The Wild

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The Wild
The wild.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve "Spaz" Williams
Produced byClint Goldman
Beau Flynn
Screenplay byEd Decter
John J. Strauss
Mark Gibson
Philip Halprin
Story byMark Gibson
Philip Halprin
StarringKiefer Sutherland
Jim Belushi
Eddie Izzard
Janeane Garofalo
William Shatner
Samuel E. Wright
Richard Kind
Greg Cipes
Joseph Siravo
Clinton Leupp
Music byAlan Silvestri
Edited byScott Balcerek
Steven L. Wagner
Walt Disney Pictures
Hoytyboy Pictures
Sir Zip Productions
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures[1]
Release date
  • April 14, 2006 (2006-04-14)
Running time
82 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States[3][4]
Budget$80 million
Box office$102.3 million[5]

The Wild is a 2006 American 3D computer-animated comedy film directed by animator Steve "Spaz" Williams, and written by Ed Decter, John J. Strauss, Mark Gibson and Philip Halprin. It features the voices of Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, Greg Cipes, Eddie Izzard, Richard Kind, William Shatner and Patrick Warburton.

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Hoytyboy Pictures, Sir Zip Studios and Contrafilm,[1][3] it was animated by C.O.R.E. Feature Animation. It was released to theaters in North America on April 14, 2006, by Buena Vista Pictures. The film received negative reviews and earned $102 million on an $80 million budget.

The film also received a Artios Award nomination for Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting. A video game for the Game Boy Advance was released to promote the film.


In the New York Zoo, a heroic lion named Samson tells his younger son Ryan stories of his adventures in the wild. When the zoo closes at night, all the animals are free to roam. Samson and his crew, consisting of Benny the squirrel, Bridget the giraffe, Larry the anaconda, and Nigel the koala, compete in a turtle curling competition while Ryan hangs out with his friends. However, Ryan accidentally causes a gazelle stampede which head to the game and trash it. Samson and Ryan get into an argument which leads to Ryan walking off in anger before Samson can apologize to him. Later, Ryan wanders into a green container and gets shipped away by a truck, which the legend tells will take him to the wild.

With the help of a pigeon named Hamir, Samson and Benny go after him by sneaking into a garbage disposal truck that was leaving the zoo with Nigel, Larry, and Bridget joining them. However, Benny is accidentally thrown off the truck. After passing through Times Square and nearly being crushed in the garbage disposal, the group are chased and cornered by a pack of ferocious rabid dogs in an alleyway. Somehow, Samson leads his friends through the sewers instead of fighting them. There, they take directions to the docks from two streetwise crocodile brothers named Stan and Carmine.

The next morning, the four friends hijack a tugboat during a hectic escape from New York harbor. With the help from Larry, they drive the boat and reunite with Benny, who had been rescued by a flock of Canada geese and has enlisted them to help lead the crew toward Ryan's ship. Days later, Nigel goes mad and, under the impression they have hit an iceberg, jumps overboard. The boat runs aground in Africa, where all the animals in the area are being evacuated by the carriers, as a nearby volcano erupts. They witness Ryan escape, but he runs into the jungle. Samson attempts to find him, but it is revealed that he was not actually from the wild after trying to eat a rude and selfish Hyrax. The rest of the group decide to head back to the ship while Samson continues to find his son. While walking, Samson sees plants and rocks change colors. Meanwhile, Nigel is captured by a group of cheerful wildebeests who dwell inside the volcano (which is their lair), and their maniacal and devious leader Kazar, pronounces him as "The Great Him", based on an "omen" he received when he was young: he was about to be killed by lions until a toy koala fell from a plane and scared the lions away, saving his life. Kazar seeks to change the food chain that he would rather see "prey become predators" and vice versa. For this, he needs to devour a lion. Bridget and Larry are also captured and held prisoner.

Ryan hides up an old tree, but a gang of vultures attack him under orders from Kazar. The branch breaks and traps Ryan's paw. Samson hears Ryan's cries and runs to save him, scaring off the birds. The two happily reunite but are interrupted by a herd of wildebeests. Ryan is shocked when Samson tells him to run rather than fighting them. The two retreat to a tree where Samson reveals the truth: he was born in a circus and like Ryan, was unable to roar. Samson's disappointed father disowned him and allowed him to be sent to the zoo, where he lied to avoid the shame. The wildebeests discover them and, in the scuffle, send the tree over the cliff, with Samson still hanging on. Ryan is captured and taken to the volcano as prisoner.

