Hey Arnold!: The Movie

Hey Arnold!: The Movie

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tuck Tucker
Produced by
Written by
Based on Hey Arnold!
by Craig Bartlett
Music by Jim Lang
Edited by Christopher Hink
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • June 28, 2002 (2002-06-28)
Running time
76 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3–4 million[2][3]
Box office $15.2 million[2]

Hey Arnold!: The Movie is a 2002 American animated comedy film based on the 1996 Nickelodeon animated television series Hey Arnold!. The film is directed by Tuck Tucker, written by Craig Bartlett and Steve Viksten with music by Jim Lang. The film follows Arnold, Gerald, and Helga on a quest to save their neighborhood from a greedy developer who plans on converting it into a huge shopping mall. The film was released on June 28, 2002 and produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Snee Oosh, Inc. and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film stars Spencer Klein, Francesca Smith, Jamil Walker Smith, Dan Castellaneta, Tress MacNeille, Paul Sorvino, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Christopher Lloyd.


Arriving home from a basketball game, Arnold and his best friend Gerald learn that Scheck, the CEO of FutureTech Industries (FTI), has announced plans to redevelop the entire neighborhood as a luxurious high-rise shopping mall. That night, Helga finds that her father, Big Bob, is working with FTI to build a new super-sized branch of his beeper store in the proposed mall. She ultimately sides with her father, though is hesitant to do so because of her love for Arnold.

Arnold hosts a protest rally against FTI. Unfortunately, their permit is stolen by Scheck's employees, Grandma Gertie is arrested, and the protest is subsequently declared illegal. The failure encourages many of Arnold's neighbors to give up, and sell their homes to FTI. As the residents begin packing their belongings, Grandpa Phil tells the story of the "Tomato Incident", a major revolutionary war battle fought in the city. Arnold realize that the neighborhood had to be declared a historic district after the war, effectively ensuring its preservation, but the legal document granting its landmark status had been sold to a collector, who is none other than Scheck himself. When confronted, however, he denies having the document, and kicks Arnold and Gerald out of his office.

As the deadline draws near, Arnold gets a mysterious phone call from "Deep Voice", who informs Arnold that Scheck is lying and the document is in his office safe. Arnold and Gerald manage to steal the key to the safe from Scheck's assistant Nick Vermicelli. Nick later notices the missing key, and informs Scheck. Meanwhile, Phil and the boarders try to devise a backup in case Arnold fails. The plan is to wire the storm drain tunnels beneath their street with dynamite to intercept FTI's construction equipment. Big Bob later teams up with them after discovering Nick's contract states Scheck will control 51% of his company and swindle him as a result.

With help from agent Bridget, Arnold and Gerald sneak into FTI headquarters and access the safe, but the document is missing. Scheck appears from behind them with the document in his hand. He reveals that his ancestor, governor of the British forces, was humiliated by the Tomato Incident, and that for years, Scheck has been planning to avenge his family by tearing down the neighborhood and replacing it with a hulking building carrying his name on it. He then burns the document to ensure that his plans will proceed, before summoning his guards to get rid of Arnold and Gerald. They manage to escape, but believe they have failed, until Deep Voice has Arnold to obtain FTI security-camera footage of Scheck burning the document.

After Arnold finds out that Deep Voice is Helga, he asks why she decided to help him instead of her father. Helga reluctantly confesses her love, and then kisses Arnold. Helga and Arnold escape the building, and meet Gerald on a city bus, convincing the driver to race home when realizing that his girlfriend lives in the same neighborhood. Despite several near-collisions, the kids eventually make it back unharmed. The Mayor arrives at the scene, along with the police and a news crew. Accessing the large ScheckVision monitor poised atop a nearby building, Arnold and Bridget show everyone the footage of Scheck burning the document. The Mayor officially restores the neighborhood's status as a historic site.

