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Puppet Pals the Third is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated comedy film produced by Fox Animation Studios for 20th Century Fox. The ninth animated feature in the Fox Animated Features canon, it was written and directed by Mike Mitchell and Kevin Lima from a screenplay by Dan Fogelman and a story by Bob Persichetti and Ash Brannon. It is the third installment in the Puppet Pals franchise, following 2010's Puppet Pals 2. Jesse McCartney, Isla Fisher, Zachary Gordon, Seth Rogen, Josh Peck, Anne Hathaway, Patton Oswalt, Jack McBrayer, Jonah Hill, John Cleese, Minnie Driver, and Sarah Vowell reprised their respective roles, joined by Peter Dinklage, Simon Pegg, Evan Rachel Wood, Zac Efron, Dakota Fanning, David Cross, Jon Lovitz, and Sarah Silverman.
Puppet Pals the Third held its world premiere at the Regency Village Theater, Westwood in Los Angeles on December 1, 2012, and was released in the United States on December 14. It received mixed reviews from critics, but was a box office success, earning $629.9 million worldwide on its $175 million budget. It was followed by Puppet Pals: Forever After on September 21, 2018.
Main article: Puppet Pals the Third/Soundtrack
The film's score was composed by John Powell and Heitor Pereira, and its soundtrack was released on December 18, 2012 by Varèse Sarabande.
Puppet Pals the Third premiered at the Regency Village Theater on December 1, 2012. The American release followed on December 14, 2012. It was originally scheduled to be released on July 13, 2012 but the release date was later assigned to Ice Age: Continental Drift. The film was also converted to the IMAX format in other countries.
The film is accompanied by a The Simpsons short film The Longest Daycare featuring Maggie Simpson, which accompanied Ice Age: Continental Drift back in July.
- The official teaser was released on March 2, 2012 and was shown before The Lorax, Little Lily, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Marvel's The Avengers, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.
- The theatrical trailer was released on June 22, 2012 and was shown before Brave, Ice Age: Continental Drift, ParaNorman, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
- The second theatrical trailer was released on September 14, 2012 and was shown in front of films such as Finding Nemo 3D, Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie, Here Comes the Boom, Wreck-It Ralph, and Life of Pi.
- TV spots began to air between November and December of 2012.
A video game based on the film was released on December 11, 2012 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS.
Puppet Pals the Third was released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 12, 2013. A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version was released on August 28, 2018.
Puppet Pals the Third had its network television premiere on FX on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 7:30pm. It then aired on Disney Channel on March 20, 2015. Disney XD aired this on December 11, 2015. TBS also aired it on Saturday, February 13, 2016. TNT aired this movie on March 6, 2016.
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 44% based on 195 reviews; the average rating is 4.5/10, making it the only Puppet Pals film to garner a "rotten" certification. The site's critical consensus reads, "Puppet Pals the Third may boast the franchise's usual comedy, but an unfortunate tendency to throw in used jokes and cliches with contrived plot points makes it completely forgettable." On Metacritic, it received a score of 51 out of 100, based on 75 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film grossed $306.6 million in the United States and Canada, along with $323.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $629.9 million. In total, 3D showings contributed approximately 48% of the film's worldwide gross. Worldwide, it is the third highest-grossing 2012 animated film and the tenth highest-grossing film of 2012.
In North America, the film earned $20.2 million on its opening day (Friday, December 14, 2012), ranking second behind The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Over the weekend, the film earned $67.4 million, which was behind the original's $70.2 million debut. Later, the film went on to make $48.1 million during the five-day Christmas weekend and $34.4 million during the four-day New Year's weekend.