Benny finds Samson and encourages him to be himself, even if he is not from the wild. They find two chameleons, who were leading Samson to the volcano and are also trying to defeat Kazar's army of his kind. Samson uses the chameleons' camouflage to infiltrate the volcano so that he can save Ryan and confront Kazar. Inside the volcano, Nigel tries his best to stop the wildebeests from cooking his friends, and eventually Samson arrives where he fights Kazar, but he is no match for the wildebeest and overwhelmed. Ryan, seeing Samson in danger, climbs onto a catapulting device and launches himself at Kazar, finally letting out a roar. With Kazar distracted, Samson manages to defeat him. Ryan tells Samson that he is happy to have him for a dad. The other wildebeests hear this and redeem themselves as they refuse to serve Kazar anymore. Samson gains the courage he has needed and lets out a powerful roar enough to push back a charging Kazar. The animals, along with the wildebeests flee except Kazar, who is trapped inside the erupting volcano and crushed by debris. The animals manage to escape on the boat where they have a celebration and travel back to New York.



The Wild opened in 2,854 theaters. The film earned $9.5 million in its first weekend at the box office, ranking #4.[5] Its promotion was small, with only the following promoters: Kraft, McDonald's, Amazon (selling the products and mini promotions on its site), Buena Vista Games, Buena Vista Records, and Buena Vista Book Publishing Worldwide. The film was released in the United Kingdom on May 26, 2006, and opened on #3.[6]

As of November 5, 2006, the movie grossed a total of $37,384,046 in the United States box office and $139,722,455 worldwide including DVD sales. Its production budget, in contrast, was $80 million.[5] The Wild was ranked #1 of the top DVD sales twice in Entertainment Weekly; the first time for October 6–12, 2006, the second time for October 13–19, 2006.

The film was released on DVD and VHS on September 12, 2006, However the VHS version was only an exclusive for the Disney Movie Club. On 21st November, 2006, Disney released the film on Blu-Ray. [7]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 19% based on 111 reviews with an average rating of 4.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With a rehashed plot and unimpressive animation, there's nothing wild about The Wild."[8] On Metacritic, the film has score of 47 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[10]

Madagascar similarities[edit]

Critics considered The Wild to be heavily derivative of the 2005 DreamWorks film, Madagascar. USA Today suggested that it was "the most wildly derivative animated movie in ages",[11] while Variety described it as "ultimately done in by the persistent stench of been-there-seen-that".[1]

Similarities include its setting in New York's Central Park Zoo, similar animals as characters, and the primary plot of introducing zoo animals to the wild. The name of the film and the tag line, "Start spreading the newspaper", a play on the opening line from the "Theme from New York, New York", were both used as integral plot points in Madagascar.

Despite this, a few critics defended The Wild as the superior film. Critic Mike Sage wrote "don't be mistaking this for a Madagascar rip off, when it was that sloppy DreamWorks turd that only managed to make it to theaters first because of corporate espionage".[12] Without addressing which film was the original concept, Tim Cogshell of Boxoffice Magazine simply wrote "for the adult who may very well have to experience this film, and who may have experienced Madagascar, The Wild is better. The animation is better, the jokes intended for your children are better, the jokes intended for you and not your children are much better, the songs are better, and it's more fun."[13]


Award Category Nominee Result
Artios Award Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting Jen Rudin and Corbin Bronson Nominated


The musical score is composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri who also composed Lilo & Stitch.

The scores "Tales from the Wild", "You Can't Roar", and "Lost in the City" are only a few of the score tracks on the soundtrack. The soundtrack is available from Buena Vista Records. "Come Sail Away" by Styx is featured in the trailers, but not in the finished film.

Video game[edit]

A video game for Game Boy Advance based on The Wild was released to coincide with the film. Players get to play as Benny the Squirrel and Samson the lion as they go through New York, the sea, and Africa to find Ryan, while battling the wicked blue wildebeest Kazar. The video game is rated "E" (for "Everyone") by the ESRB, with a note for Mild Cartoon Violence.


  • 2006: Irene Trimble: Disney the Wild Novelisation, Parragon, ISBN 1-40546-612-X


  1. ^ a b c Chang, Justin (April 12, 2006). "Review: The Wild". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "THE WILD (U)". British Board of Film Classification. March 17, 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "The Wild (2006)". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Wild". Animated Film Institute. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "The Wild (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  6. ^ "Weekend box office 26th May 2006 - 28th May 2006". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  7. ^ The Wild Blu-ray
  8. ^ The Wild at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ "The Wild Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  10. ^ "CinemaScore".
  11. ^ Puig, Claudia (April 13, 2006). "'Wild': 'Madagascar' meets 'Lion King' meets 'Nemo'". USA Today. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2013-07-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]