Release Date: January 18, 2012 Studio: Universal Pictures Director: Andy Muschietti Screenwriter: Neil Cross, Andy Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau,Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements)
Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.
The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas and his girlfriend, Annabel, have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.
As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house. Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them? How did the broken girls survive those years all by themselves? As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence.
The Guillermo del Toro-produced Mama has proven to be a hit both domestically and internationally. Universal, the distributor, is so happy with the supernatural thriller’s success, that a sequel is now being considered, says the studio’s president of international, David Kosse.
Kosse told Screen Daily, “We think there’s potential for a Mama franchise. We’d like to do another one. But those conversations are in the early stages.”
Another January weekend and another horror project hitting the top of the box office.
This weekend, it was Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Tommy Wirkola’s horror-actioner starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton.
The film grossed an estimated $19 million – not quite hitting the projected numbers analysts were putting it at (on Friday, some said it would hit $25 million), still, not shabby for a film that is at 15% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Mama came in at number two with an estimated $12.8 million bringing that film’s total to $48.6 million.
Horror is back on top at the box office in 2013. Universal’s Mama, produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring Jessica Chastain, came in at number one, grossing an estimated $28.1 million for the 3-day weekend (not counting the Martin Luther King holiday tomorrow). The film bumped another Chastain picture, Zero Dark Thirty, from its top spot down to number two. This is the second horror release of 2013 to open big.
Syfy’s longest-running unscripted series, Ghost Hunters, goes Hollywood for its ninth season premiere on Wednesday, January 16 at 9 PM ET/PT with two Los Angeles-based investigations and a Twitter takeover by famed film director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy series, Pan’s Labyrinth), executive producer of Universal Pictures’ upcoming supernatural thriller, Mama.
In the Season 9 Ghost Hunters premiere episode, “Hollywood Horror Stories,” which airs at 9 PM ET/PT, Jason Hawes leads TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) on spooky Los Angeles investigations at the historic Sowden House – said to be the site where Elizabeth Short, aka “The Black Dahlia,” was gruesomely murdered – and Madame Tussauds Hollywood.
A few years back, brother and sister Andy and Barbara Muschietti made a short horror film – essentially 3 minutes of two kids being chased through their house by a creature – and it got the attention of Guillermo del Toro who shepherded the duo into expanding the idea into a feature length film. The results are a far more clever premise then one might expect from watching the short, especially with so many horror films now falling into the same traps in trying to deliver the types of scares expected by less discerning horror fans.
The feature-length “Mama” kicks off in particularly intriguing fashion, opening on an abandoned car by the side of the road, the radio informing us of an economic crash and a shooting at a financial firm. The car’s owner, a businessman played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister of “Game of Thrones”), arrives home to pile his two young daughters into the car as they speed off across an icy roadway before the car skids off the road into the woods. The man leads the two girls into an abandoned cabin and we cut forward to five years later when the two girls are found, having gone completely feral. Their father’s twin brother Lucas (also played by Coster-Waldau) agrees to take them into his charge along with his punk rocker girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain), but something comes back home with them, a being they refer to as “Mama.”
Guillermo del Toro has brought us a lot of super-cool horror films over the past twenty years and while we have to wait a few more months before his next movie as a director, he’s spent the last couple years finding bright new filmmakers capable of making horror films at the same level of quality as his own. Following in the footsteps of The Orphanage, Julia’s Eyes, Splice and Alone in the Dark is Mama.
Expanded from the short film by Andres Muschietti and his sister Barbara, Mama benefits greatly from the fact it stars two of the hottest actors around right now – Game of Thrones’ Jamie Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Golden Globe-winner Jessica Chastain, who many feel is on her way to score an Oscar for her role in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.
The two of them play a couple who take in the daughters of the former’s brother, all of whom had vanished for five years, before being found living in a cabin in the woods. When the girls are reunited with their uncle and his punk rocker girlfriend, they’ve changed, having been living in the wild seemingly alone for all that time, but they seem to have brought something back with them—a mysterious entity they refer to as “Mama.”
On January 18th, Universal unleashes Mama, a supernatural thriller presented by Guillermo del Toro and anticipation of its release, the studio has released a featurette that looks at the production.
Starring Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the film tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.