Ferdinand (film)

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Ferdinand (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCarlos Saldanha
Produced by
  • John Davis
  • Lisa Marie Stetler
  • Lori Forte
  • Bruce Anderson
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Music byJohn Powell
CinematographyRenato Falcão
Edited byHarry Hitner
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
  • December 10, 2017 (2017-12-10) (Los Angeles)
  • December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States[3]
Budget$111 million[4]
Box office$296.1 million[4]

Ferdinand is a 2017 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film was based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson's 1936 children's book The Story of Ferdinand, written by Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle and Brad Copeland and directed by Carlos Saldanha. The film features features an ensemble voice cast that includes John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, Peyton Manning, Anthony Anderson, David Tennant, Tim Nordquist, Lily Day, Juanes, Jerrod Carmichael, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Raúl Esparza, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Flula Borg, Boris Kodjoe, and Sally Phillips. The story, written by Ron Burch, David Kidd and Don Rhymer, follows a gentle pacifist bull named Ferdinand who refuses to participate in bullfighting but is forced back into the arena where his beliefs are challenged by being faced off against the world's greatest bullfighter.

Ferdinand premiered on December 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 15, 2017 in 3D and 2D formats. It grossed $296 million worldwide against a production budget of $111 million.[5][6] Ferdinand received a nomination for Best Animated Feature at the 90th Academy Awards (losing against Coco) while also receiving nominations for Best Animated Feature Film (also lost against Coco) and Best Original Song ("Home") at the 75th Golden Globe Awards (losing against This Is Me).[7]

It was the last 20th Century Fox animated film to be released before the Disney acquisition, as well as the last Blue Sky Studios film to be released before the Disney acquisition.


In Spain, a non-violent, flower-loving, enormous bull named Ferdinand (John Cena) lives in a florist's farm run by the owner Juan (Juanes) and bonds with his daughter Nina (Lily Day), much to his dog Paco's (Jerrod Carmichael) jealousy. One day, Ferdinand is left alone when Juan, Nina and Paco go to Ronda for an annual flower festival. Ferdinand follows anyway, but is stung by a bee on the butt and unintentionally causes chaos around town. He’s taken to back Casa del Toro, a ranch that trains bulls for bullfighting, saddening Nina.

Ferdinand reunites with his childhood bullies, Bones (Anthony Anderson), Guapo (Peyton Manning) and Valiente (Bobby Cannavale) and discovers that they’re all grown up and are joined by two new bulls named Angus (David Tennant) and Maquina (Tim Nordquist). Still ridiculed by Bones, Guapo, and Valiente, Ferdinand befriends Lupe (Kate McKinnon), a goat who wants to coach him in bullfighting, and a trio of hedgehogs named Una (Gina Rodriguez), Dos (Daveed Diggs), and Cuatro (Gabriel Iglesias). Legendary bullfighter El Primero (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) arrives to choose the biggest, strongest, most aggressive bull to fight before he retires. Failing to impress the matador, the bulls turn on Ferdinand for making them look bad and blocking the entrance to the ring. Guapo is taken to a slaughterhouse, which Valiente and Bones tell Ferdinand will be their fate if they are not chosen for a bullfight. Ferdinand earns the bulls’ respect except Valiente after a dance-off with German horses (Flula Borg, Boris Kodjoe, and Sally Phillips), but they still believe fighting is their only way to survive. Ferdinand convinces Lupe to escape with him to Nina's farm, aided by the hedgehogs. Close to freedom, Ferdinand sees his father’s horns mounted on a wall with dozens of others, and realizes that every bull chosen to fight is slain by the matador.

Ferdinand warns the other bulls, but Valiente is unconvinced and charges him outside. Primero witnesses Valiente making Ferdinand inadvertently defeat Valiente by ripping off his horn, and chooses Ferdinand to fight. When Valiente is taken to the slaughterhouse, Ferdinand rallies the remaining bulls to escape, and goes to the slaughterhouse to rescue him. They discover Guapo is still alive, and Ferdinand questions Valiente's courage after he refuses to help rescue him. Ferdinand accidentally activates a series of deadly contraptions, but escapes with Valiente’s help. The bulls, hedgehogs and Lupe steal Casa del Toro’s truck, and escape the ranch’s owner, Moreno (Raúl Esparza), and his employees. The animals arrive at Atocha train station in Madrid. When the bulls push a small railroad cart to catch the train back to Nina's home, Ferdinand sacrifices himself so the others can escape. Lupe stays behind as Ferdinand is captured. News of the runaway bulls causing chaos around town, Ferdinand's upcoming fight with Primero reaches Nina, and she and Juan set out to rescue the bull.

