Animal Crackers (2017 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Music by||Bear McCreary|
|Edited by||Ximo Romero|
|Box office||$11.2 million|
Animal Crackers is a 2017 American-Chinese 3D computer-animated comedy-fantasy film directed by Scott Christian Sava and Tony Bancroft, and written by Sava and Dean Lorey, based on the animal-shaped cookie and loosely based on the graphic novel by Sava. The film stars the voices of John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, Ian McKellen, Sylvester Stallone, Raven-Symoné, and Patrick Warburton.
The film premiered at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on June 12, 2017. It was released in China on July 21, 2018. Initially set to be released in the United States on multiple release dates through various distributors, who faced financial difficulties.
In 1962, brothers Bob and Horatio Huntington run a traveling circus together, doing well in spite of their vastly different personalities. After a show, the circus' resident gypsy fortuneteller, Esmerelda presents her beautiful niece, Talia, to her employers, asking them to give her a job. Bob and Horatio are both immediately smitten with the lovely girl, but her affections are solely for Bob. When the pair announce their plans to marry, Horatio becomes furious, and delivers an ultimatum to his younger brother to choose either Talia or himself. Bob marries Talia, and Esmerelda gives them a mysterious box as a wedding gift, which allows them open a new circus; Buffalo Bob's Rootin' Tootin' Animal Circus, known for animals performing amazing, seemingly impossible, feats.
Years later, Bob's nephew Owen marries a girl named Zoe at the circus. Upon initial excitement however, Owen soon discovers he now has to work as a taste tester for Zoe's father Mr. Woodley at his dog biscuit factory. Seven years later, Horatio, whose luck has taken a serious downturn since his break with Bob, sneaks into Bob and Talia's trailer, trying to find the secret to the magic animals, and accidentally starts a fire which apparently kills Bob and Talia. Their funeral is attended by Owen, Zoe, and their daughter Mackenzie. Horatio makes an unexpected visit, and announces that he'll be taking over the circus. He and his henchmen start a fight, causing the Huntingtons to flee.
Before they leave, circus pets Old Blue the bloodhound and Zena the cat give the Huntingtons the mysterious box, they later discover it holds animal cracker cookies. Owen eats one and turns into a hamster. The Huntingtons return to the circus to figure out how this happened. They learn from clown Chesterfield that the animal crackers will turn the user into the animal they eat, but it contains only one human cookie to change them back. Later, he tells them they inherited the circus. Zoe is excited, but Owen, determined to please Mr. Woodley, decides to continue his job. Zoe restores the circus while Owen stays at the dog biscuit factory. Mr. Woodley, frustrated that Zoe quit her job, begins to consider Brock, an egotistical saboteur, as her replacement.
Buffalo Bob's Rootin' Tootin' Animal Circus reopens, but is a disaster, upon the discovery of no animals. Owen reluctantly decides to eat the animal crackers and performs stunts as an animal. By the end of the day, Owen grows to like it, and decides to quit his job. As his finishes packing up though, Brock unwittingly eats one of the cookies and turns into a mandrill. To catch up with him, Owen turns into a lion, but Brock gets captured by Horatio's henchman Mario Zucchini who also steals cookie crumbs. Owen soon discovers he lost the human cookie, and will remain an animal forever. He attempts to adapt to life as a certain animal, but has little success. Binkley, an employee of Mr. Woodley who's trying to create a new type of dog biscuit, discovers the animal crackers and persuades Mr. Woodley to attend the circus.
At one performance, Horatio offers Owen his human cookie for the circus. Owen however, refuses, thinking remaining an animal will at least keep his family together, but he is forced into the deal by Horatio's henchmen, who are now mutated animals consumed from the cookie crumbs. The circus performers fight the henchmen. Horatio eats some crumbs and turns into a chimera. He is confronted by Old Blue and Zena who reveal themselves as Bob and Talia, alive but forever trapped in animal form due to the destruction of their human cookies in the fire. They ask Horatio to redeem himself, but he refuses. Horatio flies up, grasping them. Owen, Zoe, and Mackenzie, and the other circus performers work together to save Bob and Talia. Upon capturing Horatio, Owen turns Horatio into a hamster as punishment. Mr. Woodley reevaluates his views on the circus, and with Binkley, decides to create a new circus souvenir using her failed experiments; animal crackers that cause the eater's skin to temporarily take on the color and patterns of the animal whose cracker they eat. Owen and Zoe now work happily at the circus, with Owen debuting as a dragon.
