British theatrical release poster
|Screenplay by||Karey Kirkpatrick|
|Edited by||Mark Solomon|
Chicken Run is a 2000 stop-motion animated comedy film made by the British Aardman Animations studios and directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park. It was the first feature-length film by Aardman and the first produced in partnership with the American DreamWorks Pictures, which co-financed and distributed the film.
The film features the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Tony Haygarth and Miranda Richardson. Chicken Run received positive reviews, and was a box office hit. The plot centres on a band of chickens who see a smooth-talking Rhode Island Red named Rocky as their only hope to escape from certain death when the owners of their farm decide to move from selling eggs to selling chicken pot pies.
Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy run a failing chicken farm in Yorkshire; the chickens are caged in the style of a prison camp with a high fence and barbed wire, with two dogs that patrol the grounds. As their chickens are producing fewer eggs, Mrs. Tweedy comes up with the idea of converting their product from eggs to chicken pies, and orders a large automatic pie maker.
One chicken, Ginger, has long had visions of escaping with the help of her hen friends Babs, Bunty, and Mac, and two rats, Nick and Fetcher, that helps to acquire "contraband" from the Tweedy's to aid Ginger's plans. However, she is always caught and put into solitary for some time. During one such escapade, she learns of Mrs. Tweedy's plan, and hastens her attempts to flee the camp. While thinking of a new plan, Ginger witnesses a Rhode Island Red rooster fly over the fence, and crash into one of the coops, breaking his wing. Ginger and the other chickens help to hide him from the Tweedys and care for his wing, learning that his name is Rocky. Ginger is particularly interested in Rocky's ability to fly, and begs him to help train her and the other chickens to do the same. Rocky is coy, but proceeds to try to help train the chickens, unable to fully demonstrate due to his broken wing.
The pie making machine finally arrives and after some time, Mr. Tweedy completes the assembly and immediately goes for Ginger to test it out. Rocky is able to save Ginger and helps to damage the machine, giving the chickens only a short time to plan to escape while Mr. Tweedy repairs it. Amid the training, Rocky holds a large party to help relieve the stress, where it is revealed his wing is healed, and Ginger demands he show them how to fly the next day. When morning arrives, Ginger finds Rocky has fled, leaving behind a part of a poster that shows him to be a stunt rooster, shot out of a cannon from a nearby circus, and unable to fly on his own. Ginger and the other chickens are depressed. Fowler the rooster tries to cheer Ginger up by telling tales from his days as an RAF mascot, leading Ginger to the idea of creating an airplane to flee the Tweedy's. All the chickens with extra help from the rats secretly construct the required parts for the plane from their coops while racing against Mr. Tweedy's repairs. Meanwhile, Rocky, traveling the countryside, sees a billboard for Mrs. Tweedy's Chicken Pies, and is inspired to go back to help.
With the machine fixed, Mr. Tweedy again goes for Ginger, but the chickens are ready to escape. With Rocky helping to knock Mr. Tweedy out, they tie Mr. Tweedy up and distract the dogs long enough to complete assembly of their plane. As they are taking off, Mrs. Tweedy chases them down and catches onto a light strand caught in the wheels. Mrs. Tweedy climbs the strand, intent on chopping Ginger's head off, while Ginger races to severe the strand. Ginger does so in time, and sends Mrs. Tweedy straight into the vent of the pie machine, causing it to rupture, the force of the escaping gravy knocking down the barn they had constructed it in.
Later, the chickens have found a quiet glade where they can enjoy their freedom and raise their chicks, while Ginger and Rocky have developed a romantic relationship.
- Julia Sawalha as Ginger, who is determined to save her fellow chickens from their impending doom on the Tweedys' farm. She is usually the one that comes up with the ideas and is generally more intelligent than the other chickens.
- Mel Gibson as Rocky the Rhode Island Red (or Rhodes for short), an American rooster who crash-lands into the farm after getting distracted by Ginger, spinning on a weathervane, and bouncing off some telephone wires.
- Miranda Richardson as Mrs. Tweedy, a cantankerous egg farmer who decides to convert her farm into a chicken pot pie factory solely for monetary reasons.
- Tony Haygarth as Mr. Tweedy, Mrs. Tweedy's henpecked husband.
- Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler, a feisty elderly rooster who regularly prattles about his Royal Air Force experiences.
- Timothy Spall as Nick, a smart, portly rat who smuggles contraband into the compound.
- Phil Daniels as Fetcher, Nick's slim, slow-witted partner.
