The New Animated Movie Opening In Theaters This Week Has No Director
Wonder Park is an animated movie about a “magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive.” The reviews so far haven’t been particularly kind; 29 percent of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a splat, with Matt Zoller Seitz’s description of “a mostly forgettable movie that only makes a strong impression when it's disturbing or saddening in a manner the film itself seem only dimly aware of” being a pretty representative example.
If the film is remembered at all, it maybe for this unusual bit of trivia: It has no director. Or at least whoever did the actual work of directing it was not credited onscreen:
There is a story behind this unique situation. Wonder Park was originally directed by an animation veteran named Dylan Brown. Brown, who served as an animator on Pixar films like Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., and Ratatouille, worked on Wonder Park until January of 2018, when Paramount Pictures fired him for “inappropriate and unwanted conduct.” A report in Variety at that time claimed “Brown had been accused by multiple women on the production staff of inappropriate comments that were sexual in nature, as well as some physical interactions.” The film was finished without Brown, but no other director was credited on the final production. Hence, we have a completed movie with no director.
Certainly movies have been released without their real director’s name on them before. For many years, “Alan Smithee” was the name stamped on projects where directors didn’t want credit for their work. In other cases, directors have used pseudonyms instead of their real names. Walter Hill directed Supernova, for example, but the film was heavily reshot and reedited without his input, and was eventually credited to “Thomas Lee.”
I can’t name another example like Wonder Park, though, where there’s just no director credited at all. It might be a first? Probably someone will now come and correct me on Twitter (if they do I will update this post) but even if they do, it is an extremely rare occurrence. So bask in history at Wonder Park this weekend!
Gallery — Directors Who Famously Hated Their Movies: