Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joe Johnston|
|Produced by||Benicio del Toro
|Written by||Andrew Kevin Walker
|Starring||Benicio del Toro
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Editing by||Dennis Virkler
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||February 12, 2010|
|Running time||102 min.|
The Wolfman is a remake of the 1941 classic horror film of the same name. The plot, however, was significantly altered. First released on February 10, 2010 in France, and directed by Joe Johnston, the film stars Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving and Geraldine Chaplin. Although it was originally scheduled for a November 6, 2009 release in the United States, it had been pushed back several times and was finally released on February 12, 2010.
The film starts off with the original rhyme as told by Maleva (Chaplin). It then cuts to Ben Talbot, in the Blackmoor woods. He is confronted by a werewolf which severely injures him. He flees towards a nearby mausoleum, with the creature in pursuit.
Traveling Shakespearean theatre actor Lawrence Talbot (del Toro) returns to his ancestral home to investigate the whereabouts of his recently missing brother upon request from Ben's fiancée Gwen Conliffe (Blunt). His distant and eccentric father Sir John Talbot (Hopkins) greets him and reveals that his brother Ben's body was already found in a ditch and surmises he will attend the funeral. Lawrence inquires about the body and goes to see it, where it is stored at the local mortuary: Ben's remains are thoroughly mangled and torn apart.
While investigating his brother's death, Lawrence heads to the nearby gypsy camp, to which Ben was the town's liaison. While there, an unnamed werewolf suddenly rampages through the camp, killing and maiming most of the gypsies. Lawrence gives chase, and is subsequently attacked by the werewolf and got bitten on the neck, though the pursuing gypsies manage to scare it off. Lawrence is tended to and taken to his father.
Soon after, Inspector Francis Aberline (Weaving) of Scotland Yard arrives and questions Lawrence: both are suspicious of each other, and Aberline quickly departs. Lawrence wanders to a nearby lake and finds Gwen there, where they converse and seem to establish a flirtatious relationship. Soon after priests and the local village men arrive to take Lawrence away claiming he "bears the mark of the beast", but his father saves him, threatening to shoot them if they trespass at Talbot Hall again.
Many nights after on the full moon, the villagers arm themselves with guns packed with silver bullets and set a trap for the werewolf at the ruins of an old church, using a stag as bait. That night, Lawrence sees his father walking out to the crypt. He follows and finds a cell containing his father and a shrine to his deceased mother. Sir John then locks himself inside with Lawrence outside the door just as his son begins to transform into the Wolfman for the first time. Elsewhere, Aberline plans to spend the evening at the local tavern to wait for the suspect's attack. Lawrence, now fully changed alerts everyone to his presence by howling for the first time. He attacks and kills all of the villagers that set the trap, and Aberline stumbles upon the aftermath.
When he changes back the next day, he is arrested by the police and Aberline, and is taken to the mental institution his father sent him to as a child. He is relentlessly tortured by his sadistic doctors from his childhood, who claim his lycanthropy is simply a delusion. His father arrives and explains that the institution had convinced him that his mother killed herself, but what he really saw was his father as a werewolf, who had killed his mother. Sir John then explains how he was bitten by a wolf-boy in a cave in India and how for the past 25 years, Singh, his Indian man-servant has locked him in the crypt, but one night in a jealous, drunken rage (as Sir John confessed that he had become attracted to and obsessed with Gwen) he incapacitated Singh and was therefore unable to lock himself in, resulting in Ben's death at his hands. It is also confirmed that it was Sir John who bit Lawrence. Lawrence vows to kill his father to avenge his mother and brother and for cursing him.
Lawrence is taken into a court of scholars to disprove the idea of werewolves. As the full moon rises, he transforms and kills a number of the men in attendance including his torturers, then rampages across London until dawn. He flees to Gwen's shop for safety: she takes him in and they admit their feelings to each other. Aberline orders his men to capture Lawrence, who is traveling back to Blackmoor to kill Sir John. Meanwhile, Gwen meets with Maleva where she tries to find a way to lift the curse.
Upon arriving home, Lawrence arms himself with silver bullets Singh kept (finding Singh's eviscerated corpse in the process) and confronts his father. He is unable to shoot, however; Sir John reveals that he removed the gunpowder from the bullets many years ago. Both he and Lawrence transform and fight, setting the mansion on fire in the process. Lawrence eventually kicks his father into the fireplace and beheads him. Aberline and Gwen then arrive on the scene; Aberline tries to shoot Lawrence, but Gwen grabs his gun arm, allowing Lawrence to bite him and throw him aside. Gwen flees into the forest, only to be chased down by the Wolfman. Gwen is forced to shoot Lawrence with a silver bullet in reluctant self-defense. Before he dies he turns back into a human and spends his last moments with Gwen. The mob arrives with Aberline, who appears clutching the silver cane. Gwen's parting words are heard as Talbot Manor appears in flames and a wolf's howl is heard, presumably from Aberline.
