The Little Prince (2015 film)

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The Little Prince
The Little Prince (2015 film) poster.png
International theatrical release poster
French Le Petit Prince
Directed by Mark Osborne
Screenplay by
Based on The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Produced by
Edited by
  • Carole Kravetz Aykanian
  • Matt Landon
Music by
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (France and Europe)
Wild Bunch (international)
Release dates
Running time
108 minutes [3]
CountriesFrance [4]
Italy [5] [6]
LanguageEnglish [7] [8]
Budget$77.5 million [9]
Box office$97.5 million [10]

The Little Prince (French : Le Petit Prince; Italian : Il piccolo principe) is a 2015 French-Italian animated fantasy adventure drama film directed by Mark Osborne and based on the 1943 novella of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The film stars the voices of Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Bud Cort, Marion Cotillard, Benicio del Toro, James Franco, Ricky Gervais, Paul Giamatti, Riley Osborne, Albert Brooks and Mackenzie Foy. It is the first adaptation as a full-length animated feature of The Little Prince. [11]


The film relates the story of the book using stop motion animation, which is woven into a computer animated framing narrative about a young girl who has just met the book's now-elderly aviator narrator, who tells her the story of his meeting with the Little Prince in the Sahara desert. The film's animation was provided by studios ON Animation Studios & Mikros Image. [9]

The film premiered on 22 May 2015 at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in an out-of-competition screening, [1] followed by a wide release in France on 29 July by Paramount Pictures. [2] The film was originally set to be released in theatres across the United States on 18 March 2016 before being dropped due to budget cuts; Netflix later acquired the U.S., U.K. and Australia distribution rights and released it on 5 August 2016. [12] [13]

The film has received positive reviews, earning praise for its style of animation and homage paid to the source material, and earned $97.6 million on a €75 million budget, becoming the most successful French animated film abroad of all time. [14]


An ambitious young mother moves to a new neighborhood and imposes a coaching life plan for her daughter that leaves no time for playing or even making friends, all for her to enroll at the prestigious Werth Academy. The girl, however, becomes distracted by her elderly retired Aviator neighbor, who tells her the story of the "Little Prince", claiming that he encountered him in the Sahara after crash-landing there. As soon as they met, the strange kid revealed he needed a box to contain his sheep. The Aviator drew one for him, and they quickly became friends.

The Little Prince's home is "Asteroid B-612", which is covered in baobab sprouts. After clearing away the sprouts, the Little Prince discovered and nurtured a Rose into maturity. Despite becoming his friend, she was selfish. Both being too young to know how to love each other, they separated. The Little Prince started traveling away from his asteroid. During his journey, he meets adults from other asteroids, such as a King, a Conceited Man, and a wealthy businessman. The little Prince eventually lands on Earth, where he befriends a red Fox. The Fox later says goodbye to the Little Prince, advising him to always see with his heart. The Aviator gives the girl a stuffed Fox as a gift, telling her that he will leave soon to go find the Little Prince.

Realising that she has not been following the plan, her infuriated mother redoubles her daughter's assignments. Nevertheless, the girl continues to read the story of the Little Prince, secretly visiting the Aviator to find out how it ends. The Aviator tells her that the Little Prince had succumbed to a venomous Snake bite to be reunited with his beloved Rose. Although the Aviator assures her that he firmly believes the Little Prince succeeded, the girl, upset by the dark twist to the story, wishes that she had never met the Aviator or heard the story. She tries to forget about the Little Prince, and focuses on her assignments.

Towards the summer's end, the Aviator is hospitalised. Deciding to put things right, the girl sets off in search of the Little Prince. Sneaking into the aviator's yard, the girl, accompanied by her now-conscious stuffed Fox and The Little Prince's story pages, flies the Aviator's now-fixed plane into space. They find all the stars mysteriously gone, while landing on an asteroid populated by workaholic adults owned by the Businessman from the story. He holds all the stars to power his asteroid and belongings (including his employees). After encountering a police officer and an elevator operator who turn out to be the Conceited Man and the King, they finally find the Little Prince. To their surprise, he has become "Mr. Prince", an anxious, incompetent adult that works as a janitor for the Businessman, having no recollection of his past.

Mr. Prince takes the girl to an "academy" where she is to be "reconditioned" as an adult via a machine controlled by a sinister Teacher. Recognizing the drawing of his sheep's box from the Aviator's pages, Mr. Prince begins to regain his memories and saves the girl from the same fate that he had by putting the Teacher in the machine instead.

They escape from the Businessman together and liberate all of the stars from his glass vault, which return to their rightful place in the sky. The girl and the Fox then take Mr. Prince back to B-612, which is overgrown with dead, withered baobabs. They find the Rose dead. However, after seeing her image in the sunrise, Mr. Prince turns back to his younger self, and the baobabs disappear, regaining full hope to him.

The girl and the Fox (once again an inanimate toy) return home. The next morning, she and her mother visit the Aviator in the hospital. The girl apologises and gives him the formerly loose pages bound together as a book, along with all the formerly missing parts filled in. The girl later begins her studies at Werth Academy and reconciles with her mother. Both of them happily stargaze one night, while the Little Prince and the Aviator are heard laughing together on Asteroid B-612.