At Las Ventas arena, Lupe urges Ferdinand to fight in order to survive, but Ferdinand is silently unsure. Released into the ring, he gives a weak performance and accidentally sends El Primero flying into the bull pen. Primero attacks Ferdinand with banderillas, scratching him in the shoulder. Ferdinand almost retaliates, but sees a carnation crushed under his hoof; unwilling to resort to violence, he lets Primero live. Ferdinand resigns himself to being slain by the matador, but the crowd cries out for him to live. Primero spares Ferdinand and leaves with dignity, and Ferdinand is reunited with Nina, as the crowd throws carnations into the ring to praise the bull. The other animals arrive and witness him making history as the first bull ever to leave a bullfight alive by being himself.

Ferdinand returns home with Nina, Juan and Paco, joined by all the other animals.


  • John Cena as Ferdinand the Bull, a huge flower-loving bull who does not want to fight.[8]
    • Colin H. Murphy voices a calf Ferdinand.
  • Kate McKinnon as Lupe, an old goat and Ferdinand's mentor.[8]
  • Bobby Cannavale as Valiente, a bratty bull who bullies Ferdinand due to his flower-loving personality and reluctance to fight.
    • Jack Gore voices a calf Valiente.
    • Cannavale also voices Valiente's father. A bull who hates his son Valiente, Ferdinand, Guapo, Bones, and their fathers and has a grumpy attitude causing Valiente to bully Guapo and Bones, and causing them to bully Ferdinand.
  • Peyton Manning as Guapo, a nervous bull who has stage fright and hates Ferdinand due to his personality.[9]
  • Anthony Anderson as Bones, a skinny scrawny and enthusiastic bull who has super speed and calls Ferdinand a weirdo when he rejects to help him up after Valiente pushes him due to his flower loving and pacifism personality.[8]
    • Nile Diaz voices a calf Bones
  • David Tennant as Angus, a Scottish Highland bull from Scotland who had hair over his eyes until Ferdinand licked it.[10]
  • Tim Nordquist as Maquina, a cloned Belted Galloway bull made in a laboratory who doesn't talk and mostly makes sounds.
  • Lily Day as Nina, the original owner of Ferdinand and Paco. In the end, she becomes the new owner of Lupe.
    • Julia Scarpa Saldanha voices a young Nina.
  • Juanes as Juan, the father of Nina.[9]
  • Jerrod Carmichael as Paco, a dog owned by Nina and Juan[8]
  • Miguel Ángel Silvestre as El Primero, a matador[8]
  • Raúl Esparza as Moreno, the owner of Casa del Toro and Primero's lead henchman.[8]
  • Gina Rodriguez as Una, a hedgehog who is Dos and Cuatro's sister.[8]
  • Daveed Diggs as Dos, a hedgehog, Una and Cuatro's brother[8][11]
  • Gabriel Iglesias as Cuatro, a hedgehog, Una and Dos' brother[12][8][13]
  • Flula Borg as Hans, a Lipizzan at Casa del Toro.[8]
  • Boris Kodjoe as Klaus, a Lipizzan at Casa del Toro.[8]
  • Sally Phillips as Greta, a Lipizzan at Casa del Toro.[8]
  • Jeremy Sisto as Raf, Ferdinand's father who died in the bullfights.
  • Cindy Slattery as Bunny, a red rabbit.


In 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox Animation had acquired the rights to the children's book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf to adapt it into a computer-animated feature film with Carlos Saldanha attached to direct it.[14] In May 2013, Fox titled the film simply Ferdinand, which would be produced by Blue Sky Studios.[15] John Powell, a frequent collaborator with Saldanha, would be composing the film's score.[16] In November 2016, it was reported that Gabriel Iglesias would voice a character named Cuatro, a hedgehog, Una and Dos' brother.[12]


Ferdinand (Music from the Motion Picture)
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)
GenrePop, Latin pop
LabelIsland Records
ProducerJohn Powell

On September 19, 2017, it was announced that singer Nick Jonas wrote and recorded a song called "Home" for the film. It was featured in the third trailer released the next day and also appears in the film and end credits.[17] It was released as the first promotional single of the soundtrack on October 20, 2017.[18] A second song by Jonas titled "Watch Me" was released alongside the film's EP on December 1.[19]

Track listing[edit]

The soundtrack features three original tracks: "Home" and "Watch Me" by Nick Jonas, and "Lay Your Head On Me" by Juanes.[19][20]

1."Home"Nick Jonas3:00
2."Lay Your Head On Me"Juanes3:16
3."Watch Me"Jonas2:26
5."Macarena"Los del Rio4:09
6."Home (Film Version)"Jonas2:48
Total length:18:55

Most of Albert Hay Malotte's score from Walt Disney's Ferdinand the Bull (1938) was included and recomposed by John Powell, who also created additional original theme music for the 2017 film.


