Sing (2016 American film)

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Sing (2016 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGarth Jennings
Written byGarth Jennings
Produced by
Edited byGregory Perler[1]
Music byJoby Talbot
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 11, 2016 (2016-09-11) (TIFF)
  • December 21, 2016 (2016-12-21) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$75 million[3]
Box office$634.2 million[3]

Sing is a 2016 American computer-animated musical comedy film[4] produced by Illumination Entertainment and released by Universal Pictures. It was written and directed by Garth Jennings, co-directed by Christophe Lourdelet[1] and stars the ensemble voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly. Its characters are anthropomorphic animals, and it centers on a struggling theater owner who decides to hold a singing competition, as well as how the competition interferes with the personal lives of its contestants.

The film features more than 60 songs from famous artists, mostly performed diegetically, and also has an original song by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande called "Faith," which was nominated for a Golden Globe.[5] It screened on the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2016, premiered at Microsoft Theater on December 3, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 21. The film received generally positive reviews and grossed $634 million worldwide.

A sequel, Sing 2, is scheduled to be released on December 22, 2021.


In a city of anthropomorphic animals called Calatonia, koala Buster Moon owns a struggling theater, and is threatened with foreclosure by bank representative Judith, a llama. He decides to hold a singing competition with a prize of $1,000, but a typo made by his iguana assistant Miss Crawly adds two extra zeros to the prize money. The misprinted flyers are blown out of the window by a fan before they can be proofread, and float across the city.

Crowds of animals gather to audition, and Buster selects his contestants. These include housewife and mother of 25 piglets Rosita; punk-rock porcupine Ash; teenage gorilla Johnny, son of mobster Big Daddy; street musician mouse Mike; a trio of dancing frogs; and opera singer camel Pete. Teenage elephant Meena fails her audition from stage fright, Ash's self-absorbed boyfriend Lance is dismissed from the contest, and Rosita is paired with an exuberant pig named Gunter for a dance routine. After Buster discovers the flyers advertise a prize of $100,000, his ram friend Eddie convinces him to arrange a visit with his wealthy grandmother, former singing star Nana Noodleman. Nana is reluctant to sponsor the prize money, but agrees to attend a private preview of the show before making a decision.

Pressured by her grandfather, Meena tries to ask Buster for another chance, but becomes his stage hand instead. When the frog trio breaks up and Pete is injured, Meena is added as an act. Other problems soon arise; Rosita flounders in her dance routine with Gunter, believing her motherly duties have caused her to lose her passion; Ash discovers Lance cheating on her, throws him out, and later breaks down crying while rehearsing her assigned song, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"; Meena's stage fright prevents her from performing; and Mike, certain the prize money is as good as his, buys a fancy car and swindles a group of bears in a card game. Johnny, forced by Big Daddy to be the getaway driver in a heist, sneaks away to a rehearsal but struggles to focus on his piano playing. Traffic prevents Johnny's return to the heist, causing Big Daddy to be arrested and to angrily disown his son. In desperation, Johnny considers stealing the prize money for his father's bail; however, when he sees a note on Buster's desk showing how much Buster appreciates his talents, Johnny resolves to focus on his musical career instead.

On the day of the preview, the bears interrupt the show, demanding the money from Mike, who directs them to Buster. The bears open the prize chest, but it is nowhere near $100,000. The glass tank of luminescent squids lighting the stage breaks under the bears' weight, and the ensuing flood guts and implodes the theater. Judith repossesses the lot, and Buster, who had been living at the theater, takes up residence with Eddie. The contestants try to cheer him up, but Buster is too depressed to listen. He tries to start over by opening a car wash.

