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Over the Hedge (film)

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Over the Hedge
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay by
Based on
Produced byBonnie Arnold
Edited byJohn K. Carr
Music byRupert Gregson-Williams
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • April 30, 2006 (2006-04-30) (Los Angeles)[1]
  • May 19, 2006 (2006-05-19) (United States)
Running time
83 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$80 million[3]
Box office$339.8 million[2]

Over the Hedge is a 2006 American animated heist comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures.[4] Based on the comic strip of the same name created by Michael Fry and T. Lewis, the film was directed by Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick (in the latter's feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Len Blum, Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton and Kirkpatrick, and features the voices of Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes and Nick Nolte. Set in Indiana, the film centers on a raccoon named RJ, who is forced to deliver food to a bear named Vincent after accidentally destroying his stockpile of food, whereupon he manipulates a family of woodland animals who have recently awakened from hibernation into helping him steal food in order to speed up the process.

Over the Hedge was theatrically released in the United States on May 19, 2006, as the first film by DreamWorks Animation to be distributed by Paramount, and released on home video on October 17, 2006. Upon release, the film received generally positive reviews from critics and was a commercial success, grossing $339.8 million worldwide on an $80 million budget.


In a deserted Indiana picnic area, a raccoon named RJ tries stealing a stockpile of food from a hibernating bear named Vincent after failing to obtain food from a vending machine. The plan backfires when Vincent is woken up by the commotion and the food is destroyed in the ensuing confrontation. Vincent almost kills RJ, until the raccoon offers to replace his food in one week's time. Vincent accepts RJ's offer and promises to kill him should he fail.

The next morning, a family of woodland animals led by a turtle named Verne awaken from hibernation on the first day of spring, but discover most of the forest they lived in has been turned into a housing development that is separated from the little forest remaining by a giant hedge. RJ introduces himself to the group and explain they could have better food by scavenging off the humans. Despite Verne's concerns, RJ convinces the other animals to steal and stockpile food and other human stuff, unaware of his true intentions of delivering the stash to Vincent. Gladys Sharp, the neighborhood Home Owners Association president, takes notice of the animal problem and hires exterminator Dwayne LaFontant.

While RJ tries stopping a worried Verne from returning the pile of food to avoid Dwayne, the food is destroyed following a chase from an excited Rottweiler named Nugent. RJ blames Verne for the destruction while Verne unsuccessfully tries convincing his family not to follow RJ for their own safety; the family abandons him in favor of RJ.

That night, on the night of the full moon, RJ sees Dwayne rigs animal traps, including a federally illegal contraband device called the Depelter Turbo, in Gladys' yard. Verne reconciles with RJ and the other animals. RJ sees that Gladys has bought a massive stockpile of food and has the animals invade her home and steal it. A squirrel named Hammy successfully disables the Depelter Turbo while the striped skunk Stella steals Gladys' pet Persian cat Tiger's collar, which enables entry into the house's pet door, by posing as a cat and seducing him. The animals stockpile another wagon full of food, but before leaving, RJ sees a can of chips and becomes determined to get them per Vincent's request. While trying to justify his motivation to get the chips, RJ reveals his true intentions just as Gladys comes downstairs and catches them. RJ flees with the food while Verne and the other animals are captured by Dwayne, who takes them away in his truck.

While delivering the food to Vincent, a remorseful RJ sees Dwayne's truck driving past and in an attempt to free the animals, sends the wagon to crash Dwayne's van and knock Dwayne unconscious. This prompts an enraged Vincent to attack RJ. The porcupine triplets drive the truck back to the neighborhood to escape Vincent while Verne convinces the others to forgive RJ. The animals crash the truck into Gladys' home and return to the hedge, only to be attacked from both sides of it by Vincent, Gladys and a now-awake Dwayne. Hammy, fueled by an energy drink, reactivates the Depelter Turbo. RJ, who is wearing Verne's shell for protection, tricks Vincent into leaping over the hedge to eat him, resulting in Vincent, Gladys, and Dwayne being caught in the Depelter Turbo.