- John Krasinski as Owen Huntington, MacKenzie's father, Zoe's husband, Talia, Horatio and Buffalo Bob's nephew and the circus owner.
- Brendan Sava as a young Owen.
- Emily Blunt as Zoe Huntington, MacKenzie's mother, Owen's wife and Talia, Horatio and Buffalo Bob's niece-in-law.
- Noelle Ellison Thomason as a young Zoe.
- Lydia Rose Taylor as Mackenzie Huntington, Owen and Zoe's daughter, Mr. Woodley's granddaughter and Talia, Buffalo Bob and Horatio's grand niece.
- Ian McKellen as Horatio P. Huntington, Buffalo Bob's brother, Owen's uncle, Zoe's uncle-in-law and Mackenzie's grand uncle. He hates it when Zucchini calls him his "henchman", and keeps correcting him because he is his master, not his henchman. He speaks with a brave French accent.
- Danny DeVito as Chesterfield, the circus's top clown.
- Sylvester Stallone as The Bullet-Man, the human cannonball who only says his name until the end of the movie.
- Raven-Symoné as Binkley, Owen and Zoe's intelligent co-worker at the dog biscuit factory.
- Patrick Warburton as Brock, a big strong employee of Mr. Woodley who likes to pick on Owen and Binkley.
- Wallace Shawn as Mr. Woodley, Zoe's father, Mackenzie's grandpa, and Owen's father-in-law. He originally didn't like that Owen was Zoe's husband and kept calling Owen a "nincompoop", but later accepted it.
- Gilbert Gottfried as Mario Zucchini, a small motorcycle rider who thinks Horatio's his minion, which is actually the other way around, as Horatio keeps correcting him. He speaks like a superhero announcer. His name might be a reference to Mario the plumber because of his appearance and/or the Zucchini brothers from The Muppet Show, who are also circus performers.
- Harvey Fierstein as Esmeralda the Fortune Teller, Talia's aunt.
- Tara Strong as Talia/Zena, Esmeralda's niece, Buffalo Bob's brother-in-law, later wife, Owen's aunt, Zoe's aunt-in-law and Mackenzie's grand aunt. She speaks with a soft Spanish accent.
- James Arnold Taylor as Buffalo Bob/Old Blue, Talia's husband, Horatio's brother and Owen's uncle/former owner of the circus, Zoe's uncle-in-law and Mackenzie's grand uncle.
- Kevin Grevioux as Samson the Strong Man.
- Tony Bancroft as Stabby the Knife Thrower.
- Anthony Sava as El Diablo the Fire Breather.
- Donna Lynne Sava as Petunia the Fat Lady.
- Alyssa Trama as Gretchen the Bearded Lady.
Development and writing
In 2010, Scott Christian Sava wrote a screenplay for Animal Crackers but was unable to garner any interest. In June 2013, Harvey Weinstein had seen a short film of the screenplay made by Sava and two months later the Weinstein brothers made an offer to buy the rights to Animal Crackers. Sava co-directed the movie with Tony Bancroft and co-wrote the screenplay with Dean Lorey.
Financing the movie were executive producers Mu Yedong on behalf of Wen Hua Dongrun Investment Co., La Peikang, board chairman of China Film Co., and Sam Chi for Landmark Asia.
The voice cast was completed by casting director Jamie Thomason.
In the last week of October and throughout November, 2014, Sava via the Animal Crackers Facebook page, there were sneak peeks to the look of some characters along with announcing the voice cast for those characters Kevin Grevioux as Samson the Strong Man, James Arnold Taylor as Buffalo Bob, Tara Strong as Talia, Harvey Fierstein as Esmerelda the Fortune Teller, Gilbert Gottfried as Mario Zucchini, and Raven-Symoné as Binkley.
