Chicken Little (2005 film)

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Chicken Little
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Dindal
Produced by Randy Fullmer
Screenplay by
Story by
Music by John Debney
Edited by Dan Molina
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • October 3, 2005 (2005-10-03) (Los Angeles premiere)
  • November 4, 2005 (2005-11-04) (United States)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[1]
Box office $314.4 million[1]

Chicken Little is a 2005 American 3D computer-animated comic science fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and loosely based on the fable of the same name. The 46th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, it was directed by Mark Dindal with screenplay by Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, and Ron Anderson and story by Mark Kennedy and Dindal.

The film was animated in-house at Walt Disney Feature Animation's main headquarters in Burbank, California and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 4, 2005 in Disney Digital 3-D (the first film to be released in this format) along with the standard 2-D version. It is Disney's first fully computer animated film, as Pixar's films were distributed but not produced by Disney, and Dinosaur (2000) was a combination of live-action and computer animation.

It is also Disney's second adaption of the fable of the same name, the first being a 1943 cartoon made during World War II.[2] The film is also the last Disney animated film made before John Lasseter was named chief creative officer of Disney Animation, and the last Disney film released under the name Walt Disney Feature Animation.[3]

Though it received mixed reviews upon release, the film was a box office success, grossing $314 million worldwide.


In the small town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little rings the school bell and warns everyone to run for their lives, allowing the whole town into a frenzied panic with much damage ensuing. Eventually, the Head of the Fire Department calms down enough to ask him what's going on and Little explains that a piece of the sky shaped like a stop sign had fallen on his head when he was sitting under the big oak tree in the town square; however, he is unable to find it. His father, Buck Cluck, assumes that this "piece of sky" was just an acorn that had fallen off the tree and had hit him on the head, making Little the laughing stock of the town.

A year later, Little has become infamous in the town for being crazy. His only friends are outcasts and underdogs like himself: His literal "Ugly Duckling" friend — the dorky and supportive Abby Mallard (who has a not-so-secret crush on him), Runt of the Litter (who ironically is extremely large), and a literal Fish Out of Water (who wears a helmet full of tap water).

Trying to help, Abby encourages Little to talk to his father, but he really only wants to make his dad proud of him. As a result, he joins his school's baseball team in an attempt to recover his reputation and his father's pride but is made last until the ninth inning of the last game. Little is reluctantly called to bat by the coach (even though the coach is certain that he will lose the game for them). Little is able to hit the ball and make it past first, second, and third bases, but is met at home plate by the outfielders. He tries sliding onto home plate, only to be touched by the ball. While it's presumed he lost the game, the umpire brushes away the dust to reveal Little's foot barely touching home plate, thus declaring Little safe and the game won; Little is hailed as a hero for winning the pennant.

Later that night at home, Little is hit on the head by the same "piece of the sky" that he had mentioned earlier at the beginning — only to find out that it is not a piece of the sky but a device designed to blend into the background (which would thereby explain why Little was unable to find it last time). He calls his friends over to help figure out what it is.

When Fish pushes a button on the back of the piece, it becomes a hovercraft in which Fish rides on. It turns out to be part of the camouflage of an invisible UFO. Little manages to ring the school bell to warn everyone, but aliens who have emerged from the spaceship see everyone coming and manage to escape, leaving an orange alien child behind. No one believes the story of the alien invasion, and Little is ridiculed yet again...until the next day.

He and his friends discover the little alien (whose named turns out be Kirby) and a few minutes later, a whole fleet of spaceships descends on the town and start what turns out to be an invasion, which is actually a misunderstanding, as the two aliens are looking for their lost child and only attack out of concern. As the aliens rampage throughout Oakey Oaks vaporizing everything in their path, Little realizes that he must return the alien to his parents to save their planet. Despite this, he first has to confront his father and regain his trust.

As he begins to tell his father the truth inside an abandoned cinema, Abby bursts in and says they should address the problem, as in the invasion, but because it is a phrase that she used to Little about his issues with his dad, then he begins to explain them. Little talks about what his father was doing and that he had emotionally let Little down by not being there for him and not listening to him enough. After he and his father reconcile and begin to leave to return Kirby to his parents, Little runs back down the row of seats to Abby and tells her that he always found her extremely attractive and he kisses her, only for her to act silly. Their first attempt to return the child to his mom and dad is aborted when they witness town mayor Turkey Lurkey get apparently vaporized after offering the key to the city, the key to his car and finally Tic-Tacs as surrender terms.