Scheck arrives, demanding to know why demolition has not begun. He sees the footage of himself burning the document on the monitor. Gertie, having escape prison, sabotaged his car, and Scheck is promptly arrested. Harold accidentally sits down on the detonator that ignites Phil's explosives. But explosives beneath the street destroy the ScheckVision monitor instead. Helga denies ever having loved Arnold, claiming that she said those things in "the heat of the moment". Arnold, unconvinced, pretends to accept it. Eugene sings about the neighborhood being saved until Gerald interrupts him, saying, "Show's over, Eugene." Helga cheerfully returns home.



In 1998, the Nickelodeon cable network renewed the original Hey Arnold! series for a fourth season, and gave creator Craig Bartlett the chance to develop two feature-length adaptations.[4] As work on the fifth season was completing, Bartlett and company engaged in the production of the first film, titled Arnold Saves the Neighborhood. The Neighborhood project was originally considered for television and home video,[3][4] but eventually became Hey Arnold!: The Movie[4] when executives at Paramount Pictures decided to release it theatrically after successful test screenings.[3] According to animation historian Jerry Beck (in his Animated Movie Guide), the decision was also buoyed by the financial success of the first two Rugrats films, The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie.[4] A sequel was in production called Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, but due to the disappointing results of the first film, the project was cancelled. In 2015 however, it was announced that the movie is in production as a TV movie in 2017.[5]


The first trailer was released during the 2002 Kids' Choice Awards. They showed segments on Nickelodeon called "Backyard Players" where kids would play Arnold, Gerald, and Helga and act out scenes from the film. There was a contest held for a lucky winner to be Arnold for a day and go to the film's premiere. The song 2-Way by Lil' Romeo was used to help promote the movie.


Hey Arnold!: The Movie was Nickelodeon's first animated feature to receive a PG rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for thematic elements.

Box office

Opening on June 28, 2002 in the United States, the film grossed over $15 million worldwide on a budget of $3 million. The film grossed $5.7 million from 2,500 theaters on its opening weekend, ranking sixth in the box office and second in the week's new releases, behind Mr. Deeds.[2] The film grossed $13.7 million domestically and $1.5 million internationally for a worldwide total of $15.2 million.[2]

Critical reception

The film received mixed to negative reviews. It currently holds a 29% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 78 reviews with the following critical consensus: "Bland, unoriginal and lacking the wit of the TV series, Hey Arnold! is a 30-minute cartoon stretched beyond its running time."[6] Metacritic recorded a score of 47/100 based on 23 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[7] The film received some positive reviews such as those at the New York Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and Entertainment Weekly.

Home media

The film was released on VHS and DVD on December 31, 2002 (New Year's Eve); its special features consisted of only the theatrical trailer and an interactive game based on Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure.[8] The film has also been available for streaming on the internet service Netflix.[9]

Video game

THQ released a video game of the movie, exclusively for the Game Boy Advance. The game consists of five worlds, with four levels each (each including a boss on the fourth level) and the player can play as Arnold, Gerald, Grandpa, and Grandma. Helga is playable only with a cheat code found on various websites.


A direct-to-TV sequel, Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, is planned to be released around November 2017.[10]

See also


  1. "Hey Arnold! The Movie (U)". British Board of Film Classification. August 20, 2002. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Hey Arnold!: The Movie (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 Horn, John (July 9, 2003). "Nickelodeon flops on big screen". Chicago Tribune. Los Angeles Times. p. 3 (Tempo). Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Beck, Jerry (2005). "Hey Arnold! The Movie". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. p. 111. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
  5. Peters, Megan (July 22, 2016). "Hey Arnold! Movie To Premiere Next Thanksgiving". Comicbook.com. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  6. "Reviews for Hey Arnold!: The Movie". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  7. "Reviews for Hey Arnold!: The Movie". Metacritic. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  8. Epstein, Ron J. (January 3, 2003). "Review of Hey Arnold! The Movie". DVD Talk. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  9. "Watch Hey Arnold! The Movie Online". Netflix. 28 June 2002.
  10. Isis Briones (2016-07-22). "New 'Hey Arnold!: The Jungle' Movie Cast Photos". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2016-09-24.

External links

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