On November 6, 2014, Blue Dream Studios announced Sylvester Stallone, Danny DeVito, and Ian McKellen as lead voice cast. On February 3, 2015, John Krasinski and Kaley Cuoco joined the cast as Owen and Zoe Huntington, respectively. On March 30, 2015, Emily Blunt replaced Cuoco due to a scheduling conflict.
"When I was writing Animal Crackers I had specific voices in my head. Certain characters I wrote with actors in mind. Horatio was always Sir Ian McKellen. Brock was totally Patrick Warburton. Bullet-Man could be no one else but Stallone! To find out that each and every one of these actors have agreed to come on board this film and bring these characters to life… I'm flipping out," said Sava.
It was announced via Sava's Facebook page that his son, Brendan, would play 12-year-old Owen Huntington and his wife, Donna, would play the Fat Lady. On May 22, 2015, it was revealed that Wallace Shawn had been cast as Mr. Woodley, Zoe's (Blunt) father.
|Animal Crackers: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||July 17, 2020|
|1.||"Welcome" (John Adair version)||Ian McKellen||2:08|
|2.||"While We're Young"||Huey Lewis and the News||3:40|
|3.||"Like That"||Fleur East||3:08|
|4.||"The Tractor"||Chris McDougall, Leslie Austin, Dayan Kai||2:39|
|5.||"Master of the Ring"||Connor Clark||2:50|
|6.||"Could've Been Mine"||Ian McKellen, Gilbert Gottfried||2:09|
|7.||"We're in This Together"||Howard Jones||4:52|
|8.||"Don't Stop Me Now" (2011 remaster)||Queen||3:12|
|9.||"One of Those Days"||Toad the Wet Sprocket||2:42|
|10.||"Today (Is Yesterday's Tomorrow)"||Michael Bublé||3:22|
|11.||"Lost and Found"||Katie Herzig||4:43|
|12.||"Animal Crackers Overture"||Bear McCreary||5:22|
|13.||"Papa Bear"||Bear McCreary||2:57|
|Animal Crackers: Original Motion Picture Score|
|Film score by|
|Released||July 17, 2020|
|Bear McCreary chronology|
All tracks written and composed by Bear McCreary.
|1.||"Animal Crackers Overture" (Extended Version)||5:51|
|2.||"The Huntington Brothers"||3:28|
|3.||"Life at the Circus"||3:59|
|4.||"The Dog Food Factory"||4:54|
|5.||"News of the Fire"||1:45|
|9.||"Little Cookie Me"||3:22|
|10.||"The Magic Is Gone"||3:01|
|11.||"Brock and Woodley"||3:43|
|12.||"Papa Bear" (Extended Version)||3:13|
|13.||"A Helping Hoof"||1:58|
|16.||"An Offer From Horatio"||3:40|
|19.||"Showtime" (Extended Version)||6:40|
|20.||"Fanfare for Bulletman"||0:45|
|21.||"Blue Dream Studios Logo"||0:20|
The film had its world premiere in competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 12, 2017. The film was originally set to be released on April 28, 2017 by Relativity Media, however, a financial crisis within the company prevented them from releasing the film. It was then set to be released on September 1, 2017 by upstart film studio Serafini Releasing before they also shut down. A few months later, in November 2017, it was announced that Entertainment Studios would distribute the film worldwide. In April, Sava posted on Facebook that film was set for a release date of August 10, 2018. The deal with Entertainment Studios was dropped in June 2018.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 64% based on 22 reviews, with an average rating of 6.00/10. It had a critical consensus which read: "Animal Crackers is far from the most distinctive animated fare, but its wacky humor and zippy speed make it a decent diversion for younger viewers." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
- "Bear McCreary to Score 'Animal Crackers'". Film Score Monthly. July 8, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- Wendy Mitchell (October 24, 2014). "Odin's Eye boards Animal Crackers". Screen Daily. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
- Mintzer, Jordan (June 16, 2017). "'Animal Crackers': Film Review | Annecy 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
- Desowitz, Bill (June 15, 2020). "'Animal Crackers' Trailer: Netflix's Rescued Animated Feature Gets Summer Streaming Date". Indie Wire. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
- Dominio Patten (February 3, 2015). "'Animal Crackers' Adds Kaley Cuoco & John Krasinski To Voice Cast – Berlin". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
