Top Cat: The Movie
Top Cat: The Movie (also known in Spanish as Don Gato y su Pandilla, literally "Top Cat and His Gang") is a 2011 Mexican-Argentine animated family action comedy film based on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, Top Cat, which ran from 1961 to 1962 on ABC in the United States.
|Top Cat: The Movie|
Mexican theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alberto Mar|
|Produced by||Fernando de Fuentes|
Jose C. Garcia de Letona
José Luis Massa
|Screenplay by||Tim McKeon|
|Based on||Top Cat|
|Music by||Leoncio Lara|
|Edited by||Andrés Fernández|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||MX$112.25 million|
Produced by Ánima Estudios and Illusion Studios, the film was first released in theaters on September 16, 2011 in 2D and 3D formats, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film was later released in the United Kingdom on 1 June 2012, distributed by Vertigo Films, where it grossed £2.8 million, making it the highest-grossing Mexican film in the region. The film later received a limited release in the United States on 2 August 2013, with the voices of Rob Schneider and Danny Trejo as Lou Strickland and Griswald respectively.
The film was a major commercial success, earning $43.5 million pesos on its opening weekend at the domestic box office and held the record as one of the biggest box-office openings in the Mexican cinema history. The film grossed a total of $112.25 million pesos domestically and $14.7 million worldwide.
During lunch with Benny, Top Cat spots a female cat walking by them. Excusing himself, Top Cat quickly runs after the female cat, interrupted by Griswald, but soon gets him out of the way and meets up with the female cat, who introduces herself as Trixie. While she finds him amusing, an alley cat isn't her type.
At the alley, Top Cat catches news of the Maharajah of Peekajoo, known for his generosity and his rubies are just what Top Cat needs to impress Trixie. Top Cat and his gang head to the Connity Hall to meet the Maharajah, running into an obnoxious man named Lou Strickland. The gang steal his tickets and get him sent away. While the gang distract Officer Dibble who is the Maharaja's escort, Top Cat makes a bet with the Maharaja and gets out of him a Maharaja Talk 5000 device with many functions, as the Maharaja hasn't any rubies.
The next morning, Officer Dibble is summoned to the police station to work for the Chief's son-in-law Strickland, who is taking over for the retired Chief. Strickland has replaced the staff with robots which he believes are more competent. Top Cat thwarts Strickland's attempt to evict him, preventing Strickland from getting the Mayor's funding for a robot police army. Strickland uses Trixie to keep Top Cat away from the alley while he carries his out his plan. Top Cat returns to the alley getting shunned by his gang, arrested by police and after an unfair trial, convicted to the Dog Jail on charge of stealing money from an orphanage.
With the arrest of Top Cat, Strickland is granted the Mayor's funding and establishes a robot police army and a major scale surveillance camera system which restricts privacy for the city. Meanwhile, Top Cat tries to keep a low profile in dog jail but later becomes popular having turned the jail into a paradise for the convicts. As for Top Cat's gang they are struggling and begin to express their disbelief in him, which Top Cat notices from the one of the security cameras.
Strickland abuses his authority and starts coming up with ridiculous laws to take absurd amounts of money off people for every thing they do, intending to spend it on making himself even more 'handsome'. Tired of Strickland's tyranny, Trixie quits her job, Strickland fires her and turns to Officer Dibble and shows him evidence that a robot Top Cat sent by Strickland robbed the orphanage proving Top Cat's innocence. However, Strickland arrives and reveals his true intentions to Dibble, and that he's not the old chief's son-in-law. Dibble escapes to pass this to Top Cat's gang, but Trixie is captured by the police robots.
After Dibble tells the gang what really happened, they all head for Big Gus to help them break Top Cat out of prison, as he owes Top Cat. Big Gus leads them through an underground passage to the dog jail and leaves. The gang apologises for their doubts about Top Cat. With their cover blown by the dogs knowing they've got cats with them, the gang and Dibble escape through a sewer hole arriving at Strickland's HQ.
