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Chicken Run
Chicken run ver1.jpg
British theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
  • Peter Lord
  • Nick Park
  • David Sproxton
Screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick
Story by
  • Peter Lord
  • Nick Park
Starring
Music by
Cinematography
  • Dave Alex Riddett
  • Tristan Oliver
  • Frank Passingham
Editing by Mark Solomon
Distributed by
  • Pathé Distribution (Europe)
  • DreamWorks Pictures (Worldwide)
Release date(s) 23 June 2000 (2000-06-23) (United States)
30 June 2000 (2000-06-30) (United Kingdom)
Running time 84 minutes
Country
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • France
Language English
Budget $45 million
Money made $224.8 million

Chicken Run is a 2000 stop-motion animated comedy film produced by the British studio Aardman Animations in partnership with American studio DreamWorks Animation, and French studio Pathé. The studio's first feature-length film, it was directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park from a screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick and story by Lord and Park.

The film stars the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Tony Haygarth, Miranda Richardson, Phil Daniels, Lynn Ferguson, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, and Benjamin Whitrow. The plot centers on a band of chickens who see a rooster named Rocky as their only hope to escape the farm when their owners prepare to turn them into chicken pies.

Released to critical acclaim, Chicken Run was also a commercial success, grossing over $224 million, becoming the highest-grossing stop motion animated film in history. A sequel is in development.

Plot

A group of chickens live on an egg farm run by the Tweedys. They try to escape, but are always caught. Frustrated at the minuscule and declining profits that the farm generates, Mrs. Tweedy conceives an idea of converting the farm to automated production and having a pie machine to turn the chickens into meat pies. One day, the chickens' leader, Ginger, observes a rooster named Rocky Rhodes crash-land in the farm and hides him from the Tweedys. Interested in Rocky's apparent flying abilities, Ginger begs him to help teach her and the chickens to fly. Rocky gives them training lessons while Mr. Tweedy builds the pie machine. Later, Rocky holds a party and Ginger insists he show them to fly the next day, but Mr. Tweedy finishes making the pie machine and puts Ginger in it for a test run. Rocky saves her, giving them time to warn the others of the Tweedys' plans and only a short time to escape.

The next day, Ginger finds Rocky has fled, leaving behind part of a poster that reveals he was a stunt rooster, fired from a cannon and unable to fly himself, depressing her and the others. Elderly rooster Fowler tries to cheer them up by telling stories of his time in the Royal Air Force, giving Ginger the idea to create a plane to flee the farm. The chickens assemble parts for the plane as Mrs. Tweedy insists Mr. Tweedy gather all the chickens for the machine, but when he comes in, the chickens attack him, leaving him bound and gagged as they finish the plane. Rocky returns and joins them, but while taking off, Mrs. Tweedy chases them and climbs up a strand of lights while Ginger races to sever it. She succeeds, sending Mrs. Tweedy into the pie machine, causing it to explode. The chickens continue their flight until they find an island, where they enjoy their freedom and Ginger and Rocky start a relationship.

Voice cast

  • Julia Sawalha as Ginger, a hen who is determined to save her fellow chickens from their impending doom on the Tweedys' farm. She is usually the one that comes up with ideas and is generally more intelligent than the other chickens.
  • Mel Gibson as Rocky Rhodes, a laid-back American circus rooster who crash-lands on the farm and teaches the chickens to fly at Ginger's request.
  • Miranda Richardson as Mrs. Tweedy, a greedy and cantankerous lady who decides to convert her farm into a chicken pot pie factory solely for monetary reasons.
  • Tony Haygarth as Mr. Tweedy, Mrs. Tweedy's oafish, henpecked husband. He is cruel to the chickens and, despite his unintelligence, more suspicious than his wife of their escape plans, correctly identifying Ginger as their leader.
  • Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler, a feisty elderly rooster who regularly prattles about his Royal Air Force experiences.
  • Timothy Spall as Nick, a cynical, portly rat who smuggles contraband into the compound.
  • Phil Daniels as Fetcher, a rat who is Nick's slim, slow-witted partner.
  • Jane Horrocks as Babs, the fattest of the chickens. She is a stout hen with a dim-witted innocence and a love of knitting.
  • Imelda Staunton as Bunty, the champion egg-layer and group cynic who is the most skeptical of Ginger's escape plans.
  • Lynn Ferguson as Mac, Ginger's genius Scottish assistant.

Soundtrack

John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams composed and produced the music for the film, which was released on 20 June 2000 under the RCA Victor label.

All music composed by John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams, except as noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Opening Escape"   3:39
2. "Main Titles"   3:24
3. "The Evil Mrs. Tweedy"   4:22
4. "Rats!"   1:09
5. "Chickens Are Not Organized"   1:01
6. "We Need a Miracle"   2:03
7. "Rocky and the Circus"   3:51
8. "Flight Training"   3:39
9. "A Really Big Truck Arrives"   5:56
10. "Cocktails and Flighty Thoughts"   1:58
11. "Babs' Big Break"   1:40
12. "Flip, Flop and Fly" (composed by Charles Calhoun and Lou Willie Turner, and performed by Ellis Hall) 2:09
13. "Up on the Roof"   3:08
14. "Into the Pie Machine"   3:10
15. "Rocky, a Fake All Along"   3:28
16. "Building the Crate"   3:32
17. "The Wanderer" (composed by Ernest Peter Maresca, and performed by Dion) 2:47
18. "The Chickens Are Revolting"   2:45
19. "Lift Off"   3:41
20. "Escape to Paradise"   4:59
Total length:
62:21

Sequel

After years of lying dormant, a sequel to Chicken Run was confirmed on 26 April 2018. It was also announced Aardman Animations was reuniting with Pathé and StudioCanal; DreamWorks Animation, a partner in the original film, had ended their partnership with Aardman after the release of Flushed Away in 2006. Sam Fell is attached to direct, with Paul Kewley and Nick Park producing. The original Chicken Run writers Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell will return for the sequel. Aardman co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton will serve as executive producers.

On 23 June 2020 - the 20th anniversary of the film's release in U.S. cinemas - Netflix announced that it had negotiated with Pathé and StudioCanal to acquire the rights to the sequel. Fell was able to give more details about the sequel, which will follow from the ending of the first film, where the chickens have settled into their new safe area. Molly, the chick of Ginger and Rocky, begins to outgrow the area, just as word of a new threat to the chickens arrives. With Netflix on the film, principal photography is expected to commence in 2021.

Aardman announced Mel Gibson will not be reprising his role as Rocky in the sequel, as he was recast after Winona Ryder accused him of making an antisemitic remark to her, whilst attending a party in 1995. On 10 July 2020, Ginger's voice actress Julia Sawalha made a statement revealing Aardman's intention to recast her character, stating that she is now considered to sound too old, and commented "I have officially been plucked, stuffed & roasted". The decision was met with widespread criticism with some finding the decision ageist.

Video game

Chicken Run is a stealth-based 3-D platformer based on the movie. It was released in November 2000 on most consoles. The game is a loose parody of the film The Great Escape, which is set during World War II.

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