Today In Disney History ~ August 3rd
The Princess Diaries is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Garry Marshall and written by Gina Wendkos, based on Meg Cabot’s 2000 novel of the same name. It stars Anne Hathaway (in her film debut) as Mia Thermopolis, a teenager who discovers that she is the heir to the throne of the fictional Kingdom of Genovia, ruled by her grandmother Queen Dowager Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews). The film also stars Heather Matarazzo, Héctor Elizondo, Mandy Moore, and Robert Schwartzman.
Released in North America on August 3, 2001 and was a commercial success, grossing $165.3 million worldwide. The film was followed by a sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, released in August 2004.
The film was produced by Whitney Houston and Debra Martin Chase and directed by Garry Marshall. Anne Hathaway was hired for the role of Mia because Garry Marshall’s granddaughters saw her audition tape and said she had the best “princess hair.” According to Hathaway, the first choice for the role of Mia Thermopolis was Liv Tyler, but the studio preferred to cast unfamiliar faces.
Héctor Elizondo, who appears in all the films which Marshall directs, plays Joe, the head of Genovian security. Garry Marshall’s daughter, Kathleen, plays Clarisse’s secretary Charlotte Kutaway. Charlotte’s surname is mentioned only in the credits, and Garry Marshall says it is a reference to how she is often used in cutaway shots. In one scene, Robert Schwartzman’s real-life group Rooney makes a cameo playing a garage band named Flypaper, whose lead singer is Michael, played by Schwartzman. The Cable car tourist was portrayed by Kathy Garver.
The book was set in New York City, but the film’s location was changed to San Francisco. The film opened in 2,537 theaters in North America and grossed $22,862,269 in its opening weekend. It grossed $165,335,153 worldwide—$108,248,956 in North America and $57,086,197 in other territories.