My Little Pony: Equestria Girls is a 2013 Canadian-American animated musical comedy film written by Meghan McCarthy and directed by Jayson Thiessen. The film premiered across limited screens in the United States and Canada on June 16, 2013, with plans for worldwide home media release beginning on August 6, 2013, followed by broadcast on the Hasbro-owned Hub Network on September 1, 2013.
Based on the animated series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the film re-envisions the main characters of the series, normally ponies, as human characters in a high school setting. Taking place after the show's third season finale, the film involves Twilight Sparkle being sent to an alternate world to recover her magical crown after it is stolen by a bitter and wicked Sunset Shimmer. While learning how to behave as a human, Twilight comes to befriend the human counterparts of her pony friends, and with their help, stop Sunset and recover the crown. The film's release is tied in with the expansion of the My Little Pony toy line to include teenage human versions of the main characters.
Following the events of "Magical Mystery Cure", the newly crowned Princess Twilight Sparkle and her Ponyville friends arrive at the Crystal Empire for a royal summit with Princesses Celestia, Luna, and Cadance; Twilight still struggles with the fear that she is not ready to be a ruler. Sunset Shimmer, a former and bitter student of Celestia, sneaks into the castle that night and steals Twilight's crown, one of the Elements of Harmony, leaving a fake in its place. As Twilight chases Sunset, the crown falls through a magic mirror and Sunset dives after it. The princesses inform Twilight and her friends that the mirror leads to a different world. Celestia tasks Twilight with entering this world to retrieve her crown before the portal closes again for thirty moons, or else the Elements of Harmony borne by her friends will no longer protect Equestria. Celestia insists that Twilight must travel alone, afraid to upset the balance between the two worlds. Despite this, Twilight's dragon assistant Spike anxiously jumps in after her as she enters the mirror.
On the other side, Twilight and Spike find themselves transformed into a teenage human girl and dog, respectively, outside of a large high school building in an alternate world inhabited by humans. While struggling to adjust to her new body and surroundings, Twilight recognizes several of the faculty and students as ponies she knows in Equestria, including her Ponyville friends: Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash. She quickly befriends them, helping to bridge the animosity that Sunset had created between them in the years prior to Twilight's arrival.
Twilight discovers that Fluttershy has found the crown and turned it in to Celestia, the school principal, who mistakes it for a prop meant to be given to the student who is elected Princess of the Fall Formal. Twilight decides to regain the crown by running against Sunset, who has easily won the title for three consecutive years due to her bullying and coercion of the student body. Aided by the students Snips and Snails, Sunset tries sabotaging Twilight's chances by releasing humiliating videos of Twilight behaving like a pony, and later framing her for wrecking the formal decorations in the school gymnasium. However, Twilight's new friends, including Sunset's ex-boyfriend Flash Sentry, help to counter these ploys and improve Twilight's popularity among the students, even after Twilight confides in them the truth about her being a pony princess and the need to recover the crown before the portal closes.
At the formal, Twilight wins the election and the crown, but Sunset steals it after threatening to destroy the portal. Upon donning the crown, Sunset transforms into a demonic creature and uses her newfound powers to brainwash much of the student body into becoming her army with which to invade Equestria. When Sunset tries to attack Twilight, her friends race to save her, evoking the crown's magic that protects them and temporarily gives them pony-like attributes. The magic of their friendship reverts Sunset to her human form and breaks her spell on the other students. Sunset becomes repentant, and Twilight asks her friends to become Sunset's new friends after she is gone. Twilight spends time celebrating with her friends at the formal before she and Spike take the crown through the portal, which closes behind them. Twilight and Spike return to Equestria, transforming back to their original forms on arrival and reuniting with their old friends. Twilight realizes her experiences in the other world have helped to boost her self-confidence in her ability to carry out her royal duties.
- Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle
- Ashleigh Ball as Applejack and Rainbow Dash
- Andrea Libman as Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy
- Tabitha St. Germain as Rarity, Vice Principal/Princess Luna, and Mrs. Cake
- Cathy Weseluck as Spike
- Rebecca Shoichet as Sunset Shimmer
- Lee Tockar as Snips
- Richard Ian Cox as Snails
- Nicole Oliver as Principal/Princess Celestia and Miss Cheerilee
- Vincent Tong as Flash Sentry
- Britt McKillip as Princess Cadance
- Peter New as Big McIntosh
- Michelle Creber as Apple Bloom
- Madeleine Peters as Scootaloo
- Claire Corlett as Sweetie Belle
- Kathleen Barr as Trixie
Shoichet, Shannon Chan-Kent, and Kazumi Evans are also featured as the singing voices for Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity, respectively. The film also contains characters in minor and non-speaking roles popularized by the show's adult fandom, including Derpy Hooves and Vinyl Scratch (aka DJ Pon-3).
Daniel Ingram stated in a Facebook post that he wrote six songs for the film in a more modern pop/girl group style that would fit the high school/urban setting. He also stated some of the crew who worked with him: Trevor Hoffman for vocal arrangements, David Corman and Sam Ryan for production, and collaborating with McCarthy on the lyrics.
- "This Strange World" - Twilight Sparkle
- "Equestria Girls" - Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity
- "Time to Come Together" - Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity
- "This is Our Big Night" - Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity
- "This is Our Big Night (Reprise)" - Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity
- "Credits Song: A Friend for Life" - Rebecca Shoichet
Composer Will Anderson, who provided the score for the film, said that most of the background music remains consistent with the television show, though "with elements of thrash rock once in a while".
Prior to the film's announcement, Hasbro had used the term "Equestria Girls" as part of a parody song for advertising the show on the Hub Network during 2011, based on Katy Perry's "California Gurls". Though fans had registered the domain name "equestriagirls.com", it was later shut down and taken over by Hasbro.
Initial speculation on the film was found through trademark registrations for the name "Equestria Girls" by Hasbro in late 2012. The film was revealed in the Kidscreen magazine released at the 2013 American International Toy Fair in February 2013. Hasbro's senior vice president of international distribution and development, Finn Arnesen, called My Little Pony a "top-priority" brand for the company; the film was described as "a new companion series" that would "[send] the pony heroes on a mission to a new world where they take on human form". The film was formally announced in The New York Times in May 2013. To maintain continuity with the show, Hasbro used the same writing staff as the show, including the current story editor Meghan McCarthy, who considered the story to be "an extension of our mythology". The film will be part of the 30th anniversary of the My Little Pony brand. McCarthy stated that with the Equestria Girls setting, "we might explore different aspects of relationships that in the pony world don't quite work the same as they do when you set it in a high school setting", thus making the work more appealing to older girls that are in high or junior high school.
Along with the film, Hasbro plans to produce related merchandise including toys, apparel, publishing and accessories. Hasbro's chief marketing officer, John A. Frascotti, called the film and associated merchandise a "major strategic initiative" for the company. In addition, Hasbro will continue its licensing deals with book publisher Little, Brown and Company and comic book publisher IDW Publishing to produce works based on the film. A special short story, featuring the origins of Sunset Shimmer, was published in the IDW My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic 2013 San Diego Comic Con comic variant in July 2013. It also included additional stories in a stand-alone issue in October 2013.
In writing the film's script, Meghan McCarthy went back to the television series' pilot episode, where Twilight is sent to Ponyville for the first time and forced to meet new friends. She wanted to do the same with the film, in this case putting Twilight into a new world where she would again be forced to make new friends to succeed in her quest.
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15, 2013 as part of its Family Day. The event included appearances by several of the show's creative staff and voice actors. It was then presented under limited screen distribution through Screenvision, with around 200 screens across the United States and Canada, starting on June 16, 2013. Due to a larger-than-expected number of theater-goers in the initial weeks, Screenvision added additional showings to take advantage of the interest.
The film was released on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray by Shout! Factory on August 6, 2013. The Blu-ray release includes a behind-the-scenes documentary on the film's production, karaoke songs, a "ponify yourself" game, and a printable film poster. The film premiered on the Hub Network, Hasbro's cable channel, on September 1, 2013. Shout! Factory has signed with Hasbro to distribute the film internationally after its theatrical run.