In March 2006, Universal Pictures announced the remake of The Wolf Man with actor Benicio del Toro (a fan of the original film and collector of Wolf Man memorabilia) in the lead role. Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker was attached to the screenplay, developing the original film's story to include additional characters as well as plot points that would take advantage of modern visual effects. Del Toro also looked towards Werewolf of London and The Curse of the Werewolf for inspiration.
In February 2007, director Mark Romanek was attached to helm The Wolfman. In January 2008, Romanek left the project because of creative differences. Brett Ratner emerged as a frontrunner to replace Romanek, but the studio also met with Frank Darabont, James Mangold and Joe Johnston. They were also interested in Bill Condon, and Martin Campbell was interested. Johnston was hired to direct on February 3, 2008, and the film's shooting schedule and budget remained as intended. Johnston hired David Self to rewrite the script.
Shooting took place from March 3 to June 23, 2008, in the United Kingdom. At that time the film was budgeted at US$85 million. They shot at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, Chatsworth, Derbyshire, and Castle Combe in Wiltshire. They transformed Chatsworth House by adding weeds, dead grass and ivy. They also shot in Lacock in Wiltshire, a village conserved by the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, for a day. Universal donated £5000 to the village, in return for filming in the tithe barn for a scene involving frozen corpses. A funeral scene was also shot beside the Temple of Ancient Virtue at Stowe House, with the temple coated in false ivy and copious amounts of smoke/mist floating over the setting. Pick-ups at Pinewood were conducted in May 2009..
Rick Baker created the make-up for The Wolfman. When he heard Universal was remaking the film, he eagerly pursued it, as both The Wolf Man and Frankenstein inspired him to become a make-up artist as a child. He acknowledged transforming del Toro was not difficult because he is a hairy man: "Going from Benicio to Benicio as the Wolf Man isn't a really extreme difference. Like when I did An American Werewolf in London, we went from this naked man to a four-legged hound from hell, and we had a lot of room to go from the transformation and do a lot of really extreme things. Here we have Benicio del Toro, who's practically the Wolf Man already, to Benicio del Toro with more hair and bigger teeth."
Baker and del Toro were adamant about the design resembling the make-up created by Jack Pierce, but Romanek went through thousands of concept art. When Johnston signed on, Baker returned to his second design, which is the finished result. The make-up took three hours to apply, and one hour to remove. New pieces of latex prosthetic makeup and loose hair was applied to del Toro's face each day, while several dentures and wigs were created in case some were damaged. Baker said the transformation will likely be computer-generated, which disappoints him as he is not being involved and therefore feels it will look unrealistic (as the animators do not have his knowledge of the design). However, director Joe Johnston explained that joining the picture three weeks before photography placed limitations on his ability to film without using CG effects. He has stated, “I recognized that there were things that I was going to be able to do from the beginning to the end... and things that I had to rely on post-production for.” In reference to filming Benicio del Toro's actual transformation into the Wolfman, Johnston further explained, “I decided to basically shoot just Benicio, in the sequence where... he transforms... and decide in post-production what I wanted the transformation to be. That was really my main reason [for using CG]; it gave me so much more flexibility.”  In February 2009, ZBrush art of the transformation by Baker leaked online. In addition to the film, at the 2009 Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Florida added The Wolfman to the event.
The film has now been rated R by the MPAA for bloody horror violence and gore. This will be director Joe Johnston's first film to receive an R rating. Johnston's previous films were either G, PG, or PG-13. In the UK the film is rated 15 for Strong Violence and Horror. In Australia, the film is rated MA15+ for Strong horror violence.
During the course of its production The Wolfman has seen its release date postponed several times. Originally scheduled for a November 12, 2008 release, it was first pushed back to February 12, 2009. Then, in April 2008, it got moved to April 3, 2009. In December 2008, Universal moved the release to November 6, 2009. Finally, the film was yet again moved in late July 2009 to February 12, 2010. In most European countries the film was released on February 10 and 11, 2010. The film premiered in Rome on January 27, 2010.
The cast and crew were back on location re-shooting the movie in the grounds of Greenwich Royal naval college and park over the weekends of May 22-25 and 30-31, 2009. The purpose of the reshoots was to change the way one werewolf looked in the movie. Previously, it stood on two legs, but now, he stands on four. Also, an action scene was added between "the Wolf Man and the Werewolf" according to Vic Armstrong.
