Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Clark Spencer|
|Music by||Michael Giacchino|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$1.024 billion|
Zootopia (also known as Zootropolis in some regions) is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated buddy mystery comedy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 55th Disney animated feature film. The film was directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, co-directed by Jared Bush, and stars the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J. K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Shakira. The film details the unlikely partnership between a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist as they uncover a conspiracy which involves the disappearance of savage predator inhabitants of a mammalian metropolis.
Zootopia premiered at the Brussels Animation Film Festival in Belgium on February 13, 2016, and went into general theatrical release in conventional 2D, Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats in the United States on March 4. The film received universal critical acclaim with praise directed toward its animation, voice cast, humor, screenplay, and themes about discrimination and social stereotypes. It opened to a record-breaking box office success in several countries and earned a worldwide gross of over $1 billion, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 2016 and the 26th highest-grossing film of all time. The film was chosen by American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2016. The film won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Critics' Choice Movie Award and Annie Award for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as receiving a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film.
In a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals where predators and prey species peacefully coexist, a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow, Judy Hopps, fulfills her childhood dream of becoming a police officer in urban Zootopia. Despite being the police academy valedictorian, Judy is relegated to parking duty by Chief Bogo, who doubts her potential because she is a rabbit. On her first day, she is hustled by Nick Wilde and Finnick, a con artist duo of foxes.
The next day, Judy abandons parking duty to arrest Duke Weaselton, a thief who stole plant bulbs. Bogo reprimands her, but an otter named Mrs. Otterton enters Bogo's office pleading for someone to find her husband Emmitt, one of fourteen predators who have gone missing. When Judy volunteers and Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether praises the assignment, Bogo reluctantly gives her 48 hours to find Otterton on the condition that she resigns if she fails.
After determining Nick was the last one to see Otterton, Judy blackmails him into assisting her by covertly recording his confession to tax evasion. They track Otterton to a limousine owned by crime boss Mr. Big, who reveals that Otterton, his florist, went "savage" – reverted to a feral state – and attacked his chauffeur, Manchas. At his home, Manchas mentions that Otterton had been yelling about "night howlers." Moments later, Manchas himself turns savage and chases the pair. Judy saves Nick by trapping Manchas and calls the ZPD for help. When Bogo and other police arrive, however, Manchas has vanished. Bogo demands Judy's resignation, but Nick stands up for Judy, reminding Bogo she still has 10 hours to solve the case. As they leave, Nick reveals to Judy that he was bullied as a child for being a fox; deciding then that there was no use in fighting prejudiced ideas about fox behavior, he became a con artist.
Bellwether gives Judy and Nick access to the city's traffic-camera system. They discover Manchas was captured by wolves, which Judy suspects are the "night howlers". They find Otterton and the other missing predators imprisoned at Cliffside Asylum, where Mayor Lionheart is keeping them hidden from the public, while a scientist tries to determine the cause of their unnatural behavior. Judy hears the scientist suggest the disturbing possibility that it's DNA-rooted. Judy and Nick escape the asylum and get the recorded evidence to Chief Bogo. Lionheart is arrested and Bellwether is promoted as the new mayor. Judy, praised for solving the case and now friends with Nick, asks him to join the ZPD as her partner. However, she upsets him at a press conference by suggesting a biological cause for the recent savage behavior, and he leaves angrily. TV network ZNN covers additional incidents of predators turning savage, a near-riot at singer Gazelle's peace rally, and the prey-majority's growing distrust of all predators. The bias effects the ZPD, as predator officers are reassigned to duties away from public contact. Guilt-ridden over the aftermath, Judy resigns her job.
Back in Bunnyburrow, Judy learns from her parents and her reformed childhood bully Gideon Grey that "night howlers" are not wolves, but actually toxic flowers that have severe psychotropic effects on mammals. After she returns to Zootopia and reconciles with Nick, they confront Weaselton, who tells them the night howler bulbs he'd stolen earlier were for a ram named Doug. They find Doug in a lab hidden in the subway tunnels, creating an illegal drug made from night howlers, which he has been shooting at predators with a dart gun.