The film was set to have its debut for television on the Malaysian channel NTV7 on July 28, 2013; but for some reason, it was removed from the schedule. A German dub of the film premiered on the local Nickelodeon on August 3, 2013. Showcase Cinemas listed an August 10, 2013 release for the movie in the United Kingdom. A Dutch dub of the film aired on Nickelodeon in the Netherlands on August 18, 2013. The movie premiered in Australia at various Village Cinemas locations on August 24, 2013 and in New Zealand through Event Cinemas over two weekends in the North Island on August 31, September 1 and September 7th and 8th, 2013. The movie was released in Latin American movie theaters on September 5, 2013; then in theaters in Peru on September 6, 2013. An Italian dub of the film premiered on the local TV channel Cartoonito on September 22, 2013, and was released in Italian theaters on October 6, 2013. A Hungarian dub of the film premiered on the Minimax channel on September 29, 2013. The film is set to premiere on the POP channel on November 23, 2013 in the United Kingdom.
Broadcast and receptionEdit
The film premiered on the Hub Network on September 1, 2013. It earned year-to-year delivery time gains among Kids 2-11 (+206%), Girls 2-11 (+505%), Kids 6-11 (+591%), Girls 6-11 (+1056%), Adults 18-49 (+463%), Women 18-49 (+460%), Adults 25-54 (+500%), Women 25-54 (+558%), Persons 2+ (+289%), and Households (+279%).
Prior to the film's release, several mothers spoke to the New York Daily News stating concerns about the film's characters, describing the humanized characters as "too sexy", "anorexic", "going back to the original Barbie" or "looking like Bratz dolls", and several feared allowing their children to be influenced by the looks. However, some considered it reasonable with other current media such as The Little Mermaid, with one parent stating she felt that it isn't "any worse than Ariel in a bikini top for two hours". Slate's Amanda Marcotte considered that the characters' change to human form was to popularize the movie with the adult fanbase of the show, who she claims "have expressed a strong interest in seeing the Ponies in sexy, humanized forms". However, many of these adult fans expressed disappointment in the announcement of the movie and the characters, considering the film to be trying to pander to this older audience, and that the approach "goes against everything that Pony was trying to prove". Craig McCracken, speaking for his wife Lauren Faust, Friendship Is Magic's creative showrunner for the first two seasons before stepping down, stated that he felt she "wasn't the biggest fan" of Equestria Girls, opining that the approach of turning the pony characters into humans would have gone against the way she wanted to take the show.
Daniel Alvarez of the website Unleash the Fanboy gave the film 4 stars out of 5, stating that Equestria Girls was a "highly entertaining movie", though some elements, such as the brief romantic plot and Sunset's ultimate fate, were weaker than other parts of the film. Luke Thompson of Topless Robot was more critical of the film, as while not a viewer of the television show, he believed "whatever clever concepts the show may have [...] the movie does not do very much with", and considered the animation sub-standard for a TV-to-movie adaptation. Iowa State Daily described the movie as one that was "probably just made to sell dolls and figurines", though still delivered a "great message for kids". Gwen Ihnat of The A.V. Club rated the film a "B-" and considered that the film "is only a few songs and one amazing demon battle scene better than most of the [show's] two-part episodes", while otherwise treading on clichéd ideas from both the show and from other teen high school works. Sherilyn Connelly of SF Weekly, though having enjoyed the movie, felt it was too similar to the television show's pilot episodes in how the characters needed to be re-introduced for the film audience, and that the "real disconnect" was the apparent reduction of age, from young adult in the show to teenagers within the film. Toon Zone's Ed Liu considered that the movie "relies a bit too much on the familiar and the conventional", lacking the animated show's injection of "idiosyncratic character" into otherwise predictable plots, but otherwise praised the voice actors, music, and some of the movie's animation.
