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Finding Nemo

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Title: Finding Nemo  
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Subject: List of Pixar characters, 31st Annie Awards, Ratatouille (film), Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo (franchise)
Collection: 2000S American Animated Films, 2003 Computer-Animated Films, 2003 Films, American 3D Films, American Adventure Comedy Films, American Animated Films, American Children's Films, American Films, Animated Duos, Best Animated Feature Academy Award Winners, Best Animated Feature Annie Award Winners, Best Animated Feature Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Winners, Buddy Films, English-Language Films, Fictional Fish, Film Scores by Thomas Newman, Films About Animal Rights, Films About Animals, Films About Fish, Films About Sharks, Films Directed by Andrew Stanton, Films Directed by Lee Unkrich, Films Featuring Anthropomorphic Characters, Films Set in Australia, Films Set in Sydney, Films Set in the Pacific Ocean, Finding Nemo, Pixar Animated Films, Walt Disney Pictures Films, Walt Disney Theatrical
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Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Produced by Graham Walters
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton
Bob Peterson
David Reynolds
Story by Andrew Stanton
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Sharon Calahan
Jeremy Lasky
Edited by David Ian Salter
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • May 30, 2003 (2003-05-30)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $94 million[1]
Box office $936.7 million[1]

Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Andrew Stanton, it tells the story of the overprotective clownfish named Marlin who, along with a regal tang named Dory, searches for his abducted son Nemo all the way to Sydney Harbour. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and let Nemo take care of himself.

Originally released on May 30, 2003, the film was eventually re-released in 3D on September 14, 2012, and it was released on Blu-ray on December 4, 2012. The film received widespread critical acclaim, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and was nominated in three more categories including Best Original Screenplay. It was the second highest-grossing film of 2003, earning a total of $936 million worldwide.[1] Finding Nemo is the best-selling DVD of all time, with over 40 million copies sold as of 2006,[2] and was the highest-grossing G-rated film of all time before Pixar's own Toy Story 3 overtook it. It is the 31st highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the 5th highest-grossing animated film. In 2008, the American Film Institute named it the 10th greatest animated film ever made as part of their 10 Top 10 lists.[3] A sequel, Finding Dory, is in production, set to be released on June 17, 2016.[4]


  • Plot 1
  • Voice cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Video game 4
  • Reception 5
    • Critical response 5.1
    • Box office 5.2
      • 3D re-release 5.2.1
    • Accolades 5.3
    • Environmental concerns and consequences 5.4
  • Home media 6
  • Soundtrack 7
  • Theme park attractions 8
    • Finding Nemo – The Musical 8.1
  • Sequel 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Two ocellaris clownfish, Marlin and his wife Coral, admire their new home in the Great Barrier Reef and their clutch of eggs when a barracuda attacks, knocking Marlin unconscious. He wakes up to find that Coral and all but one of the eggs have disappeared. Marlin names this last egg Nemo, a name that Coral liked.

Nemo develops a smaller right fin as a result of damage to his egg during the attack, which limits his swimming ability. Worried about Nemo's safety, Marlin embarrasses Nemo during a school field trip. Nemo sneaks away from the reef and is captured by scuba divers. As the boat departs, a diver accidentally knocks his diving mask overboard. While attempting to save Nemo, Marlin meets Dory, a good-hearted and optimistic regal blue tang with short-term memory loss. Marlin and Dory meet three sharks – Bruce, Anchor and Chum – who are trying to make friends with fish in an old minefield. Marlin discovers the diver's mask and notices an address written on it. When he argues with Dory and accidentally gives her a nosebleed, the blood scent causes Bruce to enter an uncontrollable feeding frenzy. The pair escape from Bruce but the mask falls into a trench in the deep sea.

