Open Season (2006 film)

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Open Season
Open Season.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
an original story
Produced byMichelle Murdocca
Edited byPamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland
Music by
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[1]
Release dates
  • September 25, 2006 (2006-09-25) (Greek Theatre)
  • September 29, 2006 (2006-09-29) (United States)
  • October 13, 2006 (2006-10-13) (United Kingdom)
Running time
86 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
Budget$85 million[4]
Box office$200.8 million[4]

Open Season is a 2006 American computer-animated adventure comedy film[5] produced by Sony Pictures Animation (as its debut film). It was directed by Jill Culton and Roger Allers and co-directed by Anthony Stacchi, from a screenplay by Nat Mauldin and the writing team of Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman, and a screen story by Culton and Stacchi, based on an original idea by Steve Moore and John B. Carls. The film stars the voices of Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Gary Sinise, Debra Messing, Billy Connolly, Jon Favreau, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Bill Hader, Bob Odenkirk, Taylor Swift, Natalie Portman, Anna Kendrick, Lake Bell, Kelly Macdonald, Maria Menounos, Georgia Engel, Jane Krakowski, Gordon Tootoosis, and Patrick Warburton. Its plot follows Boog, a domesticated grizzly bear, who teams up with a one-antlered mule deer named Elliot and other woodland animals to defeat human hunters.

Open Season was released to theaters in the United States by Columbia Pictures under Sony Pictures Releasing on September 29, 2006. It has also been released in the IMAX 3D format.[6] A video game for the film was released on multiple platforms.

Despite receiving mixed reviews from both film critics and audiences, it was a box office success, earning $200.8 million on an $85 million budget. The film was followed by three direct-to-video sequels: Open Season 2 (2008), Open Season 3 (2010), and Open Season: Scared Silly (2015).


In the small town of Timberline, a 900-pound (400 kg) grizzly bear named Boog enjoys a captive but pampered existence and spends his days as the star attraction of the town's nature show, while at night lives in the garage of park ranger Beth, who has raised Boog since he was a cub. He spends his time eating fishy crackers and watching his all-time favorite TV show Wheel of Fortune. One day, the hunting fanatic Shaw drives into Timberline with a one-antlered deer named Elliot strapped to the hood of his truck (who he ran over on the interstate but claims Elliot ran in front of his truck). Boog frees him and Elliot becomes convinced that they are friends. That night, Elliot finds Boog sleeping comfortably in the garage, tells him to be "free" from his garage captivity, and introduces him to sweet temptations he has never known.

Events quickly spiral out of control as the two raid a convenience store; Elliot escapes, but Boog is caught by Beth's friend Gordy, the town's sheriff who returns Boog to Beth and tells Beth that Boog's feral instincts may be coming to him and it may be about time to release Boog into the wild. The next morning, Elliot is being chased by Shaw, and goes to Boog for help at the nature show. Boog tries to get rid of him, and the audience mistakes him for attacking Elliot and goes into a panic. Beth shoots both animals with a tranquilizer gun just before Shaw fires his own gun; Shaw flees before Gordy can arrest him. Realizing Boog is too threatening in the town, Beth takes Gordy's word and relocates him and Elliot into the Timberline National Forest two days before open season, but they are relocated above the waterfalls, where they will be legally safe from hunters.

Lacking outdoor survival skills, Boog reluctantly takes Elliot as his guide to get him back home to reunite with Beth. They encounter unwelcoming forest animals, including skunks Maria and Rosie, ducks Serge and Deni, various panic-stricken rabbits, the Scottish-accented squirrel McSquizzy and his loyal gang of fellow acorn-throwing squirrels, beaver Reilly and his construction worker team, a porcupine named Buddy who is in search of a friend, and Elliot's herd that includes Ian, the leader, and Giselle, a doe that Elliot is in love with. It is revealed that Ian banished Elliot from the herd for being a loser. Eventually, Boog and Elliot start to bond after realizing they are both outcasts, and Boog considers letting Elliot stay with him when they get back.

