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Puppet Pals is a 2006 American computer-animated fantasy action-comedy film produced by Fox Feature Animation. The film was directed by Steve Martino and Rich Moore and written by Jon Vitti, Mike Reiss, Peter Ackerman, and Brad Bird from a story by Chris Renaud, and stars the voices of Jesse McCartney, Isla Fisher, Sandra Bullock, Zachary Gordon, Seth Rogen, Josh Peck, Anne Hathaway, Robin Williams, William Shatner, Jason Lee, and Sarah Vowell.

In the film, Nathan Ritter, an upper class human boy has his life turned upside down when a slobby kid spews out the sink, and in his efforts to get rid of him, he ends up getting sent into a city named Tinywood and recruits the help of a weird-named team and an teenage girl named Anna Dawson, and while trying to get back home, the team is trying to avoid an evil woman who is out for the destruction of Tinywood.

Puppet Pals premiered at the Mann Village Theater on June 6, 2006, and was released in the United States on June 23, 2006. It received universal acclaim from critics and was a box office success, grossing $662.2 million worldwide on its $90 million budget, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 2006. Puppet Pals was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but it lost to Happy Feet. It also received nominations for Best Original Screenplay (for writers Jon Vitti, Peter Ackerman, Mike Reiss, and Brad Bird) and Best Sound Mixing (Randy Thom, Dennie Thorpe, Jana Vance, Gary Rydstrom and Tom Myers). Puppet Pals saw a 3D re-release in theaters on September 9, 2016 to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

The film's success helped spawn an expanded franchise, with four sequels—2010's Puppet Pals 2, 2012's Puppet Pals the Third, and 2018's Puppet Pals: Forever After— a holiday special, several short films, theme park attractions, and a television spin-off.


Nathan, a 18-year old human boy who loves the solitude of his home, finds his life interrupted when a kid named Zack Stevens comes spewing out of the sink and decides to stay in his home. Nathan schemes to get rid of Zack by luring him into a unknown portal, but is Zack is not fooled, instead throwing Nathan into the portal in and sending him away into a town called Tinywood.

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  • Jesse McCartney as Nathan Ritter, an pampered but lonely 18-year-old boy
  • Isla Fisher as Anna Dawson, an street-wise and "tough as nails" 19-year-old girl
  • Zachary Gordon as Zack Stevens
  • Sandra Bullock as Rosie Storm
  • Josh Peck as Toby Smith
  • Anne Hathaway as Princess Joanna
  • Seth Rogen as Captain Matthew
  • Sarah Vowell as Natalia Jones
  • Zach Braff as Jeremy Moore
  • John Goodman as Mayor Mike
  • Chris Wedge as Slippy the Dog
  • Robin Williams as John, one of Rosie Storm's henchman.
  • William Shatner as Dave, one of Rosie Storm's henchman.
  • Jason Lee as Rob Storm, Rosie Storm's son
  • Susanne Blakeslee as an old lady
  • Corey Burton as a police officer
  • Patrick Warburton as Milo, a tourist.
  • Betty White as Wendy, a tourist.
  • Tom Kenny as The Magic Ball
  • Patton Oswalt as Steve Smiley
  • Chris Wedge, David Silverman, Chris Renaud (uncredited), Bob Bergen (uncredited), and Steve O'Connell as the Smileys

Additional voices

Bill Fagerbakke Carolyn Lawrence
Grey DeLisle Billy West
Tara Strong David Cowgill
Terri Douglas Ariel Winter
Anne Lockhart Debi Derryberry
Mickie McGowan Jeff Bennett
Jackie Gonneau Laraine Newman
Jim Ward David Silverman
Charlie Adler Dan Castellaneta
Bill Farmer Anne Lockhart
David Cowgill Mona Marshall
Scott Menville Nicholas Guest
Nancy Cartwright     Thalia Ward
Clancy Brown Jason Marsden



David Silverman came up with the concept for Puppet Pals in 1999 during the production of 2003's Jose Maldonaldo: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. In the beginning of production, Silverman began work on the film with Steve Martino in 2000, shortly after the release of Titan A.E. By late 2000, Silverman had drafted a treatment with Martino that bore some resemblance to the final film. Silverman and Martino pitched the story to Twentieth Century Fox Animation with some initial artwork in January 2001. He and his story team left with some suggestions in hand and returned to pitch a refined version of the story in March. Although the film was solely directed by Steve Martino, Disney, Universal Animation, and Pixar artists came into the project and created the characters and story, which were given to Steve Martino. The film was originally developed under the title of Tinywood, but it was changed. In March 2002, following the success of Ice Age, announced that Steve Martino and David Silverman was working on a then-untitled project that would become Puppet Pals. In November 2002, Fox revealed the film's title to be Puppet Pals, then planned for a 2005 release. In addition, it would be animated with computer-animation, rather than traditional hand-drawn animation that had been done with Fox's previous films. Alaina Gleen creator Thalia Ward didn't like the name of the film, saying that it would be dumb and fearing that it would bomb at the box office. In March 2003, production of the film officially began, and David Silverman was brought in to produce the film. Kevin Lima, Thalia Ward, and Chris Wedge worked as creative consultants on the film. The film was later completed by April 2006. 


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Main article: Puppet Pals (2006 film)/Soundtrack

The film's original score was composed by Michael Giacchino and John Powell. The soundtrack album was released on June 16, 2006 by Varèse Sarabande.


