Missing Link (2019 film)

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Missing Link
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChris Butler
Written byChris Butler
Produced by
CinematographyChris Peterson
Edited byStephen Perkins
Music byCarter Burwell
Distributed by
Release dates
  • April 5, 2019 (2019-04-05) (United Kingdom)
  • April 7, 2019 (2019-04-07) (New York City)
  • April 12, 2019 (2019-04-12) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million
Box office$26.6 million[1]

Missing Link is a 2019 American stop-motion animated adventure comedy film written and directed by Chris Butler. The film is produced by Laika and stars the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, David Walliams, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Timothy Olyphant, Amrita Acharia, Ching Valdes-Aran, Emma Thompson, and Zach Galifianakis. The plot follows Mr. Link, a Sasquatch who, with the help of British explorers Sir Lionel Frost and Adelina Fortnight, travels to the Himalayas to meet his Yeti cousins.

Development on a new stop-motion Laika animated film on "Film Five" began in April 2018, with Butler to direct and write the project and the voice cast announced. Annapurna Pictures distributed the film in the United States, who brought their distributor rights. In May 2018, additional voice cast were announced, with the title being revealed. By June 2018, Laika announced that Missing Link would be released in April 2019. Production was reportedly underway by May 2018 with Laika's artists having constructed over 110 sets with 65 unique locations for the film. AGC International acquired the international distribution rights to the film. Carter Burwell compose the film's musical score. With a budget of $100 million, Missing Link is the most expensive film ever made from Laika and the most expensive stop-motion animated film of all time.

Missing Link premiered in New York City on April 7, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on April 12, 2019 by Annapurna Pictures through United Artists Releasing. Missing Link is Laika's first film not to be distributed by Focus Features. Although it was a box-office failure, grossing $26.2 million against its $102.3 million production budget, losing $101.3 million,[2] the film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its animation, voice-over performances, humor and light-hearted standards compared to other Laika works, although some drew criticism towards the writing.[3] It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film,[4] making it the first non-CGI animated film to win in the category, and the first non-CGI animated film to win a Golden Globe since Waltz with Bashir (2008).[5] It also received a nomination at the 92nd Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature.


In 1886, Sir Lionel Frost, a struggling investigator of mythical creatures, continuously searched for different creatures to study and announce their presence in the world, which would allow him to be accepted into the "Society of Great Men", which is led by Sir Lionel's rival, Lord Piggot-Dunceby. Lionel receives a letter acknowledging the presence of a Sasquatch, making a deal with Piggot-Dunceby that would allow him to join the society if he proved that the creature was real.

Lionel travels to the Pacific Northwest, eventually stumbling upon the Sasquatch in a forest. After dubbing him "Mr. Link", Lionel is told by the Sasquatch that he was, in fact, the one who sent the letter. Mr. Link requests Lionel's help in finding his relatives, the Yetis, in the Himalayas. Lionel agrees to help him but is unaware of the fact that Piggot-Dunceby has hired a bounty hunter named Willard Stenk to track Lionel and kill him, ensuring that the pro-imperialist conservative views of the society remain unchallenged.

Lionel's old lover Adelina Fortnight has a map to the Himalayas locked at her house in Santa Ana, California, in a safe that belonged to her late husband, one of Lionel's past partners, so the two visit her mansion to acquire it. However, Adelina harbors resentment for Lionel missing her husband's funeral and kicks him out when he offers to pay her for the map. Lionel and Mr. Link come back later at night and break in, but Mr. Link's noise-making awakens Adelina, who fires at the intruders and instead creates a hole in the safe. Mr. Link pushes the safe out of the top-floor window. Mr. Link and Lionel grab the map and escape but are discovered the next day by Adelina, who allows them to search for the Yetis as long as she is there to accompany them. Stenk arrives, and a shootout ensues, but the trio tricks their pursuer into hopping on the train to search for them.

The trio makes their journey via boat, and Adelina pressures Lionel into reaching out to Mr. Link to prove his sincerity. Lionel enjoys a heartwarming talk with Mr. Link on the boat's deck, where Mr. Link gives himself the name "Susan" after a friendly prospector he once encountered. However, they are once again ambushed by Stenk. After various scuffles across different parts of the ship, the trio eventually locks Stenk in the boat's boarding rooms while they make another escape.

