|My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jayson Thiessen|
|Written by||Meghan McCarthy|
|Based on||My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic|
by Lauren Faust
|Edited by||Rachel Kenzie|
|Music by||William Anderson|
|Box office||$347,511 (Finland, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Uruguay)|
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, or simply known as Rainbow Rocks, is a 2014 Canadian–American Flash animated fantasy musical film based on Hasbros Equestria Girls toy line and media franchise, which is a spin-off of the 2010 relaunch of My Little Pony. The film was directed by Jayson Thiessen and Ishi Rudell and written by Meghan McCarthy, and was produced by DHX Medias 2D animation studio in Vancouver, Canada for Hasbro Studios in the United States, as a sequel to the original Equestria Girls (2013). The film premiered in select theaters across the United States and Canada on September 27, 2014, which was followed by broadcast on Discovery Family, a joint venture between Discovery, Inc. and Hasbro, on October 17, 2014, and then a home media release on October 28, 2014.
Like the first film, Rainbow Rocks re-envisions the main characters of parent franchise, normally ponies, as teenage human characters in a high school setting. Set between the television series fourth and fifth seasons, the films plot involves Twilight Sparkle Sparkle returning to Canterlot High School to compete in a Battle of the Bands alongside the human counterparts of her friends – including former school bully/former student of Princess Celestia, Sunset Shimmer – to save the school from a trio of Sirens from Equestria.
Former Canterlot High School bully and student of Princess Celestia, Sunset Shimmer, who has reformed after being defeated by the magic of Twilights crown, is ostracized by most of the school despite her efforts to atone. Her only friends are the counterparts of Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rarity, who have formed a rock band called the Rainbooms to participate in the schools upcoming musical showcase. The five girls discover that the magic left over from Twilights crown has given them the ability to grow pony-like ears, tails, and wings when they play their instruments.
Hoping to make a fresh impression, Sunset gives a school tour to three new students – Adagio Dazzle, Sonata Dusk, and Aria Blaze – and informs them of the showcase, unaware that they possess magical powers. Calling themselves the Dazzlings, the trio perform a song that turns the other students aggressive and competitive towards each other, convincing them to turn the showcase into a Battle of the Bands. Sunset and her friends are protected from the song by their own magic, but fail to convince Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna of the danger. Sunset remembers a magical book kept by Princess Celestia, her mentor from Equestria, which she uses to send a message requesting Twilights help.
Receiving Sunsets message, Twilight deduces that the Dazzlings are sirens from Equestria that feed on negative emotions to fuel their singing powers for their goal of world conquest. Twilight uses the books magic to reactivate the portal, allowing her and Spike to return to the parallel world. Twilight and the girls attempt to lift the Dazzlings spell, but it takes no effect. Concluding that they must perform a musical counter-spell, the girls enter the Battle of the Bands to give Twilight time to complete the spell. The Rainbooms face hostility and sabotage from the other bands throughout the competition, which raises tensions among Twilights friends.
Desperate for time in the semifinal round against Trixies band, Rainbow Dash performs an egotistical song to substitute the counter-spell and nearly transforms, which forces Sunset to ruin her performance to keep her from exposing their plan to the Dazzlings. The Dazzlings intervene to allow the Rainbooms advancement to the final round anyway, which prompts a jealous Trixie to trap the Rainbooms beneath the stage to take their place. Isolated for hours, the girls enter an argument that allows the Dazzlings to absorb their magic. Realizing that their constant fighting is interfering with Twilights spell, Sunset convinces the girls to resolve their differences, while Twilight reasons that playing together as friends will make the counter-spell work.
Spike rescues the girls with assistance from DJ Pon-3, whose headphone music protects her from the Dazzlings spell. DJ Pon-3 provides a sound system that the Rainbooms use to engage the Dazzlings in a musical battle. Overwhelmed by the Dazzlings, the Rainbooms are joined by Sunset; with her help, the Rainbooms are able to destroy the Dazzlings pendants, the sources of their powers. Afterward, Twilight and Spike return to Equestria, while Sunset uses Celestias book to remain in contact with Twilight.
In a post-credits scene, the human worlds version of Twilight is shown investigating the strange magical activity around Canterlot High.