- Jane Horrocks as Babs, a stout Irish hen with a dim-witted innocence and a love of knitting.
- Imelda Staunton as Bunty, the group cynic who is the most skeptical of Ginger's escape plans.
- Lynn Ferguson as Mac, Ginger's brainy Scottish assistant.
Chicken Run was Aardman Animations's first feature-length production, which would be executive produced by Jake Eberts. Nick Park and Peter Lord, who runs Aardman, directed the film, while Karey Kirkpatrick scripted the film with additional input from Mark Burton and John O'Farrell. Chicken Run was first conceived in 1995 by Aardman co-founder Peter Lord and Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park. Pathe agreed to finance Chicken Run in 1996 putting their finances into Script Development and Model Design. DreamWorks officially came on board in 1997.
DreamWorks beat out studios like Disney, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. and largely won due to the perseverance of DreamWorks co-chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg; as a company they were eager to make their presence felt in the animation market in an attempt to compete with Disney's dominance of the field. Katzneberg explained that he had "been chasing these guys for five or six years, ever since I first saw Creature Comforts."
In December 1997, it was revealed that David Sproxton would produce. DreamWorks secured their first animated feature with the film, and they handled distribution in all territories except Europe, which Pathé handled. The two studios co-financed the film. DreamWorks also retains rights to worldwide merchandising. During the production of the film, 30 sets were used with 80 animators working along with 180 people working overall. Despite this, one minute of film was completed with each week of filming.
Chicken Run was very well received by critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 97% approval rating with an average rating of 8.1/10 based on 153 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.". The film also holds a score of 88 based on 34 reviews on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim."
On opening weekend, the film grossed $17,506,162 for a $7,027 average from 2,491 theatres. Overall, the film placed second behind Me, Myself and Irene. In its second weekend, the film held well as it slipped only 25% to $13,192,897 for a $4,627 average from expanding to 2,851 theaters and finishing in fourth place. The film's widest release was 2,953 theaters, after grossing $106,834,564 domestically with an additional $118,000,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $224,834,564. Produced on a $45 million budget, the film was a huge box office hit. To date, it is the highest grossing stop motion animated movie.
Chicken Run was released on DVD and VHS on 21 November 2000.
|Annie Awards||Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical Feature||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production (Nick Park and Peter Lord)||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production (Karey Kirkpatrick)||Nominated|
|BAFTA Awards||Best British Film||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Empire Awards||Best British Director (Nick Park and Peter Lord)||Nominated|
|Best British Film||Nominated|
|Best Debut (Nick Park and Peter Lord)||Nominated|
|European Film Awards||Best Film||Nominated|
|Florida Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Genesis Awards||Best Feature Film||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|Kansas City Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Las Vegas Film Critics||Best Family Film||Won|
|Los Angeles Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|National Board of Review||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|New York Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Phoenix Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Best Family Film||Won|
|Best Original Score (John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams)||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Motion Picture - Animated or Mixed Media||Won|
|Southeastern Film Critics||Best Film||Nominated|
|3.||"The Evil Mr. Tweedy"||4:22|
|5.||"Chickens Are Not Organized"||1:01|
|6.||"We Need a Miracle"||2:03|
|7.||"Rocky and the Circus"||3:51|
|9.||"A Really Big Truck Arrives"||5:56|
|10.||"Cocktails and Flighty Thoughts"||1:58|
|11.||"Babs' Big Break"||1:40|
|12.||"Flip, Flop and Fly" (composed by Charles Calhoun and Lou Willie Turner, and performed by Ellis Hall)||2:09|
|13.||"Up on the Roof"||3:08|
|14.||"Into the Pie Machine"||3:10|
|15.||"Rocky, a Fake All Along"||3:28|
|16.||"Building the Crate"||3:32|
|17.||"The Wanderer" (composed by Ernest Peter Maresca, and performed by Dion)||2:47|
|18.||"The Chickens Are Revolting"||2:45|
|20.||"Escape to Paradise"||4:59|
Chicken Run is a stealth-based 3-D platformer based on the movie. The game is a loose parody of the film The Great Escape, which is set during World War II.
- Nick Park
- Aardman Animations
- Wallace and Gromit
- List of animated feature-length films
- List of stop-motion films
- Colditz Cock, a glider built by British prisoners of war for an escape attempt during World War II
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17 December 2000
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- Official website
- Chicken Run at the Internet Movie Database
- Chicken Run at Metacritic
- Chicken Run at Rotten Tomatoes
- Chicken Run at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Chicken Run at Box Office Mojo
- Chicken Run at AllMovie