Open Season (2006 film)

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Open Season
Open Season.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoger Allers
Jill Culton
Screenplay bySteve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Nat Mauldin
Story byJill Culton
Anthony Stacchi
Based onAn original story by
Steve Moore
John B. Carls
Produced byMichelle Murdocca
StarringMartin Lawrence
Ashton Kutcher
Gary Sinise
Debra Messing
Billy Connolly
Jon Favreau
Georgia Engel
Jane Krakowski
Gordon Tootoosis
Patrick Warburton
Edited byPamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland
Music byRamin Djawadi (score)
Paul Westerberg (songs)
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[1]
Release date
  • 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 comedy film, directed by Roger Allers and Jill Culton from a screenplay by Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, and Nat Mauldin. The film stars the voices of Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Gary Sinise, Debra Messing, Billy Connolly, Jon Favreau, Georgia Engel, Jane Krakowski, Gordon Tootoosis, and Patrick Warburton. Its plot follows Boog, a domesticated grizzly bear who teams up with a amnesiac one-antlered mule deer named Elliot and other woodland animals to defeat human hunters.

Open Season was produced by Sony Pictures Animation as its debut film, and was released to theaters by Sony Pictures Releasing under Columbia Pictures on September 29, 2006. It has also been released in the IMAX 3D format.[5] A video game for the film was released on multiple platforms.

Despite receiving mixed reviews from film critics, the film was positively welcomed from audiences and was a box office success, earning $200.8 million on an $85 million budget and was followed by three direct-to-video sequels: Open Season 2 (2008), Open Season 3 (2010), and Open Season: Scared Silly (2016).


In the small town of Timberline, a 900-pound (408 kg) grizzly bear named Boog enjoys a captive but luxurious existence and spends his days as the star attraction of the town's nature show, while at night living in the garage of park ranger Beth, who has raised Boog since he was a cub. One day, the cold-hearted hunting fanatic Shaw drives into Timberline with a one-antlered mule deer named Elliot strapped to the hood of his truck, who is unconscious after being hit by the truck. When Boog meets him, he discovers that he has memory loss, thinks he's lonely, and forgets about the accident. After he frees him, the deer follows Boog home, only to find Boog sleeping comfortably in the garage. To wake Boog up, Elliot throws rabbits at the window. He tells Boog to be "free" from his garage captivity and introduces him to a world of sweet temptations he has never known. When Boog becomes sick from eating too many candy bars, events quickly spiral out of control, as the two raid a convenience store. Elliot escapes before Boog is caught by a friend of Beth's, Sheriff Gordy. At the nature show, Elliot, being chased by Shaw, sees Boog and goes to him for help, but wanting nothing to do with him after their previous encounter, Boog tries to get rid of him. The audience sees and mistakes him for attacking Elliot and they go into panic.

Shaw attempts to shoot Boog and Elliot, but Beth sedates both animals with a tranquilizer gun just before Shaw fires his own gun. Shaw flees before Gordy can arrest him. Realizing that Boog is too threatening in the town, Beth relocates him and Elliot into the Timberline National Forest, only two days before open season starts, but they are relocated above the waterfalls, where they will be safe from the hunters. Since he lacks any outdoor survival skills, Boog reluctantly takes Elliot as his unstable guide to get him back home to Timberline to reunite with Beth, but in the woods, they quickly learn that animals can be extremely unwelcoming. Boog runs into a lot of forest animals who think he’s a loser, including skunks Maria and Rosie, ducks Serge and Deni, various unnamed 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 a herd of deer led by Ian and Giselle, whom Elliot is in love with and quickly remembers.