- Tara Strong as Princess Twilight Sparkle, a studious alicorn (winged unicorn) and one of the princesses of Equestria. She serves as the temporary lead vocalist of the Rainbooms, a band formed by the counterparts of her pony friends. Tara Strong also voices Twilights counterpart in the alternate universe in a post-credits scene.
- Ashleigh Ball as Rainbow Dash, the lead guitarist and founder of the Rainbooms; and Applejack, the Rainbooms bassist. Their counterparts in Equestria as depicted in Friendship Is Magic, also voiced by Ball, also appear in the film.
- Andrea Libman as Pinkie Pie, the Rainbooms drummer; and Fluttershy, who plays the tambourine on the Rainbooms. Their counterparts in Equestria, also voiced by Libman, also appear in the film. Shannon Chan-Kent performs Pinkies singing voice.
- Tabitha St. Germain as Rarity, the Rainbooms keytarist; and Vice Principal Luna, the vice-principal of Canterlot High and Celestias younger sister. Raritys counterpart in Equestria, also voiced by St. Germain, appears in the film.
- Cathy Weseluck as Spike, Twilights dragon assistant who assumes the form of a dog in the parallel world. His ordinary dog counterpart appears in a post-credits scene.
- Rebecca Shoichet as Sunset Shimmer, a unicorn from Equestria and reformed school bully at Canterlot High who befriends the Rainbooms. Shoichet also performs Twilight Sparkles singing voice.
- Kazumi Evans as Adagio Dazzle, the leader of the power-hungry sirens from Equestria and lead vocalist of the Dazzlings. Evans also performs Raritys singing voice.
- Maryke Hendrikse as Sonata Dusk, an airheaded siren and backing vocalist of the Dazzlings. Madeline Merlo performs Sonatas singing voice.
- Diana Kaarina as Aria Blaze, a temperamental siren and backing vocalist of the Dazzlings. Shylo Sharity performs Arias singing voice.
- Vincent Tong as Flash Sentry, a student infatuated with Twilight who plays against her as guitarist of the Flash Drive, one of the rival bands.
- Kathleen Barr as Trixie, a magician and guitarist of another rival band, Trixie and the Illusions.
- Nicole Oliver as Principal Celestia, the principal of Canterlot High. Her pony counterpart, Princess Celestia, is the ruler of Equestria and Sunset Shimmers former mentor.
The counterpart of DJ Pon-3 appears prominently in the film in a non-speaking role. The film features minor appearances from Michelle Creber as Apple Bloom; Ingrid Nilson as a counterpart of Maud Pie, Pinkie Pies sister; Peter New as a counterpart of Big McIntosh; Lee Tockar and Richard Ian Cox as the counterparts of Snips and Snails; Tabitha St. Germain as a counterpart of Photo Finish; and Brian Drummond as a delivery pony in Equestria. Kazumi Evans also provides an uncredited line of dialogue as Octavia Melody.
On February 13, 2014, Meghan McCarthy wrote on Twitter that she had worked on the film during the summer of 2013. The films opening credits were storyboarded by Tony Cliff. The storybook illustration depictions of the sirens in Equestria were done by Rebecca Dart. The illustrations shown during the ending credits were drawn by Katrina Hadley.
In the audio commentary included in home media releases, Meghan McCarthy commented that Equestria Girls was initially not intended to become an ongoing franchise, and the thought of a sequel did not cross her mind. Additionally, Sunset did not become a main character until the second draft of the script. The DVD commentary also points out that the midnight snack scene between Twilight and Sunset was actually added late into the films production, Raritys line past...ahem...booboos was ad-libbed by Germain, and the freestyle rap by Snips and Snails counterparts was genuine freestyling by Lee Tockar and Richard Cox.
On February 13, 2014, songwriter Daniel Ingram wrote on Twitter that there will be a total of 12 songs in the film, the greatest number of songs featured in a Friendship Is Magic episode or Equestria Girls film thus far; however, only 11 songs made it in the film.