Judy and Nick obtain the dart gun and the serum, but before they can go to the ZPD, Bellwether confronts them and steals the evidence, revealing herself as the mastermind behind a prey-supremacist conspiracy. Judy and Nick are trapped in a pit after Nick refuses to abandon Judy when she is injured. Bellwether shoots a serum pellet at Nick to make him kill Judy, and frames a call to the ZPD, but Nick had disarmed Bellwether's dart gun by replacing the serum pellets with blueberries. Enraged, Bellwether threatens to frame Judy and Nick for the attacks like she framed Lionheart, but Judy has recorded Bellwether's confession. Bogo and the ZPD arrive and Bellwether is arrested.
In the news coverage that follows, Lionheart denies knowledge of Bellwether's plot and states that his imprisonment of the savaged predators was doing the "wrong thing for the right reason." The savaged animals are cured with an antidote, Judy rejoins the ZPD, and Nick becomes the city's first fox police officer, as well as her partner.
Development of the film that would come to be called Zootopia began when Byron Howard pitched six story ideas to Disney Animation chief creative officer and executive producer John Lasseter, of which three involved animal characters: an all-animal adaptation of The Three Musketeers, a 1960s-themed story about a "mad doctor cat...who turned children into animals," and a "bounty hunter pug in space." The common thread running through these ideas was that Howard wanted to do a film similar to Disney’s Robin Hood, which also featured animals in anthropomorphic roles. According to Howard, Zootopia emerged from his desire to create something different from other animal anthropomorphic films, where animals either live in the natural world or in the human world. His concept, in which animals live in a modern world designed by animals for animals, was well received by Lasseter, who responded by embracing and lifting Howard "in the air like a baby Simba."  Lasseter suggested that Howard should try combining the 1960s theme with the animal characters, especially the space pug. This led Howard to develop and pitch Savage Seas, an international spy film centered on a rabbit named "Jack Savage" who was somewhat like James Bond. It was around this time that screenwriter Jared Bush was hired to work on the film; he was excited to work on a spy film because his own father and grandfather had worked for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Howard and Bush continued to develop the film with the assistance of the Disney Story Trust, the studio's top creative personnel who meet regularly to review and discuss all projects in development. The most delightful part of the spy film turned out to be its first act, set in a city created by and for animals. To focus on the all-animal city, Howard eventually dropped the 1960s setting, along with the espionage and international aspects, which caused the film to evolve into a contemporary police procedural in which Nick Wilde was the lead role and Judy Hopps was essentially his sidekick. For a while, "the filmmakers were very committed" to that version of the story, but then in November 2014, the filmmakers realized the film's plot would be more engaging if they reversed the roles to instead focus on Hopps as opposed to Wilde. The change in perspective caused several characters to be dropped, including two characters known as "The Gerbil Jerks" who were described as "trust-fund gerbils that had nothing better to do than harass Nick."
In May 2013, The Hollywood Reporter initially reported that Howard was directing the film and that Jason Bateman had been cast, but little else about the film was known at the time. Zootopia was first officially announced in August 2013 at the D23 Expo, with a March 2016 release date.
Research for the film took place in Disney's Animal Kingdom, as well as in Kenya and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where animators spent eight months studying various animals' walk cycles as well as fur color. 800,000 forms of mammals were created for and featured in the film. To make the characters' fur even more realistic, they also went to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to closely observe the appearance of fur with a microscope under a variety of lighting. The filmmakers drew inspiration for Zootopia's urban design from major cities including New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Brasília. To develop a city that could actually be inhabited by talking mammals ranging in size from two inches (5 cm) to 27 feet (8.23 m) and from drastically different climates, the filmmakers consulted Americans with Disabilities Act specialists and HVAC system designers. For assistance with designing motor vehicles appropriate for so many different types and sizes of mammals, the filmmakers consulted with J Mays, former chief creative officer of the Ford Motor Company. During the development process, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn suggested that Nick should expressly state his disappointment ("Just when I thought someone actually believed in me...") after discovering that Judy still fears him as a predator. In March 2015, it was revealed that Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) had been added as a director of the film, in addition to Jared Bush (Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero) as co-director.