The first trailer for The Wolfman was attached to Inglourious Basterds, which was released to theaters on August 21, 2009.
The film currently holds a 32% 'Rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 182 reviews. It also received a weighted average score of 43 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 36 reviews, indicating mixed or average reviews. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half stars out of four. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone assigned the film one and a half stars out of four, concluding that "The Wolfman bites, but not — I think — in the way the filmmakers intended." Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly however, praises Del Toro's role as Lawrence, comparing it to Lon Chaney Jr.'s in the original.  Leonard Maltin has panned the film on his weekly television segment, describing Rick Baker's latest werewolf incarnation as "eerily reminiscent of Paddington Bear".
The film grossed $19,850,000 on its opening day, and $31,479,235 in its opening weekend, coming in 2nd after Valentine's Day. So far, the film has grossed $57,380,125 domestically and $63,300,000 in foreign territories, bringing it to a worldwide gross of $120,680,125.
Several companies are involved in the merchandising of the film. Rubies Costumes is making both child and adult costumes. Because costumes are sold to retailers months in advance, the Halloween costumes came out in 2009 since the film being pushed back to 2010 happened after the costumes had been shipped to retailers.
Mezco Toyz is making 7 inch and 12 inch tall Wolfman action figures. They are also producing replicas of the medallion from the film. 
In early January 2010, Mezco Toyz donated the prototypes of the toys to the Museum Of The Moving Image in New York. The Company released a 7 and a 12-Inch figure, alongside publishing The Wolfman Collectible Medallion Replica.
It was reported that Danny Elfman wrote a dark, melodic, and moody score for The Wolfman, which was rejected by the studio after the film was cut down a half an hour in length and the music became too "wall-to-wall," creating what Johnson called too much repetition. Due to his not being able to come back and re-score (because he was contractually obligated to work on Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland feature film), the producers decided rather than to expand on his ideas with a new composer (a path that they would eventually take), to take a gamble and attempt a different composer, along with a completely different approach, which would include extensive re-shooting of scenes. The idea was to quicken the pace and strike a similar tone to the successful Underworld films, turning a slow-paced story into a much faster one. Paul Haslinger subsequently wrote an electronic contemporary incarnation of the Wolfman score, which the studio quickly realized was not appropriate for the 1800's gothic setting. Elfman's score, which was previously recorded, is, as a result, the one that is used in the final film instead.
Universal decided to switch back scores close to the last minute, realizing their experiment had failed. It is believed the material Haslinger did record specifically for the studio as his intended version of the score was subsequently destroyed shortly after his removal. Whether Haslinger retained any of his work for personal purposes is currently unknown. There has of late been two versions of the film Universal has known to have shown to test audiences, both however featured Elfman's score in some form. Elfman's original recording, which had been completed for a previous cut of the film, was "fit" to the new version via orchestrator Conrad Pope. Some confusion has surfaced regarding this, as many news sources are claiming Elfman never "completed" his score, sidestepping that he did, in fact, complete it, but hasn't re-shaped it to fit the studio's ever evolving changes. Conrad Pope, additional composer, previously worked with Elfman on Sleepy Hollow as an orchestrator and is a frequent collaborator with composer John Williams.
A similar situation formed for Elfman's Spider-Man 2, where the music in the final film stood mostly separate from the original work on the CD release, which reflected the first incarnation of the score. Varese Sarabande Records has announced a CD of Elfman's score, which is already available on iTunes. In terms of style, Elfman's Wolfman is very much inspired by the works of Bartok, Prokofiev, and Bernard Herrmann, as well as the soundtrack Wojciech Kilar wrote for Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 version of Dracula, a film which Anthony Hopkins also co-starred in. The main theme has a similar "Eastern-European Edge" to it.
Danny Elfman's version of The Wolfman score was officially released on February 23, 11 days after the film's release. This is actually the original score Elfman made for the earlier cut of The Wolfman before it was temporarily rejected. A believed-to-be sample of Haslinger's rejected score was released around the same time, but was ultimately confirmed a false sample by Film Score Monthly record producer Ford A. Thaxton and Haslinger himself.
Jonathan Maberry has already written a novelization to the film, of which the paperback was released on February 2, 2010, the same day the original The Wolf Man movie was re-released on DVD with Universal's Legacy Series.
Director Joe Johnston has claimed that an extended cut of the film will be released for the DVD (and possibly the Blu-ray). Johnston says that 17 minutes of additional footage will be re-instated on the extended cut.  Johnston said the reason for deleting the 17 minutes from the final cut was "to push the story along so that audiences would get to the first Wolfman transformation sooner."