Danny DeVito co-produced and directed Matilda, a 1996 American fantasy comedy film based on a script by Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord. The film stars Mara Wilson as the main character, with DeVito (who also served as the narrator), Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, and Pam Ferris in supporting parts. It is based on Roald Dahl’s bestselling 1988 novel of the same name.
The story revolves around Matilda Wormwood, a child prodigy who develops psychokinetic skills and utilizes them to deal with her shady family, as well as Agatha Trunchbull, the vicious, authoritarian, and dictatorial principal of Crunchem Hall Elementary School.
The film was released theatrically in the United States on August 2, 1996, by Sony Pictures Releasing through the TriStar Pictures banner, and was produced by DeVito’s Jersey Films. Positive reviews praised DeVito’s direction as well as the film’s fidelity to the spirit of the source material. However, despite a $36 million budget, the film was a commercial failure, grossing $33.5 million in the United States.
On August 2, 1996, the picture was released in the United States, grossing $33.5 million against a $36 million production budget. Columbia TriStar Home Video released the film on VHS in pan and scan and LaserDisc in widescreen on December 17, 1996. It was released as a bare-bones dual-sided DVD in 1997, with fullscreen and widescreen options. In 2004, a new DVD version with more special features was released. Wilson and most of her co-stars from the film reunited in August 2013 to commemorate the film’s 17th anniversary and Blu-ray release. The Blu-ray release included footage from the reunion.
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