Disney's most recent work on animating fur was for the titular character of the 2008 film Bolt, but the software they had used at the time was not ready for creating the realistic fur of the animals of Zootopia. Therefore, the studio's IT engineers developed the fur-controlling software iGroom, which gave character designers precise control over the brushing, shaping and shading of fur and made it possible to create a variety of eccentric character styles for each animal. The software was also able to control an unseen "imaginary" underlayer that gave fur a degree of plushness not seen before. This feature was used to create characters like Officer Clawhauser, who has a big head that is entirely made of spotted fur. Characters with noteworthy numbers of strands of hair or fur included both of the two lead characters, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, who each had around 2.5 million hairs; a giraffe with nine million strands of fur; a gerbil with 480,000 strands; and a rodent with more strands of hair than the 400,000 that were on Elsa's head in Frozen.
Zootopia was the second time Disney used the Hyperion renderer, which they had first used on Big Hero 6. A new fur paradigm was added to the renderer to facilitate the creation of realistic images of the animals' dense fur. Nitro, a real-time display application developed since the making of Wreck-It Ralph, was used to make the fur more consistent, intact and subtle much more quickly, as opposed to the previous practice of having to predict how the fur would work while making and looking at silhouettes or poses for the character. The tree-and-plant generator Bonsai, first used in Frozen, was used to make numerous variations of trees with very detailed foliage.
On May 6, 2015, Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin were announced as having been cast, respectively in the roles of Nick Wilde and Lieutenant Judy Hopps. The filmmakers chose Bateman because they wanted an actor who could bring "a funny yet heartfelt side" with "a wily, dry-witted sort of voice." Bateman described his character as "a crafty, sarcastic schemer," remarking on the role's similarity to many other roles he had done since he was 12. He explained that he had said to the directors: "'What kind of voice do you guys want me to do?' And they just looked at me like I was an idiot and said, 'Just do what you do. Just talk.'"
Commenting on the casting of Goodwin, Moore said that she brought "very centered sweetness, tremendous heart and a great sense of humor"; he described Judy as "a little Pollyanna mixed with Furiosa." Goodwin stated about her character: "People mistake kindness for naivete or stupidity, and she is a good girl through and through. But she's not a dumb bunny."
The film's score is composed by Michael Giacchino. It marks his first feature-length project for Walt Disney Animation Studios, as he previously scored the Goofy short How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, the two Prep & Landing specials and short film, and the short film The Ballad of Nessie. In addition to her voice role of Gazelle, pop star Shakira also contributed an original song to the film titled "Try Everything," which was written by Sia and Stargate. The film's score was recorded by an 80-piece orchestra in November 2015, with Tim Simonec conducting.
|Zootopia: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Michael Giacchino|
|Released||March 4, 2016|
|Recorded||November 16 – 20, 2015|
|Studio||Eastwood Scoring Stage, Warner Bros., Los Angeles|
|Producer||Michael Giacchino (score producer)
Chris Montan (executive music)
Tom MacDougall (music supervisor)
|Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology|
|Michael Giacchino chronology|
|1.||"Try Everything"||Sia Furler, Tor Erik Hermansen, Mikkel S. Eriksen||Shakira||3:16|
|3.||"Grey's Uh-Mad at Me"||1:44|
|4.||"Ticket to Write"||1:07|
|6.||"Jumbo Pop Hustle"||1:50|
|7.||"Walk and Stalk"||1:29|
|8.||"Not a Real Cop"||1:34|
|9.||"Hopps Goes (After) the Weasel"||2:19|
|11.||"Work Slowly and Carry a Big Shtick"||0:44|
|13.||"Case of the Manchas"||4:00|
|14.||"The Nick of Time"||5:02|
|15.||"World's Worst Animal Shelter"||4:24|
|16.||"Some of My Best Friends Are Predators"||3:47|
|17.||"A Bunny Can Go Savage"||1:45|
|20.||"Ewe Fell for It"||6:37|
|22.||"Suite from Zootopia"||7:28|
Zootopia was released in Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D, making it the first Disney animated film shown in domestic IMAX theatres since Treasure Planet (2002). The film was retitled for theatrical release across several international territories. In the United Kingdom and other European, Middle Eastern, and North African countries, the film was renamed Zootropolis, a reference to the concept of a 'metropolis' rather than to that of a 'utopia'; all lines that include "Zootopia" were also redubbed. In China, the state's SAPPRFT granted the film a rare two-week extension to play in theaters in addition to its limited 30-day run, which was to have ended on April 3.
