Rock Dog

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Rock Dog
Rock Dog 2016 Teaser Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAsh Brannon
Screenplay by
  • Ash Brannon
  • Kurt Voelker
Story by
Based onTibetan Rock Dog
by Zheng Jun
Produced by
  • Amber Wang
  • David B. Miller
  • Rob Feng
  • Joyce Lou
  • Zheng Jun
Edited by
  • Ivan Bilancio
  • Ed Fuller
Music byRolfe Kent[1]
Distributed by
Release dates
  • June 15, 2016 (2016-06-15) (SIFF)[3]
  • July 8, 2016 (2016-07-08) (China)[4][5]
  • February 24, 2017 (2017-02-24) (United States)
Running time
89 minutes[6]
  • United States
  • China
  • English
  • Mandarin
Budget$60 million[7][8]
Box office$24.1 million[9]

Rock Dog (simplified Chinese: 摇滚藏獒; traditional Chinese: 搖滾藏獒; pinyin: Yáogǔn Zàng'áo literally "Rock and Roll Tibetan Mastiff") is a 2016 computer-animated comedy film produced by Mandoo Pictures and Huayi Brothers. The film is directed by Ash Brannon in his solo directorial debut, from a script by Brannon and Kurt Voelker. The film based on the Chinese graphic novel Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun, albeit its basic premise has been significantly altered. It features the voices of Luke Wilson, J. K. Simmons, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, and Sam Elliott. The film follows a young Tibetan Mastiff who leaves his mountain home village to become a rock musician in the big city after a radio falls from the sky.[10]

It was released on July 8, 2016, in China by Huayi Brothers and on February 24, 2017, in the United States by Summit Premiere. The film received mixed reviews from critics and underperformed at the box office, grossing $24 million worldwide against a production budget of $60 million. The film is dedicated to producer David B. Miller who died while riding his mountain bike near his Topanga home. A sequel titled Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park was released on June 15, 2021 on DVD and Blu-ray.[11]


Teenage Tibetan Mastiff Bodi (Luke Wilson) is expected to be the next guard of the village of Snow Mountain, succeeding his father Khampa (J. K. Simmons), who years ago drove out a pack of gangster grey wolves, led by the villainous Linnux (Lewis Black). Khampa has some local sheep disguised as Mastiffs to give the illusion the village has multiple guards to keep the wolves at bay, but Bodi has trouble perfecting his father's signature move the Iron Paw, which projects a powerful blast that can only happen if Bodi "finds the fire." Khampa has forbidden music in the village as it distracted Bodi from his duties when he was younger.

After a disastrous training session, Bodi indirectly causes a nearby flying plane to drop a package. Among the items, Bodi becomes interested in a radio and listens to rock music, becoming entranced with British rock legend Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). Bodi steals a traditional dramyin from a den of locked up instruments, adds additional strings to make it a conventional Western guitar, and neglects his duties in favor of becoming a musician, putting him at odds with his father. After Khampa and some of the guard sheep accidentally cause Bodi to unleash a false alarm on the village while dressed as wolves (in an attempt to scare him straight), village elder Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott) convinces Khampa to let Bodi follow his dream. Bodi is given a bus ticket to a nearby city, but Khampa makes him promise to give up music if his trip doesn't work out. At the bus station, Bodi is discovered by two of Linnux's henchman, Riff (Kenan Thompson) and Skozz, and he orders them to kidnap Bodi, reasoning it is his chance to take over Snow Mountain.

Bodi arrives at the city, and heads to Rock and Roll Park as it is where Scattergood began his career. He attempts to join a band consisting of the down-to-earth fox Darma (Mae Whitman) and absent-minded goat drummer Germur (Jorge Garcia). However, Bodi is humiliated after losing a guitar contest to arrogant snow leopard Trey (Matt Dillon), who was a bounty hunter sent by Linnux to sabotage his musical dream and kidnap him. Trey, discovering his idolization for Scattergood, manipulates Bodi into convincing Scattergood to give him some guitar lessons at his mansion, though he knows a little secret about Angus' security set-up. At Scattergood's mansion, he is revealed to be a white Persian cat who wears black sunglasses all the time and has a serious case of writer's block, with his only companion being his robot butler Ozzie. Angus' manager, Ian, gives him three days to create a new song.