- Scott Christian Sava (February 5, 2015). "How wonderful is @johnkrasinski? My son Brendan is playing "young Owen"…". Tumblr. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 30, 2015). "Emily Blunt Takes Bite Of 'Animal Crackers'; 'Neon Demon' Cast Is Set – Film Briefs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
- Jeff Sneider (November 6, 2014). "Sylvester Stallone, Danny DeVito, Ian McKellen Lead 'Animal Crackers' Voice Cast". TheWrap. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Scott Christian Sava (July 30, 2015). "Zoe (Emily Blunt) and her daughter Mackenzie (Lydia Taylor)". Facebook. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
- Scott Christian Sava (July 30, 2015). "Horatio P. Huntington (Sir Ian McKellen)". Facebook. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
- Scott Christian Sava (March 24, 2015). "n/a". Facebook. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
- Scott Christian Sava (November 17, 2014). "When we set out to cast the voice of Binkley… Jamie was quick to push Raven-Symoné to the top of the list. And quite honestly… we never looked further…". Facebook. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Scott Christian Sava (May 22, 2015). "Ladies and gentlemen… Zoe's (Emily Blunt) dad, MR. WOODLEY played by the incomparable Wallace Shawn!…". Facebook. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
- Scott Christian Sava (November 13, 2014). "Mario Zucchini was written as a "henchman" who's "schtick" is he only speaks Italian… except… he doesn't know Italian…". Facebook. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Scott Christian Sava (November 12, 2014). "Esmerelda the Fortune Teller… Yes… I named our 67 Cougar after a character from the movie. Yes… it's awesome!". Facebook. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Scott Christian Sava (November 1, 2014). "Final SNEAK PEEK of the week…Talia will be played by the Inimitable (I looked it up… it means incapable of being imitated, matchless, irreplaceable) Tara Strong!…". Facebook. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Scott Christian Sava (October 31, 2014). "Another SNEAK PEEK today! Buffalo Bob (circa 1960's) to be played by the great James Taylor (Obi-freakin-Wan Kenobi on Clone Wars)!!!…". Facebook. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Scott Christian Sava (October 30, 2014). "Here is a SNEAK PEEK at one of our characters!…". Facebook. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Blue Dream Studios (April 2013). "Animal Crackers "Proof of Concept" Test". Vimeo. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Keith Ryan Cartwright (December 2, 2014). "Franklin father turns 'Animal Crackers' for kids into feature film". tennessean.com. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Dave McNary (November 5, 2014). "Chinese Investors Board Animated 'Animal Crackers' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- "Interview: Dean Dinning of Toad the Wet Sprocket". Surviving the Golden Age. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
- "Despicable Me 3, Animal Crackers to Debut at Annecy Fest".
- "Annecy Unveils Full Lineup Of 23 Animated Features". April 24, 2017.
- Scott Christian Sava (February 21, 2018). "UPDATE! So… what's going on with the release date?". Facebook. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 29, 2017). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Bites Into Animal Crackers, Eyes 2018 Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- "After 7 months of waiting… and waiting… and waiting, we're done".
- Hopewell, John (May 20, 2020). "Netflix's 'The Cuphead Show!' 'Nezha Reborn,' 'The Summit of the Gods' Set for Annecy". Variety. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- Brueggemann, Tom (July 27, 2020). "'The Rental' Is Second Film Ever to Be #1 on Both Theatrical and VOD Charts at Same Time". IndieWire. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
- "Animal Crackers (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- "Animal Crackers (2020)". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2020.