Martian Child (DVD)

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Martian Child (DVD)

Martian Child is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Menno Meyjes and based on David Gerrold s 1994 novelette (not the expanded 2002 novel) of the same name. The film stars John Cusack as a writer who adopts a strange young boy (Bobby Coleman) who believes himself to be from Mars. The film was theatrically released on November 2, 2007, by New Line Cinema.


David Gordon, a popular science fiction author, widowed two years prior as they were trying to adopt a child, is finally matched with a young boy, Dennis. Initially hesitant to adopt alone, he is drawn to him, seeing aspects of himself in him.

Believing he is from Mars, Dennis protects himself from the sun s harmful rays, wears weights to counter Earth s weak gravity, eats only Lucky Charms, and hangs upside down to facilitate circulation. He refers often to his mission to study Earth and its people, taking pictures, taking things to catalog, and spending time consulting an ambiguous toy-like device with flashing lights that produces seemingly unintelligible words.

Once David decides to adopt Dennis, he spends time getting to know him, patiently coaxing him out of the large cardboard box he hides in. Soon, David is cleared to take Dennis home and meet David s dog, Somewhere. In Dennis s bedroom is a projector of the solar system that he pronounces inaccurate. With the help of his friend Harlee and sister Liz, David tries to help Dennis overcome his delusion by both indulging it and encouraging him to act like everyone else. Dennis attends school but is quickly expelled for repeatedly stealing items for his collection. Frustrated, David tells Liz that perhaps Dennis is from Mars.

Meanwhile, David s literary agent, Jeff, pushes him to finish writing his commissioned sequel, which is due soon. He struggles to make time for writing, regularly pulled away from it to deal with Dennis. While sitting down to write, the flash from Dennis s Polaroid camera catches him off-guard and he accidentally breaks some glass. David picks Dennis up and carries him across the room. Upset by David s abrupt action, the boy fears he is going to be sent away. David explains that he was just worried he d get cut by the glass and that he loves him more than his material possessions. Assuring him that he will never send him away, he encourages Dennis to break more things. They move to the kitchen and break dishes and then spray ketchup and dish detergent at each other. Lefkowitz, from Social Services, appears in the window and sees the mayhem. He rebukes David, setting up a case review.

David encourages Dennis to be from Mars only at home; though he must be from Earth everywhere else. Passing his interview by saying he was pretending, he stays with David. Now his adoptive father, he insists Dennis acknowledge being from Earth, making him hurt and angry. David leaves him with Liz to attend the reveal of his new book, supposedly a sequel. He confesses to Tina, the publisher, that rather than being a sequel, it is a new book titled Martian Child, about Dennis. In her fury, Tina makes a scene, but takes the manuscript as David leaves to be with Dennis.

Meanwhile, Dennis has left the house with his suitcase of earthly artifacts. When David arrives home, he finds the police and learns the boy is gone, he remembers the place he d said he was found. David asks Harlee to drive him to the location, where they spot Dennis high up on the outside ledge of the museum s domed roof. David climbs up to him as the police and Liz arrive. Dennis points out a bright searchlight in a nearby cloud as someone coming to take him home, but David assures him it s just a helicopter. David professes his love for Dennis and asserts he will never ever leave him. Eventually Dennis trusts David and they hug.

David s voiceover tells about the parallel of children who come into our world, struggling to understand it, being like little aliens. As Tina reads the manuscript aboard an airplane, she begins to cry.


  • John Cusack as David
  • Bobby Coleman as Dennis
  • Amanda Peet as Harlee
  • Sophie Okonedo as Sophie
  • Joan Cusack as Liz
  • Oliver Platt as Jeff
  • Richard Schiff as Lefkowitz
  • Howard Hesseman as Dr. Berg

In addition, Anjelica Huston plays Tina, David s publisher.


Despite persistent misperceptions, this film is not based on David Gerrold s 2002 semi-autobiographical novel The Martian Child, (although it shares some of the same incidents) but rather is based on his 1994 fictional Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novella of the same name, which has caused much confusion about the source material, especially for Gerrold s fans in segments of the gay community. The short story does not specify the protagonist s sexual orientation. Only when, years later, Gerrold rewrote and expanded his story to novella length did he choose to include his sexuality. While Gerrold had, in real life, adopted a son as an openly gay man, in the film the protagonist is straight and has a female love interest. Because of the confusion surround the different publication dates of the original short story and the latter novella, some members of the gay community have criticized the lead role in the film being portrayed as straight, even though the main character in the short story was never identified as gay.

The film began shooting in Vancouver on May 2, 2005, and completed filming in July 2005, with the studio repeatedly pushing back the release date. Jerry Zucker was hired to direct uncredited reshoots shortly before the film s release.


Box office

Martian Child opened in 2,020 venues on November 2, 2007 and earned $3,376,669 in its first weekend, ranking seventh in the domestic box office and third among the weekend s new releases. The film closed six weeks later on December 13, having grossed $7,500,310 domestically and $1,851,434 overseas, totaling $9,351,744 worldwide.