In the invasion, Buck, now regaining his confidence and trust in his son, protects him from the aliens until they get vaporized. It is then discovered that the aliens weren't vaporizing people, but the ray guns had teleported them aboard the UFO. Afterwards, the aliens return everything to normal (except Foxy Loxy, whose brain got scrambled, turning her into a Southern belle, and as a result, Runt falls for her), and everyone is grateful for Chicken Little's efforts to save the town. One year later, the townsfolk have made a film about the story, exaggerating it incredibly. In the film, Little is more masculine and Abby is far more beautiful in reality, and Fish can speak properly. After the film finishes, everyone begins to celebrate, Buck lifts Little onto his shoulders as he is applauded, and Abby (now his girlfriend), kisses him on the cheek.


  • Zach Braff as Chicken Little, a young and diminutive rooster who suffers under a reputation for being crazy since he caused a panic saying the sky was falling.
  • Joan Cusack as Abigail "Abby" Mallard (also known as the Ugly Duckling), a female duck (implied swan) with buckteeth. She takes a generally optimistic approach to life. Unfortunately, she is often teased by Loxy for her appearance. She is Chicken Little's best friend and, by the end, his girlfriend.
  • Dan Molina as Fish Out of Water, a goldfish who wears a scuba helmet filled with water and lives on the surface. He is unable to speak properly, instead making gurgling sounds and acting out what he feels. He isn't very shy around others and he will perform brave stunts without fear.
  • Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter, a large pig with a huge heart who is much larger than the other children, but is far smaller than the other massive members of his family. Runt is easily frightened and prone to panic.
  • Amy Sedaris as Foxy Loxy, a mean, young fox who is a baseball star and the "hometown hero." She's also a tomboy and one of the "popular kids" at school. In the original fable as well as the 1943 short film, Foxy Loxy is a male fox.
  • Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey, a goose, and Foxy Loxy's best friend.
  • Garry Marshall as Buck "Ace" Cluck, Chicken Little's widowed father, a former high school baseball star.
  • Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey, a turkey who is the mayor of Oakey Oaks. He is sensible, but not very bright.
  • Sean Elmore, Matthew Michael Joston, and Evan Dunn as Kirby, an energetic and hyper alien child.
  • Fred Willard as Melvin, Kirby's father and Tina's husband.
  • Mark Dindal as Morkubine Porcupine, one of the cool kids. Dindal also provides the voice of Coach in the film.
  • Wallace Shawn as Principal Fetchit, the school's main principal.
  • Adam West as Ace - Hollywood Chicken Little
  • Harry Shearer as Dog Announcer, the baseball announcer at Chicken Little's school and a news reporter for Oakey Oaks.


When the project started in 2001, it was originally meant as a movie about "a young girl who went to summer camp to build confidence so she wouldn't overreact". Other changes included Abby being a boy. In January 2003, when David Stainton became Disney's new president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, he decided the story needed a different approach, and told the director the script had to be revised, and during the next three months, it was rewritten into a tale of a boy, trying to save his town from space aliens.[4]

The film was originally going to be released in July 2005, however, in December 2004, the date was changed to November 2005. The release date change was the same day Disney/Pixar changed the release date of Cars, from November 2005 to June 2006.[5]

At the time of the release of Chicken Little, the co-production deal between Disney and Pixar Animation Studios was set to expire with the release of Cars in 2006. The end result of the contentious negotiations between Disney and Pixar was viewed to depend heavily on how Chicken Little performed at the box office. If successful, the film would have given Disney leverage in its negotiations for a new contract to distribute Pixar's films. A failure would have allowed Pixar to argue that Disney could not produce CGI films without aid from Pixar. Discussions to renew the deal in 2005 were held off until both sides could access Chicken Little‍ '​s performance at the box office.

