Barney's Great Adventure is a 1998 film based on the children's television series Barney & Friends. The film was written by Stephen White, directed by Steve Gomer, produced by Lyrick Studios & Good Egg Productions, and released by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment on April 3, 1998 in the United States and Canada at the height of Barney's popularity.
On a road trip to their Grandparents' farm, Abby and her friend Marcella are content playing with a stuffed Barney doll, while Cody believes Barney's "kids stuff." At the farm house, Cody takes Barney from the girls and hides him in the shower, where he comes to life. Barney tries to convince Cody that it was his imagination that made him real, but fails to do so. Instead he points out that real dinosaurs don't laugh or talk or laugh- there aren't any real dinosaurs anymore. Cody plays a trick for Barney to disappear, because he doesn't believe in him. For revenge, Barney reappears because he believes in Cody.
Wishing to do something no one's done before, an egg shoots down from the sky into the barn. The next day, Barney, Abby and Marcella went to have fun on the farm. While going to ask Abby and Cody's grandparents about the egg, Barney heard Baby Fig and went up to check on him. Cody finds Barney in the baby's room and they take the egg to Mrs. Goldfinch, the local bird lady. They learn it's a Dream-maker, and they have to return the egg before all five of its colored rings light up. Cody loses the egg by knocking it out a passage way and it lands on a bird seed truck. The chase is on!
From a parade with a marching band and a visit to Chez Snobbe, a fancy restaurant, to a circus, the kids and Barney are on a pursuit for the egg. When a juggler sends it flying, the kids lose all hope of finding it, but Barney tells them to not give up. After learning it ended up on a balloon, the group imagines (with the help of the audience) flying on an airplane made out of a log. Barney's friend, the Collector, has the egg as a ballast (to keep the balloon steady), but after some convincing, he drops it and Abby catches it just in time. Back on the farm, the egg hatches in the barn, revealing a koala-like creature, named Twinken.
Twinken shows Abby's dream (to be a jockey and win a horse race) to everyone. Cody apologizes to Barney for being mean to him and admits he thinks he's cool. Barney accepts his apology and tells Cody he thinks he's cool too and the two share a hug. Twinken then shows Barney's dream : "a special time, a special place and sharing it with the people he loves," which leads Barney and the rest of the cast to sing "I Love You." Baby Bop gets sleepy, which prompts BJ to decide that they're ready to go home. The film ends with Barney turning back into a doll with Twinken sitting right next to him, as the two of them wink.
- Barney (Voice: Bob West, Costume: David Joyner)
- Baby Bop (Voice: Julie Johnson, Costume: Jeff Ayers)
- BJ (Voice: Patty Wirtz, Costume: Jeff Brooks)
- Cody Newton (Trevor Morgan)
- Abby Newton (Diana Rice)
- Marcella (Kyla Pratt)
- Grandpa Greenfield (George Hearn)
- Grandma Greenfield (Shirley Douglas)
- Mrs. Mildred Goldfinch (Renee Madeline Le Guerrier)
- Baby Fig (David Larouche / Edouard Larouche)
- Twinken (Voice: James LeBrecht)
- Mr. Millet (Rock Jutras)
- Dad (Alan Fawcett)
- Mom (Jane Wheeler)
- The Collector (Steffen Foster)
- The Juggler (Michael Davis)
- Stanley Stillz (David Lebel)
- Policeman (John Dunn-Hill)
- Parade Stilt Walkers (Andre St-Jean & Paul Vachon)
- Sousaphone Player (Barry Taras)
- Woman with Hat (Sheena Larkin)
- The Waiter (Matt Holland)
- Maitre D' (Alain Gendreau)
- Waiters (Martin Boisvert, Alain Gaithier, Danielle Lecourtois, Jaques Moisan, and Kathleen Renaud)
- Chez Snobbe Delivery Man (Normand Carriere)
- Circus Clowns (Jean Filion & Francoise Herbert)
- Trapeze (Ruby Rowat)
- Acrobatic Biycle (Luc Tremblay)
- Chineese Pole (Mathieu Roy)
- Contertionist (Jinny Jacinto)
- Trampolinist/Teeter Board Pusher (Dave Level)
- Teeter Board Flyer (Alain Gauthier)
- Teeter Board Pusher (Andre St-Jean)
- Teeter Board Spotter (Roch Jutras)
- Female Wire Walker (Molly Saudek)
- Barney - The Song (sung by Bernadette Peters)
- Let Me Call You Sweetheart
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- Old MacDonald Had a Farm
- If You're Happy and You Know It
- Who's Inside It?
