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Toon Party is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated adventure crossover comedy film produced by Frenzy Animation, Walt Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Pictures for 20th Century Fox with Sony Pictures Imageworks and Frenzy Animation's Houston facility providing animation. It was directed by John Stevenson and Rob Minkoff from a screenplay by Colin Clayton, Jon Vitti, Christopher Miller, Phil Lord, and Daniel Lane, with a story by Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman, and features an ensemble cast with the voices of Jesse McCartney, Mandy Moore, Morgan Freeman, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Vowell, Ryan Potter, Taylor Swift, Keegan-Michael Key, Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, and Liam Neeson. The film follows an ordinary young boy who finds himself helping a resistance stop a tyrannical pig army from destroying the entire Toon universe.

Toon Party premiered at the Regency Village Theater on October 1, 2016, and was released in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX 3D on October 14 by 20th Century Fox. It received mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised its animation, score, vocal performances, and humor. The film grossed over $591 million worldwide on a budget of $95 million, becoming the eighth highest-grossing animated film of 2016, and Frenzy Animation's highest-grossing film. It also received an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and for Best Sound Mixing and Editing nominations. The film's success has since helped spawn an expanded franchise including several short films, a television series on Cartoon Network, a 4D show at Disney parks, a Christmas television special on Fox and a sequel titled Toon Party: Spaced Out which was released on May 22, 2020.

Plot

In the city of Toon City, an ordinary young boy named Nathan Ritter lives with other toons who lead calm and nice lives. When a freakout causes a "premature hatching" of a bird's egg, he is sentenced to work at Toon Academy, and also find out that the city will throw a big party to celebrate the city's 11th anniversary, in which Nathan, fears that loud parties will attract the Pigs. Meanwhile, a young red-haired girl named Kate Anderson, tries to promote new ideas for Toon City, which backfire and cause the city to lose money. Mayor Simon declares her to be a severe burden and liability due to this incompetence (the charts also justify this, as every time she tries to help, their profits go way down, and when they do make progress, it is when she's absent). Simon assigns Nathan to fire Kate but he cannot bring himself to do so and instead transfers Kate to the mail room.

At the party, Nathan's fears come true, when Leonard sees the fireworks and sends the other pigs to plant dynamite around the city while the other Toons, who probably haven't noticed the three are missing, are distracted with a rave party, but they arrive too late to sound a warning; Kate later discovers the pigs and calls in the SuperToons team, while the pigs escape with the eggs and activate the dynamite, destroying the entire city. Nathan awakens with the custody of Good Cop/Bad Cop, one of Leonard's lieutenants. Kate later rescues Nathan, believing him to be the Special, and both escape from Toon City by using a makeshift flying craft, where eventually crash into The Old West where they can find Vitruvius. Nathan learns Kate and Vitruvius are "SuperToons" capable of building anything from their imagination. Though disappointed to find Nathan is not a SuperToon, Kate and Vitruvius are convinced of his potential when he recalls visions of a seemingly human deity referred to as "The Father" 

Nathan, Kate, and Vitruvius evade Bad Cop's forces with the aid of Red, an reclusive, temperamental bird. They visit the hidden realm of Cloud Cuckoo Land, which is ruled by Unikitty, to attend a council of SuperToons, all of whom are unimpressed with Nathan and refuse to fight Leonard. Bad Cop's forces invade Cloud Cuckoo Land, having placed a tracking device on Nathan, and capture everyone. Only Nathan, Kate, Vitruvius, Emmet, Wyldstyle, Benny, Unikitty, Red, Chuck, Bomb, Hiro, Audrey, Violet, Emmet, Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Matilda escape, as Cloud Cuckoo Land is destroyed. Nathan devises a plan to infiltrate Leonard's tower and disarm the weapon with help from Red, Chuck, Bomb, Emmet, Homer, Bart, spaceman Benny, and the robot pirate MetalBeard. The plan nearly succeeds, but the group is captured and imprisoned in the Think Tank, where the SuperToons are forced to make instructions. Vitruvius resists but is decapitated by Leonard, who sets a self-destruct protocol and leaves everyone to die, including Bad Cop. 

A dying Vitruvius reveals he made up the prophecy. He soon reappears to Nathan as a ghost and reveals that self-belief is what makes one the Special. Strapped to the self-destruct mechanism's battery, Nathan jumps into the abyss outside the tower and severs the connection, saving his friends. Inspired by Nathan's sacrifice, Kate and the SuperToons rallies the Toon people across the universe to build weapons and vehicles to fight off the pigs living in a walled city ruled by Leonard, whose true name is "King Leonard Mudbeard". 

Nathan finds himself in the human world as a action-figure, unable to move. The events of the story are being played out by a 11-year old boy named Bryce on his father's expansive toy collection in their basement. Bryce's father comes home from work and is horrified to find his son "ruining" his organized creations by combining different playsets and ignoring the instructions. He proceeds to undo Bryce's changes and glues the entire set together. Realizing the danger his friends are in, Nathan wills himself to move and gains Bryce's attention. Bryce returns Nathan to the set, where he now possesses the powers of a Toon and angrily confronts the rest of the pigs.

