Pete's Dragon is an American live-action film distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by David Lowery, and produced by Jim Whitaker. It is a remake of the 1977 film, first released on November 3, 1977. In March 2013, Disney announced a remake of the film to be written by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks from the Sundance hit Ain't Them Bodies Saints. It reinvents the core story of a venerable Disney family film and is not a musical. Principal photography began in January 2015 in New Zealand, with Lowery slated to direct for an August 12, 2016 released date.
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley).
Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete's descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham's stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father, Jack (Wes Bentley), owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about Elliott. It opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.
The movie begins with Pete, at five years old, on a road trip with his mom and dad until they end up in a car crash trying to dodge a deer. Pete’s parents are killed instantly but Pete survives. He ends up being chased into the forest by a pack of wolves and becomes surrounded. But then the wolves are scared off by the presence of a huge dragon with green fur and yellow eyes. Pete is at first a little scared, but comes to see that the dragon is very friendly. Pete names him "Elliott", after the character in his favorite book, and the two of them become the best of friends spending the next six years living together in the forest.
One day Pete, now ten years old, spots a group lumberjacks and forest rangers roaming close to where he lives. He stays out of site, but gets spotted and followed by a girl named Natalie. When Natalie tries to follow him up a tree and hurts herself, her father, Jack, and her soon-to-be stepmother, forest ranger Grace Meacham, come looking for her. When they notice Pete, he runs off only to be caught by Jack’s brother, Gavin, and they take him back to town. When Elliott realizes that Pete is missing, he gets worried and starts looking for him, but at the same time catches Gavin’s attention. He and his fellow lumberjacks arm themselves with rifles and venture deep into the forest. Meanwhile Pete is taken to hospital after bumping his head while trying to escape. He escapes from the hospital and tries to get back to the forest, but is unfamiliar with his new surroundings. Grace and the police give chase and soon recapture him after he is cornered in an alleyway. Grace, Natalie, and Jack invite Pete to stay with them, promising to take him back to the woods the next day and have Pete show where he had been living for six years. When Pete begins talking about his friend, Elliott, Grace begins to wonder. When she was a little girl her father used to tell her stories about a dragon in the forest. While he said they were true, Grace never really believed them as she got older. But everything that Pete has said and shown about Elliott is exactly what was described in her father’s stories.
Back in the woods, Gavin and his followers are still roaming the woods and by now it has gotten dark. When they discover Pete and Elliott’s tree house, Elliott comes out of hiding and chases them away. Then he takes to the skies and follows them back to town, in hopes of finding Pete. Elliott follows Gavin and his colleagues to Jack’s house, who tells him what he saw but does not believe him. When Elliott finds Pete and sees how happy and well treated he is, he sadly decides to leave him and returns to his cave.
Pete and Elliott return to their now-demolished tree house. Now that everyone knows of Elliott’s existence he will have to go far away. This also means that Pete will have to leave his friend for good, even though he does not want to. Elliott, knowing that Grace, Jack, and Natalie can love and care for Pete as much as he has, encourages him to go back to them. The two friends give each other one last tearful hug before going their separate ways. Pete returns to live with Grace, Jack, and Natalie, and Elliott flies away to find a new home. Afterwards, Grace and Jack get married and adopt Pete, and as for Elliott, he is not seen or heard from again. But if one knows where to look, like Pete, Elliott can be found living among many other dragons.
- Oakes Fegley as Pete
- Levi Alexander as five year old Pete
- Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace Meacham, a forest ranger and also Jack's wife
- Wes Bentley as Jack, a lumber mill owner, Natalie's father, Gavin's brother and Grace's husband
- Karl Urban as Gavin, a hunter who is Jack's brother and Natalie's uncle
- Oona Laurence as Natalie, Jack's daughter and Gavin's niece
- Robert Redford as Mr. Meacham, Grace's father, and also Natalie's adopted grandfather
- Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Sheriff Dentler
- Jim McLarty as Ranger Wentworth
- Ian Harcourt as Deputy West
- John Kassir as Elliott the Dragon's Vocal Effects
- Main article: Pete's Dragon (2016 Soundtrack)
In March 2013, Disney announced a remake of the film to be written by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks from the Sundance hit Ain't Them Bodies Saints. It will reinvent the core story of a venerable Disney family film and will not be a musical. Principal photography will commence in January 2015 in New Zealand, with Lowery slated to direct. On October 2, Barrie M. Osborne was set to produce it. It would be live-action with CGI used for the dragon.
On September 19, 2014, Disney set Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence to star as Pete and Natalie. On October 16, Robert Redford was in early talks to play a local storyteller, involving dragons that no one believes. On November 20, Bryce Dallas Howard was in talks for the female lead role to play a forest ranger who finds the boy and doesn't believe his stories about a dragon. On January 7, 2015, Wes Bentley joined the cast of the film. On January 9, Michael C. Hall was also added to the cast. On January 29, Karl Urban replaced C. Hall to join the cast for his role.
Rehearsals began early January 2015 and the filming is also scheduled to begin in January in New Zealand.