Imagimals is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated fantasy adventure comedy film produced by Gingo Animation for Universal Pictures. The seventeenth feature film from Gingo, it was directed by Geo G. and Charles Zembillas and written by Darren Lemke. The film features the voices of Patton Oswalt, John Goodman, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Poehler, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Laurence Fishburne, with supporting roles from Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride, Rob Corddry, Allison Janney, Dan Fogler, and Elizabeth Banks. The film follows a group of imaginary creatures who try to keep their world safe from demons.
Imagimals premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on February 16, 2017, and was released in theaters in the United States on March 3, 2017 by Universal Pictures. It received generally positive reviews and has grossed $837 million worldwide, becoming Gingo's highest-grossing original animated film not based on an existing work, as well as the fourth highest-grossing film from the studio and the sixth highest-grossing film of 2017. A sequel is scheduled to be released on May 29, 2020.
Imagimals (a portmanteau of "imaginary animals") are imaginary, fictional creatures anyone can imagine who live in a Pliocene-like world where humans never exist. One day, two imagimal couples named Sally and Frank (Maya Rudolph and Danny McBride) raise a baby green imagimal named Prack (Patton Oswalt).
Years had past, and Prack's village almost had no food left for everybody. So Prack sets out to find some food with his friends. However, Prack accidentally let a large imagimal to roar by stepping on its tail, which caused a ferocious monstrous imagimal to chase Prack and his friends, who headed to their village. The monster carries Prack, which leads him to a beautiful, peaceful place called "Southland", where he meets a green-spotted imagimal named Busho (John Goodman) – who is the leader of the Southland imagimals that try to live in a peaceful life without any interruptions. Later, Prack was introduced by Busho to his Southland fellows including his adoptive son Moot (Jesse Eisenberg) and his hefty assistant Sard (Michael Clarke Duncan). Prack suggests to the others that he was from a village with no water and food and should stay at Southland since there's food and water.
Meanwhile, Prack's villagers worry about Prack and many think that he was eaten by the monster. Prack's love interest Crushie (Amy Poehler) tells the others that they should go find him if he's okay, but they say they cannot go find him because they are tired and pretty weak. Disappointed, Crushie then thinks about Prack. Prack's mother Sally tells her that she should find her new true love, even if Prack is not here, but Crushie loves him so much and wants to make out with him.
Meanwhile, back at Southland, Moot takes Prack to explode the nature of Southland. However, after their experience, Busho warns the others that Southland may get invaded by a group of brown demons led by Cazarlos (Laurence Fishburne), a scarred imagimal who was formerly one of Busho's followers until he was abandoned by Busho for rampaging through Southland. Shocked, Prack tells the others that they need to make Southland safe and protected. Meanwhile, at a cave from a far away place, Cazarlos tells his gang how greatly the Southland imagimals outnumber them and worries that they will eventually rebel against them.
Later, Prack, Busho, and Moot are swallowed by a large, fat imagimal; they meet three imagimals who are also eaten by the fat imagimal. Then the fat imagimal spits out the other imagimals since the fat creature was getting sick and was having a stomach ache. Meanwhile, back at Prack's village, Frank found someone who can help the villagers to find Prack, which is an eagle-like creature named the Great Voko (Dan Fogler). Voko already knew where Prack is and he knows that the monster which waken by Prack and his friends took him to Southland. Prack's friends and family thank Voko for telling them and set out to Southland to find Prack.
Meanwhile, a small pack of brown demons chase Prack, Busho, and Moot and want to eat them, but the trio successfully made it safely due to the brown demons' clumsiness. Lokami (Allison Janney), a bird-like imagimal, sees Prack, who remembered her being his guide in his village. When Busho tells her about Cazarlos, Lokami eventually recognizes Cazarlos and tells a story of Cazarlos, who rampaged through Southland for being betrayed by other Southland imagimals who were making fun of Cazarlos; after Busho abandoned him, Cazarlos became the leader of the brown demons living in a cave from far away and returned revenge on the rest of the Southland imagimals.
The next day, the Southland imagimals panic when the watering hole dries up. Determined to redeem themselves, Prack, Busho and Moot leave the reserve to investigate upriver. The trio discover that the stranded brown demons have dammed up the river, so that the Southland imagimals will die in starvation. Meanwhile, Prack's villagers search for Prack through Southland, hoping they can find him.
Later, Cazarlos and his gang begin wreaking havoc in Southland; in the chaos, Moot is carried off by one of the brown demons but was rescued by Busho and Sard. Prack, Busho, and Moot flee Southland and hide to Busho's safe place made with woods and sticks. However, they are attacked by Cazarlos, who started a fire on the safe place. After the chaos, Busho claims it was none of his concern, never asked for any of the trials and tribulations he was put through, blames Prack for their troubles after Prack tries to cheer him up (Busho even claiming that if it wasn't for him, none of this would have ever happened) sends a heartbroken Prack away.