In May 2013, Fox scheduled the film for April 7, 2017 release.[15] In February 2016, the release date was pushed back from its original release date of April 7, 2017 to July 21, 2017.[21] In August 2016, the release date was again pushed back, this time from July 21, 2017 to December 22, 2017, taking over the release date of DreamWorks Animation's The Croods 2,[22] before that film was temporarily cancelled.[23] In February 2017, the film was moved up by one week from December 22, 2017 to December 15, 2017.[5] The first trailer premiered on March 28, 2017,[24] followed by the second trailer on June 14, 2017.[25]

Home media[edit]

Ferdinand was released on Digital HD on February 27, 2018, and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 13, 2018.


Box office[edit]

Ferdinand has grossed $84.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $211.6 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $296 million, against a production budget of $111 million.[4]

In the United States and Canada, Ferdinand was released alongside Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and was projected to gross $15–20 million from 3,621 theaters in its opening weekend.[26] It made $350,000 from Thursday night previews at 2,385 theaters, which began at 5 P.M. and $3.6 million on its first day. It went on to open to $13.3 million, finishing second behind The Last Jedi.[27]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 71% based on 119 reviews and an average rating of 6.24/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Ferdinand's colorful update on a classic tale doesn't go anywhere unexpected, but its timeless themes – and John Cena's engaging voice work in the title role – make for family-friendly fun."[28] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[29] Audience polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

Spanish bullfighting critic of El País, Antonio Lorca, in a critique of the film said that the film's message is "profoundly unnatural", and that the "renunciation" of the lead character to its "animal nature" is a lie that manipulates children, who will become "tomorrow's anti-bullfighters".[30] El Diario.es commented on this article by Lorca, saying that it had been widely commented on social networks and that the anti-bullfighting narrative of the film "raised hackles" for its message against animal abuse, which can also be interpreted as "fight against school bullying" and "implicit defense of sexual and gender diversity".[31] Susan Wloszczyna of Rogerebert.com gave the film a three out of four stars and said: "Enough of that kind of bull. What the world needs now is Ferdinand, sweet Ferdinand, a rare breed of bovine who takes a stand against aggression, competitive rivalry and conforming to the expectations of others."[32] James Dyer of Empire Magazine gave the film a three out of five stars, saying: "Inoffensive fun, but unlike its paperback forbear, the cinematic Ferdinand is unlikely to stand the test of time."[33] Simran Hans of The Guardian gave the film a four out of five stars and said: "A flower-sniffing bull goes on a journey of self-discovery in this fun adaptation of a 30s children’s book."[34]

Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying: "Unlike in the book, Ferdinand earns the arena’s cheers for not fighting, but the crowd’s sense of surprise will elude audiences attending Ferdinand."[35] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter also gave a positive review for the film, saying: "It’s no Coco, but Ferdinand, a CG-animated adaptation of the classic 1936 Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson book about a flower-loving bull who’d rather sniff than fight, manages to squeak by with enough charming set-pieces and amusing sight gags to compensate for a stalling storyline."[36] Katie Welsh of Chicago Tribune gave the film a negative review of two stars, saying: "With a lovely voice performance from Cena, the spirit of Ferdinand does shine through. But the rest of the story filler is mostly forgettable."[37] Tara Brady of The Irish Times also gave the film a three out of five stars, saying: "Ferdinand may lack the all-out charm offensive of the studio’s 2015 Snoopy and Charlie Brown vehicle, but it’s not too far off in terms of quality and sweetness."[38]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Academy Awards March 4, 2018 Best Animated Feature Carlos Saldanha and Lori Forte Nominated
Annie Awards February 3, 2018 Design in an Animated Feature Production Thomas Cardone
Arden Chan
Andrew Hickson
Mike Lee
Jason Sadler
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production Harry Hitner
Tim Nordquist
Golden Globe Awards January 7, 2018 Best Animated Feature Film Carlos Saldanha Nominated [39]
Best Original Song "Home" Nominated
Cinema Audio Society Awards February 24th 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture – Animated Bill Higley, Randy Thom, Lora Hirschberg, Leff Lefferts, Shawn Murphy and Scott Curtis Nominated [40]
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards February 8, 2018 Best Song/Recording Created for a Film "Home" Nominated [41]
Humanitas Prize February 16, 2018 Feature – Family Ron Burch & David Kidd, Don Rhymer, Robert L. Baird and Tim Federle and Brad Copeland Won [42]
Kids' Choice Awards March 24, 2018 Favorite Animated Film Ferdinand Nominated [43]
Producers Guild of America Awards January 20, 2018 Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Lori Forte and Bruce Anderson Nominated [44]
Visual Effects Society Awards February 13, 2018 Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature Yaron Canetti, Allan Kadkoy, Danny Speck, Mark Adams Nominated [45]
Movieguide Awards March 2018 Best Movie for Families Ferdinand Nominated [46]


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External links[edit]