It is not known how the two sides regarded Chicken Little‍ '​s modest success. While it underperformed compared to Pixar's product, it was more successful than Disney's recent output and was much more profitable for the company, since they did not need to share the revenue. Regardless, both sides decided that they were better off with each other than separate. However, instead of negotiating a new contract, on January 24, 2006, Disney announced their intent to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion. The purchase was completed on May 5, 2006.[citation needed]

New software and hardware tools[edit]

New software and hardware tools were introduced for the production of the film:[6]

  • "Chicken Wire", a geometric wire frame model of the characters that the animators can stretch and squeeze as they please.
  • "Shelf Control", which makes it possible to see the whole model on the screen while having a direct access to any chosen area of the character.
  • New electronic tablet screens that allow the artists to draw digital sketches of the characters to rough out their movements, which is then transferred to the 3D characters.


Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, Chicken Little debuted at #1, the first Disney animated film to do so since Dinosaur (2000), taking $40 million and tying with The Lion King (1994) as the largest opener for a Disney animated film.[7] It also managed to claim #1 again in its second week of release, earning $31.7 million, beating Sony's sci-fi family film, Zathura.[8] The film grossed $135,386,665 in North America, and $179,046,172 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $314,432,837.[1]

This reversed the slump that the company had been facing since 2000, during which time it released several flops, most notably Treasure Planet (2002) and Home on the Range (2004). However, these films received better critical reception.[9][10]

Critical reception[edit]

Chicken Little received generally mixed reviews from critics. Critical response aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 36% of critics gave positive reviews based on 159 reviews with an average score of 5.5/10. The critical consensus states "In its first non–Pixar CGI venture, Disney expends more effort in the technical presentation, than in crafting an original storyline."[11] Another review aggretator, Metacritic gave the film an average score of 48 based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12]

Richard Roeper, of the then–Ebert & Roeper gave the film a "Thumbs Down" rating saying "I don't care whether the film is 2-D, 3-D, CGI, or hand-drawn, it all goes back to the story."[13] A.O. Scott, of The New York Times stated the film is "a hectic, uninspired pastiche of catchphrases and clichés, with very little wit, inspiration or originality to bring its frantically moving images to genuine life."[14]

However, Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film a positive review saying the film was "shiny and peppy, with some solid laughs and dandy vocal performances".[15] Angel Cohn of TV Guide gave the film 3 stars alluding the film that would "delight younger children with its bright colors and constant chaos, while adults are likely to be charmed by the witty banter, subtle one liners, and a sweet father son relationship."[16]

Home media[edit]

Chicken Little was first released on DVD on March 21, 2006 in only a single-disc edition.[17] The film was released for the first time on Blu-ray on March 20, 2007, and contained new features not included on the DVD. A 3D Blu-ray version was released on November 8, 2011.[18]


Chicken Little
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released November 1, 2005
Genre Rock, Pop, R&B, film soundtrack
Length 39:05
Label Walt Disney Records
Producer John Debney
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Home on the Range
Chicken Little
Meet the Robinsons

The soundtrack album contains original score composed and produced by John Debney, with a music by a wide range of artists, some musical veterans, such as Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross, as well as others.[19] Uniquely for a Disney animated film, several of the songs are covers of classic popular songs, such as Elton John and Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," Carole King's "It's Too Late," and the Spice Girls' signature hit "Wannabe." The soundtrack was released on November 1, 2005, by Walt Disney Records.[19]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Stir It Up"   Joss Stone and Patti LaBelle 3:42
2. "One Little Slip"   Barenaked Ladies 2:53
3. "Shake a Tail Feather"   The Cheetah Girls 3:05
4. "All I Know"   Five for Fighting 3:25
5. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"   Diana Ross 3:28
6. "It's the End of the World as We Know It"   R.E.M. 4:04
7. "We Are the Champions"   Zach Braff 0:38
8. "Wannabe"   Joan Cusack and Steve Zahn 0:50
9. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"   The Chicken Little Cast 1:53
10. "The Sky Is Falling" (score) John Debney 2:49
11. "The Big Game" (score) John Debney 4:04
12. "Dad Apologizes" (score) John Debney 3:14
13. "Chase to Cornfield" (score) John Debney 2:00
14. "Dodgeball" (score) John Debney 1:15
15. "Driving with Dad" (score) John Debney 1:45
Total length:

Video games[edit]

Chicken Little spawned two video games. The first, Chicken Little, which is the same name as the film, is an action-adventure video game released for Xbox on October 18, 2005 by Buena Vista Games. Two days later it was released for PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance (October 20, 2005), and later Microsoft Windows (November 2, 2005). Chicken Little for Game Boy Advance was developed by A2M, while BVG's recently acquired development studio, Avalanche Software, developed the game for the consoles.[20]

The second video game, Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action, is a multi-platform video game, for the Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and PlayStation 2 inspired by the "superhero movie within the movie" finale of the film. It features Ace, the superhero alter ego of Chicken Little, and the Hollywood versions of his misfit band of friends: Runt, Abby and Fish-Out-of-Water.