The film's crew at the Cannes Film Festival: (from bottom right) Mackenzie Foy, Riley Osborne, Mark Osborne, Marion Cotillard and other actors who provided the French and Japanese voices. Cannes 2015 47.jpg
The film's crew at the Cannes Film Festival: (from bottom right) Mackenzie Foy, Riley Osborne, Mark Osborne, Marion Cotillard and other actors who provided the French and Japanese voices.



On 14 October 2010, Kung Fu Panda co-director and More creator Mark Osborne was hired and set to direct The Little Prince based on the 1943 novel of the same name. Irena Brignull (writer of The Boxtrolls ) and Bob Persichetti wrote the script for the film based on a story conceived by Mark Osborne. [16] Aton Soumache, Alexis Vonarb and Dimitri Rassam produced the film with the budget of $70‒80 million for release in 2015. [9]

The film features a framing device not present in the novel with a schoolgirl discovering The Little Prince through a reclusive elderly neighbour. Mark Osborne made the film's hero a little girl after research from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media revealed the gender disparity among characters in animated films. She represents "the spirit of adulthood," according to Osborne. [17] "In animation, it always had to be boy-centric. Right now there seems to be a changing of the tide but these things don't happen overnight. These movies take years to make, so back when I was first pushing to make the little girl the main character, it was seen as quite revolutionary", Osborne recalled in April 2015. [18]

The film uses computer animation for the girl's world and stop-motion animation for the world of The Little Prince as she imagines it. [19] Development and storyboarding of the film was completed in Paris. The team then moved to Montreal for the final phases of animation, lighting, colour and production to maximise the tax benefits offered to a French-Canadian project, [16] a co-venture between Onyx Entertainment in Paris, Mediaset and Lucky Red in Italy, [20] and Mikros Image Canada in Montreal. [21] [16] [22] [23] One of the film's associate producers is Brice Garnier from Canada's Kaibou Production. [22] [24] [25] Kaibou service rendered Line production and service production (3D animation and stop motion). Studio partners were Studio Mikros Image Canada, Toutenkartoon Canada and Technicolor (picture and sound post-production). Kaibou also provided financing through tax credits, gap financing and local taxes. [24]

Osborne was pitching the film to actors, artists, and distributors all over the world using what he called a "magic suitcase" full of hand-made visual aids specifically created to communicate the tone and passion for the project. Model maker Joe Schmidt (the modeller of Coraline ) created this suitcase, which held the art book, and told the story of the movie visually. [16] Schmidt had created a snapshot of Osborne's vision for the film. A constellation of tiny planets and stars lit up on one side, a giant art book of illustrations filled the other. From somewhere deep inside the case, Osborne pulled out two large white circles that held slides that when placed up to each eye displayed 3-D images of stop-motion puppets. Then Osborne started flipping switches. In no time, a one-way mirror slid away to reveal a hidden chamber holding a collection of yellowed pages below. It was a mock-up of Saint-Exupéry's original manuscript, a key plot point in Osborne's film. [17] In four years, Osborne pitched the movie close to 400 times. [16]


On 5 June 2013, it was announced that James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Mackenzie Foy, Benicio del Toro, Paul Giamatti, Rachel McAdams and Jeff Bridges joined the film. [26] Albert Brooks joined the cast on 12 September to voice The Businessman, a villain. [27]

Thanks to Osborne's emotionally engaging pitch and the global popularity of Saint-Exupéry's book, a group of A-list actors were able to be recruited to lend their voices to the film's characters. As Osborne explained, "It began with Jeff Bridges. He was our first and only choice to play the Aviator, so after a great deal of time trying to get to him, I finally got the chance to go to his home in Santa Barbara to talk to him directly. He was blown away by the pitch, and it really put us on the road to assembling the perfect cast." As Bridges recalls, he was instantly drawn to the role of the Aviator. "Mark gave me this incredible pitch, brought this suitcase with him which showed me what the movie was going to be about. We shared the same concern, which was if you simply just move around these iconic characters like the book, it might not do justice to the work. He had this great other story, which treated the book as almost another character in the movie. It’s a great way to pay tribute to this classic book, so I was excited and thrilled to be part of it." [16]

In the early stages of production, Mark Osborne's daughter Maddie and his son Riley, helped by providing the temporary scratch voices for the roles of the Little Girl and the Little Prince. His daughter got older and her voice began to change, so she had to be replaced by the 12-year-old Mackenzie Foy. Osborne's son Riley was kept as the voice of The Little Prince because they never found anyone who did a better job than him. "He was 11 at the time, and was very natural in the part so we kept him as the Prince!", Osborne told. [16]

To voice the complex role of the Little Girl's Mother, the film-makers approached Rachel McAdams. The Little Prince marks the first time McAdams has lent her voice to an animated project. "I was so excited to be part of this movie, and I loved Kung Fu Panda , so I knew our director Mark (Osborne) was going to do a wonderful job with the adaptation. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to animation." McAdams says it was important for her to connect with the material. "I play the Little Girl's Mother, who is a working single mum. She has this massive, intricate life-plan for her daughter and wants her to follow the rules to a tee. The Mother is a little highly-strung, but she means well. She and her daughter are a real team until the Little Girl drifts away." [16]


The film's score was composed by Hans Zimmer (who had previously worked with Osborne on Kung Fu Panda ) and Richard Harvey. [28] [29] Camille was featured in the film's soundtrack. Lily Allen’s cover version of Keane’s "Somewhere Only We Know" appeared in the French trailer, but not featured in the soundtrack.



