Shark Tale

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Shark Tale
Movie poster Shark Tale.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVicky Jenson
Bibo Bergeron
Rob Letterman
Produced byBill Damaschke
Janet Healy
Allison Lyon Segan
Written byMichael J. Wilson
Rob Letterman
StarringWill Smith
Robert De Niro
Renée Zellweger
Angelina Jolie
Jack Black
Martin Scorsese
Music byHans Zimmer
Edited byPeter Lonsdale
John Venzon
Distributed byDreamWorks Pictures1
Release date
  • September 10, 2004 (2004-09-10) (Venice)
  • October 1, 2004 (2004-10-01) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$75 million[2]
Box office$367.3 million[2]

Shark Tale is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and directed by Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. The first computer-animated film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at the Glendale studio, the film stars Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese. Other voices were provided by Ziggy Marley, Doug E. Doug, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore and Peter Falk. It tells the story of a fish named Oscar (Smith) who falsely claims to have killed the son of a shark mob boss (De Niro) to advance his own community standing.

Shark Tale opened at #1 with $47.6 million, which was the second-highest opening for a DreamWorks Animation film at the time, behind Shrek 2 ($108 million). It remained as the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada for its second and third weekends, and made $367 million worldwide against its $75 million budget. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.


In Southside Reef, an underachieving bluestreak cleaner wrasse named Oscar fantasizes about being rich and famous. Soon after arriving for work at the Whale Wash, he is called to the office of his boss, a pufferfish named Sykes, to discuss the fact that he owes a large sum of money and must pay it back by the next day. He remembers being made fun of as a young child because his father was a tongue scrubber, so his angelfish best friend Angie offers him a shiny pink pearl that was a gift from her grandmother to pawn and pay his debt. Oscar brings the money to the race track to meet Sykes, but hears that the race is rigged and bets it all on a seahorse named "Lucky Day". Sykes is furious that Oscar bet the money but agrees to see how the race turns out. Moments before Lucky Day crosses the finish line, he trips and loses.

Meanwhile, a family of criminally-inclined great white sharks has a problem with one of their sons, Lenny, who is a vegetarian and refuses to act the part of a killer. His crime lord father, Don Edward Lino, orders Lenny's more savage older brother Frankie to tutor Lenny in the family business. Frankie sees Oscar being electrocuted by Sykes' two jellyfish enforcers Ernie and Bernie and charges at Oscar. However, Frankie is killed when an anchor falls on him. Lenny flees, overcome with grief and guilt. As there were no other witnesses and Oscar was seen near the body, everyone comes to believe that he killed Frankie, an opportunity that Oscar decides to exploit for fame.

Oscar returns to the city with a new title of "Sharkslayer". Sykes becomes his manager and Oscar moves to the "top of the reef" to live in luxury. At the same time, Don Lino has everyone search for Lenny. When several sharks approach Oscar's neighborhood, his neighbors expect him to drive them away so he goes and runs into Lenny. Since he does not wish to return home, Lenny begs Oscar to let him stay at Oscar's house. Soon, Angie finds out about the lie and threatens to tell everyone. Oscar and Lenny stage an event in which Lenny pretends to terrorize the town and Oscar defeats him. Though this further cements Oscar's reputation, and causes Lola to become his girlfriend, it greatly angers Don Lino. Afterwards, Oscar and a jealous Angie get into an argument, where she reveals that she had feelings for Oscar even before he became the "Sharkslayer", causing Oscar to dump Lola and reflect on the aftermath of his actions.

Oscar buys some Valentine's Day gifts for Angie, but before he can present them to her, he finds that Don Lino has kidnapped Angie to force a sit-down. Lenny attends disguised as a dolphin named Sebastian. Don Lino threatens to eat Angie if Oscar does not comply. Lenny grabs Angie into his mouth, but later regurgitates her. When Don Lino realizes that "Sebastian" is really Lenny, he chases Oscar through the reef. Oscar heads for the Whale Wash and ends up trapping both sharks. He is given an ovation by the other fish, but Oscar confesses that he is not a "Sharkslayer" and reveals the truth behind Frankie's death. He then tells Don Lino that everyone likes Lenny for who he is and urges him not to prejudge people before he knows them properly. Realizing that Oscar is right, Don Lino makes peace with him and Lenny, stating that he and his gang bear him no ill will. Oscar forsakes all the wealth he has acquired, makes peace with the sharks, becomes co-manager of the Whale Wash (now frequented by sharks, killer whales, and swordfish), and starts dating Angie.


