Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Theatrical release poster
Directed by[2]
Screenplay by
Produced by
Edited byNick Fletcher
Music byHans Zimmer
Distributed byParamount Pictures[3]
Release dates
  • May 18, 2012 (2012-05-18) (Cannes)
  • June 8, 2012 (2012-06-08) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes[4]
CountryUnited States
Budget$145 million[5][6]
Box office$746.9 million[7]

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a 2012 American computer-animated circus comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film is the third installment of the Madagascar film series, following Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), and was the first film in the series to be released in 3D. It was directed by Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon, and Tom McGrath from a screenplay by Darnell and Noah Baumbach, and features Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, and McGrath reprising their voice acting roles from the previous installments, alongside new cast members Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, and Frances McDormand. In the film, the main characters—a party of animals from the Central Park Zoo whose adventures have already taken them to Madagascar and Africa—attempt to return to New York, and find themselves traveling across Europe with a circus while being pursued by a relentless Animal Control officer.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival on May 18, and was theatrically released in the United States on June 8, 2012. It was the eighth highest-grossing film of 2012 and the highest-grossing film in the franchise, with a worldwide gross of over $746 million.[7] A spin-off titled Penguins of Madagascar was released in 2014. A sequel, Madagascar 4, was initially planned for a 2018 theatrical release, but was removed from the release schedule following a restructuring of DreamWorks Animation in 2015.[8][9]


Following the events of the previous film, the penguins—Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private—and the chimpanzees Mason and Phil leave Africa for Monte Carlo in their modified airplane. When they do not return, Alex the lion convinces his friends Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippopotamus that they should go find them and return to their home at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. With their lemur friends from Madagascar—King Julien, Maurice, and Mort—they find the penguins and chimpanzees at the Monte Carlo Casino. Chaos ensues, and the animals barely escape from Chantel DuBois, a merciless Animal Control officer who is determined to add Alex's head to her taxidermy collection.

When their plane crashes, the animals board a departing circus train. The circus animals—Stefano the sea lion, Gia the jaguar, and Vitaly the tiger—are suspicious of outsiders, so Alex lies about them being American circus animals. The circus is headed for a performance in Rome, followed by one in London where they hope to impress an American promoter in order to get their first American tour. To allay suspicion, the penguins purchase the circus from its human ringmaster. In Rome, Alex becomes enamored with Gia while King Julien falls in love with performing bear Sonya. DuBois pursues King Julien and Sonya, but fails to catch them and is arrested.

The performance at the Colosseum in Rome is a disaster: the animals' acts go awry and they are chased off by the angry audience. Stefano explains to Alex that the circus was once famous and Vitaly was its star, skillfully jumping through ever-smaller hoops. However, an accident during one of Vitaly's stunts caused him to lose his passion and the entire circus suffered as a result. Alex convinces the circus animals to come up with a new and exciting all-animal act that will restore their former glory. Marty and Stefano find a new passion in being shot out of a cannon, while Melman and Gloria become adept at dancing together on a tightrope. Gia persuades Alex to teach her "Trapeze Americano" and the two begin to fall in love. Meanwhile, DuBois escapes from prison and resumes her pursuit before printing a document which shows a photo of Alex performing at the Central Park Zoo.

In London, Vitaly is afraid of failing again and is about to run away, but Alex helps him rediscover his passion for performing the impossible. At Alex's suggestion, Vitaly lubricates himself with hair conditioner and succeeds in jumping through the hoop from all those years ago. The show is a spectacular success, and the promoter signs the circus to a contract. DuBois shows up and the penguins manage to foil her attempt to capture Alex and his friends. However, the printed document she was carrying reveals that Alex and his friends were all along zoo animals trying to get back home. Feeling betrayed and deceived, the circus animals eject the foursome.

After King Julien and Sonya get into an argument, the zoo and circus animals go their separate ways but arrive in Central Park at the same time. Looking in at their old home, the zoo animals realize how much their adventures have changed them and decide that their true place is with the circus. They are then ambushed by DuBois, but before she can behead Alex, the zoo staff arrive and incorrectly believe that she is returning the missing animals. King Julien makes it back to the circus with the news and Gia and Vitaly convince the others that they should rescue their friends. The zoo animals awaken in their old enclosures, now surrounded by high fences. DuBois is being honored by the zoo staff, but she rejects their reward and secretly loads a poison-filled dart and takes aim at Alex. They are soon rescued by the circus animals and together they defeat DuBois. Alex and his friends permanently join the circus, while the penguins ship DuBois and her men in crates to Madagascar, reminiscent of the first movie.