During a hazardous struggle with an anglerfish in the trench, Dory sees the diving mask and reads the address located in Sydney, Australia. The pair swim on, receiving directions to Sydney from a school of moonfish. Marlin and Dory encounter a bloom of jellyfish that nearly kills them. Marlin loses consciousness and wakes up on a sea turtle named Crush, who takes Marlin and Dory on the East Australian Current. Marlin tells the details of his long journey with a group of sea turtles, and his story is spread across the ocean. He also sees how Crush gets on well with his son Squirt.

Meanwhile, Nemo is placed in a fish tank in the office of a dentist named Phillip Sherman on Sydney Harbour. He meets aquarium fish called the Tank Gang, led by a moorish idol named Gill, who has a broken fin. The Tank Gang includes Bloat, a puffer fish; Bubbles, a yellow tang; Peach, an ochre starfish; Gurgle, a royal gramma; Jacques, a pacific cleaner shrimp; and Deb, a blacktailed humbug.

The fish learn that Nemo is to be given to Sherman's niece, Darla, who killed a fish by constantly shaking its bag. Gill then reveals his plan to escape, jamming the tank's filter, forcing the dentist to remove the fish to clean it. The fish would be placed in plastic bags, and then they would roll out the window and into the harbor. After an attempt at the escape goes wrong, a brown pelican, Nigel, brings news of Marlin's adventure. Inspired by his father's determination, Nemo successfully jams the filter, but the dentist installs a new high-tech filter before they can escape.

After leaving the East Australian Current, Marlin and Dory are engulfed by a blue whale. Inside the whale's mouth, Dory communicates with the whale, which carries them to Port Jackson and expels them through his blowhole. They meet Nigel, who recognizes Marlin from the stories he has heard, and he takes them to Sherman's office. Darla has just arrived and the dentist is handing Nemo to her. Nemo plays dead to save himself as Nigel arrives. Marlin sees Nemo and believes he is dead before Nigel is thrown out. In despair, Marlin leaves Dory and begins to swim home. Gill then helps Nemo escape into a drain that leads to the ocean. Dory loses her memory and becomes confused, and meets Nemo, who reached the ocean. Eventually, Dory's memory returns after she reads the word "Sydney" on a drainpipe. She directs Nemo to Marlin and they reunite, but then Dory is caught in a fishing net with a school of grouper. Nemo enters the net and orders the group to swim downward to break the net, enabling them to escape. After returning home, Nemo leaves for school, with Crush's son Squirt, and Marlin, no longer overprotective, proudly watches Nemo swim away with Dory at his side.

At the dentist's office, the high-tech filter breaks down and the Tank Gang escapes into the harbor, belatedly realizing they are still confined in plastic bags.

Voice cast


The inspiration for Nemo sprang from multiple experiences, going back to when director Andrew Stanton was a child, when he loved going to the dentist to see the fish tank, assuming that the fish were from the ocean and wanted to go home.[5] In 1992, shortly after his son was born, he and his family took a trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (which was called Marine World at the time). There, after seeing the shark tube and various exhibits, he felt that the underwater world could be done beautifully in computer animation.[6] Later, in 1997, he took his son for a walk in the park, but realized that he was over protecting him and lost an opportunity to have a father-son experience that day.[5]

In an interview with National Geographic magazine, he said that the idea for the characters of Marlin and Nemo came from a photograph of two clownfish peeking out of an anemone:

In addition, clownfish are colourful, but do not tend to come out of an anemone often. For a character who has to go on a dangerous journey, Stanton felt a clownfish was the perfect type of fish for the character.[5] Pre-production of the film began in early 1997. Stanton began writing the screenplay during the post-production of A Bug's Life. As a result, Finding Nemo began production with a complete screenplay, something that co-director Lee Unkrich called "very unusual for an animated film".[5] The artists took scuba diving lessons to study the coral reef.[5]

Andrew Stanton co-wrote and directed the film.

