Mr. Popper's Penguins (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Waters
Screenplay bySean Anders
John Morris
Jared Stern
Based onMr. Popper's Penguins
by Richard Atwater
Florence Atwater
Produced byJohn Davis
CinematographyFlorian Ballhaus
Edited byBruce Green
Music byRolfe Kent
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 17, 2011 (2011-06-17)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$55 million[1]
Box office$187.4 million [2]

Mr. Popper's Penguins is a 2011 American comedy film distributed by 20th Century Fox, directed by Mark Waters, produced by John Davis, co-produced by Davis Entertainment Company and Dune Entertainment, written by Sean Anders, John Morris and Jared Stern with music by Rolfe Kent and starring Jim Carrey in the title role, Carla Gugino, Madeline Carroll, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Angela Lansbury, Desmin Borges, Philip Baker Hall, Dominic Chianese, Clark Gregg, Ophelia Lovibond, Jeffrey Tambor, David Krumholtz, Henry Keleman, Dylan Clark Marshall with Frank Welker and James Tupper, loosely based on the 1938 children's book of the same name. The film was originally slated for a release on August 12, 2011, but was moved up to June 17, 2011.[3] The film received mixed reviews from critics and earned $187.3 million on a $55 million budget.


In an opening flashback, Thomas Popper, Jr., is a child whose father traveled around the world during his childhood in the 1970s. Popper rarely sees his father during his travels and communicates with him through shortwave radio.

In the present day, Thomas Popper, Jr., is now a divorced real estate entrepreneur and a father of two children. After returning home from work one day, Popper learns that his father has died during an adventure to Antarctica and, as per his will, has left him with a "souvenir" from his adventures in Antarctica. The following week, a crate containing a gentoo penguin, named Captain, appears at his door. Popper immediately becomes annoyed with the penguin and locks him in a bathroom before going to work. After Captain accidentally floods his apartment with bath water, Popper calls his father's organization asking to return the penguin, but, due to a miscommunication, ends up receiving a shipment of 5 more penguins, named Loudy, Bitey, Stinky, Lovey, and Nimrod.

Popper intends to give them away to the zoo, but changes his idea when his children, Janie and Billy, think that the animals are Billy's birthday present. An incensed Popper is forced to spend evenings taking care of the penguins and bribing the apartment clerk to not rat him out to the board, as pets are not allowed in the apartment. At one point, he receives an offer to take the penguins off his hands from Nat Jones, the antagonistic zookeeper at the New York Zoo, who warns him that the penguins won't survive at his house.

At work, Popper is given the task of buying Tavern on the Green, the only privately owned piece of real estate in Central Park that is an old restaurant where he used to eat with his father when he was a child. However, the restaurant’s elderly owner, Selma Van Gundy, will only sell it to a person of true value. Popper has meetings with her, and she refuses to sell the restaurant to him.

As time goes on, having the penguins around helps Popper become closer to his children. He also begins dating their mother, Amanda Popper again. The penguins lay three eggs. Two eggs hatch, but one does not. Popper becomes obsessed with seeing the last egg hatch, causing him to lose his job. Eventually Popper realizes that the egg is somehow unable to hatch, and, after being given permission from Nat Jones to do so, decides to donate the penguins to the New York Zoo. Then, he is re-employed but his children and former wife are disappointed by his decision.

Popper finds a letter from his father—included in the original crate with Captain but lost when Popper broke the crate by accident—telling him to hold his children close and love them and apologizing for not being a better father that Popper needed. Having second thoughts, Popper asks his children and former wife to help him get the penguins back from the zoo. They find the penguins, free them and they get away and flee to the tavern. Upon seeing how Popper had reunited his family and saved the penguins, Van Gundy sells him the restaurant. Popper decides to renovate and reopen the restaurant. Popper and his family travel to Antarctica with the penguins, allowing them to live with their own kind. Popper's first penguin, Captain, is revealed to have laid another egg. Popper tells his children that they will visit the penguins when the egg hatches.



