Bolt (2008 film)

Bolt (2008 film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Williams
Byron Howard
Produced by Clark Spencer
John Lasseter
Screenplay by Dan Fogelman
Chris Williams
Starring John Travolta
Susie Essman
Mark Walton
Miley Cyrus
Music by John Powell
Editing by Tim Mertens
Studio Walt Disney Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) November 21, 2008 (2008-11-21)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[1]
Box office $309,979,994[1]

Bolt is a 2008 American computer-animated adventure/action comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, and is its forty-eighth animated feature. It is the first film directed by Chris Williams (who previously worked on Mulan and The Emperor's New Groove) and Byron Howard (who previously worked on Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear). The film stars the voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Malcolm McDowell, Diedrich Bader, Nick Swardson, Greg Germann, Susie Essman and Mark Walton. The film's plot centers on a small white dog named Bolt who, having spent his entire life on the set of a television series, thinks that he has super powers. When he believes that his human, Penny, has been kidnapped, he sets out on a cross-country journey to "rescue" her.

As with earlier CGI Disney films, such as Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, Bolt was also distributed in Disney Digital 3-D in the theaters equipped for it. The movie was nominated for a series of awards, one of which being the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature which was, however, lost to WALL-E.



A girl named Penny and a dog named Bolt star on a hit television series called Bolt in which the titular character has various superpowers and must constantly thwart the evil plans of the nefarious Doctor Calico. To gain a more realistic performance, the TV show's producers have deceived Bolt his entire life, arranging the filming in such a way that Bolt believes the television show is real and he really has superpowers. After filming completes for the latest episode, Bolt escapes from his on-set trailer mistakenly believing Penny has been kidnapped by the television villain. He attempts to break through a window, knocking himself unconscious as he falls into a box of foam peanuts. With no one aware Bolt is in the box, it is shipped from Hollywood to New York City. In New York, he meets Mittens, a female alley cat who bullies pigeons out of their food. Bolt, convinced this is another adventure, forces Mittens to help him get back to Hollywood, and the two start their journey westward on a truck after Bolt knocks Mittens unconscious. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Penny is deeply saddened over Bolt's disappearance but is convinced by the studio to continue filming with a Bolt look alike. As their adventure proceeds, Bolt starts to notice that his superpowers aren't working, and rationalizes this is the effect that styrofoam has on his body.

Surprised at his first feelings of both pain and hunger, Bolt is shown by Mittens how to act like a cute, but needy dog, and is rewarded by food. They meet Rhino, a fearless, TV-obsessed hamster and huge Bolt fan who joins their team. Mittens tries to convince Bolt that his superpowers aren't real, but their discussion is cut short by the arrival of Animal Control, who captures them both and transports them to an animal shelter. After being freed en route by Rhino, Bolt finally realizes that he is just a normal dog, but regains his confidence after Rhino (oblivious to this revelation) gives him a pep talk. They rescue Mittens from the shelter and escape, allowing them to continue their journey. Along the way, Bolt learns to enjoy typical dog activities (such as hanging his head out the window), but Mittens refuses to go farther than Las Vegas. She tells Bolt that his Hollywood life is fake and there is no real love for him there. Her emotional rant reveals that she was once a house cat, but was abandoned by her previous owner and left to brave the harsh streets alone and declawed. Bolt refuses to believe that Penny doesn't love him, and continues on alone, wishing Mittens the best. Rhino, learning of Bolt's departure, convinces Mittens that they must help him, and the two set off to find Bolt once again.

Bolt reaches the studio, finding Penny embracing his lookalike. Unaware that Penny still misses him and that her affection for the lookalike was only a part of a rehearsal for the show, he leaves, brokenhearted. Mittens, on a gantry in the studio, sees what Bolt does not: Penny telling her mother how much she misses Bolt. Realizing that Penny truly does love Bolt, Mittens follows Bolt and explains. At the same time, the Bolt-lookalike panics during filming and accidentally knocks over some torches, setting the sound stage on fire and trapping Penny. Bolt arrives and reunites with Penny inside the burning studio, but cannot get her out. In desperation, and unwilling to abandon Penny, Bolt tries using his super bark. The firefighters hear Bolt's barking through the building's vents and manage to pinpoint his location, rescuing him and Penny before they succumb to smoke inhalation.