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 33% score, based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site s consensus states: Despite some charms, overt emotional manipulation and an inconsistent tone prevents Martian Child from being the heartfelt dramedy it aspires to be. Metacritic reports a 48 out of 100 rating, based on 26 critics, indicating mixed or average reviews .

Home media

Martian Child was released on DVD on February 12, 2008. It opened at #20 the DVD sales chart, selling 69,000 units for revenue of $1.3 million. As per the latest figures, 400,000 DVD units have been sold, acquiring revenue of $7,613,945. This does not include DVD rentals/Blu-ray sales. The film is available on Netflix streaming.


29th Young Artist AwardsBest Family Feature FilmNominated
Best Performance by a Young ActorBobby ColemanNominated






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1h 46min


Awards, 2 nominations


Menno Meyjes


Seth Bass, Jonathan Tolins, David Gerrold


John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Bobby Coleman

Produced by

Seth Bass, Mike Drake, Ed Elbert, Toby Emmerich, David Gerrold, Mark Kaufman, David Kirschner, Matt Moore, Luke Ryan, Corey Sienega, Jonathan Tolins

Music by

Aaron Zigman

Cinematography by

Robert D. Yeoman

Film Editing by

Bruce Green

Casting By

Mary Gail Artz

Production Design by

Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski

Art Direction by

Gwendolyn Margetson

Set Decoration by

Andrea French

Costume Design by

Michael Dennison

Makeup Department

Angelina P. Cameron, Stan Edmonds, Rosemarie Harrison, Connie Parker, Wendy Snowdon, Denise Wynbrandt, Tannis Hegan, Bill Terezakis, Maureen Terezakis, Vince Yoshida

Production Management

Jan Foster, Erik Holmberg, Rick Reynolds, Fran Rosati

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

James Bitonti, Jim Brebner, Justin Elsworth, Greg Fawcett, Alleris Gillham, Patrice Leung, Michael Pohorly, Tracey Poirier, Shannon Pratt, Jane Talbot, Fiona Winning, Warren Dean Fulton, Paula S. Kyan

Art Department

Sandra Baier, Chris Beach, Cameron Boon, Trevor Cole, Jean-Paul Costaz, Arlene Craig, John Crockett, James Dickson, Rod Duval, Dave Emmonds, Phil Gough, Salmon Harris, Randal Holden, Steve Houle, Mark Howes, Terry Joseph, Janis Lee, Rohan Lyal, Marko Lytviak, Mike McCarthy, Shayne McGreal, Jerry McLaughlin, Sheila Millar, Reuel Minard, Andy Nieman, Claudio Palavecino, Andy Patton, Ted Polkinghorne, Myron Ruth, Sabine Schoppel, Slava Shmakin, Sandra Smolski, Peter Stoffels, James Summers, Dave Tennant, Chris Thompson, Rena Van Steele, Paul Wagner, John Clair Watts, Chris Wills, Michael Norman Wong, Kumvana Gomani, Daniel Scarcello

Sound Department

Donald D. Brown, Matthew T. Duncan, Brian Dunlop, Christopher Eakins, David Esparza, Marshall Garlington, Avram D. Gold, Robert Jackson, Shawn Kennelly, Martin Lacroix, Laura Macias, Michael McGee, Michael A. Morongell, Vince Nicastro, Martin Schloemer, Leslie Shatz, Greg Steele, Eric Thompson, William Unrau, Michael T. Williamson, Mandell Winter, Travis MacKay, Chris Navarro, Lisa Varetakis, Greg Zimmerman

Special Effects by

Jeffrey Butterworth, Kurt Jackson, David Paller, Gary Paller, David Booth, Amanda Paller

Visual Effects by

Carlos Arguello, Thad Beier, Aaron Benoit, Daniel Chuba, Thomas Dadras, Michelle Eisenreich, Justin Jones, Mimi Medel, Aung Min, Paolo Moscatelli, Lauren Ritchie, Theresa Ellis Rygiel, Alastor Arnold, Brady Doyle, Jennifer Law-Stump, Mamie McCall, Tony Meister


Guy Bews, Wyatt Cameron, Yves Cameron, Brett Chan, Douglas Chapman, Lauro David Chartrand-DelValle, Dean Choe, Austin Dunn, Tom Glass, Ron James, Michael Langlois, Brad Loree, David Mylrea, Shawn C. Orr, Rick Pearce, Nick Powell, Jeff Sanca, Chad Sayn, Kimani Ray Smith, Melissa R. Stubbs, Rorelee Tio, Angela Uyeda