When Bodi tries to meet Scattergood, he is put off by Bodi's fanboy attitude and tries to evade him. Eventually, Bodi and Scattergood get lost in a back alley and Bodi decides to play music at Rock and Roll Park to get money for Scattergood to return to his mansion. However, Riff and Skozz mistakenly kidnap Scattergood after they see Bodi at the park. After Riff and Skozz realize their error, Linnux angrily sends them to find Bodi again and they drop Scattergood off at his home. Scattergood believes his career is over since he has less than a day to write a new song, when he hears Bodi playing on his guitar and invites him into his home with the facade of a "guitar lesson", creating a new song called "Glorious". Bodi later realizes that Angus used him after hearing him take full credit for the song they wrote together on a radio. Trey mocks Bodi and everyone in the park leaves, with Darma and Germur feeling sorry for him. Soon after, Bodi is captured by Linnux's henchmen via tranquilizer darts, and under their effects he reveals the fake Mastiff guards when Linnux interrogates him. Linnux and his gang head to Snow Mountain while Bodi is put into a boxing match at Linnux's Fight Palace, but Bodi cleverly has his opponent break the cage surrounding them so he can escape.

Scattergood, guilt-tripped by Ozzie for exploiting Bodi for his own selfishness, uses his old tour bus to find him and apologize. At Rock and Roll Park, Scattergood meets with Darma and Germur and discover Bodi's capture when they see his dart-covered guitar. Scattergood forgoes sending in his new song to rescue Bodi. Meeting Bodi outside of Linnux's hideout, Scattergood makes amends by giving his old acoustic guitar with his autograph as a sign of gratitude and takes him to Snow Mountain to stop Linnux and his henchmen. Linnux and his gang overpower Khampa and the whole village and attempt to devour the villagers, but Bodi appears. After a climactic chase, Bodi subdues the wolves by "finding the fire" by playing Scattergood's guitar and making the wolves, the villagers, and his friends levitate. Khampa banishes Linnux with his Iron Paw and accepts Bodi's ambition to play rock music.

At the city, Scattergood gives full credit of "Glorious" to Bodi. Bodi forms a band with Darma and Germur as they (including Scattergood, Ozzie, Fleetwood, and the sheeps) sing and play "Glorious" to the city, the Snow Mountain villagers, Khampa, and most of the redeemed wolves (including Riff and Skozz) at Linnux's old Fight Palace. Meanwhile, Trey tries to get in the Fight Palace claiming that he's with the band only to be turned away by a bear bouncer.

Voice cast[edit]

