Based on the book by Tim Crothers, Queen of Katwe is a biographical telling of a Ugandan girl from a slum in Katwe finds success with her skills in chess. Phiona Mutesi (played by Madina Nalwanga) was just 10 years old when she learned how to play chess. As her abilities in the game improve, so do her opportunities. After several victories at World Chess Olympiads, she becomes a Woman Candidate Master and pursues this role in hopes that she’ll be able to get her family out of Katwe.
Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ESPN Films, Queen of Katwe was first screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. It was then given a limited release in the United States on September 23, 206, before its wide release on the 30th. The movie concept caught the attention of Walt Disney Studios’ senior creative executive, Tendo Nagenda. He moved forward with the project, developing it into production and bringing Mira Nair aboard as director.
With overwhelmingly positive reviews, the availability of Queen of Katwe streaming has attracted new fans from all over the world. Unlike other Disney attempts at portraying a true story, they truly stuck to the facts with this one and critics approved. Watch Queen of Katwe online and see what all the hype is about!
Here’s how to stream Queen of Katwe right now:
How to Stream ‘Queen of Katwe’ – Exclusively on Disney+
Queen of Katwe is one of the classic 90s Disney movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Queen of Katwe and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Katwe”
- 5. Tap the first option
- 6. Tap PLAY
- 7. Enjoy!
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘Queen of Katwe’: Overview
Release Date: September 23, 2016
Creators: Tim Crothers and William Wheeler
Director: Mira Nair
Starring: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, and Madina Nalwanga
Synopsis: A Ugandan girl uses her skills at chess to try to get her family out of the slums of Katwe.
How Long Is ‘Queen of Katwe’?
Queen of Katwe is 124 minutes or two hours and four minutes.
‘Queen of Katwe’ Plot
At just 10-years old, Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) struggles while living in Katwe, a slum in Uganda. Along with her younger brother, Phiona helps out her mother, Nakku Harriet (played by Lupita Nyong’o), by selling maize (corn) at the local market. She also cares for her baby brother, a significant responsibility for someone her age. Everything changes for Phiona when she meets Robert Katende (played by David Oyelowo), who teaches children soccer and chess as part of a missionary program. He teaches Phiona, and she is instantly hooked. It’s not long before she becomes the top player in the group.
Katende coaches Phiona and eventually decides to take her and the team to compete in a national tournament at a prestigious local school. Initially opposed by the local authorities, the group makes it to the competition where they feel out of their element. Once the chess matches begin, however, they become more comfortable, and Phiona takes first place.
That first win is just the beginning, and the film follows Phiona as successfully takes on other chess competitions and tournaments. As her success develops, it becomes more apparent how these skills can help provide a better life for her and her family. Phiona begins to look at chess as her escape from the slums and dreams of buying her family a house somewhere else.
At the Chess Olympiad in Russia, Phiona leads the Uganda team confident that she will be named Grand Master. However, her competitor proves to be better, and she loses. Upon returning home to Katwe, she doubts her abilities as a chess player. With the support of the people of Katwe and her coach, Phiona continues her journey and ultimately buys a home for her family.
‘Queen of Katwe’ Cast
When you watch Queen of Katwe online, you may recognize some of the main characters from films like Black Panther and Selma.
MADINA NALWANGA as PHIONA MUTESI
Fifteen-year-old Ugandan actress, Madina Nalwanga, portrays the film’s main character, Phiona Mutesi. More than 700 girls were auditioned in search of an actress for this role only for the casting director to find Nalwanga in a local dance class. This is Nalwanga’s first film role.
DAVID OYELOWO as ROBERT KATENDE
David Oyelowo is a classically trained stage actor who portrays Phiona’s chess coach, Robert Katende. He is best known for his role as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Oyelowo has also appeared in popular films like The Help, Lincoln, A Wrinkle In Time, and Gringo.