Upon release to home video, Shout Factory reported that more than 100,000 units have been ordered at retail, the largest release that the company has seen in its ten-year history. As a result of the success, Hasbro has signed Shout to continue distribution of other out-of-print My Little Pony titles from earlier generations such as The Princess Promenade, as well as newer animated Transformers shows.
- ↑ "MY LITTLE PONY - EQUESTRIA GIRLS (U)". British Board of Film Classification. July 29, 2013. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-film. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- ↑ Busis, Hillary (2013-06-07). "Hold your horses, 'My Little Pony' fans: We've got a new 'Equestria Girls' trailer -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. http://family-room.ew.com/2013/06/07/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-trailer/. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Alvarez, Daniel (2013-06-16). "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Review". Unleash the Fanboy. http://www.unleashthefanboy.com/movies/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-review/59102. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Connelly, Sherilyn (2013-08-06). "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls is the Pony Movie We've Got, If Not the One We Want". SF Weekly. http://blogs.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2013/08/my_little_pony_equestria_girls.php. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- ↑ Truitt, Brian (2013-08-05). "'My Little Pony' goes high school with 'Equestria Girls'". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2013/08/05/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-exclusive-clip/2620263/. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
- ↑ "I just spent a great weekend in L.A. for the... - Daniel Ingram". 2013-06-17. https://www.facebook.com/dannyimusic/posts/538489812865262. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Bryan, Steven (2013-06-26). "'My Little Pony: Equestria Girls' Takes the Ponies to a Brand-New Universe". Yahoo!. http://tv.yahoo.com/news/little-pony-equestria-girls-takes-ponies-brand-universe-180300415.html. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- ↑ Watercutter, Angela (2011-06-09). "My Little Pony Corrals Unlikely Fanboys Known as 'Bronies'". Wired. http://www.wired.com/underwire/2011/06/bronies-my-little-ponys/. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
- ↑ "Friendship is Witchcraft & Equestria Girls Taken Down". Equestria Daily. 2013-01-16. http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/01/friendship-is-witchcraft-equestria.html. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
- ↑ "USPTO TSDR Case Viewer". Tsdr.uspto.gov. 2012-12-18. http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85805634&docId=APP20121221072710#docIndex=2&page=1. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Christie, Brendan (February/March 2013). "Hasbro Hits its Stride" (PDF). Kidscreen: pp. 33–34. http://kidscreen.com/content/pdf/51589.pdf. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Schmidt, Gregory (2013-05-12). "A New Direction for a Hasbro Stalwart". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/business/equestria-girls-a-my-little-pony-offshoot-in-its-movie-debut.html. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Johnson, Rich (2013-07-11). "Samurai Jack Joins Doctor Who, Khan And My Little Pony As Locke & Key Comes To An End In IDW's October Solicitations For 2013". Bleeding Cool News. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/07/11/samurai-jack-joins-doctor-who-powerpuff-girls-khan-my-little-pony-as-locke-key-comes-to-an-end-in-idws-october-solicitations-for-2013/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Busis, Hilary (2013-07-30). "'Equestria Girls': Go behind the scenes of 'My Little Pony' spin-off in exclusive clip". Entertainment Weekly. http://family-room.ew.com/2013/07/30/equestria-girls-exclusive-clip/. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- ↑ King, Susan (2013-05-21). "New 'My Little Pony' film to premiere at L.A. Film Festival". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-my-little-pony-la-film-festival-20130521,0,18832.story. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- ↑ Ferguson, Dana (2013-06-16). "L.A. Film Festival: 'My Little Pony' reels in families". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-my-little-pony-20130616,0,3185921.story. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. 2013-07-08. http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=11588. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- ↑ Nordyke, Kimberly (2013-07-15). "Hub Network Sets 'My Little Pony Equestria Girls' Premiere (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-585253. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- ↑ Loveday, Samantha (2013-05-28). "US: Shout Factory and Hasbro Studios team for new My Little Pony film". Licensing.biz. http://www.licensing.biz/news/11395/US-Shout-Factory-and-Hasbro-Studios-team-for-new-My-Little-Pony-film. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- ↑ http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/20541/my-little-pony-equestria-girls
- ↑ "Kids@fgw". Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=545195312204634&set=a.316135935110574.73852.144747558916080&type=1. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- ↑ "NTV7 schedule". Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151611427243929&set=p.10151611427243929&type=1&theater. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- ↑ "EqG Coming To Germany". Equestria Daily. http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/06/eqg-coming-to-germany.html. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- ↑ "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Now Showing - Showcase Cimemas". Showcase Cinemas. http://www.showcasecinemas.co.uk/films/my-little-pony-equestria-girls. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
- ↑ "Equestria Girls Heading to Australia". Equestria Daily. 06-19-2013. http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/06/equestria-girls-heading-to-australia.html. Retrieved 09-05-2013.