The trio eventually makes their way to the Himalayas and is pointed in the direction of the Yeti temple at Shangri-La, and led to their Queen, who reveals their secluded valley to the group. She then reveals their disdain for mankind extends to Susan, who has interacted closely with them. They throw the trio in a pit for them to stay until they die, where Adelina confronts Lionel on his need for the Society's acceptance being similar to Susan's rejection by the yetis. Susan hoists up Adelina enough to knock down a few Yeti guards, allowing them to stack them and escape. They run across the ice bridge, where an armed Piggot-Dunceby, his assistant Mr. Collick and Stenk are waiting at the center of the bridge. Lionel denounces his rival's pride and defends Susan as more human than Piggot-Dunceby ever will be. As a result, the insane Piggot-Dunceby starts firing his rifle at the ice bridge to kill the trio, until Susan stops Piggot-Dunceby from getting any further, still causing it to crack and break. Piggot-Dunceby and Collick fall to their deaths while the trio and Stenk make a run for it. They are too late and are left hanging on the edge of the destroyed ice bridge. Stenk, who has made it all the way across, decides to finish off Lionel, despite Lionel insisting that it is pointless since Piggot is no longer alive to pay him. This leads to the two engaging in a slapping fight while hanging on the bridge. The trio works together to rid themselves of Stenk, who falls to his death after an icicle breaks and falls on him. Lionel appoints Susan as his new partner in investigations.

After arriving home, Adelina tells Lionel that she will be adventuring on her own for a while and departs, but not before the pair share a brief mutual acceptance of their feelings for each other. Susan and Lionel arrive back at the latter's work space and begin their next case to find Atlantis. After they leave, the end credits reveal maps and souvenirs of their subsequent adventures.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Zach Galifianakis as Mr. Susan Link, a shy yet good-natured and polite orangutan-like Sasquatch searching for his relatives.
  • Hugh Jackman as Sir Lionel Frost, a rash but well-meaning monsters investigator.
  • Zoe Saldana as Adelina Fortnight, a fiercely independent and conscientious adventurer and Sir Lionel's former girlfriend.
  • Stephen Fry as Lord Piggot-Dunceby, the arrogant and self-absorbed head of the "Society of Great Men", a foil to Link/Susan, and Sir Lionel's rival.
  • Emma Thompson as the Yeti Elder, the paranoid and secretive leader of the Yetis.
  • Timothy Olyphant as Willard Stenk, a bloodthirsty bounty hunter hired by Lord Piggot-Dunceby to stop Link/Susan and Sir Lionel's quest.
  • Amrita Acharia as Ama Lahuma, a mountain guide who Link/Susan, Sir Lionel and Adelina meet and leads them to the Yeti temple at Shangri-La.
  • Matt Lucas as Mr. Collick, Lord Piggot-Dunceby's neurotic assistant and right-hand man.
  • Ching Valdes-Aran as Gamu, Ama's grandmother and a Yak Herder.
  • David Walliams as Mr. Lemuel Lint, Sir Lionel's former assistant who resigns after almost getting eaten by the Loch Ness Monster.
  • Humphrey Ker as Doorman, General Pugh
  • Adam Godley as Lord Bilge
  • Neil Dickson as Mr. Roylott
  • Ian Ruskin as Lord Scrivener
  • Matthew Wolf as Lord Ramsbottom
  • Darren Richardson as Alfie
  • Alan Shearman as Lord Entwhistle
  • Jack Blessing as McVitie, a conductor. This was Blessing's final film role, his voice role having been recorded before his death in 2017.
  • Richard Miro as Ricardo

Old Worlders voiced by Leila Birch, Jean Gilpin, Peter Lavin, Tom Muggeridge, Jimmy Hibbert, David Holt, Christopher Neame, Moira Quirk, Maebel Rayner, Alexander James Rodriguez, Julian Stone, and Nick Toren.

New Worlders voiced by Kirk Baily, David Beron, William Calvert, David Cowgill, Kerry Gutierrez, Bridget Hoffman, Scott Menville, Erin Myles, Juan Pacheco, Paul Pape, André Sogliuzzo, and Scott Whyte.