Camera and Electrical Department

Artino Ahmadi, Chris Anderson, Ray Arseneau, Cameron Beck, Rob Brady, William Buckingham III, David Cameron, Andreas Carmona, Che Chomolok, John Clothier, Gavin B. Craig, Anthony Creery, Drew Davidson, Herb DeWaal, John Dines, Shane Dobie, Amie Gibbins, Stephen Goad, Robin Hall, Simon Hall, Dave Harris, Tim Heller, Christopher Charles Kempinski, Mike Kirilenko, Jenny Madsen, Alan Markfield, Neil McBean, Blair McDonald, Chris Meakes, Robyn Moore, Jay Norton, Dylan Paul, Michael Potts, Ian Seabrook, Pawel Sedzimir, Jonathan Sela, Paul Sheridan, Patrick Stepien, Ed Turner, Jim van Dijk, A.J. Vesak, Steven J. Winslow, Keith Woods, Henry Zhao, David Kohler, David Langtry, Steve McGuire

Casting Department

Stuart Aikins, Elisa Bayley, Sean Cossey, Amy De Souza, James Forsyth

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Andre Brouwer, Lanny Campbell, Judith Feller, Alison Fraser, Michelle Hunter, Druh Ireland, Brenda Knight, Susan O Hara, Paula Plachy, Heather Seshadri, Luisa Dalmagro, Joan Joseff

Editorial Department

Brett Adkins, Vern Giammartino, Justin C. Green, Jody Levin, Mato, John Nicolard, Davis Reynolds, Bill Schultz, Shelly Theaker, Nicholas Nikko Tsiotsias, Walter Volpatto, Jen Woodhouse, Harry Muller, Leroy Wolf

Location Management

Jamie Lake, Christopher McDonell, Ian Overend, Neil Robertson, Chris Thoma, Jack Veldhuis, Kimball Jansma, Dixie Plaxton

Music Department

Bob Bowen, Paul Broucek, Johnny Caruso, Sandy DeCrescent, George Doering, Jessica Dolinger, Jerry Hey, Charles Martin Inouye, Steve Juliani, Brian Kilgore, Larry Mah, Peter Rotter, Dennis S. Sands, Lori Silfen, Curt Sobel, Michael Stern, Jesse Voccia, John F.X. Walsh, Aaron Zigman, Akkara Srauy

Script and Continuity Department

Tammy Bentz, Ann Marie Clark, Susan Lambie

Transportation Department

Al Baxter, Rodney Beech, Bob Black, Larry Boyce, Duncan Callander, Steve Cant, William Crivello, Dwayne Deverill, Bill Doherty, Ed Dykstra, Jim Forrest, Rick Harasyn, Barry Hendricks, Dennis Houser, Michael Huntley, Ron James, Con Lynch, Philip Murphy, Karl OJ Ojamae, John G. Oliver, Charles Pinkus, Stan Stefaniuk, Dan Thorn, Gary Wilson, Larry Tardif

Additional Crew

Rashid Ahmed, Sheila Allen, Aaron Benoit, Katherine E. Beyda, James Bitonti, Judy Blinick, Barbara Branch, Crystal Braunwarth, Don Britt, Charlene Callihoo, Laurie Cartwright, Simon Cassels, Terence Chase, Jody Chow, Katherine Cook, Jon Davidson, Matt Dawson, Robert Dawson, Heather Douglas, Terry Edinger, Jeff Egan, Cathryn Eilertson, Erik Ellner, Kathy Eyre Candiago, Ashley Fester, Jim Filippone, Sarah Follett, Julia Frittaion, Tanya Gibson, Emily Glatter, Rachel Graham, Lorin Green, Ed Hatton, Spencer Hyde, Wendy Jessen, Jeane Kidd, Marilyn Kopansky, Carol Korm, Ashley Kravitz, Viktoria Langton, Andrew Matthews, Robert Milicevic, Keli Moore, Graeme Morgan, Sandra Palmer, Paul Prokop, Joshua Ravetch, Julianna Rose, Julianna Selfridge, Ingrid Severson, Nick Shaheen, Tracey Shelley, Rhonda Simpson, Carol Smithson, Susan Strubin, Lee Tucker, Daniel Villagomez, Roger Williams, Rhona Williscroft, Peter Wilson, Jeff Wonnenberg, Steve Woodley, Dave Wynnyk, Marni Wynnyk, Richard Wynnyk, Evan Allen, Ronald C. Briggs Jr., Eunice Choi, Justin Elsworth, Colin Ford, Warren Dean Fulton, Aurelie Levy, Nathan Lomax, Ryan Mains, Ryan Miningham, Alison Rasberry, Mike Witherington


Simon Ginsberg, Christopher Sander, Jerry Zucker


Comedy, Drama, Family


New Line Cinema, Hannah Rachel Production Services, MERADIN Zweite Productions









ImDb Rating Votes


Metacritic Rating


Short Description

Martian Child is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Menno Meyjes and based on David Gerrold s 1994 novelette (not the expanded 2002 novel) of the same name. The film stars John Cusack as a writer who adopts a strange young boy (Bobby Coleman) who believes himself to be from Mars. The film was theatrically released on November 2, 2007, by New Line Cinema.

Box Office Budget

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Box Office Opening Weekend USA


Box Office Gross USA


Box Office Cumulative Worldwide Gross



Adoption,widower,adopted son,mars the planet,no opening credits