J. K. Simmons, Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson and Mae Whitman starred in the English version of the movie.
  • Luke Wilson / Guo Qilin (郭麒麟; Guō Qílín) as Bodi (博迪; Bódí),[12] a young Tibetan Mastiff who is eternally optimistic and wants nothing more than to play rock music. Conflicted between his sense of duty at home and pursuing his dream in the city, Bodi is determined to be in a rock band and make his dad proud.
  • J. K. Simmons[12] / Guo Degang as Khampa (坎帕; Kǎnpà), Bodi's father, an elder Tibetan Mastiff who takes his duties as the village guard extremely seriously and despises music after defeating the wolves at one point while letting his guard down. Although he may be too militaristic or overly suspicious of outside threat, he's motivated by his love for the villagers and his son.
  • Eddie Izzard[12] / Lu Zhixing (陆志兴) as Angus Scattergood (安格斯·史卡特古德), a British Persian cat who is a rock legend suffering from a serious case of songwriter's block. With enormous pressure from his record label to release a new hit single, he hides away in his grandiose mansion with Ozzie, his robot butler as his only companion.
  • Lewis Black[12] / Yu Qian as Linnux, the CEO of Linnux Industries, alpha male wolf of a sinister wolf gang, and club owner of the Fight Palace.
  • Kenan Thompson[12] / Sun Yue (孙悦) as Riff (Chinese: 里夫; pinyin: Lǐfū), the smallest henchman with the biggest ego in the wolf pack. He tries to take on jobs bigger than himself just to impress his boss Linnux, but they almost always result in epic failure due to the lack of unity between him and his absentminded partner, Skozz.
  • Mae Whitman[12] / Shao Bing (邵兵) as Darma (达玛; 達瑪; Dámǎ), a red fox who has been playing her bass guitar at Rock n’ Roll Park for years, knowing that persistence and hard work will get her somewhere.
  • Jorge Garcia[12] / Zhu Yunfeng (朱云峰) as Germur (格尔穆尔), the most mellow goat around that can wail on a drum set like no other. Although he is often forgetful or mentally checked-out, he can get along with just about anybody.
  • Matt Dillon[12] / Liu Yun as Trey (特雷), an arrogant and egotistic snow leopard bounty hunter who is sent by Linnux to capture Bodi and finds pleasure in humiliating any opposition he has. Like the best schoolyard basketball players, his great talent on the electric guitar is overshadowed by his inability to play well with others.
  • Sam Elliott[12] / Feng Xiaogang as Fleetwood Yak, a wise elder yak with many stories to tell and also breaks the fourth wall to address the viewers about certain things. Having left the city life long ago, he has found peace living in Snow Mountain among the happy band of sheep, Bodi, and his old friend Khampa. His name is a pun on the British rock band, Fleetwood Mac.
  • Liza Richardson as Radio DJ, she is heard on the radio that plays.
  • Ash Brannon as Ian, Scattergood's agent who is only heard when he talks to Scattergood on the phone.
  • Will Finn as Floyd, a sheep barber.
    • Finn also voices Carl, a sheep.

Additional voices provided by Julie Craig, Deng Feng, Kellen Goff, Jennifer Hale, and Maddie Taylor.


The film was animated by Reel FX, which produced Free Birds (2013) and the Golden Globe-nominated The Book of Life (2014).[7]

The film cost $60 million to make, and thus making it the most expensive Chinese-financed animated productions.[15] Rock Dog is based on a graphic novel, written and illustrated by Chinese rockstar Zheng Jun.[15]


The film premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival, which took place between June 11 and June 19, 2016.[3] It was released in China on July 8, 2016.[7] In the United States, the film was theatrically released on February 24, 2017, by Lionsgate through its Summit Premiere label.[15]

Home media[edit]

Rock Dog was released on Digital HD on May 9, 2017, and on DVD and Blu-ray on May 23, 2017.[16]


Box office[edit]

Rock Dog grossed $9.4 million in the United States and $14.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $24.1 million, against a production budget of $60 million.[6]

In the United States, Rock Dog was released alongside Collide and Get Out, and was expected to gross $6–7 million from 2,077 theaters in its opening weekend.[17] It ended up grossing just $3.7 million, finishing 11th at the box office and marking one of the worst-ever debuts for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters.[18]

The film had a poor opening weekend in China, eventually earning $5.7 million.[19][7] It was suggested that the largest Chinese theater chain, Wanda Cinema Line, attempted to limit the number of screens the film would be shown on. The film was shown only on seven of Wanda's screens—0.3 percent of all its screens in China. Huayi Bros., the film's production company and an owner of a competing theater chain, poached Wanda's executive Jerry Ye a few months before the film's release and made him CEO of its film division.[7]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 46% based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 5.30/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Rock Dog is amiable enough, but its second-tier animation and uninspired story add up to a movie whose meager charms are likely to escape all but the youngest and least demanding viewers."[20] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average to reviews, the film has a score 48 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[21] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[22][23]