Nathan, Homer, and Emmet discover the eggs inside a net being lowered into a giant pot; and the pigs are planning to cook and eat them. Mighty Eagle arrives to retrieve Nathan's group and the eggs, but when one egg falls out of the net, Nathan tries to save the egg, but then King Mudbeard kidnaps Kate. As King Mudbeard is about to kill Kate, Nathan appears and frees her. The two escape, but King Mudbeard traps Nathan and the last egg in a room full of dynamite and TNT. Nathan distracts King Mudbeard long enough to retrieve the last egg. A candle King Mudbeard was holding ignites the pigs' reserve of dynamite and TNT, but the pot collapses, falls over, and lands on top of Nathan, shielding him and the egg from the huge explosion as Piggy Island is destroyed.

As the townspeople believing Nathan is dead, but it turns out that he survived the explosion, and later reunites with the other toons as the last egg hatches, revealing three small blue birds. Meanwhile, Bryce's father comes to his senses and remorsefully apologizes to his son, and the two unglue the toy city with mineral spirits. Back in Toon City, everyone praises Nathan for saving the city, but he credits Kate and the team for doing so, but much to his surprise, Nathan is even more beloved for his honesty and selflessness and takes credit for saving Toon City and the birds' eggs, with him being hailed as a hero and begins a romantic relationship with Kate. Bryce's father invites his younger sister, Paige, to join their play, resulting in aliens from outer space beaming down to the Toon world and announcing their plans to destroy everyone. In a pre-credits scene, the pigs are revealed to have survived, with King Mudbeard plotting a new plan.

Cast

  • Jesse McCartney as Nathan Ritter
  • Mandy Moore as Kate Anderson
  • Bill Hader as King Leonard Mudbeard
    • Hader also plays "The Father", a ToonToy collector and Bryce's father in the live-action part of the film.
  • Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius
  • Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson
  • Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson 
  • Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson 
  • Jason Sudeikis as Red 
  • Josh Gad as Chuck
  • Danny McBride as Bomb
  • Peter Dinklage as Mighty Eagle
  • Anthony Padilla as Hal
  • Maya Rudolph as Matilda
  • Sean Penn as Terence
  • Kate McKinnon (uncredited) as Stella
  • Tony Hale as Ross / Mime Bird
  • Chris Pratt as Emmet Brickowski
  • Elizabeth Banks as Lucy / Wyldstyle
  • Alison Brie as Princess Unikitty
  • Will Arnett as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  • Charlie Day as Benny
  • Nick Offerman as Metal Beard
  • Liam Neeson as Bad Cop / Good Cop
  • Sarah Vowell as Violet Parr
  • Taylor Swift as Audrey
  • Ryan Potter as Hiro Hamada
  • Keegan-Michael Key as Judge Peckinpah
  • Billy Eichner as Chef Pig
  • Rob Riggle as Mayor Simon
  • Patton Oswalt as Steve Smiley
  • Finn Wolfhard as Bryce, an 11-year-old boy who is the son of "The Father" in the live-action part of the film.

Additionally, Ike Barinholtz, Chris Parnell, Hannibal Buress, Susanne Blakeslee, Yuri Lowenthal, and Carlos Alazraqui provided the voices for miscellaneous Toons.

ADR Loop Group

  • Carlos Alazraqui
  • Tara Strong
  • Jack Blessing
  • Tress MacNeille
  • David Cowgill
  • Makenna Cowgill
  • Dave Boat
  • Kari Wahlgren
  • Alex Borstein
  • Nicholas Guest
  • John Venzon
  • Phil LaMarr
  • Ava Acres
  • Grey DeLisle
  • John Cygan
  • Bob Bergen
  • Scott Menville
  • Steve Alterman
  • Max Mittelman
  • Bryce Papenbrook
  • Bridget Hoffman
  • Fred Tatasciore

Production

The film was first announced in March 2013, John Stevenson and Nicholas Stoller was hired by the studio to create and write Toon Party, while Rob Minkoff was attached to direct the film. More coming soon!

Animation

Sony Pictures Imageworks and Frenzy Animation's Houston animation facility in Texas worked on the film's animation, which began production in the summer of 2014.

Release

Toon Party premiered at the Regency Village Theater on October 1, 2016 in Los Angeles in an out-of-competition screening. In the United States, it received a wide theatrical release by 20th Century Fox starting on October 14, 2016 in RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, Dolby Cinema, premium large formats, and D-Box. The film was later released in the United Kingdom on November 11, 2016 and in Australia on October 27, 2016. The film was released two months later in China on December 23, 2016.

Toon Party was initially scheduled for release on November 4, 2016, but in March 2015, It was pushed back to October 14, 2016 to avoid competition with DreamWorks Animation's Trolls.

Marketing

  • The film's official teaser trailer was released on April 13, 2016 and was shown before The Jungle Book, The Angry Birds Movie, Finding DoryThe BFGThe Secret Life of PetsGhostbusters, and Ice Age: Collision Course.
  • The official theatrical trailer was released on August 16, 2016 and was shown in front of Kubo and the Two Strings, the 3D re-release of Puppet Pals, and was also shown in front of Storks, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
  • TV spots aired between September and October of 2016.