The crew of the intergalactic Battle Barn faces off against Foxy Loxy and her evil Amazonian sidekick, Goosey Loosey, who have an evil plan to take over Earth. Battle evil alien robots through multiple levels across the solar system and combat your foes in one of three distinct game play modes: Ace on foot as a soldier, Runt as the driver of an armored tank, or Abby as the pilot of a spaceship. The original Chicken Little and his friends Abby, Runt, and Fish from the film are featured in cut scenes throughout the game.

Chicken Little also appears as a summon gem in the video game, Kingdom Hearts II.[21]

Cancelled sequel[edit]

DisneyToon Studios originally planned to make a sequel to Chicken Little, tentatively titled Chicken Little 2: The Ugly Duckling Story.[22] Soon after 2006, when John Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios' new chief creative officer, he called all sequels and future sequels that DisneyToon had planned cancelled, along with a sequel to Meet the Robinsons and The Aristocats.[22]


  1. ^ a b c "Chicken Little (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ Willman, Chris (March 17, 2006). "Chicken Little". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 9, 2015. This Chicken Little feature wasn’t Disney’s first stab at animating the enduring fable of animal alarmism. In 1943, the studio released a short,... 
  3. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (July 13, 2011). "Can “Winnie the Pooh” save Disney from Pixar?". Salon. Retrieved November 21, 2015. The last release under the aegis of Walt Disney Feature Animation was “Chicken Little” in 2005,... 
  4. ^ Has the Sky Stopped Falling at Disney?
  5. ^ "Pixar's Cars and Disney's Chicken Little movies delayed...". 8 December 2004. 
  6. ^ "The Sky's the Limit". Computer Graphics World. November 2005. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gray, Brandon (November 7, 2005). "Welcome to the Cluck: Chicken Little, Jarhead Top Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  8. ^ Gray, Brandon (November 14, 2005). "Zathura, Derailed, 50 Cent Below Chicken Little in Pecking Order". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Home on the Range Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Treasure Planet Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Chicken Little Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Chicken Little (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Chicken Little - Ebert & Roeper". BV Retrieved October 22, 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ Scott, A. O.. "Chicken Little". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  15. ^ Burr, Ty (April 11, 2005). "Disney's digital animation can't bump Pixar in the pecking order". (Bosten Globe). Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Chicken Little: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  17. ^ Walt Disney Home Entertainment’ (January 20, 2006). "Disney’s #1 Animated Movie of 2005 Is Coming To DVD!". Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  18. ^ Smith, Matthew (August 8, 2011). "Bolt, G-FORCE, Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons 3D Blu-rays". Retrieved October 12, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Walt Disney Records (October 25, 2005). "Get Ready to Shake Your Tail Feather to the Sounds of Walt Disney Records' "Chicken Little Soundtrack"; Featuring Fresh (Not Frozen) Hits from Patti LaBelle and Joss Stone, The Cheetah Girls, Barenaked Ladies and Five for Fighting" (Press release). Business Wire. Archived from the original on August 23, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  20. ^ Buena Vista Games (October 18, 2005). "One Little Chicken, One Big Video Game Adventure!; Disney's Chicken Little Video Games Inspired by Walt Disney Feature Animation's First Fully Computer Animated Motion Picture Hatches on Store Shelves". Business Wire. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Square Enix and Disney's Buena Vista Games Unveil All-Star Voice Cast for Kingdom Hearts II". Square Enix via PR Newswire. March 28, 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Hill, Jim (June 20, 2007). "Say "So Long !" to direct-to-video sequels : DisneyToon Studios tunes out Sharon Morrill". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 

External links[edit]