Eventually, Boog learns about self-reliance and Elliot gains self-confidence, and they start to become friends. The next day, it is revealed that Elliot has absolutely no idea where he and Boog are going and has been leading Boog in a big circle, due to his memory loss. After accidentally causing a flood at Reilly's dam, Boog and Elliot are confronted by Shaw; Boog rescues his toy bear, Dinkleman, before the current makes the doll float out of Boog's paw. They end up in a waterfall, which sends the animals falling down into the hunting grounds. After thinking Shaw is dead, at first all the animals are furious at Boog, but then he accuses Elliot of lying to him about knowing where Timberline is. Boog angrily storms off, but unwittingly ends up in Shaw's log cabin, where he is discovered by Shaw, who is revealed to have survived, while Boog manages to make a hasty escape before Shaw could get him when he ends up to the city road where Boog happens upon the glowing lights of Timberline. Instead of deserting the animals, Boog reconciles with Elliot and helps the animals defend themselves, while befriending them in the process, using supplies taken from an RV owned by a caring married 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, causing the hunters to retreat in defeat after McSquizzy blows up their trucks with a propane tank ignited by using an emergency flare. Shaw returns for a final showdown and seemingly kills Elliot by gun shot, prompting Boog to furiously confront Shaw and quickly overpower him by tying him up with his own gun. Boog accompanies Elliot, who survived and with his memory back but his remaining antler is broken off by the shot. The forest animals thank Boog for his help and then proceed to take out their vengeance on Shaw by smothering him with honey and pillow feathers and sending him fleeing into the woods. Beth later returns in a helicopter to take Boog back home. Realizing how the experience has changed him, Boog decides to stay in the forest with his new friends under Beth's blessing.

In a mid-credits scene, while crossing the street, Shaw suddenly gets struck by Bob and Bobbie, who humorously mistake him for Bigfoot and strap him on top of their trailer. Unable to escape, Shaw shouts. The camera zooms into his mouth and the rest of the credits appear.



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.[7] Moore and producer John Carls submitted the story to Sony in June 2002, and the film immediately went into development.[8] On February 29, 2004, Sony Pictures Animation announced the beginning of the production on Open Season, its first CGI animated film.[9]

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 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.[10]

To choose the voice cast, Culton blindly listened to audition tapes, unknowingly picking Lawrence and Kutcher for the lead roles.[11] Their ability to improvise significantly contributed to the creative process. "They really became meshed with the characters", said Culton.[11] Until the film's premiere, Lawrence and Kutcher never met during production.[12]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 48% based on 101 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."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 49 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[15]

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".[16]

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.[17]


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.[18]

Home media[edit]

Open Season was released on VHS and DVD, Blu-ray, and UMD Video on January 30, 2007.[19] 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.[20] 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release date on TBA 2022.

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.[21] For Wii, it was released on November 19, 2006, together with the console's launch.[22]


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

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.[23][24]

Open Season—Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (10″ LP) includes two songs that did not appear on the soundtrack CD: an alternative version of "I Belong" and Paul Westerberg's own version of "Wild as I Wanna Be".[25]

Chart (2009) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Soundtracks[26] #15


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. ^ Ball, Ryan (October 4, 2006). "Open Season Bears Fruit in IMAX 3D". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  6. ^ Chang, Justin (September 28, 2006). "Review: 'Open Season'". Variety. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  7. ^ "Open Season". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  8. ^ ""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.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ Sony Pictures Animation (October 6, 2006). "Open Season Diary: Animating the Animals". Animation World Network. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Pamer, Melissa (September 10, 2006). "First-time animation director has a wild time". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  12. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Martin Lawrence Grins and 'Bears' It in "Open Season"". Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  13. ^ "Open Season (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  14. ^ "Open Season Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  15. ^ "CinemaScore".
  16. ^ "At the Movies Archive".
  17. ^ "Weekend box office 13th October 2006 - 15th October 2006". Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  18. ^ "37th Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". The Annie Awards. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  19. ^ McCutcheon, David (January 4, 2007). "Open Season's DVD Hunt". IGN. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  20. ^ "'Open Season - 3D' Announced for Blu-ray 3D". High-Def Digest. September 20, 2010. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Seff, Micah (November 17, 2006). "Four Ubisoft Titles Ready for Wii Launch". IGN. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  23. ^ "Open Season featuring the songs of Paul Westerberg". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  24. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Open Season (Original Soundtrack) > Review". Allmusic. Macrovision. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
  25. ^ "OPEN SEASON - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK (10" LP)". MusicDirect. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  26. ^ "Open Season (Original Soundtrack) > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Macrovision. Retrieved August 16, 2009.

External links[edit]