Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie is a 2009 American made-for-television comedy-drama fantasy film based on the Disney Channel Original Series Wizards of Waverly Place. It was directed by Lev L. Spiro and filmed primarily in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February and March 2009. The full cast of the series starred in the film, although Jennifer Stone only had a small role at the beginning of the film. The film focuses on the Russo family taking a vacation to the Caribbean.
The film premiered on August 28, 2009 on the Disney Channel in the United States. It received 11.4 million viewers at its premiere, making it the second-most-viewed Disney Channel Original Movie premiere at that time, after High School Musical 2. It was also cable's No. 1 scripted telecast of 2009 in total viewers. It premiered in the UK and Ireland on October 23, 2009 as part of Wiz-Tober 2009. It was released on DVD on December 15, 2009 as an Extended Edition. The film won the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Children Program.
The entire Russo family—Alex (Selena Gomez), Justin (David Henrie), Max (Jake T. Austin), and their parents Jerry (David DeLuise) and Theresa (Maria Canals Barrera)—are preparing for a vacation to the Caribbean. An unenthusiastic Alex reluctantly agrees to tag along after a death-threatening situation in which Harper (Jennifer Stone) and Alex were almost hit by a coming subway. Justin saves the two for a chance to be praised at using magic to save Alex once again after Alex does something wrong. Once in the Caribbean, the family meets a boy working at the hotel that Alex instantly develops a crush on. The family then visits a street fair, where they meet a street magician and former wizard (Steve Valentine) (who lost the full-wizard contest to his older brother) named Archie who wants to turn his girlfriend, Giselle, from a parrot back into a human by finding the Stone of Dreams, which has the power to grant any wish or reverse any spell. Jerry considers it crazy since many wizards have gone on the quest and never returned.
Later, after Alex was about to use a spell on her mother to convince her to let Alex hang out with the boy from the hotel, she gets caught, grounded and forbidden to use magic for two months after a heated argument with Theresa. Enraged, Alex wishes that her parents had never met, but however the smuggled full-wizard wand and spell book, which Alex was holding at the time, grants her wish. This creates an alternate parallel reality where, as a result, Jerry and Theresa do not remember Justin, Alex, Max, and they don't even know each other.
Alex, Max and Justin attempt to get a spell-book from Jerry by levitating it out of his pocket, but he catches it. Jerry is shown to still have his powers, since he never gave them up to marry Theresa. Jerry has a more carefree attitude with magic due to this change. Justin asks him "hypothetically" what would happen if a wizard wished that her parents never met. Jerry explains how they would gradually forget their past, and then disappear forever. He says it would take a miracle to fix it, whereupon Justin mentions the Stone of Dreams (La Piedra de los Sueños), which Jerry says would work too.
Justin and Alex set off to find the Stone of Dreams, guided by Archie. Along the way, Justin and Alex face many obstacles such as getting across a wide canyon, escaping death from quicksand, and getting across a narrow ledge. Meanwhile, Max stays at the resort to keep his parents from meeting other people. Over the course of the day, Max begins losing his memory. Realizing that something is wrong, Max asks Jerry to help him find Alex and Justin, and Jerry agrees after some persuasion. They are joined by Theresa, who believes them to simply be treasure hunting, but nonetheless proves useful, as she is the only one of them who can speak Spanish.
Eventually, Alex and Justin succeed in finding the Stone of Dreams, but Giselle steals the stone. The kids tell Theresa and Jerry their story. Theresa doesn't believe them because she thinks she would never forget her own children. While trying to figure out how to reverse the spell without the stone of dreams, Jerry mentions that if one of the kids was a full wizard, they might be able to cast a spell to reverse it. While preparing to begin the full-wizard contest, Max finally loses all memory of who he is and gets sucked into the vortex of non-existence. Theresa remembers him slightly, and realizes that they were telling the truth. Realizing they must work quickly, Alex and Justin are transported to an ancient battlefield, where the contest will be held. Jerry explains that they will only be allowed to use spells involving the four elements (water, earth, fire and air). The winner will become a full wizard, and the loser gets nothing while losing their powers forever. Alex and Justin engage in what turns out to be an intense battle, and Alex narrowly wins.
In trying to come up with a spell to fix everything, she turns to Justin for help. However, Justin has lost all his memory (despite the fact that he is older than Alex). Alex tells him that even though they pick on each other, she looks up to him and begs Justin not leave her here alone. Justin tells her that he'd never leave her and that even though he doesn't know her, he believes her, and wants to help, but he cannot and is sucked into the same vortex that Max was.
Meanwhile, Theresa is back at the resort and sees that Giselle has returned to human form with the Stone of Dreams hanging by her neck. She wanted to leave Archie now that she was in human form. Archie manages to get the stone from Giselle, turns her back into a parrot, and gives the stone to Theresa. Theresa then wishes to be where Alex, Justin and Jerry are, at which point she is transported to the same battlefield and gives Alex the stone. Jerry tells Alex she can wish for her brothers to reappear and still keep her full wizard powers.
However, Alex wishes that everything go back to the way it was before, thus erasing the alternative parallel universe. Alex returns back to where the beginning of the argument between her and Theresa that started all the trouble, which is quickly stopped when Alex apologizes and accepts her punishments with grace. While Theresa and Jerry remember nothing about the ordeal, Alex, Justin, and Max do, as Alex still has her full wizard powers from the other reality. Their parents are astonished by the change in the kids' attitude, and they continue spending their vacation together.
