A garden-themed red carpet lined the entrance to the theater, with Winnie, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger sitting in lawn chairs at the start of the carpet.
“Christopher Robin” takes place after the eponymous character (Ewan McGregor) has grown up and lost touch with the important things in life. His childhood friends – Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet – venture into the real world to help Christopher rediscover the joys of family, friendship, and appreciating the simple pleasures of life.
That’s a message that’s very relevant today, McGregor told Variety on the red carpet. “I felt very much it was a timely movie for me,” he said. “I felt that way before I read when it when (director) Marc (Forster) described what he wanted to do with the film and how he wanted it to feel and his belief that it was an important film for now.”
Directed by Forster, the film is the latest live-action remake of a Disney classic, following the massive success of other live-action remakes like “Beauty and the Beast,” which grossed $1.2 billion at the global box office.
Forster said he approached the making of the feature with an eye toward giving Pooh a well-worn look that would convey the passage of time. “I wanted to go back to the old shepherd drawings that started to create Pooh as (A.A. Milne) imagined it and give it enough wear and tear that you feel this is a well hugged bear, that it’s a loved bear, that Christopher Robin played with him,” Forster said.
Brad Garrett, who voiced Eeyore, said he approached the role with some trepidation given the nostalgia attached to the franchise by fans.
“I really wanted to make sure I was true to this character,” Garrett said. “We stayed true to the character vocally but (Forster) wanted to bring things to it that made him a little more dimensional, to have a little ray of hope once in a while, a little bit of excitement.”
“Christopher Robin” writer Allison Schroeder said the film should inspire people to take stock of their lives. “We all need to take a moment to just enjoy life, step back and relax and appreciate our friends and our family and lives that we have,” Schroeder said. “We forget to do that sometimes.”
Longtime Disney producer Brigham Taylor said the Milne stories featuring the Hundred Acre Woods characters “really exemplifies all the complexities and joys of friendship and you have all these disparate little personalities but they get along and they make an effort to be kind and be polite and look out for each other. That’s a timely thing.”
Producer Kristin Burr agrees: “The messages of Milne, the messages of Pooh, they’re always very simple: it’s about enjoying life and being present and those are all things that we constantly need to learn.”
“Christopher Robin” also stars Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, and Jim Cummings. Producers were Taylor and Burr, with Renée Wolfe as executive producer. Music was composed by Geoff Zanelli and Jon Brion.
The film bows Aug. 3.