  • Will Smith as Oscar, an underachieving bluestreak cleaner wrasse worker in the Whale Wash of Reef City who wants to be rich, but his schemes always fail and he ends up owing five thousand clams to his boss.
  • Robert De Niro as Don Edward Lino, a great white shark and leader of a mob of criminally-inclined great white sharks, who wants his two sons to take over his business and run it together, but becomes infuriated when Oscar gets in the way following one of his sons' death. James Gandolfini was originally set to voice the character, but had to drop out.[3][4]
  • Renée Zellweger as Angie, Oscar's angelfish best friend and co-worker, who harbors a secret unrequited love for him.
  • Jack Black as Lenny Lino, Don Lino's youngest son, who is a vegetarian.
  • Angelina Jolie as Lola, a seductive female gold-digger Siamese Fighting Fish whom Oscar develops a romantic interest in.
  • Martin Scorsese as Sykes, the pufferfish owner of the Whale Wash and a loan shark to whom Oscar owes five thousand clams. He once worked with Don Lino, but was thrown out and called in his debts to pay off the gangster.
  • Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug as Ernie and Bernie, two Jamaican jellyfish and Sykes' enforcers, who enjoy jabbing Oscar with their vicious stingers when he is in trouble with their boss.
  • Michael Imperioli as Frankie Lino, Lenny's older brother and Don Lino's eldest and more savage son, who shares embarrassment of Lenny's vegetarian tendencies with his father.
  • Vincent Pastore as Luca, Don Lino's green octopus "left-hand, right-hand man", with a tendency to state the obvious much to Lino's annoyance. He might be inspired by Luca Brasi from The Godfather.
  • Peter Falk as Don Ira Feinberg, an elderly leopard shark and leader of a mob of criminally-inclined leopard sharks, who is a friend of Don Lino performing karaoke (badly) at the sharks' headquarters.
  • Katie Couric as Katie Current, the local reporter of Southside Reef in the U.S. release. At the time, Katie Couric co-hosted Today in America.[5] In the Australian release, then local Today co-host Tracy Grimshaw dubbed the lines.[5] Fiona Phillips of the UK's GMTV performed the voice for the British release of the film.[6] Cristina Parodi of Italy's Verissimo provided the Italian version of the character.[7]
  • David P. Smith as Crazy Joe, a deranged hermit crab who is Oscar's other friend. He normally lives in a dumpster near the Whale Wash.
  • Bobb'e J. Thompson as Shortie #1 (voice)
  • Phil LaMarr as Prawn Shop Owner (voice)
  • Jenifer Lewis as Motown Turtle (voice)


The film was originally developed under the title of Sharkslayer.[8] By September 2003, however, it had been retitled Shark Tale, to make the title sound less violent and more family friendly.[9][10] Bill Damaschke, the producer of the film, explained the change of the title: "We set out to make a movie a little more noir, perhaps a little darker than where we've landed."[11] In April 2002, production officially began.[3]

The film was produced concurrently with Finding Nemo, another animated film set underwater, which was released a year and a half before Shark Tale. DreamWorks Animation's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, defended the film, saying that "any similarities are mere coincidence. We've been open with the Pixar people so we don't step on each other's toes."[4]


The Piazza San Marco in Venice a day before the film's world premiere, where it was projected on the world's largest inflatable movie screen.

