Over the Hedge (film)

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Over the Hedge
Over the Hedge Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay by
Based on
Produced byBonnie Arnold
Edited byJohn K. Carr
Music byRupert Gregson-Williams
Distributed byParamount Pictures[1]
Release dates
  • April 30, 2006 (2006-04-30) (Los Angeles premiere)[2]
  • May 19, 2006 (2006-05-19) (United States)
Running time
83 minutes [3]
CountryUnited States
Budget$80 million[4]
Box office$340 million[3]

Over the Hedge is a 2006 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and based on the comic strip of the same name by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. Directed by Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick (the latter in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Len Blum, Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton, and Kirkpatrick, the film features the voices of Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes, Avril Lavigne and Nick Nolte. The film's plot follows a raccoon named RJ who must reclaim food for a bear, ultimately manipulating a group of animals that had recently awakened from hibernation in order to speed up the process.

Over the Hedge was released in the United States on May 19, 2006 by Paramount Pictures (which acquired the DreamWorks Pictures studio the same year), making it DreamWorks Animation's first film to be distributed by that studio.[5] It received generally positive reviews from critics, and grossed $336 million on an $80 million budget.


One night, in Indiana, RJ the raccoon tries to steal snack food that Vincent, a bear, stockpiled for his hibernation. Vincent wakes up and catches RJ, and the food is destroyed in the ensuing confrontation. Vincent says he will hunt down and eat RJ if the food is not replaced by the time his hibernation ends a week later.

A family of woodland animals consisting of ornate box turtle and leader Verne, hyperactive American red squirrel Hammy, striped skunk Stella, North American porcupine parents Lou and Penny and children Spike, Bucky and Quillo, and Virginia opossum father and daughter Ozzie and Heather, awaken from their hibernation on the first day of spring. They find that much of the forest they lived in has been turned into a housing development, which is separated from the little forest remaining by a giant hedge. The animals wonder how they will forage enough food for the next winter. RJ meets them and encourages them to traverse the hedge and steal food from the humans. Despite Verne's concerns, the animals join RJ in stealing and stockpiling human food, not knowing he intends to give it to Vincent. Gladys Sharp, the neighborhood Home Owners Association president, takes notice of the animal problem and hires exterminator Dwayne LaFontant to get rid of them.

Spurred on by the exterminator's arrival, Verne tries to return the food to the humans. RJ tries to stop him; but they come across the excitable dog Nugent who, with a single-minded fixation on playing, ends up pulling the wagon of food through the neighborhood until it lands on Gladys' SUV, causing an explosion. RJ blames Verne for the loss of the food while Verne criticizes the others for trusting RJ and putting themselves in danger with the humans, inadvertently insulting them in the process and causing them to go with RJ over him. That night, RJ begins to feel conflicted about his deception towards the family, especially when he sees Gladys having Dwayne cover her yard in animal traps—including an illegal contraband device called the De-Pelter Turbo which turns the entire yard into a death trap when activated.

Verne apologizes to RJ for his actions and reconciles with the other animals. On the night before Vincent's hibernation ends, RJ sees that Gladys has bought a massive stockpile of food for an upcoming party and enlists the help of the animals to invade her home and steal it. Hammy successfully disables the De-Pelter Turbo while Stella poses as a cat to seduce Gladys' Persian cat Tiger in order to steal his collar, which enables entry into the house's pet door. The animals stockpile another wagon full of food, but right as they are about to leave at sunrise, RJ sees a can of chips called Spuddies and becomes determined to get them as Vincent specifically requested them. While trying to justify his effort to get the chips, RJ lets slip his true intention for the food. Gladys comes downstairs and finds the animals, and RJ manages to escape with the food. The others are caught by Dwayne, who takes them away in his truck to euthanize them.

