Fans of the 1982 musical Annie - which starred Aileen Quinn as the titular little orphan - were likely up in arms when word broke that Will Smith was producing a modernized remake of the film (itself, based on the famous Broadway stage musical), with his daughter Willow Smith in line for the lead role. As it turns out, Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) ended up joining the film, along with an ensemble cast that includes Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne.
We've already had our first glimpse at the film, with the release of its first trailer. Now Sony Pictures has released the international version of the theatrical preview, and while it doesn't feature a whole lot of new footage, it does give some indication regarding what tone the film is going for.
Brought to the screen by director Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits), this new Annie looks like it is aiming to achieve a balance between the earnest sentiment of the original film and a more measured self-aware playfulness. Gluck has brought the latter element to much of his directorial work, with Easy A being an especially memorable and snarky modern take on high school comedies of the past.
While some may feel the 1982 production seems dated by today's standards, there's little question that the music of Annie has stood the test of time, and both Wallis and Foxx possess a natural onscreen charisma that - if it transcends into the finished film - could really sell the bond that their characters develop over the course of the narrative at hand. That really leaves the task up to Gluck and his team to meld all of these elements into a film that can tug at the heartstrings without feeling overly sappy and leave a whole new generation humming tunes likes "It's a Hard Knock Life" (a rendition similar to the 1998 version by Jay-Z, who serves as a producer on the film alongside Smith).
It's anyone's guess at this point if this new Annie will manage to find an audience upon its release this Christmas, when it will undoubtedly face a crowded holiday weekend at the cinemas. If the film does become a big hit, expect other studios to fast-track remakes of other classic musicals, possibly even the rumored Steven Spielberg take on West Side Story.
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Annie hits theaters on December 25, 2014.
Source: Sony Pictures