Shark Tale was originally scheduled to be released on November 5, 2004, but was moved up to October 1 in order to avoid competition with Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles.[12] The film had its worldwide premiere on September 10, 2004 in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy.[13] Screening as part of the Venice Film Festival, it marked the first time that Piazza San Marco was closed for a premiere of a major feature film.[13] The film was projected on the largest inflatable screen in the world, measuring more than six stories tall and over 3,900 square feet (360 m2). It required 20,000 cubic feet (570 m3) of air to inflate and more than 50 tons of water for stabilization.[13] The premiere was attended by 6,000 visitors,[14] including Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, and Michael Imperioli.[13] Jeffrey Katzenberg, the executive producer of the film, explained that they "wanted to find a unique way to introduce this movie to the world. We needed a big idea. … More than anything, we are in showbusiness. This is the show part."[14]

Box office[edit]

Shark Tale opened at #1 with $47.6 million, which was, at the time, the second-highest opening for a DreamWorks Animation film behind Shrek 2 ($108 million).[15] It remained as the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada for its second and third weekends.[16]

Overall, the movie grossed $160,861,908 in North America and $206,413,111 internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $367,275,019.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received a 35% "Rotten" rating at the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus: "Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes."[17] On another review aggregator, Metacritic, the film holds a 48 out of 100 rating or "mixed or average reviews."[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[19]

John Mancini, the founder of the Italic Institute of America, protested Shark Tale for perpetuating negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans.[20] DreamWorks reacted by changing the name of Peter Falk's character from Don Brizzi to Don Feinberg. However, Mancini demanded that everything Italian—character names, the mannerisms, the forms of speech—be dropped.[20] The American Family Association, a Christian conservative organization, raised concerns about Shark Tale, suggesting that it was designed to promote the acceptance of gay rights by children.[21]

Roger Ebert gave Shark Tale two out of four stars, observing, "Since the target audience for Shark Tale is presumably kids and younger teenagers, how many of them have seen the R-rated Godfather and will get all the inside jokes? Not a few, I suppose, and some of its characters and dialogue have passed into common knowledge. But it's strange that a kid-oriented film would be based on parody of a 1972 gangster movie for adults." He also opined that younger viewers would have trouble enjoying a film about adult characters with adult problems, such as an elaborate love triangle and a main character wanting to clear his debt with loan sharks, and compared it to more successful fish-focused animated features like Pixar Animation Studios' Finding Nemo, which Ebert felt featured a simpler plot that audiences could more easily identify with.[22] However, Richard Roeper commented that although the film wasn't on the same level as Finding Nemo, it was definitely a film worth seeing.[23]

Home media[edit]

Shark Tale was released on DVD and VHS[24] on February 8, 2005, accompanied with a DVD-exclusive animated short film Club Oscar. The three-and-a-half-minute short film continues where the main film ends, showing the characters of Shark Tale dancing at the whale wash to a spoof of Saturday Night Fever.[25] It was also released on Game Boy Advance Video in October 2005.[26]


Award Category Name Outcome
Academy Awards[27][28] Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Bill Damaschke Nominated
Annie Awards[29] Annie Award for Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production Scott Cegielski Nominated
Annie Award for Best Character Animation in a Feature Production Ken Duncan Nominated
Annie Award for Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Carlos Grangel Nominated
Annie Award for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Armand Baltazar Nominated
Samuel Michlap Nominated
Pierre-Olivier Vincent Nominated
Annie Award for Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production Michael J. Wilson
Rob Letterman
BAFTA Children's Awards[30] Best Feature Film Nominated
BET Comedy Awards[31] Best Performance in an Animated Theatrical Film Will Smith Nominated
Casting Society of America[32] Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting Leslee Feldman Won
Golden Reel Awards[33] Best Sound Editing in an Animated Feature Film Richard L. Anderson
Thomas Jones
Wade Wilson
Mark Binder
Mike Chock
Ralph Osborn
David Williams
Mark A. Mangini
Slamm Andrews
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards[34] Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Will Smith Won
Saturn Awards[35] Saturn Award for Best Animated Film Nominated
Visual Effects Society[36] Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture Renée Zellweger
Ken Duncan


Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
ReleasedSeptember 21, 2004
hip hop
LabelGeffen Records
DreamWorks Records
Universal Music Group
Jam & Lewis
Ron Fair
Missy Elliott
The Underdogs
Dre & Vidal
The Trak Starz
Hans Zimmer
Singles from Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Car Wash"
    Released: August 29, 2004

Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on September 21, 2004. The soundtrack features newly recorded music by various artists, including Justin Timberlake with Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, JoJo, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige, and Will Smith, and also features the first song recorded by pop group The Pussycat Dolls as well as the film's closing theme composed by Hans Zimmer.