Voice cast[edit]

Ben Stiller and Jessica Chastain at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where the film had its worldwide premiere.


DreamWorks Animation's CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg confirmed in 2008 that there would be an additional sequel to Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. Katzenberg stated, "There is at least one more chapter. We ultimately want to see the characters make it back to New York."[10] At the Television Critics Association press tour in January 2009, Katzenberg was asked if there would be a third film in the series. He replied, "Yes, we are making a Madagascar 3 now, and it will be out in the summer of 2012."[11] On August 9, 2010, Katzenberg revealed in an e-mail that writer-director Noah Baumbach had done sixty pages of re-writes to the screenplay.[12]

A significant amount of the animation and visual effects for the film had been done at DreamWorks Dedicated Unit, an India-based unit at Technicolor.[13]


Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted opened the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2012.[14] The American release followed on June 8, 2012.[15] The film was also converted to the IMAX format and shown in specific European territories, including Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.[16]

Home media[edit]

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on October 16, 2012. It was the first DreamWorks Animation film to use the UltraViolet System and the Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D comes with a rainbow wig.[17] As of April 2014, 9.1 million home entertainment units were sold worldwide.[18]


Box office[edit]

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted earned $216,391,482 in North America and $530,529,792 in other countries for a worldwide total of $746,921,274.[7] Its worldwide opening weekend totaled $137.6 million.[19] Worldwide, it is the highest-grossing film in the series,[20] the fourth-highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation film,[21] the second-highest-grossing animated film of 2012, and the eighth-highest-grossing film of that year.[22] Overall, it is the eleventh-highest-grossing animated film and the 113th-highest-grossing film of all time. The film took between 66 and 94 days of release, respectively, to out-gross its two predecessors. It surpassed Kung Fu Panda 2 to become DreamWorks' highest-grossing non-Shrek film, and the first non-Shrek film to reach over $700 million.

In North America, the film made $20.7 million on its opening day, which was higher than the opening-day grosses of the original film ($13.9 million) and its sequel ($17.6 million).[23] For its opening weekend, the film ranked at the no. 1 spot, beating Prometheus, with $60.3 million, which was higher than the opening of the original Madagascar ($47.2 million) but was behind the opening weekend of Escape 2 Africa ($63.1 million).[24] It remained at the top spot for two consecutive weekends.[25] In North America, it is the highest-grossing film in the series,[20] the sixth-highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation film,[21] the second-highest-grossing 2012 animated film,[26] and the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2012.[27]

Outside North America, Europe's Most Wanted out-grossed Shrek Forever After to become DreamWorks Animation's highest-grossing film. On its opening weekend, it topped the box office with $77.3 million from 28 countries.[28] It held that position for three consecutive weekends.[29][30] Its three highest-grossing openings occurred in Russia and the CIS ($15.7 million), China ($10.4 million), and Brazil ($10.1 million in 5 days).[31] It set an opening-day record for animated films in Russia with $3.7 million[32] (since surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift)[33] and became the highest-grossing animated film (surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift)[34] and the third-highest-grossing film ever (at the time), earning $49.4 million.[35] It also set an opening-weekend record for any film in Argentina with $3.80 million[36] (first surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift)[37] and it set opening-weekend records for animated films in Brazil, Venezuela, Trinidad,[38] and the United Arab Emirates. Also, Madagascar 3 made $39 million in Germany, $34 million in United Kingdom and $28 million in Italy.[29]

Critical reception[edit]

Based on 134 reviews, the film holds an approval rating of 78% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Dazzlingly colorful and frenetic, Madagascar 3 is silly enough for young kids, but boasts enough surprising smarts to engage parents along the way."[39] This marks the best general review consensus of the film series that has showed improving critical favor; the original film has a score of 55%,[40] and the sequel scores 64%.[41] On Metacritic, it holds a score of 60 out of 100 based on 26 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[42] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[43]

Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and said, "From time to time the improbable occurs: A sequel outdoes its original."[44] Colin Covert of Star Tribune said that Madagascar 3 set a high standard for cartoon comedy and was almost too good for kids. He gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars.[45] Giving the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times said, "A neon-saturated, high-flying trapeze act with enough frenetic funny business that it's a wonder the folks behind this zillion-dollar franchise about zoo critters on the lam didn't send the animals to the circus sooner."[46] Stephen Witty of the Newark Star-Ledger calls the movie "fun and fast family entertainment. […] the animals' jazzy circus performance, done in black-light colors and set to a Katy Perry song—may be one of the trippiest scenes in a mainstream kiddie movie since Dumbo saw those pink elephants."[47] Film scholar Timothy Laurie writes that the plot development of Madagascar 3 is "met with large servings of personal growth and side dishes of overcooked romance".[48]


Award Category Nominated Result
ASCAP Award[49] Top Box Office Films Hans Zimmer Won
Teen Choice Awards[50] Movie Voice Chris Rock Nominated
Summer Movie: Comedy/Music Madagascar 3
Annie Awards[51][52] Animated Effects in an Animated Production Jihyun Yoon
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Craig Kellman
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Rob Koo
Satellite Award[53] Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Madagascar 3
Best Original Song "Love Always Comes as a Surprise" – Peter Asher & Dave Stewart
Critics' Choice Movie Awards[54] Best Animated Feature Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon
Kids' Choice Awards[55] Favorite Animated Movie Madagascar 3
Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Ben Stiller
Chris Rock


Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJune 5, 2012
GenreScore, Soundtrack
ProducerHans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer film scores chronology
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
The Dark Knight Rises

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is the soundtrack of the film scored by Hans Zimmer and was released on June 5, 2012.[56] "Afro Circus/I Like to Move It" peaked at 7 on the ARIA Hitseekers Singles chart on the week commencing October 15, 2012.[57]

In some variations of the soundtrack, "Cool Jerk" is featured in replacement of "We No Speak Americano". "Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO was only used in the theatrical trailer, and not included on the soundtrack and was replaced by "Firework" for the circus. "Any Way You Want It" by Journey and the instrumental "Watermark" from the album of the same name by Enya were also used, but are not included on the soundtrack. "Land of Hope and Glory" by Edward Elgar appears in the track "Fur Power". The "Afro Circus" tune is from "Entrance of the Gladiators", by the Czech composer Julius Fučík.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted - Music from the Motion Picture[58]
1."New York City Surprise"Hans Zimmer3:06
2."Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)"Danny Jacobs2:15
3."Wannabe"Danny Jacobs2:37
4."Game On"Hans Zimmer3:12
5."Hot in Here"Danny Jacobs2:27
6."We No Speak Americano"Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP4:29
7."Light the Hoop on Fire!"Hans Zimmer3:10
8."Fur Power!"Hans Zimmer2:19
9."Non Je Ne Regrette Rien"Frances McDormand1:13
10."Love Always Comes as a Surprise"Peter Asher3:21
11."Rescue Stefano"Hans Zimmer5:51
12."Firework"Katy Perry3:45
13."Afro Circus/I Like to Move It"Chris Rock & Danny Jacobs2:41
Total length:40:26

Video games[edit]

A video game based on the film, Madagascar 3: The Video Game, was released on June 5, 2012.[59] The game allows gamers to play as Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria as they travel across Europe promoting the circus by performing stunts, circus acts and completing missions.[59] It was released to Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.[59] Published by D3 Publisher, the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 versions were developed by Monkey Bar Games, and the 3DS and DS versions by Torus Games.[59] The game received negative reviews from critics with Metacritic giving the Xbox 360 version a 45/100.[60]

A mobile video game, Madagascar: Join the Circus!, also published by D3 Publisher, was released on June 4, 2012, for iPhone and iPad. The game allows players to build a circus and play mini-games.[61][62] The game was removed from App Stores on June 16, 2017.[63]

Comic book[edit]

A comic book based on the film and titled Madagascar Digest Prequel: Long Live the King! was released on June 12, 2012, by Ape Entertainment.[64][65]


A spin-off film titled Penguins of Madagascar, depicting the adventures of penguin characters following the events of Madagascar 3, was released on November 26, 2014.[66][67]


In June 2014 it was announced that Madagascar 4 would be released on May 18, 2018.[68] However, in January 2015, the film was removed from the release schedule following a corporate restructuring of DreamWorks Animation.[8][9] In April 2017, Tom McGrath stated "There are things in the works, nothing is announced yet, but I think [the characters will] show their faces once more."[69]


As depicted to Madagascar (2005)


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External links[edit]