Release controversy[edit]

During its original theatrical run, Wanda Cinema Line withheld most Chinese theaters from showing Rock Dog, limiting the movie's box office in China. Allegedly this was due to a conflict with Huayi Bros.[24]


List of awards and nominations
Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
2017 The 13th China International Children's Film Festival Best Animated Feature Rock Dog Won [25]
Golden Rooster Awards Best Animated Feature Ash Brannon Nominated [26]
2016 Shanghai International Film Festival Best Animated Feature Film Nominated [3][27]


In November 2019, it was reported that Splash Entertainment was making a sequel to the film taking place a year later where Bodi and his band True Blue, working with pop sensation Lil' Foxy, learns about the price of fame and being true to yourself.[28] Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park was made available for digital download on June 11, 2021, which was followed by a June 15 release for DVD and Blu-ray.[11][29][30] None of the original cast members reprised their roles for this film.

The next sequel is announced as Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat, where Bodi is compelled to join the show to restore the Rock Legend’s good name.


  1. ^ "Rolfe Kent Scoring 'Tibetan Rock Dog'". Film Music Reporter. March 19, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Rock Dog". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ a b c Frater, Patrick (June 2, 2016). "Shanghai Festival Unveils Competition Lineup". Variety. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  4. ^ "摇滚藏獒 (2016)". (in Chinese).
  5. ^ "摇滚藏獒(2016)". (in Chinese).
  6. ^ a b "Rock Dog". The Numbers. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e Amidi, Amid (July 7, 2016). "Report: Duelling Chinese Businessmen Are Sabotaging The Release of 'Rock Dog,' Director Ash Brannon Caught in the Middle". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  8. ^ Ryan, Fergus (July 6, 2016). "Is Wanda Sabotaging Huayi's 'Rock Dog's Box Office Chances?". China Film Insider. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  9. ^ "Rock Dog". The Numbers. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  10. ^ AllMovie
  11. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (April 30, 2021). "'Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park' Gives an Encore with Lionsgate". Animation Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Amidi, Amid (August 3, 2015). "5 Things You Need To Know About The Chinese/American Feature 'Rock Dog'". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  13. ^ Rock Dog (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c Amidi, Amid (October 7, 2016). "'Rock Dog' Gets U.S. Release Date, New American Trailer". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  16. ^ "Rock Dog Blu-ray". Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  17. ^ "Audiences Plan To Get Into 'Get Out' – Weekend B.O. Preview". Deadline Hollywood. February 22, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "Universal/Blumhouse's 'Get Out' Now Grabbing A $30M+ Opening". Deadline Hollywood. February 27, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  19. ^ "China Shocker: Indie 'Big Fish & Begonia' Scores Massive Launch, Expensive 'Rock Dog' Flops". Cartoon Brew. July 11, 2016. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "Rock Dog (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  21. ^ "Rock Dog reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  22. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 27, 2017). "Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' Jumps To $33.4M Opening – Monday AM Box Office Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  24. ^ Report: Duelling Chinese Businessmen Are Sabotaging The Release of ‘Rock Dog,’ Director Ash Brannon Caught in the Middle|Cartoon Brew
  25. ^ "《天籁梦想》摘得第十三届中国国际儿童电影节最佳儿童片大奖-新华网". Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  26. ^ Tencent VFE Team. "第31届中国电影金鸡奖颁奖典礼_腾讯视频". (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  27. ^ "《摇滚藏獒》入围金爵最佳动画片 郑钧6年磨一剑--江西频道--人民网". Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  28. ^ Rock Dog 2|Redefine
  29. ^ Rock Dog 2: Rock Around The Park (2021 Movie) Official Trailer on YouTube
  30. ^ Said sequel on IMDb

External links[edit]