The next day, Elliot attempts to lead Boog out of the forest, but it becomes evident he has no clue where they are going. The two are confronted by Shaw and accidentally destroy Reilly's dam trying to get away, causing a flash flood which sends the animals and Shaw plummeting down the waterfall into the hunting grounds. At first, everyone blames Boog for sending them into the hunting grounds, who then accuses Elliot of lying to him about knowing the way home. Elliot admits he thought that if Boog spent time with him, he would befriend him. Boog angrily storms off, but unwittingly ends up in Shaw's log cabin, where he is discovered by Shaw. Boog escapes to a nearby road and happens upon the glowing lights of Timberline. Instead of returning home, Boog returns to the woods, reconciles with Elliot, and rallies the animals to defend themselves using their natural skills. They scavenge supplies from an RV owned by a couple named Bob and Bobbie, who are looking for Bigfoot, while their pet dachshund Mr. Weenie joins the forest animals.

The next day, Boog leads a revolution against the hunters, sending them running after McSquizzy blows up their trucks with a propane tank ignited by an emergency flare. Shaw returns for a final showdown and shoots Elliot, prompting Boog to furiously confront Shaw and tie him up with his own gun. Boog rushes to Elliot, who survived with a second broken antler. The forest animals thank Boog for his help and take out their vengeance on Shaw by smothering him with honey and pillow feathers, sending him fleeing into the woods. Beth later returns in a helicopter to take Boog back home, but Boog, realizing how much the experience has changed him and all the friends he has now, decides to stay in the forest with Beth's blessing.

In a mid-credits scene, Shaw is captured by Bob and Bobbie who mistake him for Bigfoot.



Roger Allers and Jill Culton, the directors of the film, at the 34th Annie Awards

The ideas for Open Season came from cartoonist Steve Moore, who is known for his comic strip In the Bleachers.[8] Moore and producer John Carls submitted the story to Sony in June 2002, and the film immediately went into development.[9] On February 29, 2004, Sony Pictures Animation announced the beginning of the production on Open Season, its first CGI animated film.[10]

The film location was inspired by the towns of Sun Valley, Idaho and McCall, Idaho, and the Sawtooth National Forest. References to the Lawn Lake, Colorado, Dam flood, Longs Peak, and other points of interest in the area are depicted in the film.

The rendering services used were Hewlett-Packard and Alias Maya.

The Sony animation team developed a digital tool called shapers that allowed the animators to reshape the character models into stronger poses and silhouettes and subtle distortions such as squash, stretch, and smears, typical of traditional, hand drawn animation.[11]

To choose the voice cast, Culton blindly listened to audition tapes, unknowingly picking Lawrence and Kutcher for the lead roles.[12] Their ability to improvise significantly contributed to the creative process. "They really became meshed with the characters", said Culton.[12] Until the film's premiere, Lawrence and Kutcher never met during production.[13]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 49% based on 103 reviews with an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's consensus reads: "Open Season is a clichéd palette of tired jokes and CGI animal shenanigans that have been seen multiple times this cinematic year."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 49 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[16]

Kevin Smith gave the film a thumbs up during an appearance as a guest critic on Ebert and Roeper, saying: "If your kids like poop jokes as much as I do, Open Season will put a big smile on their faces". However, Richard Roeper gave the film a thumbs down, saying, "It's just okay, the animation is uninspired".[17]

Box office[edit]

Open Season opened number one with $23 million on its opening weekend. It grossed $88.6 million in the United States and $112.2 million in foreign countries, making $200.8 million worldwide.[4] The film was released in the United Kingdom on October 13, 2006, and opened at number three, behind The Departed and The Devil Wears Prada.[18]


The film was nominated for six Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature (lost to Cars), Best Animated Effects, Best Character Design in a Feature Production, Best Production Design in a Feature Production, and Best Storyboarding in a Feature Production.[19]