When Meena goes to the rubble of the theater and sings Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", Buster overhears her, and is inspired to stage an outdoor show just for the fun of it, for Meena and Rosita's families. Rosita and Gunter perform Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off", which finally prompts Rosita's husband, Norman, to notice her talent. Dozens more animals are drawn to the scene as the show is broadcast on the news. Johnny's rendition of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" greatly impresses his father, who escapes from prison to reconcile with him. Ash sings her original rock song "Set It All Free", impressing Lance, who was watching her on TV. Mike, who had initially refused to perform for free, is taunted into returning and sings Frank Sinatra's "My Way". Finally, Meena overcomes her stage fright and sings Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing", which literally brings down the house. The show is a success and impresses Nana, who was in the audience. She buys the lot, and the theater is rebuilt and reopened.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an optimistic koala who plans to save his theater from closure by holding a singing competition[6][7]
  • Reese Witherspoon as Rosita, a pig who gave up her teenage music dreams to become a devoted housewife, and mother of 25 piglets[7]
  • Seth MacFarlane as Mike, a white mouse and street singer with a big Frank Sinatra-esque voice and an arrogant attitude[7]
  • Scarlett Johansson as Ash, a teenage porcupine punk rocker who takes part in an alternative-rock music duo with her boyfriend Lance[1][7]
  • John C. Reilly as Eddie Noodleman, a sheep and Buster's friend who doubts the future of the theater[7][8]
  • Taron Egerton as Johnny, a teenage gorilla who wants to sing, though his father would rather have him follow his criminal footsteps[7]
  • Tori Kelly as Meena, a teenage elephant with an exquisite voice and severe stage fright[7]
  • Jennifer Saunders as Nana Noodleman, Eddie's grandmother who was a famous singer in her glory days[9][10]
  • Garth Jennings as Miss Crawly, an elderly iguana with a glass eye who is Buster's administrative assistant[1]
  • Peter Serafinowicz as Big Daddy, a gorilla gang leader who wants his son Johnny to follow in his crime business[1]
  • Nick Kroll as Gunter, a passionate dancing pig who is partnered with Rosita for the show[11][9]
  • Beck Bennett as Lance, a porcupine and Ash's self-absorbed boyfriend[1]
  • Jay Pharoah[9] as Meena's grandfather, Meena's unnamed grandfather who pressures her to overcome her stage fright
  • Nick Offerman[9] as Norman, a pig and Rosita's workaholic husband
  • Leslie Jones as Meena's mother
  • Rhea Perlman as Judith,[1][12] a llama from the bank who warns Buster that his theater will be repossessed if he does not pay.
  • Laraine Newman as Meena's grandmother
  • Adam Buxton as Stan, a gorilla who is a member of Big Daddy's gang
  • Brad Morris as an unnamed baboon whom Mike attacks for not donating more money to his street performances
  • Bill Farmer as Bob, a dog and news reporter who documents Buster's singing competition

The voices of Rosita and Norman's piglet children were provided by Oscar, Leo, Caspar, and Asa Jennings, the children of Garth Jennings, the film's writer and director. Jennings had directors Edgar Wright (as a goat) and Wes Anderson (as Daniel, a giraffe who auditions with the song "Ben") provide "additional voices", continuing a tradition of the three friends appearing in each other's films.[13] An archival recording of Shooby Taylor, who died in 2003, singing "Stout-Hearted Men" was used for the singing voice of a hippopotamus that worked at a pharmaceutical company.[14]


In January 2014, it was announced that Garth Jennings would write and direct an animated comedy film for Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, about "courage, competition and carrying a tune,"[15] which was originally titled Lunch,[16] and then retitled as Sing.[7] The film is dedicated to animator Igor Khait, who died in March 2016.

On January 14, 2015, Matthew McConaughey was cast in the film's lead voice role.[6] Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy produced the film.[6] On June 17, 2015, it was confirmed that McConaughey's character was named Buster and that John C. Reilly would voice Eddie, a sheep and Buster's best friend.[8] In November 2015, it was announced that Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Tori Kelly and Taron Egerton had joined the cast of the film.[7]

According to the Hollywood Reporter interview and article "The film contains 65 non-stop pop songs", the rights to which cost 15 percent of the film's $75 million budget.[17] The animation was created entirely in France by Illumination Mac Guff.[18]


A soundtrack album for the film was released on December 21, 2016.


The almost complete[19] film was screened as a work in progress beginning September 11, 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival.[20] Universal Studios released the film on December 21, 2016.[21]

Home media[edit]

Sing was released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD on March 21, 2017. It includes three short films: Gunter Babysits, Love at First Sight, and Eddie's Life Coach.[22]

  • In Gunter Babysits, Gunter offers to watch over Rosita and Norman's piglets while they are away as he works to prove himself to be a good babysitter.
  • In Love at First Sight, Johnny sets Miss Crawly up with an online dating website where she manages to score a date with a lizard named Herman.
  • In Eddie's Life Coach, Eddie's mother sets Eddie up for a digital training seminar where he will be assigned to a dachshund named Garry "The Winner" Wishman.