RJ gives the food to Vincent as promised, but as he sees the exterminator truck driving off, he realizes that the family he found in the woodland animals is the most valuable thing in his life. RJ sends the food wagon careening into the truck, knocking out Dwayne and freeing the animals, but enraging Vincent. Spike, Bucky and Quillo take control of the truck and drive it back home, and RJ rejoins the family as they try to shake off the pursuing Vincent after Verne convinces the others to forgive him for his trickery. They crash the truck into Gladys' home and return to the hedge, but are attacked from both sides of it by Vincent, Gladys and Dwayne. RJ gives Hammy an energy drink, making the squirrel hyperactive enough to move at warp speed which he uses to go and reactivate the De-Pelter Turbo. RJ lures Vincent into leaping over the hedge to get him, but puts on Verne's shell which protects him from Vincent's jaws and allows Verne to pull him out with a fishing line. Vincent, Gladys and Dwayne are caught in the De-Pelter Turbo, resulting in them being blasted with radiation and trapped in a cage left in the ensuing crater.

Vincent is captured by animal control and shipped off to the Rocky Mountains, while Gladys is arrested for possessing the Turbo and Dwayne is chased by Nugent. RJ joins the woodland creatures' family permanently as well as Tiger, who remains in love with Stella even after learning she is a skunk, as he cannot smell. The animals' food storage is quickly replenished by Hammy, who finally found the nuts he stored before the previous winter.

Voice cast[edit]

Bruce Willis
Avril Lavigne
Bruce Willis and Avril Lavigne at the film's premiere at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival
  • Bruce Willis as RJ, a raccoon who is duplicitous, selfish, a con artist, and extremely intelligent. Despite his hard outer shell, he is revealed to have a sensitive personality, developing feelings of guilt over using his new-found companions to his own ends. Jim Carrey was originally set to voice the character,[6] but in October 2004, he left the project and was replaced with Willis.[7] Bill Murray was the original choice for the role.[8]
  • Garry Shandling as Verne, a naturally cynical ornate box turtle, the leader of the foragers. He has his own ways of doing the daily tasks, but his world is turned upside-down when RJ introduces his free-spirited lifestyle into the mix. Though Verne genuinely cares for his family, he can be patronizing. His shell falls off regularly and is laughed at. He is commonly mistaken for an amphibian despite the fact that he is a reptile. Harold Ramis was the original choice for the role.[8]
  • Steve Carell as Hammy, a hyperactive American red squirrel, whose mouth moves as fast as his feet. He is naive and childish in nature, with an extremely short attention span.
  • Wanda Sykes as Stella, a short-tempered, sassy striped skunk. She later goes undercover as a black female cat to distract Tiger, and ends up falling in love with him when he reveals he has no sense of smell.
  • William Shatner and Avril Lavigne as Ozzie and Heather respectfully, a Virginia opossum father and daughter who see the world from different points of view; Ozzie often embarrasses Heather when he constantly feigns death to get away from danger.
  • Eugene Levy as Lou, a North American porcupine. He is Penny's husband and the porcupine family patriarch with an overly friendly and optimistic attitude. He has a strong Minnesota accent.
  • Catherine O'Hara as Penny, the porcupine family mother, Lou's wife, and matriarch of the porcupine family; she serves as a ground between their family and the other animals.
  • Shane Baumel, Sami Kirkpatrick, and Madison Davenport as Spike, Bucky and Quillo, Lou and Penny's three identical children. They enjoy playing video games, and are the most enthusiastic about exploring the world beyond the hedge.
  • Allison Janney as Gladys Sharp, the president of the El Rancho Camelot Estates Home Owners Association. She is disgusted by animals, strict on H.O.A. rules and is not taken seriously by the other residents of the housing development, much to her irritation.
  • Thomas Haden Church as Dwayne LaFontant,[9][10] an over-zealous, middle-aged pest exterminator nicknamed the "Verminator" who is hired by Gladys. He can detect the species of any animal that has recently been in the area by smell. He spoofs the Terminator.
  • Nick Nolte as Vincent, a murderous, sadistic and conscienceless American black bear to whom RJ owes food, motivating the story. He later makes a cameo in Bee Movie.[11]
  • Omid Djalili as Tiger, a Persian cat; his full Persian name is "Prince Tigerius Mahmoud Shabazz."[12] Initially hating the forest animals, he helps guard Gladys' house from them. However, he joins their family after he falls in love with Stella.
  • Brian Stepanek as Nugent, an excitable Rottweiler whose only spoken word is "Play!". He otherwise communicates by barks.
  • Two minor human characters named Lunch Table Larry and BBQ Barry, appearing during the dog chase scene, were voiced by Lee Bienstock and Sean Yazbeck, two participants on The Apprentice 5 as part of a reward for winning a task.[13]