Home media[edit]

Open Season was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and UMD Video on January 30, 2007.[20] It includes an animated short called Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run. The film was later released to 3D Blu-ray on November 16, 2010.[21]

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the film was released on September 18, 2006, for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation Portable, and Microsoft Windows.[22] For Wii, it was released on November 19, 2006, together with the console's launch.[23]


Open Season
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 26, 2006
LabelLost Highway
ProducerLou Giordano
Dana Gumbiner
Paul Westerberg chronology
The Resterberg
''Open Season''
49:00... Of Your Time/Life
Chart (2009) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Soundtracks[24] #15

The soundtrack includes an original film score by Ramin Djawadi and several original songs by Paul Westerberg, formerly of The Replacements. Rolling Stone gave the film's soundtrack three stars out of five, as did AllMusic.[25][26]

Open Season—Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (10″ LP) includes three songs that did not appear on the soundtrack CD: an alternative version of "I Belong", Paul Westerberg's own version of "Wild as I Wanna Be", and Reyli's "Tú eres el amor", which played during the credits in the Latin American Spanish version of the film. In the dubbing of the same language, Reyli also performed the voice of Boog.[27]


Open Season was followed by three direct-to-video sequels: Open Season 2 (2008), Open Season 3 (2010), and Open Season: Scared Silly (2015). A majority of the characters' voices were recast, with Michelle Murdocca (Maria) being the only cast member to appear in all sequels.


  1. ^ a b "Open Season". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  2. ^ Hopewell, John; Lang, Jamie (June 15, 2017). "Why Sony Pictures Animation Still Needs a Big Hit – and Where It Might Come From". Variety. Retrieved February 9, 2018. Producing animated features since 2006's "Open Season," Sony Pictures Animation has still to fire up a "Despicable Me" size franchise which can, as Belson out, provide a transformational moment, defining a studio's style.
  3. ^ "Open Season". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Open Season (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  5. ^ "Open Season (2006)". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  6. ^ Ball, Ryan (October 4, 2006). "Open Season Bears Fruit in IMAX 3D". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  7. ^ Chang, Justin (September 28, 2006). "Review: 'Open Season'". Variety. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "Open Season". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  9. ^ ""Open Season" in Theatres Tonight; Credit Goes to Universal Press Syndicate Creator". Universal Uclick. September 29, 2006. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  10. ^ "Sony Pictures Animation Begins Production on First Full-Length CGI Film 'Open Season' Starring Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher and Debra Messing" (Press release). PR Newswire. February 29, 2004. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  11. ^ Sony Pictures Animation (October 6, 2006). "Open Season Diary: Animating the Animals". Animation World Network. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Pamer, Melissa (September 10, 2006). "First-time animation director has a wild time". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  13. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Martin Lawrence Grins and 'Bears' It in "Open Season"". Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  14. ^ "Open Season (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  15. ^ "Open Season Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  16. ^ "CinemaScore".
  17. ^ "At the Movies Archive".
  18. ^ "Weekend box office 13th October 2006 - 15th October 2006". Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  19. ^ "37th Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". The Annie Awards. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  20. ^ McCutcheon, David (January 4, 2007). "Open Season's DVD Hunt". IGN. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  21. ^ "'Open Season - 3D' Announced for Blu-ray 3D". High-Def Digest. September 20, 2010. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  22. ^ Black, Jared (September 18, 2006). "Ubisoft Declares Open Season on All Platforms". Video Game Generation. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  23. ^ Seff, Micah (November 17, 2006). "Four Ubisoft Titles Ready for Wii Launch". IGN. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  24. ^ "Open Season (Original Soundtrack) > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Macrovision. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
  25. ^ "Open Season featuring the songs of Paul Westerberg". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  26. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Open Season (Original Soundtrack) > Review". AllMusic. Macrovision. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
  27. ^ "OPEN SEASON - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK (10" LP)". MusicDirect. Retrieved October 30, 2011.

External links[edit]