A huge amount of merchandise was made for Toon Party, such as toys and figurines. Fox teamed up with several major companies to promote the film, including Burger King, who included 7 toys in their kids meals featuring the main characters, and Lego sets based on the film were sold. A website was opened up so fans could make Toon versions of themselves, and later, put that in the film's official trailer. In August 2016, Mars Chocolate partnered with 20th Century Fox for the marketing of the film, using M&M characters in their promotional materials. In September 2016, Fox released a faux TV commercial for the Toon Academy. A customized page was created on Fandango. The artwork book The Art of Toon Party was published on November 1, 2016 by authors Sharon Gosling and Adam Newell with a foreword by the directors and shows the artwork that went into the making of the film, with storyboards, research photographs, and character sketches.

A video game based on the film, titled Toon Party: Crazy Party, was released on October 18, 2016 for Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The film had its TV broadcast debut on February 22, 2019, airing on FX. The airing achieved over 5.2 million viewers, lifting FX's usual ratings in February.

Home media

Toon Party was released on Digital HD on January 6, 2017, and on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and DVD on January 24, 2017 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The releases also include two new animated short films: Kate & Nathan: Babysitters and How to Become a Toon.

Reception

Box office

Toon Party grossed $243.2 million in the United States and Canada and $344.5 in other countries for a worldwide total of $587.7 million, against a budget of $95 million.

North America

In the United States and Canada, Toon Party was released alongside The Accountant, What Now?, and Max Steel, and pre-release tracking suggested the film would open to $45–55 million from 3,603 theaters in its opening weekend. It played in 2,950 3D theaters, 321 IMAX theaters, and 317 premium large format screens. It earned $5.2 million from Thursday night previews. Buoyed by good word of mouth, it earned $22.9 million on its opening day, breaking the record for the biggest opening day for a solely produced Frenzy Animation film at the time. In its opening weekend, it scored a $70.2 million, which was the biggest non-Fox Animation/Blue Sky opening since The Simpsons Movie back in 2007. It ended its theatrical run on March 9, 2017, after playing in theaters for a total of 146 days with an domestic gross of $243.2 million. It became the eighth highest-grossing animated film of 2016, the highest-grossing Frenzy Animation film, and the second-highest-grossing 20th Century Fox film of 2016 behind Deadpool.

Outside North America

Coming soon!

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 191 reviews; the average rating is 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Boasting beautiful 3-D animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story makes Toon Party an engaging film that will satisfy both children and adults." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 78 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.

Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter considered the film "very amazing and hilariously well-done." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "Arriving at a time when feature animation was looking and feeling mighty anemic…Toon Party shows 'em how it's done," Lindsey Bahr of the Associated Press gave the film a positive review by writing, "Whoever is running Frenzy Animation appears to be allowing the lunatics to run the asylum. And that is a wonderful thing." The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips jokingly called it "the best crossover film since Captain America: Civil War." However, Glenn Kenny of The New York Times criticized the film's story, describing it as "too formulaic." Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave the film a mixed review and called it "a strenuously unfunny animated crossover comedy."

On the negative side, Alonso Duralde of TheWrap said the film "The whole movie seems to be on fast-forward, with crushingly brainless dialogue, hollow and scary images and no way of slowing down the febrile action or making sense of the chaotic plot." The Hollywood Reporter called the film "loud, lazy, long, laugh-starved cash grab that should have been released on television." Barbara VanDenburgh of The Arizona Republic said, "Pop-culture jokes ricochet off the heads of younger viewers to tickle the world-weary adults in the audience, with just enough sentimental goo applied at the end to unite the generations. Parents will dab their eyes while the kids roll theirs." Betsy Bozdech of Common Sense Media gave the movie 4 stars. She said, "The script is witty, the satire surprisingly pointed, and the animation tactile and imaginative."

Spin-offs

Television series

A traditionally-animated television series based on the film titled Toon Party: The Series debuted on December 16, 2017 on Cartoon Network. While Mandy Moore, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, Maya Rudolph, Patton Oswalt, Dan Castellaneta, Sarah Vowell, Ryan Potter, Nancy Cartwright, and Yeardley Smith reprise their roles in the series, Jesse McCartney, Jason Sudeikis, Peter Dinklage, Danny McBride, Taylor Swift, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Keegan-Michael Key were replaced by Scott Menville, Roger Craig Smith, John DiMaggio, Travis Willingham, Tara Strong, A.J. Locascio, Jessica DiCicco, and Khary Payton respectively. 

Television special

A half-hour Christmas special titled Toon Party Holiday premiered on Fox on November 23, 2018. Directed by Chris Melton and written by Brad Copeland and Erica Rivinoja, with all of the main cast from the film reprised their roles in the special.

4D film

A 4D film based on the film itself, entitled Toon Party: Escape from WonderWorld!, opened at the Fox Animation Theatre on November 9, 2018, at Disneyland Resort in California.

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