The idea for the initiation sequence came from a story conference between Andrew Stanton and Bob Peterson while they were driving to record the actors. Stanton was inspired to cast Ellen DeGeneres when he watched an episode of Ellen in which he saw her "change the subject five times before finishing one sentence".[5] The pelican character named Gerald (who in the final film ends up swallowing and choking on Marlin and Dory) was originally a friend of Nigel. They were going to play against each other with Nigel being neat and fastidious and Gerald being scruffy and sloppy. The filmmakers could not find an appropriate scene for them that did not slow the pace of the picture, so Gerald's character was minimized.[5]

Stanton himself provided the voice of Crush the sea turtle. He originally did the voice for the film's story reel, and assumed they would find an actor later. When Stanton's performance became popular in test screenings, he decided to keep his performance in the film. He recorded all his dialogue while lying on a sofa in co-director Lee Unkrich's office.[5] Crush's son Squirt was voiced by Nicholas Bird, the young son of fellow Pixar director Brad Bird. According to Stanton, the elder Bird was playing a tape recording of his young son around the Pixar studios one day. Stanton felt the voice was "this generation's Thumper" and immediately cast Nicholas.[5]

Megan Mullally was originally going to provide a voice in the film. According to Mullally, the producers were dissatisfied to learn that the voice of her character Karen Walker on the television show Will & Grace was not her natural speaking voice. The producers hired her anyway, and then strongly encouraged her to use her Karen Walker voice for the role. When Mullally refused, she was dismissed.[8] To ensure that the movements of the fish in the film were believable, the animators took a crash course in fish biology and oceanography. They visited aquariums, went diving in Hawaii and received in-house lectures from an ichthyologist.[9] As a result, Pixar's animator for Dory, Gini Cruz Santos, integrated "the fish movement, human movement, and facial expressions to make them look and feel like real characters."[10][11]

The film was dedicated to Glenn McQueen, a Pixar animator who died of melanoma in October 2002.[12] Finding Nemo shares many plot elements with Pierrot the Clownfish, a children's book published in 2002, but conceived in 1995. The author, Franck Le Calvez, sued Disney for infringement of his intellectual rights. The judge ruled against him, citing the color differences between Pierrot and Nemo.[13]

Video game

A video game based on the film was released in 2003, for PC, Xbox, PS2, GameCube and Game Boy Advance. The goal of the game is to complete different levels under the roles of film protagonists Nemo, Marlin or Dory. It includes cutscenes from the movie, and each clip is based on a level. It was also the last Disney/Pixar game developed by Traveller's Tales. Upon release, the game received mixed reviews.[14][15][16][17][18][19] A Game Boy Advance sequel, titled Finding Nemo: The Continuing Adventures, was released in 2004.[20]


Critical response

Finding Nemo garnered universal critical acclaim. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 99% approval rating, with a rating average of 8.7/10 based on 253 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Breathtaking animation, talented vocal work, and a well-written screenplay add up to another Pixar success."[21] Another review aggregation website Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 90 out of 100 based on 38 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."[22]

[27] Jeff Strickler of the Star Tribune gave the film a positive review, saying "Proves that even when Pixar is not at the top of its game, it still produces better animation than some of its competitors on their best days."[27] Gene Seymour of Newsday gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "The underwater backdrops take your breath away. No, really. They're so lifelike, you almost feel like holding your breath while watching."[27] Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald gave the film four out of four stars, saying "Parental anxiety may not be the kind of stuff children's films are usually made of, but this perfectly enchanting movie knows how to cater to its kiddie audience without condescending to them."[28]

Kenneth Turan of the [32] Bruce Westbrook of the Houston Chronicle gave the film an A-, saying "Finding Nemo lives up to Pixar's high standards for wildly creative visuals, clever comedy, solid characters and an involving story."[33] Tom Long of The Detroit News gave the film an A-, saying "A simple test of humanity: If you don't laugh aloud while watching it, you've got a battery not a heart."[27]

Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film four out of four stars, saying "A dazzling, computer-animated fish tale with a funny, touching script and wonderful voice performances that make it an unqualified treat for all ages."[27] Moira MacDonald of The Seattle Times gave the film four out of four stars, saying "Enchanting; written with an effortless blend of sweetness and silliness, and animated with such rainbow-hued beauty, you may find yourself wanting to freeze-frame it."[27] Daphne Gordon of the Toronto Star gave the film four out of five stars, saying "One of the strongest releases from Disney in years, thanks to the work of Andrew Stanton, possibly one of the most successful directors you've never heard of."[27] Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "Finding Nemo isn't quite up there with the company's finest work -- there's finally a sense of formula setting in -- but it's hands down the best family film since Monsters, Inc.."[27] C.W. Nevius of The San Francisco Chronicle gave the film four out of four stars, saying "The visuals pop, the fish emote and the ocean comes alive. That's in the first two minutes. After that, they do some really cool stuff."[34] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film a positive review, saying "Finding Nemo will engross kids with its absorbing story, brightly drawn characters and lively action, and grown-ups will be equally entertained by the film's subtle humor and the sophistication of its visuals."[27] David Ansen of Newsweek gave the film a positive review, saying "A visual marvel, every frame packed to the gills with clever details, Finding Nemo is the best big-studio release so far this year."[35]

Richard Corliss of Time gave the film a positive review, saying "Nemo, with its ravishing underwater fantasia, manages to trump the design glamour of earlier Pixar films."[36] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A, saying "In this seamless blending of technical brilliance and storytelling verve, the Pixar team has made something as marvelously soulful and innately, fluidly American as jazz."[37] Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three out of four stars, saying "As eye-popping as Nemo's peepers and as eccentric as this little fish with asymmetrical fins."[27] David Germain of the Associated Press gave the film a positive review, saying "Finding Nemo is laced with smart humor and clever gags, and buoyed by another cheery story of mismatched buddies: a pair of fish voiced by Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres."[38] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker gave the film a positive review, saying "The latest flood of wizardry from Pixar, whose productions, from Toy Story onward, have lent an indispensable vigor and wit to the sagging art of mainstream animation."[39] The 3D re-release prompted a retrospective on the film nine years after its initial release. Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger described it as "a genuinely funny and touching film that, in less than a decade, has established itself as a timeless classic."[40] On the 3D re-release, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote that its emotional power was deepened by "the dimensionality of the oceanic deep" where "the spatial mysteries of watery currents and floating worlds are exactly where 3D explorers were born to boldly go".[41]

Box office

Finding Nemo earned $380,843,261 in North America, and $555,900,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $936,743,261.[1] It is the thirtieth highest-grossing film and the second highest-grossing film of 2003, behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.[42] Worldwide, it was the highest-grossing Pixar film, up until 2010 when Toy Story 3 surpassed it.[43]

In North America, Finding Nemo set an opening weekend record for an animated feature, making $70,251,710 (first surpassed by Shrek 2) and ended up spending 11 weeks in the top 10 domestically, remaining there until August 14.[44] It became the highest-grossing animated film in North America ($339.7 million), outside North America ($528.2 million) and worldwide ($867.9 million), in all three occasions out-grossing The Lion King.[45] In North America, it was surpassed by both Shrek 2 in 2004, and Toy Story 3 in 2010.[46] After the re-release of The Lion King in 2011 and after Despicable Me 2 and Frozen passed it in 2014, it stands as the fifth highest-grossing animated film in these regions. Outside North America, it stands as the fifth highest-grossing animated film. Worldwide, it now ranks fourth among animated films.[47]

The film had impressive box office runs in many international markets. In Japan, its highest-grossing market after North America, it grossed ¥11.2 billion ($102.4 million), becoming the highest-grossing foreign animated film in local currency (yen).[48] It has only been surpassed by Frozen (¥12.1 billion).[49] Following in biggest grosses are the U.K., Ireland and Malta, where it grossed £37.2 million ($67.1 million), France and the Maghreb region ($64.8 million), Germany ($53.9 million) and Spain ($29.5 million).[50]