The gang infiltrate the building in robot guises finding Strickland has imprisoned everyone in the city and stolen the city's cash. While Dibble distracts Strickland, the gang under the guise of robots make their way to Strickland's control centre, but Top Cat's gang are locked in Strickland's vault having tripped a silent alarm, Top Cat remaining outside. When Strickland arrives, he orders Top Cat to be annihilated by the robots. As a single robot enters, Top Cat realises the whole security system was manufactured by the Maharajah of Pookajee. Top Cat takes out the Maharajah Talk 5000 which presumably controls all robots to get Strickland. In panic, Strickland self-destructs the robot army except the single one, revealed to be Fancy-Fancy still in his robot guise. Everyone imprisoned and Top Cat's gang is released in the self-destruction process. Strickland is rendered helpless and Dibble arrests him and (on Top Cat's suggestion) sentences him to the Dog Jail.
Top Cat and Trixie renew their relationship, Officer Dibble is promoted as the new Chief of Police, the gang enjoy themselves, and finally Griswald asks for a place in Top Cat's gang, which Top Cat accepts.
|Spanish Name||Voice Actor|
|Don Gato||Raúl Anaya|
|BeBenito B. Bodoque||Jorge Arvizu|
|Espanto||Luis Fernando Orozco|
|Oficial Carlitos Matute||Sebastian Llapúr|
|Lucas Buenrostro||Mario Castañeda|
|Juez||Rolando de Castro|
|Jefe de Policia||Israel Magaña|
|English Name||Voice Actor|
|Top Cat/Choo Choo/Brain/Griswald (U.K. version only)/Lou Strickland (U.K. version only)/Big Gus||Jason Harris Katz|
|Lou Strickland (U.S. version only)||Rob Schneider|
|Officer Dibble||Bill Lobley|
|Griswald (U.S. version only)||Danny Trejo|
|Judge/Police Chief/Mayor||Bob Kaliban|
The English-language version was also included in the special features in the Mexican DVD release.
On February 26, 2011, Warner Bros. Pictures Mexico, Ánima Estudios, Illusion Studios announced that the film would be in production, to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary. The film took a total of 34 months to develop.
While the production of the film mainly took place in Mexico, Warner Bros. suggested that the film was written by Americans, when Timothy McKeon and Kevin Seccia wanted to write a familiar story to match the spirit of the original TV series. Before writing the screenplay, they reviewed the show's set of the 1960s. They wrote several versions of the script until they finished the final draft the script. It took them six months to write. Jesús Guzmán, a Mexican comedian and actor who provides the Spanish voice of Demostenes (Brain), adapted and translated the script in Spanish.
It was originally rumored to be a live-action/CGI hybrid, but it was later confirmed to be a 2D/CG animated feature. Animated in Adobe Flash with computer animated backgrounds, the animation was done by Ánima Estudios in Mexico, while post-production (including the CGI backgrounds) and stereoscopic 3D services were done at Illusion Studios in Argentina.
Background development and setting
Alberto Mar, the film's director, did a scouting in New York City in 2011 and took pictures of the city's buildings, alleys, and drains. He also used locations that were not featured in the TV series, such as Times Square.
During character development, all of the film's characters had to be approved by Warner Bros. Animation. The goal was for the characters to look like they were drawn in style of other Hanna-Barbera works. Ánima Estudios created new characters that were not featured in the series, such as Trixie, Lucas Buenrostro (Lou Strickland), the army of robots, and over 100 incidental characters.
While the film features a voice cast different from the original series, Jorge Arvizu reprises his role as Benny and Choo Choo from the Spanish version of the show The U.S. version casts actors, Rob Schneider and Danny Trejo, dubbing over Jason Harris voice roles as Lou Strickland and Griswald, respectively, from the international English versions of the film.
This film was released theatrically in Mexico and parts of South America on September 16, 2011 in Digital 3D and regular 2D format. The film's teaser premiered on April 15, 2011 and was shown during the Mexican screenings of Hop. On January 23, 2012, Vertigo Films announced that the film would be released in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2012 (formerly August 20, 2012) in 2D, Digital 3D, and RealD 3D theaters. A UK teaser trailer was released on April 5, 2012. The film was released in select theaters and VOD in the United States from Viva Pictures on August 2, 2013. The U.S. trailer was released on May 7, 2013. The MPAA gave this film a PG rating for "some mild rude content".