Like in Equestria Girls, the songs were composed by Ingram with lyric writing shared between Ingram and screenwriter Meghan McCarthy; with the exception of Rainbow Rocks and Shine Like Rainbows which had lyrics by Ingram; Bad Counter Spell and Under Our Spell by McCarthy; and Shake Your Tail having a first draft by writer Amy Keating Rogers, in which Ingram later revised. Trevor Hoffman provided the arrangements for the songs, and musician Caleb Chan produced the songs as well as played guitar and bass.
- Rainbow Rocks – The Rainbooms (voiceover)
- Better Than Ever – The Rainbooms sans Twilight Sparkle
- Battle – The Dazzlings and students
- Bad Counter Spell – The Rainbooms
- Shake Your Tail – The Rainbooms
- Under Our Spell – The Dazzlings
- Tricks Up My Sleeve – Trixie and the Illusions
- Awesome as I Wanna Be – Rainbow Dash and the Rainbooms
- Welcome to the Show – The Rainbooms, Sunset Shimmer, The Dazzlings, and students
- Rainbooms Battle – Instrumental
- End Credits Song: Shine Like Rainbows – The Rainbooms
On July 24, 2014, a movie clip and a teaser trailer were released on Yahoo! TV. On September 10, 2014, through the Equestria Daily fan news blog, Shout! Factory revealed a 30-second trailer. Two days later on September 12, a 50-second trailer was released on YouTube. Six days later on September 18, a full theatrical trailer was released also via Yahoo! TV; the trailer was then uploaded to Hasbros YouTube channel four days later on September 22.
The film received a limited theatrical release on September 27, 2014, in the United States through Screenvision theaters and in Canada through Cineplex theaters. It also received a Purple Carpet premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, which was attended by the cast and crew as well as some celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Modern Family actress Ariel Winter, and Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis. Like the first film, the screenings of Rainbow Rocks in the United States bore no classification from the MPAA (which is not a mandatory, although many theaters carried a G-rating), while the Canadian screenings had classifications from provincial film boards (usually G).
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Shout! Factory on October 28, 2014, in Region 1. Special features include a new featurette, the eight prelude animated shorts, a sing-along song, and an audio commentary on the film by writer Meghan McCarthy, director Jayson Thiessen, co-director Ishi Rudell, vice president of development at Hasbro Studios Michael Vogel, and Hasbros executive director Brian Lenard. There were also three store exclusives for the United States release of the DVD: The Target edition included a bracelet, a USD $4 coupon for one My Little Pony toy, and the DVD of the first Equestria Girls film; The Walmart edition included a music CD, a digital copy of the film, and the same $4 coupon; The Kmart edition included a backstage pass and the coupon. The initial production run of the DVD contained an error that caused chapters 5 and 6 to play in reverse order when the film was viewed using the Play option on the main menu.
A Region 2 Rainbow Rocks DVD from distributor Primal Screen Entertainment was released on March 23, 2015, for various countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the Middle East region, Netherlands, and United Kingdom.
Alongside Equestria Girls and Friendship Games, this film was released in a box set on October 13, 2015 in Region 1.
Rainbow Rocks made its United States television premiere on Discovery Family (a joint venture between Discovery, Inc. and Hasbro) on October 17, 2014. The film premiered on the Family Channel in Canada on November 8, 2014. In the United Kingdom, it premiered on Pop on December 24, 2014.
Merchandise and other media
The film is a part of music-themed Rainbow Rocks lineup, a second installment in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls toy line and media franchise, which was first displayed at the 2014 American International Toy Fair. LB Kids published two novelizations of the film, all written by Perdita Finn. A Rainbow Rocks missile command-type mini-game was added to the Hasbro Arcade mobile app on April 8, 2014.[better source needed] An issue of IDWs Fiendship Is Magic features the sirens.
On February 13, 2014, Entertainment Weekly released the first trailer; about four months later however, McCarthy confirmed on her Twitter post that the clips from that trailer are separate shorts and not scenes in the movie. A series of eight animated shorts was released on Hasbro Studios YouTube channel in 2014 from March 27 to June 19 to promote the film. The shorts were created by the Friendship Is Magic crew to tie into the film, and are considered prequels to the films events, detailing how each of them discovered that they could awaken Equestrian magic within them by playing their respective instruments.
The first eight shorts made their television debut on Discovery Family on May 30, 2015.