3D re-release

After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney and Pixar re-released Finding Nemo in 3D on September 14, 2012,[51] with a conversion cost estimated to be below $5 million.[52] For the opening weekend of its 3D re-release in North America, Finding Nemo grossed $16.7 million, debuting at the No. 2 spot behind Resident Evil: Retribution.[53] In total, it earned $41.1 million in the United States, and $31.0 million outside the U.S.[54]


Finding Nemo won the Academy Award and Saturn Award for Best Animated Film.[55] It also won the award for Best Animated Film at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, the National Board of Review Awards, the Online Film Critics Society Awards, and the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.[56] The film received many other awards, including: Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Movie and Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie (Ellen DeGeneres) and Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress (Ellen DeGeneres).[56]

The film was also nominated for two Chicago Film Critics Association Awards for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Ellen DeGeneres), a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and two MTV Movie Awards for Best Movie and Best Comedic Performance (Ellen DeGeneres).[56]

In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten", the best 10 films in 10 "classic" American film genres, after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Finding Nemo was acknowledged as the 10th best film in the animation genre.[3] It was the most recently released film among all 10 lists, and one of only three movies made after the year 2000 (the others being The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Shrek).[57]

American Film Institute recognition:

Environmental concerns and consequences

The film's use of clownfish prompted mass purchase of the fish breed as pets in the United States, even though the story portrayed the use of fish as pets negatively and suggested that saltwater aquariums are notably tricky and expensive to maintain.[58] The demand for clownfish was supplied by large-scale harvesting of tropical fish in regions like Vanuatu.[59] The Australian Tourism Commission (ATC) launched several marketing campaigns in China and the United States to improve tourism in Australia, many of them utilizing Finding Nemo clips.[60][61] Queensland used Finding Nemo to draw tourists to promote its state for vacationers.[62] According to National Geographic, "Ironically, Finding Nemo, a movie about the anguish of a captured clownfish, caused home-aquarium demand for them to triple."[63]

The reaction to the film by the general public has led to environmental devastation for the clownfish, and has provoked an outcry from several environmental protection agencies, including the Marine Aquarium Council, Australia. The demand for tropical fish skyrocketed after the film's release, causing reef species decimation in Vanuatu and many other reef areas.[64] After seeing the film, some aquarium owners released their pet fish into the ocean, but failed to release them into the correct oceanic habitat, which introduced species that are harmful to the indigenous environment, a practice that is harming reefs worldwide.[65][66]

Home media

Finding Nemo was released on VHS and DVD on November 4, 2003.[67] The DVD release included an original short film Exploring the Reef and the short animated film, Knick Knack (1989).[68] The film was then released on both Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on December 4, 2012, with both a 3-disc and a 5-disc set.[69]


Finding Nemo, the original soundtrack album,[70] was the first Pixar film not to be scored by Randy Newman. The album was scored by Thomas Newman, his cousin, and released on May 20, 2003.[71] The album was nominated for the Academy Award for Original Music Score, losing to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.[72]

Theme park attractions

Finding Nemo has inspired numerous attractions and properties at Disney Parks around the world, including: Turtle Talk with Crush which opened in 2004 at Epcot, 2005 in Disney California Adventure Park, 2008 in Hong Kong Disneyland, and 2009 in Tokyo DisneySea, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage which opened in 2007 in Disneyland Park, The Seas with Nemo & Friends which opened in 2007 at Epcot, Finding Nemo – The Musical which opened in 2007 in Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Crush's Coaster which opened in 2007 at Walt Disney Studios Park.[73][74][75]

