Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Release Date: March 25, 2011

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99/171 Max Braden More of the same, which is good or not worth it depending on your interest in the first one.

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We all remember the halcyon days of our youth with a fond reminiscence. Fat Albert knew it andThe Wonder Years knew it but writer/illustrator Jeff Kinney never got the message. His take on childhood is much different from those, focusing instead upon the tribulations of being one of the smallest kids in the class and a socially awkward boy at that. In fact, Kinney has created a character in Gregory Heffley who isn’t even very nice a lot of the time. As he desperately tries to fit in, the titular Wimpy Kid finds himself behaving in a manner decried by guidance counselors across the world. This is exactly why the book franchise has become a bestseller with millions of copies in print. Gregory Heffley is uniquely relatable.

In March of 2010, Walden Media and Fox took the inevitable step in transforming the wildly popular books into movies. Their initial adaptation, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, had a modest financial outlay of $15 million. On its opening weekend, the film opened to $22.1 million. Yes, it earned back its entire budget on opening weekend with millions to spare. The film went on to earn $64.0 million in domestic release, a full factor of four beyond its production cost. The film has also earned in excess of $35 million in DVD sales. Zoo-Wee Mama! You don’t have to be a math wizard to know that those are the type of numbers that guarantee a sequel.

Rather than wait around and allow the children to grow too old, Walden and Fox quickly announced their intention to shoot a sequel to be released almost exactly a year after the original. That film, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, will cost only slightly more to create (the announced budget is $18 million) yet should once again return exponentially more box office. In the short term, the Jeff Kinney franchise of movies border on being a license to print money for Walden and Fox.

In terms of what to expect from the sequel, older brother Rodrick and his band, Löded Diper, are up to no good while Greg and Rowley have moved past the dreaded eating of The Cheese incident and become friends again. They are now awkward seventh graders suffering through indignities such as the introduction of a swear jar and Mom Points in their lives. If this doesn’t make sense to you, you clearly haven’t read the books, but that’s okay. If you have children, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is a movie you’re going to be forced to watch and if you don’t have kids, you have no attachment to this project anyway. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Main Cast Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron
Supporting Cast Rachael Harris, Devon Bostick, Steve Zahn
Director David Bowers
Screenwriter Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah
Distributor Twentieth Century Fox
Rating PG
Running Time 96 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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