Janet Jackson and Beyoncé initially planned to record a duet for the film's soundtrack. Jackson's frequent collaborator Jimmy Jam, who had recently worked with Beyoncé for The Fighting Temptations soundtrack, commented "Obviously we'd love to have the involvement of Janet and Beyonce, who we just worked with on Fighting Temptations. They've already expressed interest", adding "There are a lot of opportunities with an animated piece to work with some different people."[37] Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks' Animations, had appointed Jackson's producers Jam & Lewis to be involved with the soundtrack, though the duo only ended up producing only one song for the film, with Jam saying "We worked for DreamWorks before on the Bryan Adams song for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and the Boyz II Men tune for The Prince of Egypt, and Katzenberg is a fan of what we do. He thought we would be perfect to do the music for Shark Tale."[37]

Track listing[edit]

1."Three Little Birds" (Sean Paul and Ziggy Marley)Bob MarleyStephen Marley3:37
2."Car Wash (Shark Tale Mix)" (Christina Aguilera featuring Missy Elliott)Norman Whitfield (additional lyrics by Missy Elliott)Missy Elliott, Ron Fair3:50
3."Good Foot" (Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland)Timberlake, Timothy MosleyTimbaland3:57
4."Secret Love" (JoJo)Samantha Jade, Jared Gosselin, Phillip WhiteWhite, Jared4:00
5."Lies & Rumours" (D12)DeShaun Holton, J. Rotem, Denaun Porter, O. Moore, V. Carlisle, Rufus Johnson, M. ChavarriaDenaun Porter4:20
6."Got to Be Real" (Mary J. Blige featuring Will Smith)David Foster, David Paich & Cheryl LynnAndre Harris, Vidal Davis3:33
7."Can't Wait" (Avant)Damon E. Thomas, Antonio Dixon, Harvey W. Mason, Eric Dawkins, Steven RussellThe Underdogs3:44
8."Gold Digger" (Ludacris featuring Bobby Valentino & Lil' Fate)Alonzo Lee, Shamar Daugherty, Christopher Bridges, Bobby Wilson, Arbie WilsonThe Trak Starz3:47
9."Get It Together" (India.Arie)Drew Ramsey, Shannon Sanders, India.Arie, Dana Johnson, Mel JohnsonIndia.Arie, Sanders, Ramsey4:54
10."We Went as Far as We Felt Like Going" (The Pussycat Dolls)Bob Crewe, Kenny NolanRon Fair3:51
11."Digits" (Fan 3)Allison Lurie, Paul Robb, David Clayton-Thomas, Fred LipsiusBitCrusher3:41
12."Sweet Kind of Life" (Cheryl Lynn)James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Cheryl Lynn, Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila, Tony Tolbert, James Q. WrightJimmy Jam and Terry Lewis3:59
13."Some of My Best Friends Are Sharks" (Hans Zimmer)Hans ZimmerHans Zimmer3:25
Total length:50:33


Chart (2004) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 34
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 48

Possible sequel[edit]

In April 2011, Jeffrey Katzenberg commented that the studio did not have plans to produce future movie genre parodies, like Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Megamind, saying that these films "all shared an approach and tone and idea of parody, and did not travel well internationally. We don't have anything like that coming on our schedule now."[38]

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the film was released on September 29, 2004 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance.[39] Published by Activision, Edge of Reality developed the console versions of the game, while Vicarious Visions developed the Game Boy Advance version, and Amaze Entertainment developed the PC version.[39] The cast from the film did not reprise their roles in the game.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation from Paramount Pictures (owners of the pre-2005 DreamWorks Pictures catalog)[40] and transferred to 20th Century Fox before reverting to Universal Studios in 2018.


