|Jem and the Holograms|
October 23rd, 2015
Jem and the Holograms (shortened in online promotions as Jem: The Movie) is a live-action, full-length feature film directed by Jon M. Chu and based on the iconic 1980s' animated series, Jem. The film stars Aubrey Peeples as Jem, Stefanie Scott as Kimber, Hayley Kiyoko as Aja and Aurora Perrineau as Shana.
The film was produced by Hasbro Studios and Blumhouse Productions, co-produced and directed by Jon M. Chu and written by Ryan Landels.
Jem and the Holograms was theatrically released on October 23rd, 2015 by Universal Pictures. The film grossed $2.3 million worldwide on a $5 million budget.
As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a one-in-a-million journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden. In Universal Pictures’ Jem and the Holograms, four aspiring musicians will take the world by storm when they see that the key to creating your own destiny lies in finding your own voice.
- Jerrica / Jem - Aubrey Peeples
- Young Jerrica - Isabella Rice
- Kimber Benton - Stefanie Scott
- Shana - Aurora Perrineau
- Young Shana - Wynter Perrineau
- Aja - Hayley Kiyoko
- Aunt Bailey - Molly Ringwald
- Emmett Benton - Barnaby Carpenter
- Zipper - Nathan Moore
- Erica Raymond - Juliette Lewis
- Rio - Ryan Guzman
- Esteban - Justin Alastair
- Hair Stylist - Samantha Newark
- Rebecca - Jackie Tohn
- Donnie the Reporter - Ken Baker
- Stage Manager - Britta Phillips
- Stephen the Guard - Ryan Hansen
- VJ - Quddus
- Lindsey Pierce - Christy Marx
- Roxy - Hana Mae Lee
- Stormer - Katie Findlay
- Jetta - Eiza González
- Pizzazz - Kesha
- Brad - Nicholas Braun (uncredited)
- Sky - Chosen Wilkins (uncredited)
Teenage songwriter Jerrica Benton and her younger sister Kimber live with their Aunt Bailey and two foster sisters, Aja and Shana. The four girls frequently videotape themselves playing music and wearing colorful '80s outfits just for fun, but Jerrica is too shy to sing on camera. Jerrica learns one day that due to Aunt Bailey's financial problems their house will be auctioned, and vents her emotions by recording a song using Kimber's video camera that she uses to post blogs, but she uses a disguise, calling herself Jem, a nickname given to her by her deceased father.
She accidentally forgets to delete the video, and an Internet-obsessed Kimber posts it onto YouTube, garnering millions of views in a single day. Jerrica and her sisters travel to LA because Jerrica earns a record deal with Starlight productions, where they end up meeting producer Erica Raymond and her son Rio. Erica is polite and courteous with the four girls but seems to take a particular interest in Jerrica, who she sees as a potential superstar.
The girls settle down in LA and discuss their next move. In the process, they also bring along a small robot called 51N3RG.Y (pronounced synergy) built by the Benton sisters' deceased father, Emmett; the robot turns on suddenly and leads them on a scavenger hunt where each clue represents something Jerrica did or wanted to do with her father. The objective is to find several missing pieces designed to fit into the robot so that it can be fully activated. The first piece is found in the Santa Monica Pier; the second is found in a guitar once owned by Jerrica's father coincidentally in a club where the band plays.
On the way, Rio and Jerrica develop feelings, much to Erica's dismay, who signs Rio off to another singer. Aunt Bailey tells Jerrica via FaceTime that their house is going for auction in a few days, and Jerrica asks for an advance. Erica happily obliges, but she says that she wants Jerrica to leave her sisters and start a solo contract, which Jerrica signs thinking that she is doing it for the family. Her sisters soon find out about the contract, denounce her for leaving them out of the deal, and leave. After a dull solo performance, Jerrica becomes depressed over her mistake and goes to visit the house in LA she used to live in with Kimber and her father.
