Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016 film)

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Alice Through the Looking Glass
Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016 film) poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Bobin
Produced by
Written by Linda Woolverton
Based on Characters
by Lewis Carroll
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Stuart Dryburgh
Edited by Andrew Weisblum
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • May 10, 2016 (2016-05-10)(London)
  • May 27, 2016 (2016-05-27)(United States)
Running time
114 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$170 million [2]
Box office$299.5 million [1]

Alice Through the Looking Glass is a 2016 American live-action/animated fantasy adventure film directed by James Bobin, written by Linda Woolverton and produced by Tim Burton, Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd, and Jennifer Todd. It is based on the characters created by Lewis Carroll and is the sequel to the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland , a live-action reimagining of Disney's 1951 animated film of the same name. The film stars Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen and features the voices of Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor, Matt Vogel, Paul Whitehouse, and Alan Rickman. This also features Rickman and Windsor in their final film roles prior to their deaths.


In the film, Alice comes across a magical looking glass that takes her back to Wonderland, where she finds that the Mad Hatter is acting madder than usual and wants to discover the truth about his family. Alice then travels through time (with the "Chronosphere"), comes across friends and enemies at different points of their lives, and embarks on a race to save the Hatter before time runs out.

The film premiered in London on May 10, 2016, and was theatrically released on May 27, 2016 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Alice Through the Looking Glass received generally negative reviews from critics, with praise for its performances and visual effects, but criticism for its story and characters. The film grossed over $299 million on a budget of $170 million which made it a box office bomb.


Alice Kingsleigh has spent the past three years following her father's footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London from China, she learns that her ex-fiancé, Hamish Ascot, has taken over his deceased father's company and plans to have Alice sign over her father's ship in exchange for her family home. Alice follows a butterfly she recognizes as the Caterpillar and returns to Wonderland through a mirror. Alice is greeted by the White Queen, the White Rabbit, the Tweedles, the Dormouse, the March Hare, the Bloodhound and the Cheshire Cat. They inform her that the Mad Hatter is acting madder than usual because his family is missing.

Alice tries to console him, but he remains certain that his family survived the attack of the Jabberwocky. The White Queen, believing that finding the Hatter's family is the only way to restore his health, sends Alice to consult Time and convince him to save the Hatter's family in the past. The White Queen warns Alice that history will be destroyed if a person's past and present selves meet. Upon entering the Castle of Eternity, Alice finds the Chronosphere, an object that controls all of time in Wonderland. After Time tells Alice that altering the past is impossible, she steals the Chronosphere and travels back in time, shortly after finding the exiled Red Queen in Time's care. The Red Queen orders Time to pursue Alice, who accidentally travels to the Red Queen's coronation. There, a younger Mad Hatter mocks the Red Queen when the royal crown does not fit her abnormal head. When her crown breaks, the Red Queen throws a tantrum that causes her head to swell. Her father deems her unfit to rule and passes the title of queen to her younger sister, the White Queen.

Alice learns of an event in both the Queens' pasts that causes friction between the two, and she travels back in time again, hoping to change the Red Queen's character and cease the Jabberwocky from killing the Hatter's family. The young White Queen steals a tart from her mother and eats it. When confronted by their mother, she lies about eating the tart, which gets her sister accused and causes her to run out of the castle in a fit. Alice sees her about to run into a clock and believes this to be the event that deforms her head and personality. She manages to move the clock out of the way, but fails to change the past as the Red Queen stumbles and hits her head anyway. Alice is confronted by a weakened Time, who berates her for putting all of time in danger. She runs into a nearby mirror back into the real world, where she wakes up in a mental hospital, diagnosed with female hysteria. With the help of her mother, she returns to Wonderland, where she travels to the Jabberwocky attack and discovers that the Hatter's family did not die, but were captured by the Red Queen's Red Knights.

Returning to the present, Alice discovers the Mad Hatter at the brink of death. After Alice tearfully says that she believes him, the Hatter awakens and reforms back to his normal self. The Wonderlanders go to the Red Queen's castle and find the Hatter's family shrunk and trapped in an ant farm. The Red Queen apprehends them and steals the Chronosphere from Alice, taking her sister back to the day she lied about the tart. By the time Alice and Hatter get there, the Red Queen and her past self see each other. This creates a time paradox, and Wonderland quickly turns to rust. Using the Chronosphere, Alice and the Hatter race back to the present, where Alice is able to place the Chronosphere back in its original place. With the Chronosphere stabilized, Wonderland reverts to normal. The Mad Hatter reunites with his family. The White Queen apologizes to her sister for lying, and both of them make amends. Alice bids her friends farewell and returns to the real world where her mother refuses to turn Alice's ship over to Hamish, and the two set to travel the world on behalf of their own company.


Voice cast

This film marks the final performance of actor Alan Rickman, who died four months before the film's release. Alan Rickman .jpg
This film marks the final performance of actor Alan Rickman, who died four months before the film's release.