  1. ^ "Shark Tale". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Shark Tale (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "DreamWorks Sets Up For Sharkslayer". April 2, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Wloszczyna, Susan (January 26, 2003). "DreamWorks hopes audiences hungry for 'Sharkslayer'". USA Today. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  5. ^ a b LaPorte, Nicole (June 6, 2004). "Inside Move: 'Shark' has local angle". Variety. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "'Shark Tale' adds Britain's Fiona Phillips". UPI. August 9, 2004. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  7. ^ Ugolini, Chiara (February 18, 2005). "I pesci di 'Shark tale' parlano italiano". La Repubblica. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  8. ^ Ball, Ryan (November 3, 2003). "Kim Possible Wins WIN Awards". Animation. Retrieved June 1, 2013. The first annual Kiera Chaplin Limelight award was presented to Vicky Jenson, co-director of DreamWorks' animated blockbuster Shrek and the upcoming Shark Tale (formerly Sharkslayer).
  9. ^ Desowitz, Bill (September 30, 2003). "Sharkslayer Title Changed". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  10. ^ "Will Smith's Shark Movie Renamed". October 1, 2003. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  11. ^ "Shark Tale Preview". Entertainment Weekly. August 10, 2004. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  12. ^ Desowitz, Bill (August 19, 2003). "Sharkslayer Rescheduled Now, Renamed Later". Animation World Network. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d DreamWorks Animation (September 2, 2004). "DreamWorks Animation's 'Shark Tale' Swims Up the Venice Canals for World Premiere" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Shark Tale bares teeth at Venice". BBC News. September 11, 2004. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  15. ^ Gray, Brandon (October 4, 2004). "'Shark Tale' Slays Box Office Blahs". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  16. ^ "Shark Tale (2004) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  17. ^ "Shark Tale (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  18. ^ "Shark Tale Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. June 16, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  19. ^ "CinemaScore".
  20. ^ a b "'Shark Tale' offensive to Italian Americans?". MSNBC. Associated Press. April 6, 2004. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  21. ^ Berkowitz, Bill (April 19, 2007). "Still Cranky After All These Years". Media Transparency. Archived from the original on December 23, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011. In 2004, the AFA went after the movie 'Shark Tale,' because the group believed the movie was designed to brainwash children into accepting gay rights.
  22. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 1, 2004). "Shark Tale". Chicago Sun-Times.
  23. ^ Roeper, Richard (October 4, 2004). "Shark Tale - Critic Review - Ebert & Roeper". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  24. ^ "Shark Tale's video release moves past it's theatrical numbers". February 15, 2005. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  25. ^ Simon, Ben (April 10, 2005). "Shark Tale". Animated Views. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  26. ^ Ball, Ryan (July 25, 2005). "Shrek, Shark Swim to GBA Video". Animation. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  27. ^ ""The Incredibles" Wins Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film". Toon Zone. February 27, 2005. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  28. ^ "The 77th Academy Awards (2005) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. February 27, 2005. Archived from the original on April 2, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  29. ^ "32nd Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". Annie Awards. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  30. ^ DeMott, Rick (October 25, 2005). "Nominations Announced For BAFTA Children's Film & TV Awards". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  31. ^ BET (August 17, 2005). "Martin Lawrence Draws Top Honors at BET's 2005 COMEDY AWARDS Hosted by Steve Harvey in Laugh-Filled Telecast on September 27" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  32. ^ "Artios Awards". The Casting Society of America. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  33. ^ Baisley, Sarah (January 24, 2005). "The Aviator and Kill Bill, Vol. 2 Lead Golden Reel Noms". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  34. ^ "Usher, Avril, Green Day Rank As Kids' Choice". Billboard. April 4, 2005. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  35. ^ Puig, Yvonne Georgina (February 9, 2005). "'Potter' tops Saturn nods". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  36. ^ McNary, Dave (January 10, 2005). "Spidey pic catches 6 f/x noms from VES". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  37. ^ a b "Beyonce, Janet, Will Music For 'Shark's Tale'". Netscape. December 31, 2003. Archived from the original on September 22, 2004. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  38. ^ Lieberman, David (April 26, 2011). "DreamWorks Animation Pins Hopes On 'Kung Fu Panda 2' After 1Q Earnings Fall Short". Deadline. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  39. ^ a b Adams, David (September 29, 2004). "Shark Tale Ships". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  40. ^ Chney, Alexandra (July 29, 2014). "DreamWorks Animation Q2 Earnings Fall Short of Estimates, SEC Investigation Revealed". Variety. Retrieved July 30, 2014.

External links[edit]