- ↑ "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Trailer 1". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53kPC_CHg8o. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- ↑ Camerino, Francesca (08-22-2013). "My Little Pony Equestria Girls su Cartoonito in attesa della quarta stagione" (in Italian). tvblog.it. http://www.tvblog.it/post/363783/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-su-cartoonito-in-attesa-della-quarta-stagione. Retrieved 09-03-2013.
- ↑ F. Colla (2013-09-23). "My Little Pony Equestria Girls, dal 6 ottobre al cinema" (in Italian). http://www.cineblog.it/post/313241/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-dal-6-ottobre-al-cinema. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
- ↑ "Minimax" (in Hungarian). minimax.hu. http://www.minimax.hu/hu-HU/Musorujsag/hu/2013/09/29. Retrieved 09-16-2013.
- ↑ Massey, Joanna Dodd. "HUB NETWORK ORIGINAL MOVIE "MY LITTLE PONY EQUESTRIA GIRLS" LIFTS THE NETWORK TO TRIPLE-DIGIT GROWTH YEAR-TO-YEAR". Discovery Press. http://press.discovery.com/us/hub/press-releases/2013/hub-network-original-movie-my-little-pony-equ-2662/. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 Pesce, Nicole Lyn (2013-06-12). "Gen X moms fear new 'My Little Pony' feature film horses are too hot to trot". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/pony-feature-film-horses-hot-trot-article-1.1371131. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
- ↑ Marcotte, Amanda (2013-06-13). "Triumph of the Bronies: Hasbro Turning My Little Ponies Into Sexy Human Characters. Neigh.". Slate. http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/06/13/triumph_of_the_bronies_hasbro_turning_my_little_ponies_into_sexy_human_characters.html. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
- ↑ Romano, Aja (2013-05-15). "Why "My Little Pony" fandom is freaking out over "Equestria Girls"". Daily Dot. http://www.dailydot.com/fandom/my-little-pony-brony-fandom-equestria-girls/. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
- ↑ Ostroff, Joshua (2013-10-22). "People Are Kids, Too". The Grid. http://www.thegridto.com/life/parenting/people-are-kids-too/. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
- ↑ Thompson, Luke Y. (2013-06-17). "LAFF Review: My Little Pony Equestria Girls". Topless Robot. http://www.toplessrobot.com/2013/06/laff_review_my_little_pony_equestria_girls.php. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- ↑ Hamden, Nick (26 June 2013). "Movie Review: 'My Little Pony: Equestria Girls'". Iowa State Daily. http://www.iowastatedaily.com/ames247/article_e3f2927c-dd12-11e2-9d55-001a4bcf887a.html. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- ↑ Ihnat, Gwen (2013-07-16). "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls". The A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/articles/my-little-pony-equestria-girls,100196/. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
- ↑ Liu, Ed (2013-08-14). "Review: "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls" Blu-ray – Slow Canter, Not a Galloping Success". Toon Zone. http://www.toonzone.net/2013/08/review-little-pony-equestria-girls-blu-ray-slow-canter-not-galloping-success. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- ↑ Barnes, Mike (2013-08-13). "Shout! Factory, Hasbro in Deal for More 'My Little Pony' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/my-little-pony-shout-hasbro-604350. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
- Guthrie, Dana. "My Little Pony reboot turns plastic horses into teenage girls". Houston Chronicle. Monday, June 17, 2013.