The film was originally set up at 20th Century Fox through its 20th Century Fox Animation division; The idea of the film was conceived when Don Bluth and Gary Goldman showed the comic strip to its head Chris Meledandri, who was impressed by its humour and acquired rights to the strip. He asked the screenwriting duo of Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman to write the screenplay for the project for Bluth and Goldman's Fox Animation Studios; however, in February 2001, due to the disappointing performance of its recent film Titan A.E. and its closure in 2000, it was later picked up by DreamWorks Animation under the leadership of its CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg when Fox put the film in turnaround.[14]


Karey Kirkpatrick
Bonnie Arnold
Co-director Karey Kirkpatrick and producer Bonnie Arnold in 2006 promoting the film

The film was originally going to be released in November 2005;[15] however, in December 2004, the date was changed to May 2006. The film was screened as a "work-in-progress" on April 29, 2006, at the Indianapolis International Film Festival (according to the scene in which the Depelter Turbo destroys a satellite, this film took place in suburban Indianapolis)[16] and it premiered on April 30, 2006, in Los Angeles.[2] Nick Nolte, Bruce Willis, Avril Lavigne, Garry Shandling, Wanda Sykes, Catherine O'Hara and Steve Carell attended the premiere.[2] The film was theatrically released in the United States on May 19, 2006.[17] In select New York and Los Angeles theatres, it was accompanied by a DreamWorks Animation's animated short film First Flight.[17] The film was also screened out of competition on May 21, 2006, at the Cannes Film Festival.[18][19]

Home media[edit]

Over the Hedge was released on DVD by DreamWorks Animation's newly formed home entertainment division and Paramount Home Entertainment on October 17, 2006.[20] A short film based on Over the Hedge, titled Hammy's Boomerang Adventure, was released with the DVD. The film was released on Blu-ray on February 5, 2019, by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment as a Walmart exclusive,[21] and was subsequently given a wider release on June 4.[22]

Reception [edit]

Box office[edit]

On opening weekend, the film was in second place to The Da Vinci Code,[23] but its gross of $38,457,003 did not quite live up to DreamWorks Animation's other titles released over the past few years.[24] The film had a per-theater average of $9,474 from 4,059 theaters.[24] In its second weekend, the film dropped 30% to $27,063,774 for a $6,612 average from an expanded 4,093 theaters and finishing third,[24] behind X-Men: The Last Stand and The Da Vinci Code.[25] Since it was Memorial Day Weekend, the film grossed a total of $35,322,115 over the four-day weekend, resulting in only an 8% slide.[26] In its third weekend, the film held well with a 24% drop to $20,647,284 and once again placing in third behind The Break-Up and X-Men: The Last Stand, for a $5,170 average from 3,993 theaters.[27] The film closed on September 4, 2006, after 112 days of release, grossing $155,019,340 in the United States and Canada, along with $180,983,656 internationally for a worldwide total of $336,002,996,[3] against a production budget of $80 million.[4]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 173 reviews, with an average of 6.8/10. The site's consensus states: "Even if it's not an animation classic, Over the Hedge is clever and fun, and the jokes cater to family members of all ages."[28] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[29] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[30]

Ken Fox of TVGuide.com called it "a sly satire of American 'enough is never enough' consumerism and blind progress at the expense of the environment. It's also very funny, and the little woodland critters that make up the cast are a kiddie-pleasing bunch".[31] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times give the film a three out of four stars, and called it "Not at the level of Finding Nemo or Shrek, but is a lot of fun, awfully nice to look at, and filled with energy and smiles."[32] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film a two out of five stars, writing "The spoilt and wasteful American consumer is satirised in this patchy animated comedy from DreamWorks."[33]