With lyric collaboration between Katrina Hadley, Daniel Ingram, Brian Lenard, Jayson Thiessen and Michael Vogel, and songs composed by Ingram, Hasbro released three Rainbow Rocks music videos on March 31, 2015: Friendship Through the Ages, Life Is a Runway, and My Past is Not Today; but were reuploaded two days later on April 2, 2015. These shorts are separate initiatives that lead up to the third Equestria Girls film installment, Friendship Games. On April 6, 2015, Ingram replied in a comment on Facebook that these will likely be on the next Equestria Girls album in late 2015. On September 17, 2015, the encore shorts were released as the first three audio tracks on the My Little Pony Equestria Girls: The Friendship Games soundtrack.
The films soundtrack was released on September 10, 2014 via the iTunes Music Store. Announced on Ingrams Twitter eight days later on September 18 (chart of September 27), the soundtrack placed #15 on the Kid Albums Billboard chart; two weeks later on October 2 (chart of October 11, 2014), the soundtrack placed #12; a week later on October 18, it placed #10.
|1.||Rainbow Rocks||Daniel Ingram||Rebecca Shoichet, Ashleigh Ball, Shannon Chan-Kent, Andrea Libman, Kazumi Evans||1:40|
|2.||Better Than Ever||Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthy||Ball, Chan-Kent, Libman, Evans||1:35|
|3.||Under Our Spell||Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthy||Evans, Madeline Merlo, Shylo Sharity||1:51|
|4.||Tricks Up My Sleeve||Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthy||Kathleen Barr, Kaylee Johnston||2:06|
|5.||Shake Your Tail||Amy Keating Rogers & Daniel Ingram||Shoichet, Ball, Evans, Libman, Chan-Kent||1:59|
|6.||Welcome to the Show||Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthy||Evans, Merlo, Sharity, Shoichet, Ball, Libman, Chan-Kent, chorus||4:37|
|7.||Awesome as I Wanna Be||Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthy||Ball, Shoichet, Libman, Chan-Kent, Evans||1:16|
|8.||Lets Have a Battle (of the Bands)||Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthy||Evans, Merlo, Sharity||2:52|
|9.||Shine Like Rainbows||Daniel Ingram||Ball, Chan-Kent, Libman, Evans, Shoichet, chorus||2:35|
|10.||Music to My Ears (Bonus Track)||Daniel Ingram||1:45|
In Hasbros Q3 2014 Earnings Report, it was revealed that the box office returns from this film exceeded that of the first film in the first weekend by 37%. On a per theater basis, sales for tickets grew by 19% in the first three weeks of its limited theatrical run. The film grossed $360,736 in its limited time in theaters in the United Kingdom, Finland, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.
When the main feature premiered on Discovery Family on October 17, 2014, it was viewed by approximately 610,000 viewers.
When the first eight Rainbow Rocks shorts made their television debut on Discovery Family on May 30, 2015, they were viewed by approximately 299,000 viewers.
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks was well received by critics and fans alike. Sherilyn Connelly for The Village Voice called Rainbow Rocks far superior to the first Equestria Girls film, and that while the picture is continuity-heavy and not particularly accessible to newcomers, that the film was up there with the show at its most thoughtful. Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter complimented the film, saying Though its strictly for the faithful, the tween-friendly mix of cute and earnest has a forthright sharpness and is never cloying. Shane OHare of Geekscape gave the Blu-ray of the film a score of 4 out of 5, praising the soundtrack stating The shows composer, Daniel Ingram,...killed it. 10 all new original recordings from Daniel really stole the show. Ed Liu of Toon Zone, who gave the first film a mixed review, also found this film to be better. He wrote the film is almost as sweet and charming as the best episodes of the series, finding new and interesting ways to expand on the show’s themes of friendship.
Gerry O, 12-year-old film critic for The Huffington Posts Kids First! column called the film a combination of adventure with a crème of comedy and a sprinkle of excitement all rapped [sic] up in a friendship sandwich.
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The second film, MY LITTLE PONY EQUESTRIA GIRLS RAINBOW ROCKS, launched in the U.S. on September 27th. The first box office weekend exceeded last year’s box office by 37% and on a per theatre basis, ticket sales in the first three weeks grew an average of 19% in North America.
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