Prack's villagers eventually found Prack alone almost far away from Southland. His parents Sally and Frank tell Prack that they were so worried about him and he was okay. Prack tells them that he tried to save Southland by keeping out the brown demons but Busho blames him for failing their attempt at saving the land and wanted to make Busho happier if he let the brown demons away. Later, Prack goes back to Southland (which is now taken over by Cazarlos and his minions) to apologize to Busho and the others and manages to convince them to team up with Prack's villagers to make a plan of fighting Cazarlos and his minions.
The brown demons are held off by Prack, Busho, Moot, Sard, Sally, Frank, Crushie, the rest of Busho's tribe and Prack's villagers, distracting Cazarlos. The plan works in holding off Cazarlos's minions, but Cazarlos then returns for a final confrontation and wounds Busho in the process, which enrages Sard and leads him to carry Cazarlos and throw him off a cliff, where he was eaten by one of the large imagimals. Then the others help Prack and Busho destroy the dam, restoring the water; the rest of the brown demons flee. Prack and the others rush over to Busho's body, thinking if he is dead but they soon find that Busho survived.
With Cazarlos and his minions gone and Prack's villagers now having a new home in Southland, Prack celebrates with his friends and family including Busho, Moot, Sard, Sally, Frank, Crushie, the rest of Busho's tribe and Prack's villagers as they peacefully engage in different activities around Southland.
- Patton Oswalt as Prack, an adventurous green imagimal who wants to travel the world on his own.
- E.G. Daily as young Prack
- John Goodman as Busho, a wise-cracking, green-spotted imagimal with a huge red nose who is the leader of the Southland imagimals who helps Prack on his journey.
- Jesse Eisenberg as Moot, a small, blue imagimal from Southland who is Busho's adoptive son.
- Amy Poehler as Crushie, a happy-go-lucky pink female imagimal who is Prack's love interest.
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Sard, a hefty brown imagimal who is Busho's assistant.
- Laurence Fishburne as Cazarlos, a scarred imagimal and a former member of the Southland imagimals who rampaged through Southland for being betrayed by other Southland imagimals who were making fun of Cazarlos. After Busho abandoned him, Cazarlos became the leader of the brown demons living in a cave from far away and returned revenge on Busho, Moot and the rest of the Southland imagimals.
- Maya Rudolph as Sally, Prack's mother.
- Danny McBride as Frank, Prack's father.
- Rob Corddry as Stevie, a tiny one-eyed slender imagimal.
- Allison Janney as Lokami, a bird-like imagimal who guides Prack.
- Dan Fogler as the Great Voko, an eagle-like creature who helps Prack's friends and family to look for him.
- Elizabeth Banks as Peggy, a seductive imagimal whom Sard has a major crush on her.
- Yuri Lowenthal and Bryce Papenbrook as Nimo and Jimo, teenage twin imagimals who annoy Busho.
- Jamie Marchi as Maddo, a green imagimal.
- Chris Parnell as Benny, a slug-like imagimal.
- Greg Cipes as Pete, one of Prack's friends.
- Fred Tatasciore as Chunny.
- Maurice LaMarche as Pucky.
- Carlos Alazraqui
- David Cowgill
- Bill Farmer
- Jess Harnell
- Laraine Newman
- Jim Ward
- Clancy Brown
- Geo G.
- Rodger Bumpass
- John DiMaggio
- Brandon Minez
- Jan Rabson
- Dee Bradley Baker
- John Kassir
- Michael Wildshill
- Rob Paulsen
- Daniel Ross
- Samuel Mokugusn
- James S. Baker
- Tress MacNeille
- Bob Bergen
- Frank Welker
- John Lavelle
- Kari Wahlgren
- Mickie McGowan
- Danny Mann
- John Cygan
- Vanessa Peskamn
- Jim Cummings
- Ava Acres
- Charles Zembillas
- Keith Ferguson
- Tara Strong
- Gregg Berger
- Bridget Hoffman
- Kirk Baily
- Henri Dosclz
- Jess Riol
- Kevin Michael Richardson
- Susan Blu
- Jack Angel
- Craig Kellman
- Andy Fischer-Price
- Audel LaRoque
- April Winchell
- Pam Murphy
- Tom Kane
- Tom Kenny
- Steve Samono
- Mona Marshall
- Jack Bright
- Betsy Sodaro
- Jason Marsden
- Dawnn Lewis
- Wendy Hoffman
- Sherry Lynn
- Gary Hall
- Lori Alan
- Michael Bell
- Lauren Tom
Gingo Animation CEO and chairman Geo G. had always wanted to do an animated film about creatures. Imagimals as a concept dates back to 2003 when Geo sketched the creatures during a period in which he tried to break into film. Personal issues had percolated into the story as they weighed on him in life. In 2007, Gingo was pitched to develop a movie called Wild Creatures, set in a planet of creatures.