Penny's mother subsequently quits the show when their agent attempts to exploit the incident for publicity purposes. Penny herself adopts Mittens and Rhino, and moves to a rural home to enjoy a simpler, happy lifestyle with Bolt and her new pets. The show continues, but with a replacement "Bolt" and "Penny" – "Penny's" new appearance being explained in the show as being serious injuries necessitating her undergoing facial reconstruction surgery, and adopting an alien abduction storyline (one that even Rhino finds unrealistic, and Bolt finds "ridonculous"). The epilogue scenes during the credits show Bolt, Penny, her mother, Mittens, and Rhino enjoying their new life together.




At first, the film was going to be titled American Dog, and was written and directed by Chris Sanders. Eventually, Sanders was removed from the project and replaced by Chris Williams and Byron Howard.[2] The film's previous plot told the story of a dog named Henry, a famous TV star, who one day finds himself stranded in the Nevada desert with a testy, one-eyed cat and an oversized, radioactive rabbit who are themselves searching for new homes, all the while believing he is still on television. In 2006, after becoming Chief Creative Officer at Disney, John Lasseter along with other directors from Pixar and Disney viewed a couple of early cuts of the film and gave Chris Sanders notes on how to improve the story. According to Lasseter, Chris Sanders was replaced because Sanders resisted the changes that Lasseter and the other directors had suggested. Lasseter was quoted as saying "Chris Sanders is extremely talented, but he couldn't take it to the place it had to be."[3] After Sanders left and the original title was removed, the animation team was told to complete the filming just 18 months instead of the usual four years that is normally required to produce a computer-animated feature.[4] On June 8, 2007, Disney announced that the film, now under its current name, would be released on November 21, 2008 in Disney Digital 3-D.[5][6]


The look of the film was inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper and the cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond.[7] New technology in non-photorealistic rendering (NPR) was used to give it a special visual appearance, a technique also used in the 2010 release Tangled. To give the film's 3D backgrounds a hand-painted look, the company artists used new patented technology designed specifically for the film.[8]

Bolt's characteristics are based on an amalgam of breeds, although the designers started with the American White Shepherd.[9] Joe Moshier, lead character designer, said, "they [American White Shepherds] have really long ears, a trait that I tried to caricature in order to allow the animators to emphasize Bolt's expressiveness."[9]

The design of Rhino in his plastic ball was based on executive producer John Lasseter's pet chinchilla, which was brought to an animators' retreat during the film's production.[10]


Soundtrack album by John Powell
Released November 25, 2008 (2008-11-25)
Genre Score
Length 36:59
Label Walt Disney
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Meet the Robinsons
The Princess and the Frog: Original Songs and Score

The score to Bolt was composed by John Powell.[11] The soundtrack featured the film's score and two original songs - "I Thought I Lost You" by Bolt's stars Miley Cyrus and John Travolta (nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song on 2009) as well as "Barking at the Moon" by Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis.[11] The soundtrack was released on November 18, 2008.[12]

Although Motörhead has a song in the film, they do not seem to appear in either the soundtrack or the score. Motörhead's song, "Dog-Face Boy" (from their Sacrifice album) is in a mailroom scene where a young worker is listening to it on his headphones and inadvertently wraps Bolt up in a box that gets shipped off to New York City.[13]

Track list:

All music composed by John Powell, except as noted.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "I Thought I Lost You"   Miley Cyrus, John Travolta 3:36
2. "Barking at the Moon"   Jenny Lewis 3:17
3. "Meet Bolt"     1:49
4. "Bolt Transforms"     1:00
5. "Scooter Chase"     2:29
6. "New York"     1:44
7. "Meet Mittens"     1:25
8. "The RV Park"     2:14
9. "A Fast Train"     2:38
10. "Where Were You on St. Rhino's Day?"     1:58
11. "Sing-Along Rhino"     0:42
12. "Saving Mittens"     1:02
13. "House on Wheels"     3:07
14. "Las Vegas"     2:01
15. "A Friend in Need"     1:13
16. "Rescuing Penny"     3:09
17. "A Real Life Superbark"     0:46
18. "Unbelievable TV"     1:20
19. "Home at Last/Barking at the Moon (Reprise)"   Jenny Lewis 1:29
Total length:


Critical reaction

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 89% of critics gave positive reviews based on 175 reviews.[14] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, gave the film a 67/100 approval rating based on 29 reviews following under the category "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Perry Seibert of TV Guide gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and wrote the film "amuses both those who make up the film's target audience and the parents along for the ride. This winning mix of exciting action, heart-tugging sentiment, and gentle character comedy makes Bolt yet another solid addition to Disney's history of family-friendly fare."[16] Tasha Robinson of the A.V. Club gave the film a B+ stating that "Bolt is the studio's first film since Lilo & Stitch that feels like it's trying to recapture the old Disney instead of aggressively shedding it in favor of something slick and new. And yet it comes with a healthy cutting-edge Pixar flavor as well."[17] Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times wrote that "[Bolt] also has an intriguing plot that is kind of the family animation version of the Jim Carrey-starring The Truman Show."[18]

Box office

On its opening weekend, the film opened number 3 with $26,223,128 behind Twilight and Quantum of Solace.[19] On its second weekend, it rose to #2 behind Four Christmases with a 1.4% increase.[20] In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $114,053,579 by its closing date on February 22, 2009.[21] An additional $195,926,415 million was made internationally as of January 2, 2011, for a worldwide total of $309,979,994.[1][22]

Award nominations

Bolt was nominated for the following awards:[23]

Home media

Bolt was released on Region A Blu-ray Disc in the United States on March 22, 2009. The BD set included standard DVD and digital copy versions of the film. Single-disc DVD and Special Edition DVD with Digital Copy versions followed in Region 1 on March 24.[24] This marked the first time a major home-video release debuted on Blu-ray Disc before DVD.[25] Bolt was released on both Blu-ray and DVD in the United Kingdom on June 15, 2009.[26][27]

A short film called Super Rhino is included in the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film.[28]

The DVD has sold 4,581,755 copies, generating $81.01 million in sales as of December 31, 2009.[29]

The 3D version of the film will be released on 3D Blu-ray on November 8th 2011.

Video games

Disney Interactive Studios produced a video game based on the film, released in November 2008 for Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.[30] The game focuses on Bolt's fake TV life, not the actual storyline.[31] A separate game was released for mobile phones,[32] and a third game, RhinoBall, was released as an application on Apple's App Store.[33]


  1. ^ a b c "Bolt". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ Amidi, Amid (February 7, 2007). "Toy Story 3 and American Dog News". Retrieved March 5, 2007. 
  3. ^ Holson, Laura M. (March 4, 2007). "He Runs That Mickey Mouse Outfit". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2007. 
  4. ^ Sanders, Peter (October 27, 2008). "Disney Learns Lessons From Pixar". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Coming to Theaters - Bolt". June 8, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2007. 
  6. ^ Garth Franklin (June 8, 2007). "Disney Announces Summer 2009 Lineup". Dark Horizons. Retrieved June 10, 2007. 
  7. ^ Lesnick, Silas (September 15, 2008). "Behind the Scenes of Disney's Bolt". Coming Soon. Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  8. ^ Strike, Joe (April 9, 2008). "Disney Taps Deep Into DNA In Unveiling Animation Slate". Animation World Network. Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Smith, Dave. "Ask Dave: The Ultimate Disney History Expert". D23. Archived from the original on June 17, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2009. 
  10. ^ Barnes, Brooks (November 14, 2008). "Mark Walton, The Voice Behind the Drawing Board". New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b "Walt Disney Records Presents the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, BOLT". International Business Times. Ibtimes. November 14, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Bolt". Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Bolt". November 18, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Bolt Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Bolt (2008)". Metacritic. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Bolt Review". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  17. ^ "Bolt". The A.V. Club. November 20, 2008.,2667/. Retrieved November 21, 2008. 
  18. ^ Turan, Kenneth (November 21, 2008). "Review: "Bolt"". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for November 21–23, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 2008-11-23. 
  20. ^ "Bolt (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  21. ^ "Bolt - Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Bolt - Foreign". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Bolt (2008) - Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  24. ^ "Bolt Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Coming March 22". January 21, 2009. Retrieved February 16, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Bolt Blu-ray bows two days before DVD". Video Business. January 22, 2009. Retrieved March 25, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Argos Entertainment". May 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Bolt - The official DVD website". Disney. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  28. ^ "An Afternoon at the House of Mouse". TAG Blog. October 27, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  29. ^ "Top Selling DVDs of 2009". The Numbers. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Bolt". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  31. ^ Geddes, Ryan (19 June 2010). "Bolt Movie to Fetch Videogame Versions". IGN. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  32. ^ "Bolt promotion page". Jamster. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  33. ^ "iPhone App Review: RhinoBall". AppVee. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 

External links

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