images.

    • Chill out.

      As a preexisting property, people have strong feelings about ‘Annie’, and by no means is all or even most of the criticism race-based.

      Case in point: Almost everywhere I look, there are far more complaints about Cameron Diaz than the race of the girl playing Annie.

      • John, don’t take my post as being angry or upset because I’m not. I’ve come to expect certain things from people. And I do understand individuals feelings towards a certain franchise. I’m up in arms about the X-Men franchise but I’ll support it, giving it a chance. I don’t understand the change with the F.F. but I’ll support it by purchasing a ticket. Most of the negative posters won’t do that. They’ll bash it w/o giving it a chance.-(which is their right. I get that) But if you’re not going to at least give it a chance then move on to the next story. Don’t bash it, don’t bash the actors, just click on the next story. But then there’s the 1 or 2 people who’ll make it about race just to get reactions from others. All I’m saying is, even if you don’t agree with whatever; stop making and taking changes so personal. Change is a part of life. In this case on this site, it’s all entertainment. My world won’t end because now the lead character’s race has changed.

  23. It doen’t feel like Annie. It feels more like a Jammie Foxx movie, finding his daughter vs Annie finding her father.

  24. My dog once at his own poop and vomited it and ate that and then pooped that out – and that was slightly better to watch than this piece of garbage.

    • *ate

      good lord it’s 2014 put an edit button on here

  25. This doesn’t look very good my only motivation to see it is Rose Byrne

  26. couldn’t finish the trailer…

    i got hot flashes when the auto-tuned “Tomorrow” starting playing. disgusting.

    I usually follow Rose Byrne like a puppy, but this one I might have to miss.

  27. First Will Smith ruined the Karate Kid. Now Annie!? Dude when is he going to stop!? And I am not complaining because of race just to make that perfectly clear but what it looks to me like what’s happening at the Smith family house is “Daddy I want to be the karate kid.” And the daddy says “You got it son.” “Daddy I want to be Annie.” “You got it hon.” I mean WTF are they looking to make good movies or is he just spoiling his children big time?

    • …Neither of the Smith children are in this movie.

  28. I saw a stage version of this when i was a kid, i know this is getting a bit of comment hate, and i kind of get why, but to be honest the tone is completly accurate to the stage version. Also the Cameron Diaz character is completly spot on, the stage version also overacts like that. Only problem i can really see is the auto tuning, but this seems to have the right spirit to it.

  29. Carol Burnett’s Ms Hannigan was classic. They should have cast Kristen Wiig or something.

    • Good call.

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