In January 2014, Universal Pictures and Gingo announced that Geo is directing an original animated film where it was humorously titled Project C.O.F. (which stands for "completely original film"), with Michael Wildshill producing while Darren Lemke is writing the screenplay. Geo then recalled the film came from a 2010 story pitch by Lemke that has nothing to do with humans, only fantasy creatures.
Production began in October 2014 after production commenced on Gabriel Garza 3. In May 2015, it was revealed that Charles Zembillas, who previously designed early concept art for games such as Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, and Spyro the Dragon, had been added as the co-director of the film.
The film was originally developed under the title of Imaginary Animals. By October 2015, it was later retitled Imagimals. According to Geo, he explained, "The title wasn't working right. They were never referred as 'animals' in the movie. So we fixed the title by mixing 'imaginary' and 'animals' to make it look better. The characters are also all creatures, known as imagimals."
In August 2015, Deadline reported that Patton Oswalt was cast as Prack in the film. Oswalt at first declined to star in the movie, feeling it was too similar to his role as Remy in the Pixar film Ratatouille but the director eventually convinced him to sign through a 30-minute "visual pitch".
In September 2015, The Hollywood Reporter announced that John Goodman had been cast as the film's deuteragonist Busho. In October 2015, TheWrap reported that Jesse Eisenberg was cast as tritagonist Moot in the film. It was also announced that actress Amy Poehler was cast as Prack's love interest, with Maya Rudolph and Danny McBride voicing Prack's parents, while Michael Clarke Duncan, Laurence Fishburne, Rob Corddry and Allison Janney were cast. Dan Fogler later joined the film's cast in November 2015; his character's name was revealed to be the Great Voko.
- Main article: Imagimals (soundtrack)
In August 2016, it had been confirmed that John Debney will be composing the score for the film, making Gingo's first film to be composed by Debney outside of the studio's existing Computeropolis franchise.
During the development of the film, Geo, Wildshill, and Lemke sought broader inspirations from cartoons of the 1970's, like the 1971 animated short Evolution.
Imagimals premiered at the 2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival on February 16, 2017, and was screened at VidCon. The release of the film in the United Kingdom was postponed to February 15, 2017, two days ahead of its original February 17 date. The film received a wide release in the United States on March 3, 2017 and in Australia on April 21, 2017. It was released in Japan on May 15, 2017, under the title Monster Planet (モンスタープラネット, Monsutāpuranetto). It was also released in IMAX theaters in the EMEA region.
The first trailer was released online at Gingo Animation's YouTube page on June 9, 2016. The official theatrical trailer for the film was released online at Gingo's YouTube page on November 2, 2016. Jazwares made a press release on July 19, 2016 that they were going to sign a contract with Universal Studios and Gingo to produce toys and action figures to promote Imagimals, alongside Gingo's another 2017 film Gabriel Garza 3.
A mobile game, Imagimals Blast, was released on February 28, 2017 for iOS and Android. It is a free-to-play match-three puzzle video game featured with the characters of the film. Universal and Gingo partnered with McDonald's to release six Happy Meal toy versions of the film's characters upon its release. AMC Theatres also partnered with Universal and Gingo to play the movie in Mandarin at seven theatres and in Spanish at 14 locations in the U.S and Canada meaning there will be a mix of subtitled and dubbed formats of Imagimals. A tie-in comic, Imagimals: Where Creatures Were Born, was released on February 19, 2017, collecting two prelude issues.
Merchandise was also produced for the film, including General Mills, Funko, as well as Universal and Gingo's parent company NBCUniversal/Comcast. On February 24, 2017, Imagimals: Virtual Reality Experience was released on the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for free, produced by Universal Pictures VR and developed by CreateVR. The virtual reality experience allows users to experience the world of the imagimals. Imagimals: Virtual Reality Experience was available at select Cinemark Theatres in the United States and at the CineEurope trade show in Barcelona.
Imagimals was released on Digital HD on May 23, 2017, and on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and DVD on June 6, 2017 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. In addition to Zip, the releases also include a short film called Busho's Guide to Cool Things.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 78%, based on 194 reviews, with a rating average of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Imagimals brings us a beautifully amazing animation and loads of humor and slapstick, which makes it another superb introduction to Gingo's history." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
On April 5, 2017, Universal and Gingo announced a sequel slated for March 6, 2020, with Oswalt, Goodman, and Eisenberg reprising their roles. On August 15, 2017, the release date was pushed back to February 28, 2020. On October 4, 2017, the release date was pushed back again to May 29, 2020. Along with the new release date, it was announced that Geo G. will be returning to direct and Michael Wildshill will return to produce the sequel, as well as Darren Lemke returning to write the script.
An Imagimals television series will premiere in early 2018 on Cartoon Network.
To see the main transcript of the film, click here.
To see the transcript for the trailers of the film, click here.