Finding Nemo – The Musical

The "Theater In The Wild", home to Finding Nemo – The Musical

The stage musical Tarzan Rocks! occupied the Theater in the Wild at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida from 1999 to 2006. When the musical closed in January 2006, it was rumored that a musical adaptation of Finding Nemo would replace it.[76] This was confirmed in April 2006, when Disney announced that the musical adaptation of Finding Nemo, with new songs written by Tony Award-winning Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, would "combine puppets, dancers, acrobats and animated backdrops" and open in late 2006.[77] Years later, Anderson-Lopez explained that she had written a compact 15-minute a cappella version of the story of Oedipus; someone at Disney read it and recognized her talent for condensing material, and offered her the opportunity to make a pitch for the Finding Nemo project.[78]

Tony Award-winning director Peter Brosius signed on to direct the show, with Michael Curry, who designed puppets for Disney's successful stage version of The Lion King, serving as leading puppet and production designer.[79]

Anderson-Lopez said that the couple agreed to write the adaptation of "one of their favorite movies of all time" after considering "the idea of people coming in [to see the musical] at 4, 5 or 6 and saying, 'I want to do that'....So we want to take it as seriously as we would a Broadway show".[80] To condense the feature-length film to 30 minutes, she and Lopez focused on a single theme from the movie, the idea that "the world's dangerous and beautiful".[80]

The 40-minute show (which is performed six times daily) opened on January 2, 2007.[79] Several musical numbers took direct inspiration from lines in the film, including "(In The) Big Blue World", "Fish Are Friends, Not Food", "Just Keep Swimming", and "Go With the Flow".[79] In January 2007, a New York studio recording of the show was released on iTunes, with Lopez and Anderson-Lopez providing the voices for Marlin and Dory, respectively.[79] Avenue Q star Stephanie D'Abruzzo also appeared on the recording, as Sheldon/Deb.[79] Finding Nemo was the first non-musical animated film to which Disney added songs to produce a stage musical.[79] In 2009, Finding Nemo – The Musical was honored with a Thea Award for Best Live Show from the Themed Entertainment Association.[81]


In 2005, after disagreements between Disney's Michael Eisner and Pixar's Steve Jobs over the distribution of Pixar's films, Disney announced that they would be creating a new animation studio, Circle 7 Animation, to make sequels to the seven Disney-owned Pixar films (which consisted of the films released between 1995 and 2006).[82] The studio had put Toy Story 3 and Monsters, Inc. 2 into development, and had hired screenwriter Laurie Craig to write a draft for Finding Nemo 2.[83] Circle 7 was subsequently shut down after Robert Iger replaced Eisner as CEO of Disney and arranged the acquisition of Pixar.

In July 2012, it was reported that Andrew Stanton was developing a sequel to Finding Nemo, to be titled Finding Dory,[84] with Victoria Strouse writing the script and scheduled to be released in 2016.[85] The same day the news of a potential sequel broke, director Andrew Stanton called into question the accuracy of these reports. The message said, "Didn't you all learn from Chicken Little? Everyone calm down. Don't believe everything you read. Nothing to see here now. #skyisnotfalling".[86] According to the report by The Hollywood Reporter published in August 2012, Ellen DeGeneres was in negotiations to reprise her role of Dory.[87] In September 2012, Stanton confirmed, saying, "What was immediately on the list was writing a second Carter movie. When that went away, everything slid up. I know I'll be accused by more sarcastic people that it's a reaction to Carter not doing well, but only in its timing, but not in its conceit".[88] In February 2013, it was confirmed by the press that Albert Brooks would reprise the role of Marlin in the sequel.[89]

In April 2013, Disney announced the sequel, Finding Dory, confirming that Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks would be reprising their roles as Dory and Marlin, respectively. It was scheduled to be released on November 25, 2015,[90][91] but the film's ending was revised after Pixar executives viewed Blackfish.[92][93] On September 18, 2013, it was announced that the film would be pushed back to a June 17, 2016, release. Pixar's The Good Dinosaur was moved to the November 25, 2015 slot to allow more time for production of the film.[4]

See also


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  3. ^ a b c "Top 10 Animation". American Film Institute. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
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  7. ^ Beautiful Friendship National Geographic magazine, January 2010
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