LUPITA NYONG’O as NAKKU HARRIET
Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o appears in the film as Phiona’s mother, Nakku Harriet. Nyong’o is best known for her character Nakia in Black Panther. She has also appeared in a number of other films, including Us, 12 Years A Slave, The Jungle Book, and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
‘Queen of Katwe’ Songs and Soundtrack
The Queen of Katwe soundtrack includes a musical score composed by Alex Heffes as well as several authentic Ugandan needle drop tracks. The album has 20 tracks in total with songs performed by MC Galaxy, A Pass, DaVido, Radio and Weasel, Joanita Kawalya, and Afrigo Band. Alicia Key wrote the song “Back to Life” for the film, which is also included on the soundtrack. Reviews of the album are generally positive, and it has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
‘Queen of Katwe’ at the Box Office
Before you could stream Queen of Katwe online, it opened as a limited release in the United States, earning more than $300,000 its first weekend. After the wide release seven days later, the film earned $2.5 million in a week. It went on to make a total of $10.4 million.
‘Queen of Katwe’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
Critic reviews of Queen of Katwe are largely positive, calling the film both touching and triumphant. The movie is praised for its accurate depiction of the events that took place as well as the top-notch performances. Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 93 percent approval rating, making it a win for Disney. While Queen of Katwe was nominated for more than two dozen awards, it only won two. Madina Nalwanga received an Africa Movie Academy Award for Most Promising Actor, and the film received one for Best Costume Design.
Where ‘Queen of Katwe’ Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
Queen of Katwe ranks high on lists of Disney’s most recent films. It shows their effort to not only feature more people of color in their movies but to accurately depict the true stories their movies are sometimes based on. Additionally, the film plays a significant role in today’s culture as it’s told from the point of view of a strong, intelligent young female.
‘Queen of Katwe’ Trailer
‘Queen of Katwe’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
Before you watch Queen of Katwe online, learn what happened behind the scenes with these fun facts and what Easter eggs to look out for:
1. Mira Nair Also Directed A Documentary About This Chess Story
Queen of Katwe director Mira Nair also directed a documentary that described the life of Phiona’s chess coach, Robert Katende. The film is titled Robert Katende Documentary: A Fork, a Spoon, and a Knight. The title comes from a period in Ketende’s life when he describes his only belongings as a fork, a spoon, and a mattress. The documentary talks about how Katende went from living under a bush to attending a college and later becoming a missionary. Nair’s work on the documentary likely got her the job directing Queen of Katwe.
2. Lupita Nyong’o Accepted The Role After Reading Just Ten Pages
Director Mira Nair’s first choices for the lead roles were David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o. Upon receiving the script, Nyong’o only had to read the first ten pages to know that she would be accepting the part. “It was the first time I felt really awakened by a script and super challenged,” she said in an interview. Oyelowo also jumped at the chance to appear in the film and accepted the role immediately.
3. A Wellknown Ugandan Trend Setter Paid To Be In The Film
When a fundraiser was auctioning away a spot as an extra in the film, Ugandan fashion mogul Sylvia Owori jumped at the chance to enter and won. The fundraiser was for Maisha Film Labs and was also auctioning off a 12 Years a Slave DVD signed by Lupita Nyong’o.
4. Filmmakers Intentionally Cast Inexperienced Actors
When casting the film, it was decided that inexperienced actors would be cast in leading and supporting roles. This was done intentionally to introduce fresh talent to the industry, especially regarding the young actors in the film. During the movie, you’ll notice that a mixture of unknown South African and Ugandan child actors were cast as Phiona’s teammates and opponents. Additionally, more than 100 Ugandans were hired as extras on set, most with no prior acting experience. Mira Nair set up an acting boot camp for the extras as well as the kids to help them perfect their scenes. Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo are the only big names in this movie.
5. The Real-Life People Behind This Story Make A Cameo Appearance
At the end of the movie, the real Phiona Mutesi appears on-screen along with her family and friends. They appear one by one and stand next to the actor who portrayed them. It’s was seen as a creative and original way to end the film.
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