The original Latin American version was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 2, 2011 from Warner Home Video International as well on Blu-ray 3D in Brazil, distributed by PlayArte Home Entertainment, while the UK version was released on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on October 15, 2012, distributed by Entertainment One. It was the first film from Ánima Estudios to be released on Blu-ray. The film was released in the United States on DVD on September 3, 2013. A Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D release in the United States has not been announced yet.
Though the original Spanish version of the film was received favorably in Mexico and Latin America, the English dub of the film was universally panned in both the UK and the US. While the U.S. version currently doesn't have a critic score, the UK version currently scores a 14% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 14 reviews, with an average score of 2.93/10.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the English film 1 out of 5 stars, saying "It's the bottom of the heap, and it frankly looks cheap, the disaster of the year is – Top Cat". Derek Adams of Time Out London also gave the English film 1 out of five stars, writing, "a pity, then, that the key elements – storyline, dialogue, comedy value – are so woefully ineffectual. An air of boredom permeated the screening I attended and laughs were universally non-existent." Colin Kennedy of Metro criticized the English film, calling it "a dog's dinner of a film which will bore new viewers and disappoint old ones" and "post-Pixar kids will be bored rigid." Michelle Moore of Close-Up Film gave the English film a negative review for its animation, saying "When it comes to combining the two, scenes and characters, things at times get very disordered and appear out of place." Rob of The Shiznit gave this 1 out of 5 stars and wrote, "It looks like Top Cat, sounds like Top Cat, but it doesn’t feel like Top Cat. It's as if a Mexican film company (Ánima Estudios) has taken an iconic American cartoon and slapped together a budget version... oh, wait, that's exactly what's happened."
Bethany Rutter of Little White Lies criticized the English film saying that "it's heroically unfunny, the lame script is one of many sticking points. Awkward, clunky and predictable, it propels the film forward at a pace that manages to be both deathly slow and annoyingly jumpy." Mike Sheridan of Entertainment.ie criticized the English film and wrote, "In a world where studios are putting so much care into the development of characters in family aimed flicks, Top Cat just doesn’t cut it." Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent gave the English film 2 out of 5 stars and said that "neither the voice work (much of it done by Jason Harris) nor the animation is distinctive. Officer Dibble has only a marginal role. The use of 3D seems entirely tokenistic (an excuse to hike up ticket prices rather than an artistic decision.)" Writing in the Daily Mail, Chris Tookey said the film, "one of the worst-ever spin-offs of a TV series", was "abysmally scripted, crudely drawn and cheaply made, with astonishing inattention to detail" and apparently "redubbed with little regard for synch by a team of justifiably unknown actors." Shaun Munro of WhatCulture gave the English film 1 and 1/2 out of 5 stars, calling it a "horrid, low budget take on the classic series" and wrote "Top Cat: The Movie is a rarity; an almost completely mirthless, charmless animated film." On the positive side, Matthew Turner of ViewLondon enjoyed the English film, saying that " This movie provides a handful of decent laughs, though some of the jokes are a bit dodgy, the 3D effects are entirely superfluous and younger children might be a little bored." Eddie Harrison of The List also gave the English film a positive reaction, saying that "adults looking for undemanding fare for their kids may find Top Cat's brand of sass, irreverence and cheeky charm offer a persuasive alternative to today's crasser children's entertainments."
Mexico and Argentina
This film has earned $40.7 million in Mexico and grossed a total of $112.25 million pesos. It has also become one of the biggest box office openings in Mexican cinema history. In Argentina, it opened #5 on its opening weekend, earning $0.7 million and grossed a total of $3.3 million.
United Kingdom and Spain
The UK release of this film opened at #7 at the weekend box office with £0.4 million from 452 theaters throughout the country, and grossed a total of £2.8 million. In Spain, this film earned €34,085 on its opening weekend and grossed a total of €96,848.
There is currently no box office data for the film, but it is among one of the highest-grossing independent animated films released in the United States.
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