Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jill Culton|
|Written by||Jill Culton|
|Music by||Rupert Gregson-Williams|
|Cinematography||Robert Edward Crawford|
|Edited by||Susan Fitzer|
|Box office||$129.6 million|
Abominable is a 2019 computer-animated adventure film produced by DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio. It was written and directed by Jill Culton and co-directed by Todd Wilderman, and stars the voices of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin, and Michelle Wong. The film follows a teenage girl named Yi, who encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, names him Everest and embarks on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth along with her mischievous friends Jin and Peng, but the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish, a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara to help Everest get home.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019, and was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on September 27, 2019 while Pearl Studio distributed the film in China. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed $129 million worldwide. In Southeast Asia, Abominable has garnered controversy for a scene involving a map of the region with the Nine-Dash Line, a contested demarcation line used by China to lay claim over a portion of the South China Sea. Due to this, the film has been banned in several countries involved in territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea—namely, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
A young Yeti escapes from a compound in Shanghai owned by wealthy businessman Mr Burnish (Eddie Izzard), who intends to use him to prove the existence of yetis to the world. Meanwhile, teenager Yi (Chloe Bennet) lives with her mother Yi (Michelle Wong) and Nai Nai (Tsai Chin) in an apartment building. She lives a busy life and neglects to spend time with her family and her friends, football fan Peng (Albert Tsai) and the tech-savvy and popular Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor). Yi is also a violinist who misses her late father, who was also a violinist.
One evening, Yi encounters the Yeti near her cubby house on the roof of her Shanghai apartment building, which she names "Everest." While hiding him from Burnish Industries' helicopters, Yi gains his trust by feeding him Baozi and treating his wounds. Yi learns that Everest wants to reunite with his family on Mount Everest while Everest learns about Yi's desire to travel across China. When Burnish Industries' private security forces closes in on Everest' hiding place, Everest flees with Yi. After narrowly escaping a Burnish helicopter at the Oriental Pearl Tower, Yi and Everest flee on a ship carrying red cola cans, followed by Peng and a reluctant Jin.
Yi, Everest, and the boys reach a port in southern China and travel on a truck. After their crate falls off the truck, they end up in a forest. There, Everest awes the humans with his mystical powers of stimulating growth among blueberry plants. Meanwhile, Mr Burnish and the zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) continue the hunt for Everest. Following Everest and his human friends' trail, they catch up with them in the Sichuan region but Everest uses his power to cause a plant to grow to a gigantic size. While Yi, Everest, and Peng manage to escape on the wind-blown shoot, Jin is left behind and captured by Burnish Industries' Goon Leader (Richard Dietl).
Despite Dr. Zara's outward love for animals, Jin learns that she is planning to hunt down and kill the yeti for medical research. He also learns that the seemingly cold–hearted Mr Burnish has a soft spot for animals including Dr. Zara's pet jerboa. Meanwhile Yi, Everest and Peng reach the Gobi Desert where they befriend several tortoises, who gratefully accept their giant shoot. Later, they travel to a town on the banks of the Yellow River but Burnish Industries corners them. Peng helps them escape by unleashing a yak stampede. With the help of Jin, they escape across the Yellow River to a field of yellow flowers, which Everest causes to blossom to gargantuan sizes.
Continuing their journey, the humans and Everest eventually reach the Himalayas. While crossing a bridge, they are trapped on both sides by Burnish Industries' forces. However, Mr Burnish experiences a change of heart after seeing Everest protecting the children; causing him to experience a flashback to his first encounter with the yeti which was protecting its young. Seeking to exploit Everest for scientific research, Dr Zara injects Mr Burnish with a tranquilizer before tranquilizing Everest as well. When Yi tries to protect Everest, Dr Zara throws her over the bridge. Burnish Industries then departs the mountain with the captive Everest, Peng, and Jin in tow.
However, Yi manages to cling on to a rope. She then uses her violin, which Everest has magically repaired, to summon ice which reinvigorates Everest, who breaks free of his cage. Dr Zara makes a last-ditch attempt to kill Everest but the poacher is herself killed along with the Goon Leader in a self-triggered avalanche. To protect Everest and the yetis from humanity, Mr Burnish agrees to help Yi, Peng, and Jin keep his existence a secret. Yi, Peng, Jin, and Everest continue the journey to Mount Everest where they reunite Everest with his family.
Returning home to Shanghai with the help of Mr Burnish, Yi spends more time with her mother, grandmother, Peng, and Jin.
- Chloe Bennet as Yi, a violin-playing teenager.
- Albert Tsai as Peng, a friend of Yi.
- Tenzing Norgay Trainor as Jin, a friend of Yi.
- Eddie Izzard as Burnish, a wealthy man who wants to catch a Yeti.
- Sarah Paulson as Dr. Zara, a poacher posing as a zoologist who works with Burnish.
