Clifford the Big Red Dog


Street Date 2/1/22;
Box Office $48.59 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG’ for impolite humor, thematic elements and mild action.
Stars Jack Whitehall, Darby Camp, Tony Hale, Sienna Guillory, David Alan Grier, Russell Wong, Izaac Wang, Kenan Thompson, Tovah Feldshuh, Paul Rodriguez, Russell Peters, Horatio Sanz, Rosie Perez, Alex Moffat, Jessica Keenan Wynn, John Cleese.

Based on the long-running children’s book series of the same name, the Clifford the Big Red Dog movie is a prime example of stretching the source material to fit the feature-length format.

In this case, it’s the adventures of a giant dog and the little girl who owns him.

In this case, the plot is a bit like the live-action Dumbo, with a framing device involving John Cleese as a narrator talking about love and magic, which is very reminiscent of Seth MacFarlane’s Ted.

Clifford is a bright red puppy who is left on the streets when the rest of his doggy family is taken to the pound. He gets scooped up by Mr. Bridwell (Cleese, whose character is named for Clifford’s creator, Norman Bridwell) and taken to his traveling exhibit of rescued animals.

Meanwhile, sixth-grader Emily (Darby Camp) is left in the care of her irresponsible uncle (Jack Whitehall, getting some serious exposure between this and Jungle Cruise) when her mother (Sienna Guillory) is called away on business. On the way to school, Emily sees Bridwell’s tent and is enamored with Clifford, who somehow ends up in her backpack.

Since her apartment doesn’t allow pets, she has to take him back the next day, but overnight he grows up to be 10 feet tall, but still as playful as a puppy. And Bridwell, being a mysterious Mary Poppins magical type character, has disappeared.

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While Emily and her pals try to find Bridwell to see if Clifford can be returned to normal, his playful demeanor in public makes the news, attracting the attention of the owner of a biotech firm trying to genetically engineer larger animals for food. So he wants to capture Clifford and study him to see why he’s so big. And the chase is on.

The movie has some fun dealing with some of the obvious issues that would arise with a gigantic dog (like how to give him a medical exam) while sidestepping others (like how much he would  have to eat to stay healthy at that size).

Like the dog at the center of it all, Clifford ends up being some harmless fluff that should keep young viewers entertained.

The Blu-ray of Clifford the Big Red Dog includes four behind-the-scenes featurettes and three deleted scenes.

The deleted scenes run nearly three minutes total and don’t amount to much more than a few additional moments of humor.

The six-and-a-half-minute “Part of the Pack” is a general making-of featurette, featuring interviews from the cast and filmmakers. the three-and-a-half-minute “Acting Is for the Dogs” focuses on the visual effects used to bring Clifford to life, particularly the puppeteers who provided a live reference model on set.

The seven-minute “The Magic of Bridwell” featurette focuses more on the original “Clifford” children books and how they were conceived of by creator Norman Bridwell, who appears via archive interviews (sadly, he died in 2014).

Finally, there’s the two-and-a-half-minute “Tips & Tricks or Taking Care of a 10-Foot Dog” is a tongue-in-cheek piece that is pretty much exactly what the title makes it sound like.

Originally published as a digital review Dec. 20, 2021.

‘Encanto,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ Repeats to Headline Early December Box Office Lull

With no major studio new releases to open the early December weekend box office, Disney’s Encanto and Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife are projected to lead the domestic box office through Dec. 5.

Encanto, which opened to $40 million, remains a strong family-themed attraction, while Afterlife has shown consistency entering its third weekend with about $91 million in domestic ticket sales, $119 million worldwide.

While the major studios allow existing releases to widen their box office haul, Fathom Events is debuting faith-based Christmas With The Chosen: The Messengers across more than 1,500 screens nationwide. Fathom, which has created a niche market re-releasing classic movies in theaters backed by a live-event promotion, reported $1.5 million in advanced ticket sales for The Chosen.

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Other returning weekend box office titles include Lada Gaga in House of Gucci with a projected $7.5 million box office in its second weekend of release, Disney/Marvel Studios’ Eternals ($4.1 million), Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City ($2.7 million), and Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog with $2.8 million.

ViacomCBS: ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’ Top-Streamed Movie on Paramount+

Paramount Pictures’ live-action movie Clifford the Big Red Dog was No. 2 at last weekend’s domestic box office with $24 million in global ticket sales. The first theatrical release based on the popular children’s book series is simultaneously streaming on Paramount+, and quickly became the most-streamed original movie on the platform, according to corporate parent ViacomCBS.

The media giant said the movie (along with a marketing campaign with T-Mobile) helped generate 1 million Paramount+ sign-ups in the past week. Global SVOD subscribers topped 47 million in the most-recent fiscal period when including Showtime OTT and Noggin, among other platforms.

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Clifford the Big Red Dog has wagged his way into the hearts and watchlists of Paramount+ subscribers,” Tanya Giles, chief programming officer of ViacomCBS Streaming, said in a statement. “The film’s incredible performance on Paramount+ speaks to the power of entertainment for families to enjoy together, and we look forward to continuing to bring our subscribers more exclusive family-friendly offerings.”

Although ViacomCBS isn’t releasing actual viewership numbers, “Clifford” has apparently bested previous original movies streaming on Paramount+ and released theatrically at the same time, including Paw Patrol: The Movie, Infinite and Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin.

Disney/Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ Holds Off Paramount’s ‘Big Red Dog’ at Weekend Box Office

Disney/Marvel Studios’ latest superhero movie, Eternals, is expected to finish atop the Nov. 14 domestic weekend box office with estimated revenue of $27.5 million across more than 4,000 North American screens, its second week on top. The revenue projection tops Paramount Pictures’ live-action family film Clifford the Big Red Dog with $22 million, when including the film’s Wednesday opening.

Clifford, the first live-action adaptation of the children’s book series, is also streaming for free on Paramount+.

Eternals, which generated another $48 million in foreign ticket sales, has now generated more than $281 million globally. The film’s 61% second-weekend box office drop falls between other 2021 Marvel tentpole releases Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (52%) and Black Widow at 67%.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage became the second movie after Shang-Chi to top $200 million at the domestic box office in the COVID era with $4 million in ticket sales.

Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ sci-fi reboot of Dune added $5.5 million across 3,200 screens to reach $93 million at the domestic box office. The movie is also streaming for free on HBO Max.