Award Category Recipients Result
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature[34] Nominated
Character Animation in a Feature Production Kristof Serrand Nominated
Character Design in a Feature Production Nico Marlet Won
Directing in a Feature Production Tim Johnson & Karey Kirkpatrick Won
Production Design in a Feature Production Paul Shardlow Nominated
Storyboarding in a Feature Production Thom Enriquez Nominated
Gary Graham Won
Voice Acting in a Feature Production Wanda Sykes Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Animated Feature[35] Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Animated Movie Nominated
Voice From an Animated Movie[36] Bruce Willis Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Animated FIlm[37] Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Family Movie[38] Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Animated Film[39] Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Film[40] Nominated
Cannes Film Festival Golden Camera Karey Kirkpatrick Nominated
Capri, Hollywood Capri Arts Award Enzo Ghinazzi Won
Genesis Awards Outstanding Family Feature - Animated DreamWorks Nominated
Gold Derby Awards Best Animated Feature Best Animated Feature Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Animated Movie of the Year Best Animated Movie of the Year Nominated


Over the Hedge: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedMay 16, 2006
Genrepop, rock, soundtrack
ProducerHans Zimmer[41]
Professional ratings
Review scores

The soundtrack for the film was released on May 16, 2006, by Epic Records. Rupert Gregson-Williams composed the original score, while Hans Zimmer served as an executive music producer and Ben Folds contributed three original songs, along with a rewrite of his song "Rockin' the Suburbs" and a cover of The Clash's "Lost in the Supermarket."[41]

1."Family of Me"Ben Folds1:28
2."RJ Enters the Cave"Rupert Gregson-Williams4:37
3."The Family Awakes"Rupert Gregson-Williams2:33
4."Heist"Ben Folds3:02
5."Lost in the Supermarket"Ben Folds (Originally by The Clash)3:30
6."Let's Call It Steve"Rupert Gregson-Williams3:40
7."Hammy Time"Michael Whitlock2:28
8."Still"Ben Folds2:38
9."Play?"Rupert Gregson-Williams1:49
10."Rockin' the Suburbs"Ben Folds (Featuring a speaking part by William Shatner)4:57
11."The Inside Heist"Rupert Gregson-Williams7:38
12."RJ Rescues His Family"Rupert Gregson-Williams4:18
13."Still (Reprise)"Ben Folds6:07
Total length:48:45

Video games[edit]

A video game based on the film was released on May 9, 2006. Developed by Edge of Reality, Beenox and Vicarious Visions, it was published by Activision for PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, GameCube, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.[43] Shane Baumel, Sami Kirkpatrick, and Madison Davenport were the only ones to reprise their roles for the video game while everyone else was voiced by different voice actors.

Three different versions of Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts! were released by Activision in the fall of 2006: a miniature golf game for Game Boy Advance, an action adventure game for Nintendo DS, and a platform game for PlayStation Portable.[44]

Picture books[edit]

Scholastic published a series of picture books to tie-in with the film. Over the Hedge: Meet the Neighbors and Over the Hedge: Movie Storybook were both authored by Sarah Durkee and illustrated by Michael Koelsch.[45][46]

Possible sequel[edit]

In May 2007, DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, said that despite the company exceeding Wall Street's expectations during the second consecutive quarter of 2007, the film would not get a sequel due to the box office performance of the film, saying "It was close. An almost."[47]

In October 2010, an article was posted on the official Over the Hedge blog, explaining what would happen if a sequel was made, saying that if the sequel did not perform as well as the first one, then DreamWorks could lose money, and that a sequel probably would not happen until DreamWorks Animation was bought by a large studio, which eventually happened in 2016 when NBCUniversal bought DreamWorks Animation.[48]


