Paddington 2 Director Paul King on Toppling Citizen Kane: “I Won’t Build My Xanadu” – Hollywood Reporter
5:11 AM PDT 4/28/2021
by Alex Ritman
After a negative review of Orson Welles’ 1941 classic was unearthed, the much-loved CGI/live-action sequel about a Peruvian bear became the top-rated film of all time on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
All hail the marmalade-loving bear from darkest Peru!
Citizen Kane has been knocked from its throne at the top of Rotten Tomatoes’ list of best reviewed films and replaced by Paddington 2.
After the unearthing of a negative 80-year-old Chicago Tribune review on Tuesday, the 1941 Orson Welles classic lost its perfect 100 percent rating and slipped to a meagre 99 percent on the website’s Tomatometer, with the much-loved live-action/CGI-animated family film sequel — which still retains a 100 percent score — casually sauntering in to claim the crown. (To be clear, there are other films — such The Terminator, Modern Times and Singing in the Rain — that have a 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes score among critics, but Paddington 2 has considerably more reviews)
News of the triumph broke in Paddington’s adopted home country of the U.K. overnight, but Paul King — who wrote and directed both Paddington films — says he’s going to try not to get too carried away, despite having now bested Welles and a movie that has been widely cited (and not just on Rotten Tomatoes) as the greatest ever made for several decades.
“It’s extremely lovely to be on on any list, which includes Citizen Kane, but it is obviously quite an eccentric list that goes from Citizen Kane to Paddington 2, so I’ll try not to take it too seriously,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I won’t let it go too much to my head and immediately build my Xanadu. But I have been cooking up a model just in case.”
King joked that if Welles were alive today and “had access to the kind of technology” now available, he might have come up with something “nearly as good” as Paddington 2. “But he had to make do. He had muster his meagre talent into merely knocking out Citizen Kane.”
With Paddington 2 now certified — almost — as the greatest film in the history of cinema, calls for a sequel are likely to grow even louder. StudioCanal confirmed earlier in the year that Paddington 3 was official in the works, and King said that, while things were taking longer, a script was now “well developed and coming on nicely” (although, with him due to direct Warner Bros. Willy Wonka prequel Wonka, he’ll only be on writing and producing duties for this one).
“It’s tough to get right and we certainly don’t want to make a film just for the sake of making a film,” he said, adding there was brilliant support from StudioCanal who wanted to make the “best possible film” rather than just create content for a streaming service.
“Maybe this is where Orson went wrong – he just needed to have spent a little longer on the script!”
As for the famed bear himself, King suggested that he too might try to take the Citizen Kane-conquering news in his furry stride.
“I imagine he’d just crack open the marmalade and have a second sandwich — you’d like to think he wouldn’t get too carried away,” he said. “But maybe he would! I’m not sure he’s known such an honor in his young life.”
And how would Welles’ newspaper titan Charles Foster Kane feel about losing the top spot to a bear?
Said King: “I like to think of him dropping that snow globe and muttering, ‘Marmalade’.”