Her sisters end up coming back to visit her at the old house and make amends. They also vow to finish the scavenger hunt with her, and Rio comes along as well. Jerrica soon realizes that the last piece is the earrings that her dad told her to wear, but Erica told her to take them off when she first went to Starlight; the earrings are now stored in Erica's office. Rio and the girls break into Starlight headquarters, almost getting caught by Erica, but they succeed. The reward for finishing the hunt is a final hologram message video from Jerrica and Kimber's father. They also find a will from Rio's late father giving him a majority of shares in Starlight, effectively giving him control of the company.
At the end of the movie, Rio and Jem kiss, Erica is fired, the house is safe, and everyone is happy. During the final concert, where Jem and her sisters now play together, Rio chats with a woman called Lindsey Pierce (Jem creator Christy Marx in a cameo role), who asks Rio what to call the band and he suggests calling them Jem and the Holograms. Lindsey agrees to this new name.
Erica drives over to an abandoned parking lot and seeks out an old girls band she hasn't seen for years. Roxy, a pretty young woman with short half white bleached hair, isn't too happy to see her. Neither is another girl with her hair tied in two pigtailed buns, slightly dyed blue, nicknamed Stormer. A black haired woman with a silver lightning bolt tattoo on her forehead, nicknamed Jetta, madly mentions how she at Starlight replaced them with a better band.
Erica apologizes profusely to them and she begs them to come back with her. She tells them she lost her music company, that Jem is with Rio and that she needs a band that who is willing to destroy Jem and the Holograms.
Hearing this, a pretty but trashy-looking woman wearing green clothing and with her hair dyed green comes out and in a jealous tone remarks about how Jem is with Rio. Erica addresses her as Pizzazz. Pizzazz smiles at her and tells her: "Our songs are better, we're gonna get her", then the four singers take Erica inside of an old, abandoned trailer. As they leave, graffiti outside of it reads "The Misfits".
A announcement video in March 2014, announced that a Jem movie was finally in the works after years of speculation. The producers and directors of the movie also said that they would be crowd sourcing casting choices (they hinted at major characters being cast), or artwork or posters used in the film as Erica Raymond's advertising campaign.
Audrey Peeples and Stefanie Scott revealed during an interview that casting was planned months before the announcement of the film, sometime during spring/summer 2013. Likely, the crowd sourcing was publicity for the film (for example, Nathan Moore, who was cast as Zipper, has an IMDb page which proves he is a legitimate actor).
Production of the film started on April 22th, 2014 in Van Nuys. On May 19th, the takes were made in downtown Los Angeles and the main scenes were finished on May 24th. Dubbing for the film was completed during post-production, confirmed by Hayley Kiyoko, Stefanie Scott and Audrey Peeples. Re-shoots were completed on May 8-13 2015.
Screenings and synopsis
Screenings were held sometime around July to August 2014 (the attendees were to sign disclosures). The synopsis for the film: "UNTITLED TEEN MUSICAL - Opening next year from a major studio comes a live action musical fantasy about a young woman who transforms into an over-night internet pop superstar with the help of her best friends, a handsome record company babysitter and a mysterious robot with a connection to her past."
Quite similarly, casting calls for a similar film called #FAMOUS earlier in the year revealed that Shana was cast as a racially ambiguous character, but Aja was cast as an Asian.
The film was released in North America on October 23rd, 2015. It was originally projected to gross $5 million in its opening weekend, but after only grossing $34,000 during its Thursday night previews ($36 per theater average), projections were lowered to $3 million. It ultimately opened in 15th at the box office with $1.4 million, the fourth worst opening ever for a film playing in more than 2,000 theaters. On November 10th, 2015, just over two weeks after it premiered, Universal removed the film from theaters entirely, after grossing just $2.2 million. Jason Guerrasio of Business Insider described the pull from theaters as "an unheard of move for a movie that was in theaters nationwide."
The film's international roll-out began on October 22nd, where it debuted to a fourth-place finish in Slovenia. It debuted in 9 screens and had a weekend gross of $2,064. The movie's total is $3,046. In its second weekend the film dropped 37% to finish at 5th place with $1,297. Its third week resulted in a steep 84% decline to $210. Its three-week total is $6,886.