Himalayan villagers voiced by Phal Tong Lama, Yangchen Dolkar Gakyil, and Tharlam Dolma Wolfe.


On April 25, 2018, it was announced that Laika had begun development on "Film Five," a new animated film written and directed by Chris Butler and starring Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakis. The film was set to be distributed by Annapurna Pictures in the United States.[6][7] On May 7, 2018, it was announced that the film had been titled Missing Link and that additional voice actors would include Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Ching Valdez-Aran, and Amrita Acharia.[8][9]

Production was reportedly underway by May 2018 with Laika's artists having constructed over 110 sets with 65 unique locations for the film.[10]

Overall, the budget was approximately $100 million.[11]


On October 9, 2018, Carter Burwell was confirmed to score music for the film.[12] The soundtrack was released on April 12, 2019 by Lakeshore Records, the same day as the theatrical release.[13]


The film was released in the United States on April 12, 2019 by United Artists Releasing, Annapurna Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's joint distribution company, making it Laika's first film not to be distributed by Focus Features.[14][15]

International sales rights to the film were held by AGC International, who pre-sold the movie to distribution companies like Lionsgate for the United Kingdom,[16] Metropolitan Filmexport for France,[17] Elevation Pictures for Canada, Roadshow Films for Australia and New Zealand, Entertainment One for Germany and Spain, Leone Film Group for Italy, Appaluse Entertainment for Taiwan, GAGA for Japan, ISU C&E for South Korea, Selim Ramia for the Middle East, The Searchers for Benelux, Mis. Label for Scandinavia, Vertical Entertainment for Eastern Europe and Buena Vista International for Latin America, Russia, Malaysia and Singapore.[18][19]

Home media[edit]

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the film in the United States on digital on July 9, 2019 and on Blu-ray and DVD on July 23, 2019.[20]


Box office[edit]

Missing Link grossed $16.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $9.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $26.2 million.[1] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net loss of the film to be $101.3 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[11]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Little, Hellboy, and After, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 3,314 theaters in its opening weekend.[21] However, after grossing $1.6 million on its first day (including $230,000 from Thursday night previews), it went on to debut to $5.9 million, finishing ninth at the box office and marking the 12th-worst opening for a film playing in over 3,000 theaters, the worst opening for a film playing in over 3,150 theaters, and the lowest start for a Laika film ever.[22] In its second weekend the film dropped 27% to $4.4 million, finishing ninth.[23]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 171 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Another beautifully animated triumph for Laika, Missing Link is a visual treat with lots of humor, plenty of heart, and even a little food for thought."[24] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 81% and a "definite recommend" of 63%.[22]

Peter Debruge of Variety wrote: "Sooner or later, Laika was bound to branch out, which makes this funnier, more colorful film the link previously missing between the company's Goth-styled past and whatever comes next."[26] John Nugent of Empire Magazine praised the film, calling it "a charming family-friendly story about adventure and friendship—told with bar-raising artistic craft and technical skill. We'd expect nothing less from Laika."[27]


