This is the third motion picture adaptation of Strouse and Charnin's Annie. The first was director John Huston's original big-screen version (Annie (1982)), in which star Albert Finney did a wicked vocal impersonation of Huston. The second was Rob Marshall's well-regarded and more faithful adaptation (Annie (1999)).
Sony Pictures Entertainment, owner of Columbia Pictures, slated Annie (2014) for a December 19, 2014, release, where it will face big competition from an another film musical, Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods (2014), directed by Rob Marshall and made by Walt Disney Pictures. Rob Marshall and Walt Disney Pictures collaborated with Columbia Pictures on the successful and well-regarded Annie (1999) in 1999.
Although due to be released just before Christmas, the movie was released online 3 weeks early by hackers. They hacked Sony in protest against an upcoming movie about North Korea. This, along with 4 other movies released, is expected to cost Sony millions of dollars in lost revenue from ticket sales.
In a scene where William Stacks takes Annie and her friends to a movie, the actors for said movie are named Andrea Alvin and Simon Goodspeed, which are nods to the original Broadway production. Andrea McArdle was the first Annie in Broadway and the play premiered at the Alvin theatre. Goodspeed is the theater that Annie premiered at before Broadway.
In late 2014, Sony Pictures was the victim of a major hack of their computer systems in which confidential corporate information and several unreleased complete movies were posted for public consumption. Among reams of other information, DVD-quality downloads of this movie appeared online before its official cinematic release.
When Stacks rescues Annie from the truck, the shot includes a building sign "Punjab Imports" (or similar). Punjab was a character in the strip and in the 1982 film version (played by Geoffrey Holder). He wore a turban and was probably a Sikh and added to the exotic, worldly aura of Daddy Warbucks.
This movie's version of the song "It's the Hard-Knock Life" omits the original's line "You'll stay up till this dump shines like the top of the Chrysler Building," but the film later includes several aerial shots of the actual top of the Chrysler Building instead.
In late 2014, Charles Strouse (the composer of the original musical's score) gave an interview to Vanity Fair in which he talked about what he liked and didn't like about this movie adaptation. One thing he didn't like was the fact that although Jay Z did consult Strouse in the initial stages of conceiving the remake, and though Strouse said he "was paid handsomely for my share of the rights," Strouse and the other original creators of the musical did not get to revise and update their own songs or write any of the new songs in the movie. Something Strouse did enthusiastically endorse about this movie version was the casting of Quvenzhané Wallis in the lead role (he called her performance "amazing") and, more generally, the idea of casting nonwhite actresses in the role--something he said he had been lobbying for since the first Broadway run of the show back in the 1970s.
On the Second and Third Installments of the Austin Powers Trilogy, Doctor Evil performs his own renditions of Will Smith's "Just the Two of Us" and Jay Z's "It's a Hard Knock Life". Coincidentally, Will Smith and Sean "Jay Z" Carter co-produced Annie (2014) and "It's a Hard Knock Life" borrowed sound bites from the 1982 version of "Annie".