- Selena Gomez as Alex Russo
- David Henrie as Justin Russo
- Jake T. Austin as Max Russo
- Maria Canals-Barrera as Theresa Russo
- David DeLuise as Jerry Russo
- Jennifer Stone as Harper Finkle
- Steve Valentine as Archie
- Jennifer Alden as Giselle
- Xavier Enrique Torres as Javier
- Johnathan Dwayne as Activities director
- Jazmín Caratini as Bartender
- Marise Alvarez as Greeter
- Bettina Mercado as Woman in Village #1
- Veraalba Santa as Woman in Village #2
- Gabriela Alejandra Rosario as Village Girl
The full cast of the Disney Channel Original Series Wizards of Waverly Place starred in the film. However, Jennifer Stone as Harper Finkle only made appearances at the beginning of the film, and did not star.
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie was filmed primarily in San Juan, Puerto Rico between February and March 2009. Hotel scenes were shot at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan while the main cave scene, where Alex, Justin and Archie are climbing inside to the cave, was shot inside Cueva Ventana in Arecibo as well as a land next to the mountain where the cave resides in which Alex asks for directions to the cave. The ancient battlefield where Alex and Justin compete to be the family wizard takes place at the Castillo San Felipe del Morro in the Old San Juan. The subway scene where we see the train from the platform was shot in Toronto, despite the series being based in New York.
Selena Gomez recorded a "Magic" cover for the film that is featured on the soundtrack for the film and television show. A sneak peek of the film aired during the conclusion of the four-part "Wizards vs. Vampires" event on Disney Channel on August 8, 2009 and on Family Channel during the week of August 24, 2009. The What's What Edition of the film premiered on October 24, 2009 on Disney Channel.
Disney Channel Original Movie extras
The DCOM extras of the film aired on Disney Channel before the premiering of the film. It shows behind the scenes features of the movie and interviews of the cast. A total of 4 DCOM extras premiered on Disney Channel.
The film premiered on Disney Channel as a Disney Channel Original Movie on August 28, 2009. The film premiered in the UK and Ireland on October 23, 2009 as part of Wiz-Tober 2009. The film premiered in Spain on October 11, 2009 as part of Magoctubre 2009 in Spain.
The film received generally mixed reviews.
The film garnered 11.4 million viewers on its premiere night, making it cable's No. 1 scripted telecast of 2009 and Disney Channel's second most-viewed film premiere after High School Musical 2. On its second night, the film's second showing received 5.8 million viewers. The next day, the film's third showing got 4.3 million viewers, and its fourth showing received 4.7 million viewers.
When the film premiered in the UK, as part of Wiz-tober, the film received 1.0 million viewers, which made it the 7th most watched program on multi-channel viewing for that week, and the second highest views watched on Disney Channel UK.
What's What Edition
The "What's What Edition" of the film premiered on October 24, 2009 on Disney Channel, part of a Wizards of Waverly Place marathon. The "What's What Edition" features exclusive behind the scenes information on the film during the presentation.
- Main article: Wizards of Waverly Place (soundtrack)
In an interview with Disney Channel's commercial-segment, Disney 365, Selena Gomez discussed her interpretations of the songs on the soundtrack saying: "'Disappear' is more of a romantic song. It's basically talking about how a girl likes a guy and they [she] don't want him to disappear, and then 'Magical' is about casting a spell on a guy and this song, 'Magic', ties in to Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie". Although recorded for an episode, "Make it Happen" doesn't appear on the album, for an unknown reason. The album includes songs from and inspired by the TV series and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. "Magic" by Selena Gomez is a digital single on the iTunes Store. The song was released on July 21, 2009 as part of the Radio Disney iTunes Pass. "Magic" premiered on Radio Disney and a music video to Disney Channel on July 24. The song's music video has Gomez singing into a microphone with bright and flamboyant background, as well as including clips from Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. "Magic" debuted at no. 61 in the Billboard Hot 100 with 42,000 downloads.
Home video release
The film was released on DVD in the United States and Canada on December 15, 2009 as an "Extended Edition", which also came with a replica of the Stone of Dreams in a necklace. The film is in English, French and Spanish, and has subtitles in the same languages. The film was also released on DVD in Australia on December 15, 2009, in Germany and France on December 2, 2009, and in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2010. The film has been released on Blu-ray disc.
Awards and nominations
|2010||62nd Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Children's Program||Won|
|Image Awards||Outstanding Children's Program||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Award||Best Sound Editing||Nominated|
The film's first teaser trailer of the was released on Disney Channel on June 17, 2009. The full-length trailer was released on June 26, 2009, during the premiere of Selena Gomez's other Disney Channel Original Movie, Princess Protection Program.
In June 2010, production of a second film was announced. Dan Berendsen was to return as script writer for the film. Since that announcement, no other updates were made about the sequel. On April 25, 2011, Selena Gomez confirmed in an interview that the proposed sequel would not be filmed. However, on July 28, 2011, Maria Canals-Barrera stated in an interview that the project was "not 100% dead anymore" and that she was "hopeful" that a second film would be produced.
Later, it was confirmed that the "Wizards" would return in a special event entitled, "The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex" in early 2013.
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