The local animal control service ships Vincent to the Rocky Mountains while Gladys is arrested for possessing the Depelter Turbo. While Gladys fights the officers, Dwayne's escape attempt is thwarted by Nugent. RJ rejoins the woodland creatures permanently alongside Tiger, who remains in love with Stella even after learning she is a skunk. After Verne thinks they have wasted a whole week without gathering food for the winter, Hammy reveals that he has finally found the nuts he had stored for the previous winter, replenishing the animals' food supply.

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, an intelligent, charismatic and manipulative raccoon. He starts out as a con artist to deliver food to a greedy Bear named Vincent who will kill him if he doesn't deliver. Despite this, he is revealed to have a sensitive side to his personality, developing feelings of guilt over using his newfound companions to his own ends.
  • Garry Shandling as Verne, a cynical and timid ornate box turtle who is the leader of the foragers. He has his own ways of doing their 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 sometimes comes off as condescending. Verne's shell falls off regularly and is laughed at as a running gag, as well as that he is commonly mistaken for an amphibian despite the fact that he is a reptile.
  • Steve Carell as Hammy, a hyperactive American red squirrel whose mouth moves as fast as his feet. He is naïve and childish in nature, with an extremely short attention span.
  • Wanda Sykes as Stella, a short-tempered and sassy striped skunk. She later goes undercover as a black cat to distract Tiger, but 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, a Virginia opossum father and teenage daughter respectively who see the world from different points of view. Ozzie often embarrasses Heather when he constantly feigns death to get away from danger.
  • Nick Nolte as Vincent, a greedy, predatory American black bear to whom RJ owes food, motivating the story. He makes a cameo in Bee Movie.[5]
  • Thomas Haden Church as Dwayne LaFontant,[6][7] an overzealous pest exterminator who is hired by Gladys to get rid of the animals. He can detect the species of any animal that has recently been in the area by smell. He has a strong Texan accent and is nicknamed the "Verminator", a spoof of the Terminator.
  • Allison Janney as Gladys Sharp, the president of the El Rancho Camelot Estates Home Owners Association who is disgusted by wild animals and strict on H.O.A. rules. It is implied that she is not taken seriously by the other residents of the housing development, much to her irritation.
  • Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara as Lou and Penny, an easygoing North American porcupine couple; Lou has an overly friendly and optimistic attitude and a strong Minnesota accent, while Penny encourages her children to partake in the wonders of suburbia.
  • Omid Djalili as Tiger, a snobbish Persian cat whose full name is "Prince Tigerius Mahmoud Shabazz".[8] Initially hating the forest animals, he guards Gladys' house against them until Stella seduces him disguised as a black cat. He later joins the other animals after he falls in love with Stella even after realizing she is a skunk.
  • Shane Baumel, Sami Kirkpatrick and Madison Davenport as Spike, Bucky and Quillo, Lou and Penny's triplet children who enjoy playing video games and are the most enthusiastic about exploring beyond the hedge.
  • 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 who appear 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.[9]


Initial development[edit]

Over the Hedge originally began development at 20th Century Fox Animation, when studio head Chris Meledandri was impressed by the comic strip's humor and acquired the rights to the strip. Meledandri then hired the screenwriting team of Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, best known for writing Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Doc Hollywood and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to script the project, which was initially set up at Fox Animation Studios. However, Fox Animation Studios shut down in 2000 following the disappointing performance of its second and final film Titan A.E., prompting Fox to put the film in turnaround. It was picked up one year later by DreamWorks Animation under the leadership of its co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, with Len Blum, Lorne Cameron, and David Hoselton replacing the original screenwriters.


Bill Murray and Harold Ramis were initially considered as the voices of RJ and Verne, respectively.[10] In July 2002, Jim Carrey was announced to co-star in the film as RJ, with Garry Shandling as Verne. However, Carrey dropped out in October 2004 and was replaced by Bruce Willis,[11][12][13] although some of the former's lines remained. Gene Wilder was offered a role in the film as well, namely an owl named Norbert,[14] but he turned it down. Nick Nolte was extended a role as Vincent, the main antagonist, which he accepted; Nolte did extensive research on bears to provide the ideal tone and inflections to his character.


