The Rugrats Movie

        The RugratsMovie

               (Left: from UIP UK; Right: From Nick.Com; both ©1999 Viacom.)


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(Left & Right: From The Rugrats Movie poster; © 1998 Viacom; from UIP Brasil.)

The Rugrats Movie was first released Friday, 11/20/1998, in theaters throughout the US & Canada.

The Rugrats Movie, Klasky-Csupo's first full-length feature film (80-minutes), is directed by veteran Rugrats directors Norton Virgien & Igor Kovalyov and written by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss. (special thanks to J. David Stem) Animation historian Jerry Beck has originally signed on as Executive Producer, but he has since moved on to Disney.

(Left: Director Norton Virgien and the Rugrats, based on a Nick.Com graphic used shortly befored the film's release; © 1998 Viacom.)

World Premiere

The stars came out on a sunny Southern California afternoon on  Sunday, 11/8/1998, when The Rugrats Movie had its World Premiere at the legendary Mann's Chinese Theater at 2PM PT.

The producers, writers, creators and stars of the film were there, along with other celebrities like Kim Delaney,  Loni Anderson (WKRP),  comedian Sinbad, French Stewart (3rd Rock),  Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa & Sabrina),  Lisa Loeb,  Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley), Wesley Snipes,  Howie Mandel,  Rosanna Arquette, James Woods and Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond), plus the winners of Nick's Rugrats Movie contest (the contest is long over, but you can get info on it here).

This was a charity event, which benefitted the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Liver Transplant Program.

A similar premiere event was held simultaneously in New York City.

Rated "G"

The Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA) has given the film a "G" rating, meaning that the film is appropriate for all ages without exceptions. This is despite the fact that the film will include a nude baby scene and the newborns' mass peeing. Also, portions of the Rugrats' adventure in the woods (especially the one involving Dil and the monkeys) may scare some children.

On CBS's telecast on 11/23/2001, the film was rated [TV-G], according to US TV ratings standards.

In Canada, ratings for movies shown at theaters may vary by province-to-province, as each province has their own ratings system for movies. Canada's national rating system applies to videos only, except for BC & Alberta, where their movie ratings are based on the national video ratings.

These are the following ratings that I found for the film in Canada:
Alberta "G"
British Columbia "G"
Manitoba "G"
Nova Scotia "G"
Ontario "F" (Family)
Sasketchewan "G"
Yukon "G"
(English TV ratings,
for YTV's telecast)

In other Canadian provinces, and in other countries, check local listings for the rating used in your area.

For more on the US & Canadian TV ratings systems, click here.

(Source for Canadian ratings: Tribute)

Got Rugrats?

The dairy industry has recruited Tommy, Chuckie & Angelica to be the latest celebrities to "wear the mustache" in their series of "Got Milk?" ads. This ad will appear in magazines and billboards in November, to coincide with the film's release. They're the 3rd, 4th & 5th cartoon characters to be featured; the first 2 were Bart & Lisa Simpson, featured in early-1997. There were 3 versions of the milk ad: one has the Nickelodeon logo in the lower left corner (click here to see large version); the other has The Rugrats Movie logo in that corner instead (to see that version, visit the The Purple Domain-Angelica Reigns Supreme site). Another is the Spanish-language version, which was probably released when the Spanish-language version of the video was released in June 1999; this version has the slogan, "Leche -- ¿Dónde esta su bigote?", which is translated to "Milk -- Where's your mustache?", the milk industry's previous slogan before adopting the California Dairy Board's popular "Got Milk?" slogan in 1997. The Spanish version also has Chuckie called "Chuckie" (he's Carlitos in Spanish), asking what a "vity-man" is (which would be lost to Spanish readers, as "vitamin" in Spanish is "vitamina").

(Left: The Rugrats' "Got Milk?" ad;  Right: the Spanish-language version of the same ad; both ©1998 National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board. Rugrats are ® & ©1998 Viacom.)

"That'll Do, Babe, That'll Do...NOT"

The Rugrats Movie has also indirectly affected Babe -- Pig In The City, the sequel to the hit film from 1995, Babe.

In the original, Christine Cavanaugh played the title role. There were rumors that Cavanaugh asked for more money in order to reprise the role in that film, with the gossip saying that E.G. Daily, Cavanaugh's co-star on Rugrats, told the Babe sequel's producers that she can do Babe's voice just as well as Cavanaugh, but for less money. However, an interview with Cavanaugh in The Washington Post said it wasn't true, as Cavanaugh chose not to participate in the sequel for personal reasons, and that there's no hard feelings between Cavanaugh and Daily. The Unofficial Christine Cavanaugh Website has more on her non-involvement with the Babe sequel.

Babe -- Pig In The City ended up being sent to the theatrical slaughterhouse when it came in fifth in its first week of release, earning only $8.5 million; yet another black eye for Universal, it bombed due to last minute editing (to avoid a PG rating; the MPAA bought the changes, but not the audience), its gloom-and-doom atmosphere, and, of course, competition from A Bug's Life (which was released on 11/25/1998, the same day as the Babe sequel) and Rugrats. Its world premiere was also scrapped due to editing issues. In Canada alone, it came in sixth, earning C$347,042 (US$225,577).