Tall ships in Gloucester Docks for the filming of Alice Through the Looking Glass. August 2014 Tall ships in Gloucester Docks for the filming of Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass.JPG
Tall ships in Gloucester Docks for the filming of Alice Through the Looking Glass. August 2014


The film was announced via Variety in December 2012. [11] Bobin was first approached about the project while doing post-production work on Disney's Muppets Most Wanted . [12] Of being asked, Bobin has said that "I just couldn't pass it up", as he has a passion for the works of Lewis Carroll as well as history in general. [13] On January 21, 2014, the film was again retitled to Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass. [14]


In July 2013, it was announced that Johnny Depp would return as the Hatter, [15] with Mia Wasikowska's return confirmed the following November. [16] In January 2014 Sacha Baron Cohen joined the cast to play Time. [17] In May 2014, Rhys Ifans joined the cast to play Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter's father. [18] In developing the character of "Time", Bobin sought to avoid creating a "straight-up bad guy", noting that it would be "a bit dull", and also that the role in that universe already existed in the form of The Red Queen. [12] Instead, Bobin sought to make Time a "Twit", further explaining that "There's no one better at playing the confident idiot trope than Sacha Baron Cohen", and adding that "it was very much with Sacha in mind". [12] Additionally, Toby Jones and John Sessions were originally announced to voice Wilkins and Humpty Dumpty in the film, the roles were eventually given to Matt Vogel and Wally Wingert. [9] [10]


Principal photography began on August 4, 2014, at Shepperton Studios. [19] In August 2014, filming took place in Gloucester Docks, which included the use of at least four historic ships: Kathleen and May , Irene , Excelsior , and the Earl of Pembroke , the last of which was renamed The Wonder for filming. [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] Principal photography ended on October 31, 2014. [25]


Alice Through the Looking Glass: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
ReleasedMay 27, 2016
Studio Abbey Road Studios
Genre Orchestral, pop rock
Label Walt Disney
Producer Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman film scores chronology
Alice Through the Looking Glass: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Before I Wake
Singles from Alice Through the Looking Glass: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Just Like Fire"
    Released: April 15, 2016
  2. "Alice"
    Released: May 27, 2016
  3. "Saving the Ship"
    Released: May 27, 2016
  4. "Looking Glass"
    Released: June 1, 2016
  5. "Truth"
    Released: July 28, 2016
  6. "Story of Time"
    Released: August 7, 2016
  7. "The Red Queen"
    Released: October 18, 2016
  8. "The Chronosphere"
    Released: October 20, 2016

The film's score was composed by Danny Elfman. The soundtrack was released on May 27, 2016, by Walt Disney Records. Pink recorded the song "Just Like Fire" for the film, and also covered Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit", only used in the film's promotional material.

Track listing

All music composed by Danny Elfman.

2."Saving the Ship"3:40
3."Watching Time"5:10
4."Looking Glass"3:30
5."To the Rescue"0:56
6."Hatter House"3:47
7."The Red Queen"2:29
8."The Chronosphere"4:15
9."Warning Hightopps"2:23
10."Tea Time Forever"1:45
11."Oceans of Time"1:15
12."Hat Heartbreak"2:27
13."Asylum Escape"4:06
14."Hatter's Deathbed"3:22
15."Finding the Family"2:04
16."Time Is Up"4:24
17."World's End"1:50
19."Goodbye Alice"2:13
20."Kingsleigh & Kingsleigh"1:19
21."Seconds Song"0:11
22."Friends United"1:06
23."Time's Castle"1:49
24."The Seconds"1:55
25."Clock Shop"0:50
26."They're Alive"2:23
27."Story of Time"3:03
28."Just Like Fire" (performed by Pink)3:35
Total length:76:53


Alice Through the Looking Glass premiered in London on May 10, 2016, and was theatrically released on May 27, 2016, in the United States by Walt Disney Pictures.

Home media

Alice Through the Looking Glass was released on Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray 3D and digital download on October 18, 2016, by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. [26] [27] It debuted at No. 2 in the Blu-ray Disc sales charts. [28]


Box office

Alice Through the Looking Glass grossed $77 million in the United States and Canada and $222.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $299.5 million, against a production budget of $170 million. [1] The Hollywood Reporter estimated the film lost the studio around $70 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues. [29]

Alice Through the Looking Glass opened in the United States and Canada on May 27, 2016, alongside X-Men: Apocalypse , and was initially projected to gross $55–60 million from 3,763 theaters over its four-day Memorial Day opening weekend, but projections were continuously revised downwards due to poor word of mouth. [30] It had the added benefit of playing in over 3,100 3D theaters, 380 IMAX screens, 77 premium large formats and 79 D-box locations. [31] [32] It made $1.5 million from Thursday previews (to the first film's $3.9 million) [33] and just $9.7 million on its first day, compared to the $41 million opening Friday of its predecessor. [34] Through its opening weekend, it earned $26.9 million, which when compared to its predecessor's $116 million opening is down 70%. [30] While 3D represented 71% ($82 million) of the original film's opening gross, 3D constituted only 41% ($11 million) for this sequel, with 29% coming from traditional 3D shows, 11% from IMAX, and 1% from premium large formats. [35] It was the studio's third production with a low Memorial Day opening after Tomorrowland in 2015 and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in 2010. [35] During its first week, the film grossed $40.1 million. [36] In its second weekend, the film grossed $11.3 million (a 55.1% drop), finishing 4th at the box office. [37]