  1. ^ a b "AFI|Catalog".
  2. ^ a b c "'Over The Hedge' Premieres - Celebrity Circuit". CBS News. April 30, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Over the Hedge (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Over the Hedge (2006) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "DreamWorks Animation Distribution Late With DreamWorks Pictures" (Press release). Glendale, CA: DreamWorks Animation. February 1, 2006. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  6. ^ Susman, Gary (July 16, 2002). "Jim Carrey will costar with Garry Shandling in ''Over the Hedge''". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  7. ^ DeMott, Rick (October 25, 2004). "Willis Replaces Carrey in Over the Hedge". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
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  9. ^ DeMott, Rick (October 17, 2014). "Over the Hedge Lands on DVD With New Hammy Short". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  10. ^ Zahed, Ramin (October 27, 2006). "Over the Hedge Critters Prove Popular on Discs". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  11. ^ Ziebarth, Christian (September 14, 2007). "Bee Movie Fun Facts". Animated Views. Retrieved September 11, 2014. Vincent the bear from Over the Hedge appears in both a trailer for Bee Movie and in the courtroom scene in the film.
  12. ^ Ziebarth, Christian (May 18, 2006). "Over the Hedge: review, interviews, and production notes". Animated Views. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  13. ^ Dehnart, Andy (May 16, 2006). "Lee and Sean record Over the Hedge cameos and Sean kisses Hollywood ass". reality blurred. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  14. ^ "Comics2Film: Over The Hedge". Comics2Film. Archived from the original on April 7, 2001. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Netherby, Jennifer (August 8, 2004). "In the pipeline". Variety. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  16. ^ "Over the Hedge". Indianapolis International Film Festival. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Dreamworks Animation Plans a New Animated Short Film to Soar With "Over the Hedge" in NY & LA" (Press release). DreamWorks Animation. May 4, 2006. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  18. ^ "OVER THE HEDGE". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  19. ^ "Weekend At Cannes - Photo 12 - Pictures". CBS News. May 2006. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
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  22. ^ "Flushed Away and Shark Tale Heading to Blu-ray (UPDATED)". Blu-ray.com. April 12, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
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  26. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for May 26-29, 2006". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  27. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 2-4, 2006". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
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  29. ^ "Over the Hedge Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  30. ^ "CinemaScore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  31. ^ Fox, Ken. "Over The Hedge - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  32. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Over the Hedge movie review & film summary (2006)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  33. ^ Bradshaw, Peter. "Over the Hedge". The Guardian.
  34. ^ "34th Annie Awards". Annie Awards. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  35. ^ Beachum, Chris (January 27, 2007). "'United 93' was Critics' Choice Awards' second-best picture". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  36. ^ Gervich, Chad (March 29, 2007). "Kids' Choice Awards grows up". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
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  38. ^ "2007 Nominees & Winners". People's Choice. Archived from the original on July 27, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
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  40. ^ "Past Award Winners". Toronto Film Critics Association. May 29, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  41. ^ a b "Ben Folds Brings a Magical Sound to a Suburban Backyard in the 'Over the Hedge' Film Soundtrack Releasing on May 16th" (Press release). New York, NY: Epic Records. April 25, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  42. ^ Over the Hedge: Music from the Motion Picture at AllMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  43. ^ "Find Out What Awaits Over the Hedge(TM) in Activision's New Video Game, Available Now at Retail Stores Nationwide" (Press release). Santa Monica, CA: Activision. May 9, 2006. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  44. ^ "Activision Begins Shipment of Over the Hedge™: Hammy Goes Nuts!" (Press release). Santa Monica, CA: DreamWorks Animation. October 12, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  45. ^ Durkee, Sarah (2006). Over the Hedge Movie Storybook. Scholastic. ISBN 978-0-439-80145-4.
  46. ^ Emslie, Peter; Koelsch Studios; DreamWorks Animation (2006). Over the hedge. Internet Archive. New York : Scholastic. ISBN 978-0-439-87509-7.
  47. ^ Bond, Paul (May 2, 2007). "2nd 'Hedge' fund drives DWA Q1". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  48. ^ "Why There Wasn't an Over the Hedge Sequel". October 19, 2010.

External links[edit]