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The first teaser trailer was released online at Walt Disney Animation Studios' YouTube page on June 11, 2015. A second teaser trailer was released online again at Walt Disney Animation Studios' YouTube page on November 23, 2015, featuring a sequence of the film where the main characters encounter a Department of Mammal Vehicles (based on the DMV) run entirely by sloths. The official theatrical trailer for the film was released online at Walt Disney Animation Studios' YouTube page on New Year's Eve 2015. Figures of Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde were released for Disney Infinity 3.0 on March 1, 2016.
Digital marketing company Allied Integrated Media was contracted by Disney to reach out to members of the furry fandom on Meetup, encouraging them to post photos of themselves in their fursuits on social media, with the movie hashtag, as a form of viral marketing for the film.
Zootopia was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and Digital HD platforms on June 7, 2016. It includes some bonus material such as "Scoretopia," an alternate opening, and the music video to Shakira's "Try Everything." The film debuted at the top of the home media sales chart for the week ending on June 12, 2016.
Zootopia grossed $341.3 million in the U.S. and Canada and $682.5 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $1.024 billion, against a budget of $150 million. On March 18, 2016, the film reached the $500 million mark, becoming the third consecutive Walt Disney Animation Studios film to reach the milestone after Frozen (2013) and Big Hero 6 (2014). On April 5, it became the first film of 2016 to gross over $800 million in ticket sales, and on April 24, became the first ever film of 2016 to cross $900 million. On June 5, the film crossed the $1 billion mark, becoming the second film of 2016 to do so (after the studio's own Captain America: Civil War), the fourth animated film (after Toy Story 3, Frozen, and Minions), the eleventh Disney film (third Disney animated film), and the twenty-sixth film overall to break the milestone.
Worldwide, it is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2016 (behind Civil War, Rogue One, and Finding Dory), the second highest-grossing animated film of 2016, the second highest-grossing Walt Disney Animation Studios film (second highest overall) of all time in its original release (after Frozen), the second highest-grossing original film (behind Avatar), the fifth highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the 26th highest-grossing film of all time.
In the United States and Canada, pre-release tracking suggested the film would open to $60–70 million from 3,827 theaters in its opening weekend. It played in 3,100 3D theaters, 365 IMAX theaters, and 325 premium large format screens. It earned $1.7 million from Thursday previews, a record for a non-Pixar Disney animated film, for an animated film opening outside of summer, and seventh biggest all-time for an animated film. Buoyed by good word of mouth, it earned $19.5 million on its opening day, also a record for a non-Pixar Disney animated film (breaking Frozen's record), and the second biggest for a March animated film (behind Ice Age: The Meltdown). In its opening weekend, it scored a better than expected $75.1 million, which was the biggest non-Pixar Disney animated opening (breaking Big Hero 6's record), the biggest opening weekend among Walt Disney Animation Studios films (breaking Frozen's record), the biggest March animated opening (breaking The Lorax's record), the seventh biggest March opening, and the tenth biggest animated opening of all time. Furthermore, its opening weekend is also the fourth biggest for an original film, behind The Secret Life of Pets, Inside Out, and Avatar. It also performed exceptionally well in IMAX, where the film brought in $5.2 million from 366 screens, the second best animated IMAX opening behind only Toy Story 3 ($8.4 million).
In its second weekend, it fell gradually by 31% to $51.3 million and recorded one of the best holds for an animated film, more or less on par with Wreck-It Ralph's second weekend drop of 32%, but a bigger drop than The Lego Movie's 27%. It continued to top the box office for the third weekend, earning $37.2 million, falling by 28% from its previous weekend while passing the $200 million mark. This made it the second biggest third weekend for a film that did not open at over $100 million, behind Avatar ($68 million) and ahead of Skyfall ($35 million). The film was overtaken by the superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in its fourth weekend, despite only a marginal decline. It spent a total of 13 consecutive weeks in the top ten, more than any other film except for Avatar (14 weeks) and Frozen (16 weeks) over the last decade.