Originally, Ben Stiller was slated to play Mr. Popper, and Noah Baumbach was originally going to direct, but they dropped out. Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Jim Carrey were all considered to replace Stiller, with the role eventually going to Carrey.[4] Mark Waters was chosen to direct. Filming began in October 2010, and finished in January 2011. On September 21, 2010, it was confirmed that Carla Gugino joined the cast as Tom's former wife Amanda Popper.[5] Rhythm and Hues Studios did the penguin animations for certain shots. The musical score was composed by Rolfe Kent and orchestrated by Tony Blondal. It was recorded at the scoring stage at 20th Century Fox in Century City, California with a 78-piece orchestra. An online Museum Slide Game created by designer Mark Kavanaugh as promotional material for the film.[6]

The penguins portrayed in the film were a mix of real penguins and CGI.[7]


Rolfe Kent scored the music for the film and on its soundtrack. The soundtrack also contains "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, "Sweet N' Lo" written by Erwin Lehn, "Doo Wah Dooh Wah" written and performed by Syd Dale, "Set 'Em Up Joe" written by Werner Tautz, "Spin Spin" written by Steve Sidwell, "Go Get It" written and performed by Jeff Cardoni, "Piano Lounge" written by Daniel May and Marc Ferrari, "Ice Ice Baby" performed by Vanilla Ice and music from the Charles Chaplin movies.


Mr. Popper's Penguins was theatrically released on June 17, 2011 by 20th Century Fox.


Carla Gugino was praised by critics for her performance

Mr. Popper's Penguins earned $6.4 million on opening day and $18.4 million over the three-day weekend, ranking in third place behind Green Lantern and Super 8. The opening was at the high end of 20th Century Fox's expectations, which was predicting a mid- to high teens opening. In its second weekend, the film faced competition from Cars 2 and dropped 45% to $10.1 million and ranked in fifth place. Over the four-day Independence Day holiday weekend, it ranked in eighth place after dropping 34% to $6.7 million. The film earned $68,224,452 domestically and $119,137,302 in foreign countries, grossing a total of $187,361,754 worldwide.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 48% based on 142 reviews with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Blandly inoffensive and thoroughly predictable, Mr. Popper's Penguins could have been worse – but it should have been better."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 53 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[10]


BMI Film & TV Awards 2012
Award Category Nominee Result
BMI Film Music Award Film Music Rolfe Kent Won
Kids' Choice Awards, USA 2012
Award Category Nominee Result
Blimp Award Favorite Movie Actor Jim Carrey For playing "Mr. Popper". Nominated
MovieGuide Awards 2012
Award Category Nominee Result
Grace Award and Best Film for Families Most Inspiring Performance in Movies Jim Carrey Nominated

Home media[edit]

Mr. Popper's Penguins was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 6, 2011. It includes a short film called Nimrod and Stinky's Antarctic Adventure.



  1. ^ Kaufman, Amy (16 June 2011). "Movie Projector: Costly 'Green Lantern' hopes to shine in its box office debut". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011) - Box Office Mojo".
  3. ^ Chitwood, Adam (16 December 2010). "First Set Photos of Jim Carrey in MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS". Collider. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  4. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (22 June 2010). "Ben Stiller Drops out of 'Mr. Poppers Penguins,' Jim Carrey, Jack Black & Owen Wilson Eyeing Lead Role". The Playlist. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  5. ^ Tyler, Josh (21 September 2010). "Carla Gugino Joins Mr. Popper's Penguins And Might Do Something Good After All". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  6. ^ Kavanaugh, Mark. "Museum Slide Game". Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  7. ^ Failes, Ian (29 June 2011). "Populating Mr. Popper's Penguins". FXGuide. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  9. ^ "Mr. Popper's Penguins Reviews". Metacritic.
  10. ^ "CinemaScore".

External links[edit]