- Tsai Chin as Nai Nai
- Michelle Wong as Yi's mother 
- Rich Dietl as Goon Leader
- James Hong as Yak Leader
- Christine Lin as Teenage Girl #1, Boy's Mother, Female Customer
- Kym Miller as Teenage Girl #2
- Jason Ko as Teenage Boy
- Trevor Devall as Van Driver
- Karen Huie as Dog Lady, Doc Worker
- Vic Chao as Jin Impersonator
- Fernando Chien as Merchant
- Rupert Gregson-Williams as Everest Humming
Abominable was in development at DreamWorks Animation since 2010. For some time, Jill Culton was writing and directing the film, originally titled Everest, which was about a little girl and a Yeti, but by 2016, she had left the project. She was then replaced by Tim Johnson and Todd Wilderman.
In December 2016, DreamWorks announced that the film would be released on September 27, 2019, and that it would be co-produced by Oriental DreamWorks (now Pearl Studio), marking their second collaboration after Kung Fu Panda 3. On February 2, 2018, it was announced that Culton had returned as the director, replacing Johnson. On March 20, 2018, it was announced that Chloe Bennet has been cast in the lead role as Yi. On May 18, 2018, DreamWorks and Pearl Studio have announced that the film has been retitled from Everest to Abominable, and Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, and Tsai Chin were cast the following month.
Abominable had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019. The film was released on September 27, 2019 in the United States and on October 11 in the United Kingdom by Universal Pictures. Universal also handles worldwide distribution alongside various regional partners except for China, where the film was solely distributed by co-producer Pearl Studio, who (under their former name of Oriental DreamWorks) had distributed all of DreamWorks Animation's films in the country since the partnership began.
As of October 19, 2019[update], Abominable has grossed $54.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $75.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $129.6 million, against a production budget of $75 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $17–20 million from 4,200 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $5.7 million on its first day, including $650,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $20.9 million, finishing first at the box office and marking the best opening for an original animated film of 2019. The film made $12 million in its second weekend, finishing second behind newcomer Joker.
Rotten Tomatoes reported that 83% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 139 reviews, with an average rating of 6.68/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Working with admittedly familiar ingredients, Abominable offers audiences a beautifully animated and overall engaging adventure that the whole family can enjoy." On Metacritic, the film has an weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4 out of 5 stars.
Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave Abominable two out of five stars, opining that it "lack[ed] the personality to distinguish it from superior animated films that cover most of the same ground." Similarly, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 2.5 out of five stars, likening it to How to Train Your Dragon. While praising Yi's violin music and the animated scenes featuring whopping snakes and Everest' visual wonders, he thought that Abominable failed to distinguish itself in a crowded market. Glenn Kenny of The New York Times praised the film for its "exceptionally watchable and amiable" story and animated visual effects.
Clarissa Loughrey of The Independent gave Abominable three out of five stars, describing the film as "occasionally original, but not quite daring enough." She also praised the director Jill Culton for writing Yi as a grounded and authentic female protagonist while avoiding forcing her to prove herself and shoe-horned romances. Nick De Semiyen of Empire magazine awarded Abominable three out of five stars. He praised the film for its first female animated film director Culton, female lead character Yi, and for embracing its Chinese milieu including Yi's grandma Nai Nai. However, he observed that the film brought nothing new to the animation genre but praised it for incorporating a reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave Abominable two out of five stars, regarding the yeti as a bland character and observing the film's similarities to How to Train Your Dragon and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. By contrast, Simran Hans of The Observer gave the film a more favorable review, awarding it three out of five stars. She praised the film for its animation effects of the yeti's magical powers and also likened the film to How to Train Your Dragon.
The film was banned in Vietnam on October 14, 2019, ten days after its release, due to the appearance of the Nine-Dash Line in a scene. The Philippines and Malaysia also reacted negatively to this scene. Filipino lawyer Jay Batongbacal requested that the film be banned, while the Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. thought it was better to cut the "offending" scene. On October 17, Malaysia ordered the scene be cut from the film through its film censorship board. However, after Universal refused to make the censor cut, the film was banned entirely in Malaysia. On October 18, the Philippines' Movie and Television Review and Classification Board followed suit, also banning the film.
- "Abominable". Universal Pictures.
- "Rupert Gregson-Williams to Score Brian Henson's 'The Happytime Murders'". Film Music Reporter. December 20, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
- McNary, Dave (May 18, 2018). "DreamWorks-Pearl Studio Animated Movie 'Everest' Retitled 'Abominable' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Variety Media. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "Film releases". Variety Insight. Variety Media. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
- "DreamWorks Animation And Pearl Studio Announce Cast Of "Abominable" At Annecy International Animation Festival". June 14, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2019 – via PR Newswire.