It ended its theatrical run on August 4, 2016, after playing in theaters for a total of 154 days. It became the second highest-grossing Walt Disney Animation Studios film (behind Frozen), the seventh highest-grossing film of 2016, and the tenth highest-grossing animated film of all time.
Internationally, Zootopia received a scattered release as Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures took advantage of school holidays in various markets. The film opened in a limited number of international markets in the weekend ending February 14, earning $4.5 million in three markets. It expanded to 22 markets in its second weekend, into 36% of its total international markets, and added $31.2 million. It added another $33 million in its third weekend with no new markets. In its fourth weekend, it expanded to 45 countries and grossed $64.7 million, coming in second place at the international box office, behind the Chinese film Ip Man 3. $3.3 million came from IMAX showings. It finally topped the box office in its fifth weekend after a strong second weekend gross in China. It added $89.3 million from 45 countries, an increase of 25% from its previous weekend. It remained in first place for the second time in its sixth weekend, before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice took the top spot. It passed the $500 million mark in its eighth weekend.
In its opening weekend—which varied between markets—the film grossed $3.1 million in Spain and an additional $1.7 million in Belgium and Denmark. In Belgium, it had the biggest ever animated opening for a Disney or Pixar film. It broke opening records for a non-Pixar Disney animated film in China ($23.6 million), France ($8.7 million), Russia ($7.9 million), Germany ($6.8 million), Hong Kong ($1.9 million), Poland ($1.2 million), and India. It opened in the United Kingdom and Ireland with $7.3 million, Mexico with $4.6 million, Australia with $3.6 million, Brazil with $2.6 million, and in Italy, on a non-holiday weekend with $3.3 million. The film had number-one openings in Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, and South Africa. In the UK and Ireland, with significant competition from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the animated family film Kung Fu Panda 3, the film had a £5.31 million ($7.6 million) opening weekend from 579 theaters, including £1.74 million ($2.5 million) worth of previews, debuting in second place behind Dawn of Justice and falling just short of Walt Disney Animation Studios' best opening in the UK. It fell just 24% in its second weekend.
Zootopia's largest markets overseas are China ($235.6 million), followed by Japan ($70.1 million), Germany ($34.2 million), the UK ($34.2 million), Russia and the CIS ($39.2 million), France ($31.9 million), and South Korea ($31.6 million). In China, it is the highest-grossing Disney film in local currency (¥1.530 billion), surpassing Avengers: Age of Ultron (¥1.464 billion), as well as the seventh highest-grossing film of all time. In Russia, it is the second highest-grossing film of all time in local currency (₽2.3 billion), behind only Avatar (₽3.6 billion). It topped the Russian and German box office for three weekends, and the Chinese and Korean box office for two weekends.
In China, where it was locally known as Crazy Animal City (疯狂动物城), the film exceeded expectations and was considered Hollywood's biggest breakout success in China since 2015's Jurassic World made $229 million. It had an opening day of $3.4 million on its way to $23.6 million for its three-day opening weekend, debuting in second place and scoring the biggest non-sequel animated opening, as well as the second biggest three-day opening and IMAX opening for an animated film, behind Kung Fu Panda 3. In its ninth day of release (a Saturday), it recorded the biggest single-day gross ever for an animated film, with $25 million (compared to $10.6 million on its first Saturday), and passed the lifetime total of Big Hero 6 to become the highest-grossing Disney animated film in China. In its second weekend, it grossed $60 million, an enormous increase of 139% from its previous weekend, and crossed the $100 million mark to become the third animated film in China to do so, after Kung Fu Panda 3 and Monkey King: Hero Is Back. This also marked the single best weekend for an animated film. In mid-March, the combined total of Kung Fu Panda 3 and Zootopia alone broke 2014's record of $286 million in box office grosses for American animated features in China. In its third weekend, it grossed $40 million for a total of $175 million, making it the highest-grossing animated film of all time in China. On March 27, its seventeenth day of release, it passed the $200 million mark, becoming the first animated film, the second Disney film, and the sixth Hollywood film overall to pass that milestone. It became the highest-grossing animated film of all time and the second highest-grossing film of 2016, behind only The Mermaid.