- If All the Raindrops
- We're Gonna Find a Way
- I Love You
Word of a Barney film first arose in November 1992 when Debbie Ries, sales director for the Lyons Group said plans for a movie was in the works. In 1993, it was later announced by creator Sheryl Leach at the The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that a movie was coming. Later in 1994, a Barney Magazine states that Barney would star in his first ever film entitled Barney: The Movie.
At the time of development, around the mid-nineties, all the major film studios wanted to do a Barney feature, with the production companies pitching to the owners of Barney. One of the studios even assembled the executives together to sing "I Love You" to Sheryl Leach when she arrived to the respective studio.
Co-creator of South Park, Trey Parker, was offered a million and a half dollars to direct the film, after the crew saw he could do funny things with kids since he did The Spirit of Christmas. Parker declined the offer.
The film would originally be distributed worldwide by Geffen Pictures through Warner Bros and produced by Sheryl Leach and Dennis DeShazer. According to Sheryl Leach, it had a release date for summer 1995. Warner Bros. and Lyons had disagreements over marketing, leading the latter to bring the film (with help from now former producer Geffen) to Polygram.
Director of the film, Steve Gomer was approached for the feature by an individual who called in regards that a musical Barney film was being made. Gomer had no interest in being apart of the television series, but did express interest in doing the film.
- Originally the egg was going to hatch a giant bird, who misses its mother.
- Baby Bop and BJ were expected to make a lot more screen time, appearing in the farmhouse attic, but those scenes were soon scrapped, as Gomer claimed the scenes to be "unaffordable."
- Miss Goldfinch was originally planned to be a comedic character, as apposed to the more subdued character of the final film.
- The circus scenes and the "Collector" character were not in the original drafts. In addition, rather than using a log, Barney and friends would have built a plane out of cardboard boxes.
- The film originally saw our main characters, Cody, Abby, Marcella, Miss Goldfinch, the grandparents, Baby Bop, BJ, and the little bird, each have dreams and desires that would've been fulfilled by the end of the film.
Gomer expressed desire to work in Montreal, Canada to save on the cost of filming the movie.
To Sheryl Leach, it was a joy of filming as she stated "It was a joy to do the film because it took me back to the early days in Barney's development. Just like the beginning days of Barney, this movie takes him to places children have never experienced with him before. The film was a great opportunity to open new story lines and environments so that children can travel to new places with their friend, Barney," Leach says. "The film goes to some incredible places that we hope will appeal not only to children but to adults as well." Leach adds that the film allowed them to "take the familiar Barney and put him outdoors and in other very different settings from his traditional environments." The film was shot on locations outside Montreal, Canada, including the renowned Ste. AnnedeBellevue's Morgan Arboretum, a popular wildlife sanctuary. The veteran film crew was initially a bit skeptical of the large purple star.
The film was shot mid-September 1997.
Music and Soundtrack
The soundtrack from Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie includes a star-studded cast. The film features an original title song by Tony Award-winning Broadway composer Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly!, Mame) and performed by Bernadette Peters. Peabo Bryson, Sheena Easton, Jeffrey Osborne, Valerie Carter, Linda Ronstadt, Roberta Flack, George Hearn, Jennifer Rush, Take 6, Johnny Van Zant, Jennifer Warnes and the young Latina sensation, Gina, also perform numbers.