The film was chosen in 'Official Selection' for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival on 22 May 2015. [30] The Little Prince made its U.S. premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival on 3 February 2016. It was the first animated movie to open the Santa Barbara Film Festival's Big Surprise Celebration since the exhibition started in 1985. [31]

Release and distribution

Wild Bunch is overseeing international film sales. Paramount Pictures released the film in France on 29 July 2015 and in some other countries, and had also intended to handle distribution in the United States. [21] The film was also released in other territories by Entertainment One in Canada. [32] and Netflix (which also distributed the film in the U.S.) (originally The Weinstein Company) in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. [33] Warner Bros. assumed distribution in Austria, Germany and Japan. [21]

The film was to be released theatrically by Paramount alongside its own animation division in the United States on 18 March 2016 in RealD 3D, [12] however, on 11 March, a week away from its release, Paramount dropped the planned release for the region. [34] According to Cartoon Brew, Paramount left because the French producers did not pay an additional, previously agreed $20 million for the North American prints and advertising budget, however they still retained the distribution rights in said region. [35] Later then, Netflix and Paramount reached an agreement to distribute the film as the first animated Netflix Original, and released the film in North America on 5 August 2016. [36] [37] Due to Netflix's expiring distribution license, the film was quietly removed from the service in the US in May 2021, and it is speculated to transfer to Paramount's proprietary streaming service Paramount+ soon. [38] As of September 2022, the film is available on Netflix in the United Kingdom, India and Italy only. [39]


On 11 September 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures Japan released a teaser from the film. [40] The first trailer in French [41] was released by Paramount Pictures on 8 December 2014. [42] The first trailer in English was released on 12 December 2014. [43] The first official English trailer and the first poster [44] for the film were released on 20 April 2015. [45] eOne Canada released a new trailer on 13 November 2015. [46] The first full American trailer was released by both Paramount Pictures and Netflix on 25 November 2015 [47] and 16 May 2016, respectively. [48]

Home media

The Little Prince was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 9 February 2021 by Paramount Home Entertainment, six years after its worldwide release. [49]


Box office

As of 20 September 2015, it had grossed $12.1 million in France [50] and, as of 20 March 2016, $88.7 million worldwide. [51] In its opening week in France, The Little Prince earned $3.3 million from 727 screens debuting at No. 2 at the French box office. [52] In its second weekend it grossed $1.4 million (down 41%) from 830 screens for a two weekend total of $5.5 million. [53] The film debuted at No. 2 in Brazil on 20 August, behind of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation , with 330,000 tickets sold. [54] In its second weekend, it topped the box office charts, with over 851,000 tickets sold, making history in Brazil as the first non-American animated film to lead the box office in the country. The film kept the first place at the Brazilian box office for three consecutive weeks. [55] As of 5 October, the film has grossed over R$27 million (US$7.14 million) [56] and as of 18 October, it reached over 2 million admissions in Brazil. [57]

The film opened in China on 16 October, [58] where it grossed $10.9 million in its opening weekend ranking third behind Ant-Man and Goodbye Mr. Loser , [59] [60] It grossed a total of $20.9 million in 10 days [61] and by its third weekend, it had grossed US$24 million. [62] It grossed a total of ¥158.45 million RMB in China, [58] with the country being the largest territory for the film. [63] It was number-one on its second weekend in Japan. [64]

Critical response

The film has received positive reviews, earning praise for its style of animation and homage paid to the source material. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a score of 93%, based on 98 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. Its consensus reads: "Beautifully animated and faithful to the spirit of its classic source material, The Little Prince is a family-friendly treat that anchors thrilling visuals with a satisfying story." [65]

On Metacritic, the film has a score of 70 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews". [66] Furthermore, The Sydney Morning Herald reinforces positive reviews on the film, stating "it is deeply personal and profoundly moving, a sensitive and affecting portrait of humanity". [67]


2016 Austin Film Critics Association Best Animated FilmThe Little PrinceNominated
César Awards Best Animated Feature Film Mark Osborne, Dimitri Rassam, Aton Soumache, Alexis Vonarb and ON Animation StudiosWon
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Score – Animated Film Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey Nominated
2017 Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement in Production Design in an Animated Feature ProductionLou Romano, Alex Juhasz and Celine DesrumauxNominated
Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production Hans Zimmer, Richard Harvey and Camille Won
British Academy Children's Awards Feature Film Mark Osborne, Aton Soumache, Alexis Vonarb, Dimitri RassamWon [74]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Pascal Bertrand, Jamie Caliri, Jinko Gotoh and Mark OsborneNominated
Saturn Awards Best Animated Series or Film on TelevisionThe Little PrinceNominated

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