For the week ending 12/20/1998, Babe -- Pig In The City left the top ten after roughly 3 weeks of release.

With the film costing $50 million to $75 million to make, Babe -- Pig In The City has a long way to go before it even comes close to breaking even.

On the other hand, in most international markets, The Rugrats Movie is actually getting beaten by Babe -- Pig In The City; in many of those markets, Babe appears in the top ten for several weeks, while The Rugrats Movie only appears near the top ten's bottom, or not at all. Also, US & Canadian video sales are very respectable, as well.

One thing that's not at issue here is E.G. Daily as Babe, who plays the role just as well as Cavanaugh.

(Source: The Sydney Sunday Telegraph, via The Phantom's Zone Rugrats Tribute; additional info from the Comics Buyer's Guide (#1263, 1/30/1998) and Canoe)

Monkey See, Monkey Do

As anyone would know, Doug was one of the first 3 Nicktoons in 1991; the others, of course, are Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy. After noticing the success of Rugrats at the theaters, Disney, which now produces Doug, released Doug's First Movie at theaters March 26. Disney is doing this to capitalise on Rugrats' success, with both shows being popular Nicktoons. However, the quality of the film is questionable, as Doug's First Movie was originally slated as a direct-to-video release. As a matter of fact, Post Cereals ran a special promotion centered around Doug in March and April 1999, including a contest where some winners receive Doug's 1st Movie Ever video, the video that ended up being a movie instead.

What's The Film About?

Meet Dil (full name: Dylan Prescott Pickles), battling a bunch of monkeys. To see the complete picture, click here.
(picture is from an anonymous source and is ©1998 Viacom.)

The adventure starts with the 1/2-hour Family Tree episode, which was televised shortly before the movie's release on Nick; in that episode, Didi will find out that she's pregnant. The comic strip will then cover the action that took place between The Family Tree and the movie. Then, in the movie, Dil is born. As with every 2nd child, Dil steals Tommy's thunder as he gets constant attention from Stu & Didi. Because of this, Tommy and the other, original Rugrats use Stu's latest invention, the "Reptar Wagon" (Stu's trying to get into licensing, isn't he?) to return Dil to the hospital. However, they end up all over town and lost in a forest full of monkeys. Will Tommy and the Rugrats get along with Dil? Will they even get home? See the movie and find out.

Supporting Characters

In addition to Dil, other characters will also play an important role in the film. Characters include:
Character: Role:
Reptar Wagon (Busta Rhymes) Invented by Stu; takes the Rugrats places.
Rex Pester (Tim Curry) TV reporter, whose main interest is pestering people.
Goat Boris' shower gift to Didi.
Serge (Abe Benrubi) & Igor (Phil Proctor) Russian owners of the Banana Brothers Monkey Circus, whose monkeys escaped after their train derailed.
Monkeys (voiced by real monkeys) Escaped from above circus' train, eventually having to face the Rugrats.
Frank (David Spade) A veteran ranger.
Margaret (Whoopi Goldberg) A rookie ranger.
Wolf Keeps an eye on his dinner -- the Rugrats.


In addition to the different animation style in this film, they're will be some different things that the characters have in the film that they do not have on the series:

1. The Carmichael family's last name will be "Carmichaels"; I consider this something different, otherwise, an early episode would've been titled "Meet The Carmichaelses". However, the name in the film was pronounced the usual way, without the "s".

2. Phil & Lil now wear blue socks, while Lil is shown wearing blue diapers. Keep in mind that blue is an inappropriate color for a girl, as they traditionally wear pink. And I thought they went too far by giving Phil ear lobes.

3. The planet on Chuckie's shirt now has its colors reversed: red planet with yellow rings. This color scheme was used before in some of the first season (1991) episodes.

4. Also, Chuckie's socks are now white, rather than yellow, and his sweatshirt is a dark-purple color.

5. The Rugrats will now say "diapie" instead of "diaper". The news page explains this in detail.

6. The most glaring discrepancy of them all are the ages of the Rugrats as of Dil's birth; his birth took place roughly 9 months after Didi got pregnant in The Family Tree, yet the Rugrats haven't aged a single day.

In the book versions and some pictures, however, the color schemes in #s 2 to 4 are the same as the TV series.

Were You The First To See "The Rugrats Movie"?

If you've attended the World Animation Celebration at the Pasadena (CA) Civic Center on 2/20/1998, chances are that you may have seen a special showcase of new animated projects and shows now in development by Nickelodeon and MTV. In addition to other animated Nick & MTV projects, scenes from the forthcoming Rugrats Movie was presented during the presentation. Plus, Nick's new animation facilities in beautiful downtown Burbank was showcased. For more informaton on the WAC, click here.

Clips of the film were also previewed at the New York City Toy Fair 98, where the new Rugrats toys were revealed. .

Finally, according to the K-C book (p. 137-140), the complete (content-wise) film was shown to sample audiences at Paramount Studios in Hollywood in June 1998. I mentioned "content-wise", as the story and pictures form a complete film, but the movie was presented as an "animatic" (a preliminary version of an animated cartoon), with only 40% of the color work completed, along with a temporary soundtrack. After the showings, sample audiences filled questionaires, giving their opinions about the film, including what should be changed.

(WAC source: Animation World Network)

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