Main Article: Barney's Great Adventure Sing Along
Barney's Great Adventure Sing Alongis an audio cassette.It was the second entry in the Barney's Sing Along series of cassettes. It was released on September 15, 1998. It's an album to the movie, "Barney's Great Adventure".
The film was initially scheduled for a summer release of 1995, through Geffen Pictures and Warner Bros. The film was later delayed for a release of 1997. In that same year, Polygram grabbed the distribution rights from Geffen and Warner Bros with a new release of 1998. The film held it's world premiere on March 27, 1998, at Radio City Music Hall, the same stage where Barney preformed 12 sold-out concerts four years before. it was later released worldwide on April 3, 1998.
On June 20, 1997, Barney himself announced his film at a news conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Later in 1997, teaser trailers for the film Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie arose on VHS cassettes with some Barney Home Videos.
In honor of the film, a television special titled Barney's First Adventures aired on March 28, 1998 on Fox Kids. It was soon released as a bonus feature on the DVD to Barney's Great Adventure.
Barney's Great Adventure was released on VHS and DVD on September 1, 1998 by Polygram. After PolyGram went defunct, the film was re-released by Universal Pictures as that's where PolyGram's films got transferred to. The film was re-released again on DVD in 2015 with a "Happy Faces" cover. Barney's Great Adventure was also released on the streaming service Peacock on its launch date.
The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a "Rotten" score of 32%, based on 25 reviews with only 8 fresh reviews, and a rating of a 5.03 out of 10. It was nominated for two awards at the 19th Golden Raspberry Awards: "Worst New Star" (Barney) and "Worst Original Song" (Barney - The Song) , but lost to An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, though the former award was tied with Ringmaster.
In its limited release weekend, the film grossed $2,203,865 and ranked #11.A week later, in wide release, it grossed $1,382,373 and ranked #15. By the end of its run, the film grossed $12,218,638 in the domestic box office, almost returning its $15 million budget.
Home Video Releases
Stills and Behind the Scenes
- This is the first time that "I Love You" was sung for three verses (The 1st and last verses are the same).
- "If You're Happy and You Know It" is much more grander and longer on the soundtrack than in the movie.
- Baby Bop and BJ have very minor roles in the film (almost like cameo appearances).
- The only way to get the original widescreen / theatrical print on video is on the laser disc version.
- Although the Caption Center WGBH Educational Foundation mostly captioned all Barney installments since 1993, this film is one exception, as it is closed-captioned by the National Captioning Institute.
- Three of the movie's TV spots sample the song, Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. However, the song never appeared in the movie itself.
- The VHS releases Barney's Adventure Bus, Barney's Good Day, Good Night, and Barney in Outer Space have trailers for the film.
- Based on the film, two books were released. One titled Barney's Great Adventure and Barney's Great Adventure: The Chase is On!. Also based on the film was a board game released titled Barney's Great Adventure - The Movie - Follow The Egg Game.
- The film's poster can be seen in the film Jersey Girl.
- Daniel Stern voiced interest in directing the film.
Trailers and Clips
- Barney goes to the movies
- BONKERS FOR BARNEY!
- South Park’s Evil Geniuses and the Triumph of No-Brow Culture
- Geffen gets Barney pic
- Color Barney Green After EMI Records Group Deal : Children’s recordings: The purple dinosaur’s ‘multi-year, multi-album’ deal is for ‘seven figures,’ firm’s CEO says. Barney’s first album is due in August.
- Polygram grabs ‘Barney’
- Barney's Great Adventure - The Look Back Machine (podcast) | Listen Notes
- Interview with Stephen White
- Barney Movie Production Notes
- Preschool Video Comes Of Age
- FILM IN REVIEW - The New York Times
- Barney's Great Adventure (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes
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