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".[15]

For the Japanese and Korean dubs of the movie BoA provides the voice of Heather the opossum and sings the theme songs, "KEY OF HEART" for the Japanese release,[16] and "People Say" for the Korean release.[17]

Over the Hedge: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedMay 16, 2006
StudioDreamWorks Animation
Genrepop, rock, soundtrack
ProducerHans Zimmer[15]
Professional ratings
Review scores
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



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

Over the Hedge was originally going to be released in November 2005;[19] however, in December 2004, the date was changed to May 2006. The film was originally to be distributed by DreamWorks Animation’s former parent company DreamWorks SKG. In late 2005, distributor Paramount Pictures' parent company Viacom purchased DreamWorks Pictures (whom distributed DWA’s films from 1998-2005), which lead DWA to terminate it’s distribution contact with its former parent and sign a seven year distribution deal with Paramount in early 2006 (The latter would later obtain distribution rights to the DWA films that were released by DreamWorks SKG from 1998-2005 until 2014 when DWA acquired Paramount’s distribution rights to the pre-2012 library and would later transferred the distribution rights to its back catalog to 20th Century Fox (2014-2018) and then to its current parent company Universal Pictures.) then thus, Over the Hedge became DreamWorks Animation's first film to be distributed by Paramount.[20] The film was screened as a "work-in-progress" on April 29, 2006, at the Indianapolis International Film Festival,[21] and premiered on April 30 in Los Angeles.[1] Nolte, Willis, Lavigne, Shandling, Sykes, O'Hara and Steve Carell attended the premiere.[1]

The film was theatrically released in the United States on May 19, 2006.[22] In select New York and Los Angeles cinemas, it was accompanied by the short film First Flight.[22] The film was also screened out of competition on May 21, 2006, at the Cannes Film Festival.[23][24]

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.[25] The film was released on Blu-ray on February 5, 2019, by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment as a Walmart exclusive,[26] and was subsequently given a wider release on June 4.[27]

The film's home media releases feature Hammy's Boomerang Adventure, a short film taking place after the events of the film that was also later added in the Madly Madagascar (2013) DVD as a bonus feature. It features Steve Carell, Bruce Willis, Madison Davenport, Shane Baumel, Sami Kirkpatrick and Garry Shandling reprising their roles from the main film.


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 the PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, GameCube, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.[28] Shane Baumel, Sami Kirkpatrick, and Madison Davenport were the only ones to reprise their roles for the video game while the other characters were voiced by different actors.

Three different versions of the video game 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.[29]

Picture books[edit]

Scholastic published a series of picture books to tie-in with the film. Two books, Over the Hedge: Meet the Neighbors and Over the Hedge: Movie Storybook, were both authored by Sarah Durkee and illustrated by Michael Koelsch.[30][31]


Box office[edit]

On its opening weekend, Over the Hedge finished in second place to The Da Vinci Code,[32] but its gross of $38,457,003 did not quite live up to DreamWorks Animation's other titles released over the past few years.[33] The film had a per-theater average of $9,474 from 4,059 theaters.[33] 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,[33] behind X-Men: The Last Stand and The Da Vinci Code.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36] 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,[2] against a production budget of $80 million.[3]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 75% based on 172 reviews, with an average score of 6.80/10. 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."[37] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100 based on 31 critics.[38] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[39]

Ken Fox of TVGuide.com praised the film for being "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."[40] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times give the film three out of four 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."[41] Nick De Semlyen of Empire give the film three out of five and wrote, "You'll soon be sick of digital furballs, but there's plenty of fun here and Hammy is up there with Ice Age's Scrat in the pantheon of lunatic movie rodents."[42] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film two out of five, writing "The spoilt and wasteful American consumer is satirised in this patchy animated comedy from DreamWorks."[43]


Award Category Recipients Result
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature[44] 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[45] Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Animated Movie Nominated
Voice From an Animated Movie[46] Bruce Willis Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Animated Film[47] Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Family Movie[48] Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Animated Film[49] Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Film[50] 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


In May 2007, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said that Over the Hedge would not receive a sequel due to its box office performance, saying that "It was close. An almost."[51] In October 2010, an article explaining the possibility of a sequel was posted on the official Over the Hedge blog, saying that if a sequel failed to perform as well financially as the first film, DreamWorks could lose money on the project.[52]


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External links[edit]