John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Ian McKellen, Danny DeVito, Sylvester Stallone. While that might sound like the cast of either a mega-budget blockbuster movie or an awards-baiting prestige drama, it’s actually the list of talents that lent their voices to a forgotten animated comedy that just landed on Netflix today, having sat on a shelf gathering dust for three years.
Animal Crackers is indeed a movie based on the titular snacks, with the co-production between Blue Dream Studios and the China Film Group Corporation running into some difficulties over the years. The family film was originally set to be released in April 2017, before financial issues forced distributor Relativity Media to hand it off to Serafini Releasing.
From there, the situation didn’t improve as Serafini ended up going bust, before Entertainment Studios picked it up in November 2017 with an eye to releasing it in August the following year. However, Animal Crackers was abandoned again just two months before it was set to hit theaters, and has since become completely forgotten about until it suddenly arrived on Netflix today to absolutely no fanfare.
It did manage to score a cinema release in China back in July 2018, where it promptly bombed spectacularly, bringing in just $9.5 million against a $17 million budget. Despite the star-studded A-list ensemble, it couldn’t pull in a crowd and no studio has ever shown any interest in Animal Crackers until now. Granted, it doesn’t seem like the type of movie that will continue Netflix’s recent hot streak of zeitgeist-grabbing titles, but this is the first chance American viewers have had to watch it, so we imagine it’ll draw in at least a fair amount of subscribers.
If nothing else, one thing it does have going for it is surprisingly good reviews, as it currently holds a solid 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes. As such, Animal Crackers may yet turn out to be worth all the hassle if it ends up proving distracting enough entertainment for the younger ones.