Critical response

Puppet Pals received widespread critical acclaim, becoming a cult hit among critics upon release. On the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an "Certified Fresh" rating of 89% based on 171 reviews, with an average rating of 8.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Even if it's not an animation classic, Puppet Pals is clever and fun, and the jokes cater to family members of all ages." On Metacritic, it received a score of 83 out of 100, based on 73 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".

Box office

Puppet Pals opened in 3,922 North American theaters on its opening weekend, grossing $31,292,306 on its first day (Friday, June 23, 2006), which was the biggest Friday opening day in June at that time. During its opening weekend, Puppet Pals earned $70,230,484 million from its North American theaters, which at the time set new records such as the highest opening for a Fox-animated film (later overtaken by The Simpsons Movie). This film opened at #1 at the box office on its opening weekend. It fell 29.3% in its second weekend, grossing $49.6 million and finishing second behind newcomer Logan & Luke. The film closed on December 14, 2006 after 24 weeks of release, grossing $280,214,564 million in the United States and Canada, along with $382,056,987 million overseas for a worldwide total of $662,271,551 million. The film sold an estimated 48,430,650 tickets in North America.

The film was released in the United Kingdom three months later on September 15, 2006, and topped the country's box office for the next three weekends, before being dethroned by The Devil Wears Prada.

3D re-release

Puppet Pals 3D was opened in 2,979 theaters on September 9, 2016, and made $18.2 million in its opening weekend, finishing in second at the box office. The film closed on October 20, 2016, with a worldwide gross of $83.6 million. Unlike other countries, the U.K. and Argentina received the film in 3-D. Puppet Pals 3D was released on September 23, 2016 in the U.K., and October 6, 2016, in Argentina.


The film premiered on June 6, 2006, at the Mann Village Theatre, Westwood in Los Angeles, and was released in the United States on June 23, 2006.

In March 2005, IMAX decided to plan a big-screen 3D version of Puppet Pals. The film would have been re-released during the Christmas season of 2006, or the following summer, after its conventional 2D release. The re-release would have also included new sequences and an alternate ending. Plans for this was dropped due to "creative changes" instituted by Fox and resulted in a loss of $1.12 million, down from IMAX's profit of $4.11 million.

However, on June 1, 2019, Fox and IMAX announced that the film would be reissued and digitally re-mastered for IMAX theaters (alongside its sequels, Puppet Pals 2, Puppet Pals the Third, and Puppet Pals: Forever After using their DMR Technology in a marathon for a one-day only, "Fan Event", on July 15.

The theatrical release was accompanied by Fox Animation's 2004 Academy Award-nominated short film The Mushies!

A montage of "outtakes" were made and included in the end credits of the film starting on July 28, 2006, which was done because Fox hoped it would encourage people to view the film a second time.

The film was originally scheduled for release on May 5, 2006, but on December 9, 2004, its release date was pushed back to June 23, 2006.


Burger King promoted the film with a set of 8 kids' meal toys featuring the characters from the film.  

Baskin-Robbins promoted the film for its new Puppet Pal EXTREME Sundae that consists of crushed Hershey's chocolate, hot fudge, crushed chocolate cookies, whipped cream, squiggly gummy worms and chocolate syrup.

The film was backed by a large marketing campaign, with toys, books, games, clothes, and many other items becoming available throughout 2006.

  • The film's first teaser trailer was released on June 17, 2005, and was later shown in theaters in front of History Island, Fantastic FourCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sky High, and Corpse Bride.
  • Another teaser trailer was released on November 4, 2005, and was later released with Chicken LittleZathura: A Space Adventure, Yours, Mine, & Ours, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Hoodwinked.
  • The first theatrical trailer was was released on February 10, 2006 and was shown with Curious George, Doogal, The Shaggy Dog, Ice Age: The Meltdown and The Wild.
  • The second and final theatrical trailer was released in May 7, 2006 during an episode of The Simpsons, and was shown before Over the Hedge, X-Men: The Last Stand, Cars, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, and Nacho Libre.
  • TV spots began to air between May and June of 2006.

Video game

A video game based on the film was released on June 27, 2006 on PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PC, and Macintosh.

Home media

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment first released Puppet Pals on DVD on November 3, 2006. This release includes a special THX edition with DTS sound, Two short films: Slippy's Missing Adventure and the Puppet Pals Crazy Dance Party. a look at Kate & Chris, playable games, a demo of the film's video game on PC and many more.

Puppet Pals was released to DVD the same day that DreamWorks Animation and Aardman's Flushed Away hit theaters. Since videos were traditionally released on Tuesdays, DreamWorks' executives did not receive this well, saying that the move "seemed like an underhanded attempt to siphon off some of their film's steam". Fox responded that it "simply shifted the release to a Friday to make it more of an event and predicted that it and other studios would do so more frequently with important films."  DreamWorks and Aardman's Flushed Away earned that weekend $18,814,323, while Puppet Pals' video release made more than $100 million, and eventually became the biggest selling DVD at the time with over 6.2 million sales. It was later released on Blu-ray + DVD combo pack on September 21, 2010.

It was released again on Blu-ray 3D, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, DVD, and Blu-ray on November 1, 2016 to honor the 10th anniversary of the franchise.


Cultural impact

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Expanded franchise

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  1. On March 20, 2019, the film's distribution rights were purchased by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.