It opened in Japan on April 23 and earned $4 million in its opening weekend, debuting at second place in the box office, behind Detective Conan: The Darkest Nightmare, and had the third biggest Walt Disney Animation Studios debut in that market, behind Frozen and Big Hero 6. Deadline.com pointed out that the average opening number might have been due to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, which could have affected moviegoers. In a rare achievement, it topped the box office in its third weekend after two weeks at No. 2. In the following two weekends, it continued to increase its ticket sales, and topped the box office there for four consecutive weekends. After four straight wins, it was finally overtaken by the R-rated superhero film Deadpool. It was the No. 1 western/Hollywood film for eight consecutive weekends. The Hollywood Reporter cited that strong word of mouth, audiences watching both the English and Japanese versions, and 3D and 4DX screenings, as well as a popular Japanese version of the "Try Everything" song by Dream Ami, all helped boost Zootopia's performance. Its strong run in the market aided the film to propel past the $1 billion mark worldwide. It remained in top three for eleven consecutive weekends and has grossed a total of $70.1 million there.
Zootopia received critical acclaim. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 98% based on 243 reviews, with a weighted average score of 8.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation – all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained." It was the site's second highest-rated film of 2016 behind Moonlight. By the end of 2016, Zootopia was the highest-rated film of 2016, and it won the Golden Tomato Awards for Best Wide Release and Best Animated Movie. On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 78 out of 100 based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times considered the movie "funny, smart, [and] thought-provoking." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote that Zootopia "may be the most subversive movie of" 2016, praising its timely message about the harm of prejudice in the face of the prevailing xenophobic political rhetoric at the time of the film's release, and the film's humor. Peter Debruge at Variety opined that Zootopia "plays directly to the studio's strengths." IGN reviewer Eric Goldman gave the film a 9.0 out of 10 'Amazing' score, saying "Zootopia is a wonderful example of how Disney, at its best, can mix its past and present together in a very cool, compelling way. It takes the classic animation trope of animals walking, talking and acting like humans, but gives it a modern spin both in terms of its humor and animation style ... and also in its themes, which are meaningful and fascinatingly topical."
Writing in British Sunday newspaper The Observer, reviewer Mark Kermode found the film to be a "very funny, and very likable holiday treat." He added, "The ensuing drama is nominally a tale of predators succumbing to their animal instincts while frightened prey fear their neighbours. In fact, it's a delightfully well-orchestrated parable about trust and tolerance versus panic and prejudice. An encouragingly upbeat celebration of love and diversity in times of hate and uncertainty. If that all sounds overly on-message, then fear not – the jokes are funny, the characters engaging, and the animation packed with delicious visual detail," before concluding, "[…] this is proper family fun with genuine cross-generational appeal. Hooray!"
In the UK daily newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Robbie Collin noted, "The lion doesn't just lie down with the lamb, they run for City Hall on a joint ticket. It's the diversity dream come true. Or is it? […] Think Busytown by way of Chinatown. It's almost certain to be the most existentially probing talking animal cartoon of the year." Collin added, "Like Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hrs., albeit considerably cuter, Judy and Nick make a hilariously strained but effective double act – not least thanks to Goodwin and Bateman's tremendous vocal work, which trips along with the effortless swing and snap of great bebop."
Also in The Daily Telegraph, Rosa Prince singled out the film's lead character, Judy Hopps, as a welcome change for Disney animated feature film heroines, such as the Disney Princess franchise. She found that unlike those characters' focus on romance or family loyalty, Hopps' focus is on her dream career as a police officer and serving her city.
On March 21, 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Disney by Esplanade Productions, a company owned by Gary L. Goldman, screenwriter of Total Recall. The lawsuit alleges that Goldman twice pitched a concept for Zootopia, under that title, to Disney in 2000 and 2009 but was twice rejected. Disney then copied the concept and marketed the film as its own. Filed with the lawsuit was a graphic of early concept artwork of characters that are claimed to appear similar to major characters from the film, including Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps, Flash and Chief Bogo. A Disney spokesperson quickly responded to the lawsuit, describing it as "ridden with patently false allegations."
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