Box office[edit]

Sing grossed $270.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $363.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $634.1 million, against a production budget of $75 million.[3] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $194.2 million, accounting for production budgets, marketing, talent participations, and other costs, with box office grosses, and ancillary revenues from home media, placing it seventh on their list of 2016's "Most Valuable Blockbusters".[23]

In North America, the film opened alongside Passengers and Assassin's Creed, and was expected to gross around $70 million from 4,022 theaters over its first six days of release.[24] The film made $1.7 million during its Tuesday night previews.[25] It went on to gross $35.2 million in its opening weekend (a six-day total of $75.5 million), finishing second at the box office behind Rogue One, which was in its second week.[26] It rose 21% in its second weekend to $42.9 million, remaining in second, and grossed $20.8 million in its third week and finishing third.[27] Sing holds the record for being the highest-grossing film to never finish first at the North American box office, beating My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($241.4 million in 2002).[28]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 72% based on 182 reviews, and an average rating of 6.49/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted – albeit familiar – storyline that lives up to its title."[29] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 59 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[30] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[31]

Brian Truitt of USA Today gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars and wrote, "In a year full of talking-animal hits, Sing isn't quite as strong a number. It's a tale that might not be particularly thought-provoking but sure is toe-tapping."[32] In her review for the Los Angeles Times, Katie Walsh called Sing, "a cute movie with genuinely funny moments (keep an eye out for the koala car wash), and some great tunes to boot."[33] The Arizona Republic's Bill Goodykoontz was rather mixed about the movie in his review and overall said, "Sing is like an album with a good song here and there, but too much filler and not enough hits."[34] Reviewing the version of the film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Stefan Pape of the British website HeyUGuys gave the film a mixed review of 2/5, stating that "Garth Jennings's Sing effectively acknowledges early on that it's following a completely unoriginal formula, and yet carries on regardless."[35] While Peter Debruge of Variety, who also saw the film during the same festival, did not find the subplots to have any "profound life lessons," he overall praised Jennings' direction, the cast's voice performances and the film's silliness.[36]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards February 6, 2017 Best Movie for Grownups who Refuse to Grow Up Sing Nominated [37]
Annie Awards February 4, 2017 Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production Joby Talbot [38]
Golden Globe Awards January 8, 2017 Best Animated Feature Film Sing [39]
Best Original Song "Faith" – Ryan Tedder, Stevie Wonder and Francis Farewell Starlite
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 17, 2016 Best Song – Animated Film [40][41]
Best Soundtrack Album Sing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Outstanding Music Supervision – Film Jojo Villanueva Won
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards March 11, 2017 Favorite Animated Movie Sing Nominated [42]
Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Reese Witherspoon
Most Wanted Pet
Favorite Soundtrack Sing
Saturn Awards June 28, 2017 Best Animated Film [43]


On January 25, 2017, Universal and Illumination announced plans for a sequel with writer/director Jennings, producers Meledandri and Healy, and the original cast returning for it. The film was originally scheduled for release on December 25, 2020. However, on April 12, 2019, the release date was pushed back to July 2, 2021, accommodating the release of The Croods: A New Age.[44][45]