Accolades received by Missing Link (2019 film)
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards February 9, 2020 Best Animated Feature Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, and Travis Knight Nominated [28]
Annie Awards January 25, 2020 Best Animated Feature Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight Nominated [29]
Animated Effects in an Animated Production Eric Wachtman, David Horsley, Peter Stuart, Timur Khodzhaev, and Joe Strasser Nominated
Character Animation in a Feature Production Rachelle Lambden Nominated
Directing in a Feature Production Chris Butler Nominated
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Nelson Lowry, Santiago Montiel, and Trevor Dalmer Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Julián Nariño Nominated
Oliver Thomas Nominated
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production Stephen Perkins Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 12, 2020 Best Animated Feature Missing Link Nominated [30]
Golden Globe Awards January 5, 2020 Best Animated Feature Film Missing Link Won [31]
Producers Guild of America Awards January 18, 2020 Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight Nominated [32]
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards December 9, 2019 Best Animated Film Missing Link Nominated [33]
Visual Effects Society Awards January 29, 2020 Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Brad Schiff, Travis Knight, Steve Emerson, and Benoit Dubuc Won [34]
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Rachelle Lambden, Brenda Baumgarten, Morgan Hay, and Benoit Dubuc for "Susan" Won
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Oliver Jones, Phil Brotherton, Nick Mariana, and Ralph Procida for "Passage to India Jungle" Nominated
Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project Todd Alan Harvey, Dan Casey, and Katy Hughes for "The Manchuria" Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Missing Link (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  2. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 28, 2020). "The Biggest Box Office Bombs Of 2019: Deadline's Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament". Deadline. Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  3. ^ Ryan Fujitani (April 11, 2019). "Hellboy Fails to Catch Fire". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  4. ^ "Winners & Nominees 2020". www.goldenglobes.com. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  5. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (January 6, 2020). "Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson Join Laika's 'Missing Link' (EXCLUSIVE)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  6. ^ Kit, Borys (April 25, 2018). "Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis Starring in Animated Film From Laika". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 25, 2018). "LAIKA Sets Next Animated Pic 'Film Five' For Annapurna Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Mendelson, Will (May 8, 2018). "Laika's 'Missing Link,' featuring all-star cast, to hit theaters spring 2019". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Hopewell, John (May 7, 2018). "Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson Join Laika's 'Missing Link' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  10. ^ Patterson, Adam (May 8, 2018). "Laika's Next Film is THE MISSING LINK". Film Pulse. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  11. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 27, 2020). "The Biggest Box Office Bombs Of 2019: Deadline's Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  12. ^ "Carter Burwell Scoring LAIKA's Missing Link". Film Music Reporter. October 9, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Missing Link Soundtrack Album Announced". Film Music Reporter. March 21, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  14. ^ Galuppo, Mia (February 5, 2019). "MGM, Annapurna Team for Distribution Label United Artists Releasing". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Pedersen, Erik (June 28, 2018). "'Missing Link': Laika's Zach Galifianakis-Hugh Jackman-Zoe Saldana Toon Gets Release Date From Annapurna". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  16. ^ Clarke, Stewart (June 13, 2018). "Hugh Jackman Animated Feature 'Missing Link' Acquired by Lionsgate U.K."
  17. ^ "MONSIEUR LINK | AFCAE". www.art-et-essai.org.
  18. ^ "'Missing Link': Sets The Pieces and Nearly Completed It". April 20, 2019.
  19. ^ E.D, Publicado por. "SR LINK, la nueva película del estudio LAIKA llega a los cines argentinos".
  20. ^ "Missing Link Blu-Ray". Blu-ray.com.
  21. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (April 9, 2019). "Will 'Shazam!' Still Fly High With 'Hellboy' at Its Heels at This Weekend's Box Office?". TheWrap. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  22. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 14, 2019). "'Shazam!' To Hit $100M Before Friday; 'Little' Mighty With $15M+; 'Hellboy' Extinguished; 'After' Works Overseas – Sunday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 21, 2019). "Lowest Easter Weekend At The B.O. Since 2005 Despite $26M Purse Of 'a Llorona' – Saturday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  24. ^ "Missing Link (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  25. ^ "Missing Link reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  26. ^ Debruge, Peter (April 3, 2019). "Film Review: 'Missing Link'". Variety.
  27. ^ Nugent, John (April 3, 2019). "Missing Link". Empire (film magazine).
  28. ^ "Oscars: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. February 9, 2020. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved January 13, 2024.
  29. ^ "Klaus Wins Big at Annie Awards for Animation". The Hollywood Reporter. January 25, 2020. Archived from the original on January 26, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  30. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly; Howard, Annie (January 12, 2020). "Critics' Choice Awards: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Named Best Picture; Full Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  31. ^ "Golden Globes: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. January 5, 2020. Archived from the original on May 9, 2022. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  32. ^ Vary, Adam B. (January 18, 2020). "PGA Awards Winners: Complete List". Variety. Archived from the original on January 19, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  33. ^ Dietz, Jason (December 3, 2019). "Best of 2019: Film Awards & Nominations Scorecard". Metacritic. Archived from the original on April 21, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  34. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 7, 2020). "VES Awards Nominations: The Lion King, Alita: Battle Angel, The Mandalorian & GoT Top List". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 16, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  35. ^ Huff, Lauren (January 29, 2020). "The Lion King reigns at 2020 Visual Effects Society Awards". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 30, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2024.

External links[edit]