The film opened in Croatia on October 29th, where it debuted in fifth-place with $1,421 from 11 screens. The film dropped over 40% in its second week with $870 from 7 screens, but the third week saw its screen count increase to 13 and it suffered a scant 8% decline to end the weekend with $801. The film's three-week total was $3,744.
The film opened in Iceland a day later, where it made $1,197 on opening weekend from 6 screens. The film retained its screen count for the next week, seeing a 41% drop to end with $698. The following week saw the film take in $195 from 1 screen, a substantial drop of 72%. Its three week-total was $2,862.
The film opened in Norway on November 6. It placed number four at the box office with $14,764 from 62 screens. Its two-week total was $20,046.
The film opened in Singapore on November 26 where it grossed $9,311 from 8 screens for a 13th-place finish.
Release date for parts of Europe is December, the film opened in the UK on February 12, 2016 and grossed $12,869. The France release will be in April 2016.
As of 30 December 2015, the film grossed $142,526 internationally, bringing the worldwide gross to $2.3 million.
The Jem and the Holograms film has received overwhelming negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 19%, based on 63 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10. The site's consensus reads: "Jem and the Holograms ignores its source material's goofy charm in favor of bland by-the-numbers drama". Metacritic gives the film a score of 42 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Geoff Berkshire of Variety praised Peeples' performance as Jem, noting that she "keeps the film watchable", as well as Lewis as "a nonsensical bitch-on-wheels caricature with offbeat line readings and live-wire energy", and noted that "a generally unremarkable tech package" - cinematography, sound, costuming and makeup, etc. - "at least provides a modest showcase for costume designer Soyon An, makeup head Mary Klimek and hairstylist Vanessa Price, who come the closest to channeling the vibrant spirit of the Jem cartoons that originally made fans fall in love."
Jem and the Holograms was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 19th, 2016.
- ASIN: B01721Y0PA
- Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
- Audio Description
- ASIN: B01721XZLA
- Region: All regions
Special features include:
- Deleted scenes.
- An audio commentary by director Jon M. Chu.
- A gag reel.
- A music video for "Youngblood" and a featurette titled "Glam, Glitter, Fashion, and Fame: The Reinvention of Jem".
The Jem and the Holograms: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack contains 13 songs performed mainly by two of the protagonists of the film, Aubrey Peeples and Stefanie Scott. It contains two versions of the song "Youngblood", one of them with main vocals provided by actress and singer Hilary Duff.
The soundtrack's overall duration is 42:34.
- Jon M. Chu had been interested in working on the film as he grew up watching the original animated Jem series with his sisters, becoming a fan of it as a result.
- Aunt Bailey's character is expanded upon and Molly Ringwald said this about her: "Two of the kids are my own and two are adopted, so I’m like their inspiration."
- Jerrica, her sisters and Rio were aged down so the target audience, teens and preteens, could relate to them.
- This is the first incarnation of Jerrica who is not a natural blonde.
- Erica is a gender-swapped Eric.
- Rio is Erica's son.
- Aurora Perrineau, who plays Shana in the film, is of bi-racial heritage and generated controversy over the new Shana's lighter complexion, accusing Hasbro of "whitewashing" Shana.
- Hayley Kiyoko, who plays Aja in the film, is of Japanese, English and Scottish ancestry.
- The music playing at the end of the first trailer is "The Story of My Life" by One Direction.
- In late May, pictures of the cast members were leaked, showing a great difference from the teaser poster. Michael Rey, who posted the photo on Facebook, was fired. The photo was soon deleted but not before making its way through Tumblr.
- Jason Blum confirmed in an interview with an Italian movie news site that the Misfits wouldn't be in the Jem and the Holograms movie: "They will not be in the film. Since apparently in Italy everyone knows this series better than me, maybe I'll do a preview of the movie here! No, however, there will be but the reason is not related to the rights."
- Presumably, due to the bad reception the trailers for the film had, the Misfits were added in a mid-credits scene at the end of the movie.