On April 1, 2020, Universal pushed Sing 2's release date to December 22, 2021, with Minions: The Rise of Gru taking the July 2, 2021 release date.[46]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Felperin, Leslie (September 11, 2016). "'Sing': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  2. ^ "Sing". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on October 2, 2021. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Sing (2016)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  4. ^ Kenny, Glenn (December 20, 2016). "Review: 'Sing' Gives Animated Belters a Stage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Amidi, Amid (September 9, 2016). "A Complete List of Every Song in Illumination's 'Sing'". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (January 14, 2015). "Matthew McConaughey to Star in Illumination Animated Film (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Truitt, Brian (November 10, 2015). "Sneak peek: A-list animals 'SING' together". USA Today. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Hopewell, John (June 17, 2015). "Annecy: Chris Meledandri on Matthew McConaughey as a Koala Legit Theater Owner, 'The Grinch'". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d Trumbore, Dave (November 11, 2015). "Meet the Animated Animals of Illumination Entertainment's 2016 Musical Comedy, 'Sing'". Collider. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Buxton, Adam (April 14, 2016). "EP.16 - Pub Walk With Garth Jennings". Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  11. ^ Yuen, Jenny (September 11, 2016). "TIFF 2016: Matthew McConaughey optimistic about 'Sing'". Toronto Sun. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "Sing - Full Cast and Credits". Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  13. ^ Weintraub, Steve 'Frosty' (December 19, 2016). "Garth Jennings on Getting Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson to Provide Voices in 'Sing'". Collider. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  14. ^ O'Sullivan, Michael (December 20, 2016). "As crooning animals, Hollywood heavyweights give 'Sing' the boost it needs". Retrieved March 6, 2017 – via
  15. ^ "'Despicable Me 3′ Set For June 2017 Release; 'Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas' Arrives Five Months Later". Deadline. January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  16. ^ Hopewell, John (January 8, 2014). "France Fights Bidding War to Lure Hollywood Filmmakers". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2014. Universal now has “Max” and “Lunch” set up at Illumination MacGuff.
  17. ^ Kilday, Gregg (December 9, 2016). "Illumination's Chris Meledandri Talks Success Secrets, Rumors He'll Head DreamWorks". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  18. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (December 2, 2016). "Oscar's French Animation Connection Draws on Deep Talent Pool".
  19. ^ Grobar, Matt (December 5, 2016). "'Sing' Director Garth Jennings On Working With "Wizards," The Learning Curve Of His Feature Animation Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  20. ^ Hammond, Pete (August 23, 2016). "Universal & Illumination To Launch 'Sing' With Live Jennifer Hudson And Tori Kelly Performances At Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  21. ^ McClintock, Pamela (January 15, 2014). "Universal Dates 'Despicable Me 3,' New 'Grinch Who Stole Christmas'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  22. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (February 14, 2017). "Illumination Entertainment's 'Sing' Headed to Retail". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  23. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 28, 2017). "No. 7 'Sing' Box Office Profits – 2016 Most Valuable Movie Blockbuster Tournament". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  24. ^ "Will 'Rogue One' Vanquish The Christmas B.O. Competition?". Deadline Hollywood. December 13, 2016.
  25. ^ "'Sing's' Box-Office Debut Tops 'Assassin's Creed,' 'Passengers' in Tuesday Night Previews". The Hollywood Reporter. December 21, 2016.
  26. ^ "With 'Fences,' 'La La Land' Enter Top 10 As 'Rogue One' & 'Sing' Rule Holiday – Monday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. December 27, 2016. Sing* (Ill/Uni) 4,022 locations, 4-day $54.9M, 3-day: $35.2M, 4-day: $13,7K average, Total: $75.5M, 1 wk
  27. ^ "'Rogue One' Doesn't Want To Fall To 'Hidden Figures' As Winter Storm Helena Closes Theaters". Deadline Hollywood. January 9, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  28. ^ "Top Grossing Movies that never hit #1". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  29. ^ "Sing (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  30. ^ "Sing". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  31. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  32. ^ Brian Truitt (December 20, 2016). "Review: Animated 'Sing' is a poppy treat (and Matthew McConaughey sings!)". USA Today. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  33. ^ Katie Walsh (December 20, 2016). "Packed with pop tunes, 'Sing' discovers the simple fun in putting on a show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  34. ^ Bill Goodykoontz (December 21, 2016). "'Sing' has too much filler, not enough hits". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  35. ^ "TIFF 2016: Sing Review - HeyUGuys". Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  36. ^ Peter Debruge (September 11, 2016). "Film Review: 'Sing'". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  37. ^ Rahman, Abid (December 15, 2016). "Denzel Washington's 'Fences' Leads Nominations for AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  38. ^ "44th Annie Award Nominees". International Animated Film Society. November 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  39. ^ "Golden Globes 2017: The Complete List of Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. December 12, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  40. ^ "Justin Timberlake & Alexandre Desplat Among Winners At Hollywood Music In Media Awards". Deadline (published November 18, 2016). November 18, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  41. ^ McNary, Dave (November 2, 2016). "'La La Land' Scores Three Hollywood Music in Media Nominations". Variety. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  42. ^ "Justin Timberlake and Kevin Hart Lead Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards Nominations". Variety. February 24, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  43. ^ McNary, Dave (March 2, 2017). "Saturn Awards Nominations 2017: 'Rogue One,' 'Walking Dead' Lead". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  44. ^ Kilday, Gregg (January 25, 2017). "'Sing' Sequel Coming From Illumination and Universal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  45. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 12, 2019). "'Sing 2' To Croon Summer 2021; 'The Croods 2' Moves To Holiday Season 2020". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  46. ^ "'Minions: Rise of Gru' Lands New Summer 2021 Release; 'Sing 2,' 'Wicked' Delayed". The Hollywood Reporter. April 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.

External links[edit]