- McLean, Tom (September 8, 2019). "'Abominable': All Yeti for the Big Screen". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
- "Abominable (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
- "Abominable (2019)". The Numbers. IMDb. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
- "Universal Delays DreamWorks Animation's 'How to Train Your Dragon 3,' Sets 'Everest' Feature | Animation World Network". Awn.com. December 7, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- Brendon Connelly. "What's going on at DreamWorks Animation?". Den of Geek. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- "Abominable". Universal Pictures. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "Abominable". Universal Pictures.
- "Two in One Interview: NY Illustrators – Character Designers". CTN Animation Expo. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
- Gachman, Dina (March 21, 2013). "Bringing 'The Croods' to Life: A Spotlight Interview with Producers Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell". Studio System News. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
We have a project tentatively titled Everest, but that's a temp title. It's about a little girl and a Yeti, and the writer-director is Jill Culton.
- Milligan, Mercedes (March 26, 2014). "DreamWorks Adopts FLIX for Story Development". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
Culton, who made her directorial debut with Sony's Open Season, is currently writing and directing a film about a young girl and a Yeti for DWA with the working title Everest.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 5, 2016). "'How To Train Your Dragon 3' Flies To 2019; Uni's DWA To Scale 'Everest'". Deadline. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
- Amidi, Amid (February 2, 2018). "Oriental Dreamworks Relaunches As 100% Chinese-Owned Pearl Studio". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
- "'Agents of SHIELD' Star Chloe Bennet to Lead Pearl Studios' Animated 'Everest' (Exclusive)". Retrieved June 13, 2018.
- McNary, Dave (May 18, 2018). "DreamWorks-Pearl Studio Animated Movie 'Everest' Retitled 'Abominable' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
- China's Pearl Studio Teams With Stephen Chow For Animated 'Monkey King', Cast Set For 'Abominable'
- Lang, Brent (July 23, 2019). "Toronto Film Festival: 'Joker,' 'Ford v Ferrari,' 'Hustlers' Among Big Premieres". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
- Nolfi, Joey (May 23, 2019). "Yeti hilarity ensues in adorable 'Abominable' trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Rubin, Rebecca (September 24, 2019). "Box Office: 'Abominable' to Close Out Unexpectedly Strong September". Variety. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 29, 2019). "Dreamworks Animation-Pearl Studios' 'Abominable' Bigfoots B.O. With Near $21M Opening Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 6, 2019). "Warner Bros. Laughing All The Way To The Bank With 'Joker': $94M Debut Reps Records For October, Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix & Robert De Niro". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
- "Abominable (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- "Abominable (2019) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- Tallerico, Brian (25 September 2019). "Abominable". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Travers, Peter (25 September 2019). "'Abominable' Review: How to Train Your Yeti". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Kenny, Glenn (26 September 2019). "'Abominable' Review: Are We There, Yeti?". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Loughrey, Clarisse (8 October 2019). "Abominable review: Occasionally original, but not quite daring enough". The Independent. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- De Semiyen, Nick (10 October 2019). "Abominable Review". Empire. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Bradshaw, Peter (11 October 2019). "Abominable review – escaped baby yeti gears up for Everest". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Hans, Simran (13 October 2019). "Abominable review – sweet animated yeti adventure". The Observer. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Khanh Vu; Phuong Nguyen; Nguyen Tien Thinh; Karishma Singh; Jason Neely (October 14, 2019). "Vietnam pulls DreamWorks' 'Abominable' film over South China Sea map". Reuters. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
- An Nguyen (October 14, 2019). ""Abominable" with controversial nine-dash line removed from Vietnamese cinemas". VnExpress. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Daniel Victor (October 15, 2019). "DreamWorks Film 'Abominable' Is Pulled by Vietnam Over Chinese Map Scene". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Neil Jerome Morales; Matthew Tostevin; Robert Birsel (October 16, 2019). "Philippines' top diplomat calls for cut to 'Abominable' over China map". Reuters. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Rozanna Latiff; Raju Gopalakrishnan (October 17, 2019). "Malaysia orders China map cut from 'Abominable' film as furor widens". Reuters. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- @JayBatongbacal (October 14, 2019). "I agree, this film should be BANNED" (Tweet). Retrieved October 17, 2019 – via Twitter.
- Charmaine A. Tadalan (October 16, 2019). "Locsin suggests: Cut 'offending scene' in Abominable movie". Business World. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Mario Ritter Jr. (October 16, 2019). "Philippines Objects to 'Abominable' Movie Map". Voice of America. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Patrick Frater (October 17, 2019). "Malaysia Orders Cuts to 'Abominable' Over Controversial Map Scene". Variety. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- "Abominable: A DreamWorks movie, a map, and a huge regional row". BBC News. October 18, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
- "Abominable film won't be screened in Malaysia over South China Sea map". Channel News Asia. October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- Ananthalakshmi, A.; Gopalakrishnan, Raju (20 October 2019). "'Abominable' film axed in Malaysia after rebuffing order to cut China map". Reuters. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- "MTRCB bans 'Abominable' over China map–report". Philippine Daily Inquirer. October 18, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2019.