The film was released across 43 countries (72% of its total market place) the same weekend as the US, and was estimated to gross $80–100 million in its opening weekend. It faced competition from Warcraft and X-Men: Apocalypse. [38] It ended up grossing $62.7 million, which is well below the projections of which $4.1 million came from IMAX shows. [39] It had an opening weekend gross in Mexico ($4.5 million), Brazil ($4.1 million), and Russia ($3.9 million). [39] In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it had an unsuccessful opening by grossing just £2.23 million ($3.1 million) during its opening weekend, a mere 21% of the first film's £10.56 million ($15.2 million) opening from 603 theaters. It debuted in second place behind X-Men: Apocalypse which was on its second weekend of play. [40] In China, it had an opening day of an estimated $7.3 million [41] and went on to score the second biggest Disney live-action (non-Marvel or Lucasfilm) opening ever with $26.6 million, behind only The Jungle Book . [39] However, this was down from its $35–45 million projections. [42] It debuted at the No. 1 spot among newly released film in Japan with $5.2 million and $4.1 million on Saturday and Sunday. By comparison, the first film opened with $14 million on its way to a $133.6 million a total. [43] [44]

Critical response

According to the review aggregator Metacritic , which sampled 42 reviews and calculated a weighted average of 34 out of 100, Alice Through the Looking Glass received "generally unfavorable reviews". [45] Rotten Tomatoes reports that 29% of 254 reviews are positive, and the average rating is 4.57/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Alice Through the Looking Glass is just as visually impressive as its predecessor, but that isn't enough to cover for an underwhelming story that fails to live up to its classic characters." [46] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, the same grade earned by its predecessor, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 79% and a "definite recommend" of 51%. [47]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote in his review, "What does all this have to do with Lewis Carroll? Hardly anything" and that overall, "It's just an excuse on which to hang two trite overbearing fables and one amusing one". [48] Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the movie 1.5 out of 4 stars and called the film, "gaudy, loud, complacent, and vulgar." [49] Stephen Whitty of New York Daily News called the film "hugely expensive and extravagantly stupid" and that, overall, the movie "is just one more silly Hollywood mashup, an innocent fantasy morphed into a noisy would-be blockbuster". [50]

Matt Zoller Seitz of was deeply critical of Alice Through the Looking Glass, describing it as:

The most offensive kind of film... one that spends an enormous amount of money yet seems to have nothing on its mind but money. You give it, they take it. And you get nothing in return but assurances that you're seeing magic and wonder. The movie keeps repeating it in your ear, and flashing it onscreen in big block letters: MAGIC AND WONDER. MAGIC AND WONDER. But there is no magic, no wonder, just junk rehashed from a movie that was itself a rehash of Lewis Carroll, tricked out with physically unpersuasive characters and landscapes and 'action scenes', with blockbuster 'journey movie' tropes affixed to every set-piece as blatantly as Post-It Notes. [51]

Kyle Smith of New York Post gave the film a positive review: "The screenplay (by Linda Woolverton) isn't exactly heaving with brilliant ideas, but it works well enough as a blank canvas against which the special-effects team goes bonkers". [52] Matthew Lickona of San Diego Reader said that while he found the visual effects to be "stupidly expensive" and the story familiar, he called it, "a solid kids’ movie in the old style". [53]


List of awards and nominations
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel Alice Through the Looking GlassNominated [54]
Worst Supporting Actor Johnny Depp
Worst Screen Combo Johnny Depp and His Vomitously Vibrant Costume
Golden Trailer Awards Best Animation Family"Poem" [55]
The Don LaFontaine Award for Best Voice Over"Poem"
Best Fantasy Adventure TV Spot"Grammys"
Best Original Score TV Spot"Grammys"
Grammy Awards Best Song Written For Visual Media "Just Like Fire" – Oscar Holter, Max Martin, Pink and Shellback [56]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Song – Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film "Just Like Fire" – Oscar Holter, Max Martin, Pink and ShellbackWon [57] [58]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Family MovieAlice Through the Looking GlassNominated [59]
Satellite Awards Best Art Direction and Production Design Dan Hennah [60]
Best Costume Design Colleen Atwood
Saturn Awards Best Costume Design Colleen Atwood [61]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Song from a Movie or TV Show"Just Like Fire" by Pink [62]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal FeatureJacob Clark, Joseph Pepper, Klaus Seitschek and Cosku Turhan [63]

See also

Related Research Articles

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