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Hotel for Dogs (film) facts for kids

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Hotel for Dogs
Hotel for dogs.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Produced by
  • Lauren Shuler Donner
  • Ewan Leslie
  • Jonathan Gordon
  • Jason Clark
Screenplay by
  • Jeff Lowell
  • Mark McCorkle
  • Bob Schooley
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Michael Grady
Editing by Sheldon Kahn
  • DreamWorks Pictures
  • Nickelodeon Movies
  • Cold Spring Pictures
  • The Donners' Company
  • The Montecito Picture Company
Distributed by
Release date(s) January 16, 2009 (2009-01-16)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Money made $117 million

Hotel for Dogs is a 2009 American family comedy film directed by Thor Freudenthal in his directorial debut, and based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. Starring Jake T. Austin, Emma Roberts, Kyla Pratt, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon and Don Cheadle, the film tells the story of two orphaned siblings-(living in foster care) who secretly take in stray dogs along with their family dog at a vacant hotel.

The film is Nickelodeon's second film to be produced by DreamWorks Pictures after Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and the first Nickelodeon film ever to be produced outside of Paramount Pictures, which still distributed the film for DreamWorks. Shooting began in November 2007 and filming took place entirely in the cities of Los Angeles and Universal City, California. The dogs in the film were trained for several months before shooting began. Nearly 80 boys auditioned for the role of Bruce before Austin was ultimately selected. The film was released in theaters on January 16, 2009 by DreamWorks Pictures, and was a box office hit, grossing $117 million worldwide.


Teen orphans Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) swindle a pawn shop owner in order to buy food to feed their dog, Friday. However, they are quickly caught and brought to the police station where they get picked up by their social worker Bernie Wilkins (Don Cheadle) who takes them back to their foster parents, Lois and Carl Scudder (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon), who do not appear to care for either Andi, Bruce, or even Friday especially since the Scudder's don't allow pets into their house. Despite his sympathy for the two siblings, Bernie warns them that they are playing a dangerous game by deliberately getting into trouble in order to escape Carl and Lois.

The next morning, Friday leaves to go looking for food, only to be caught by Animal Control. Desperate and worried, Andi and Bruce go into a local pet shop to ask if anybody has seen him. They meet Dave (Johnny Simmons) and Heather, (Kyla Pratt) who advise them to check the pound. They learn that Friday is indeed in the Pound but cannot be claimed without their parents present. The kids bribe the guard to get Friday back. While walking home, they discover a gang of youths committing a crime, causing them to flee before the police arrive. They look for Friday, who has already begun to hide in an abandoned hotel. They find a tiny Boston Terrier and an English Mastiff and name them Georgia and Lenny. Confident the three dogs will get along, Andi and Bruce leave Friday at the hotel for the night.

The next day, Bruce stays at the hotel to keep the dogs quiet, while Andi heads to the same pet shop to get some food for the dogs, where she runs into Dave and Heather again. Andi lies to them that their parents often rescue dogs, causing Dave to ask her to take in three more dogs that nobody seems to want to adopt, which she reluctantly agrees. With six dogs to look after, the friends set about trying to get the hotel in a decent state to accommodate the dogs' needs, with help from a local boy named Mark (Troy Gentile), as they rescue more stray dogs to occupy the hotel.

Eventually, Dave invites Andi to a party, which she agrees. Meanwhile, Bruce ends up interrogated by Carl and Lois, having been caught stealing a hairdryer. The party is ruined for Andi when she bumps into Jason, an old acquaintance who reveals to everyone that she and Bruce are orphans. Bruce manages to escape his house, only to find out that the hotel has fallen into chaos. Lois and Carl follow him, while the police are called, and the dogs are found and sent to the Pound, while Bruce and Andi are taken away by the police. Friday is also sent to the Pound. When Lois and Carl refuse to take Andi and Bruce back, Bernie is forced to send them to separate foster homes.

The dogs are all scheduled to be put down the next day, but Friday manages to escape captivity. He rushes over to find Dave, Heather, and Mark, who, in turn, find Andi and Bruce. Meanwhile, Bernie explores the hotel where he finds a dog named Harley, who had managed to avoid getting caught by animal control the previous night. Bernie then realizes why the kids loved doing what they did. Andi and Bruce manage to break into the Pound and release the dogs in an attempt to get them across the county line, where they will be safe. However, the dogs instead make their way back towards the hotel, believing it to be their real home. The strange event attracts the attention of citizens, reporters, and the police, who follow the dogs to the hotel, causing a large crowd to gather inside the hotel. Before the pound controls attempts to capture all the dogs again, Bernie appears and tells everyone about how Bruce and Andi managed to create a family of dogs and reveals Jake and Max's plans to them. He introduces all the dogs who live at the hotel and tells the heartfelt stories of their past owners, which wins over the crowd, and the police allow the children to keep the dogs together.

As people eagerly explore the hotel, Bernie reveals to an overjoyed Andi and Bruce that he and his wife have decided to adopt them. Sometime later, the hotel re-opens as a grand "Hotel For Dogs", where people can either adopt strays or board their dogs, while Andi, Bruce, and Friday happily settle into their new family.


  • Emma Roberts as Andi, Bruce's older sister and later becomes Dave's girlfriend. Roberts was cast in late 2007 and "knew as soon as she started reading the script for Hotel for Dogs she wanted to be part of the movie".
  • Jake T. Austin as Bruce, a preteen orphan who, along with his older sister, Andi, has lived with a number of foster parents following the death of their biological parents before ending up with Lois and Carl Scudder. He has a knack for mechanics. His inventions help keep the stray dogs living at the hotel fed and entertained while he and his sister are away. Nearly 80 boys tried out for the part before Austin was cast as Bruce.
  • Johnny Simmons as Dave, the young manager of a local pet store who helps Andi and Bruce rescue stray dogs and care for them at the hotel. Later, he becomes Andi's boyfriend and the new manager at the Hotel For Dogs.
  • Troy Gentile as Mark, a young kid who lives near Andi and Bruce and is eager to help with the dogs at the hotel. Later, he becomes Heather's boyfriend.
  • Kyla Pratt as Heather, an employee at the pet store who also wants to help rescue stray dogs and later, becomes the new guide at the Hotel For Dogs. As well as becoming Mark's girlfriend. Pratt joined the film after she learned that Don Cheadle was also working on the project. She said in an interview that "they were telling me about all the different people who were gonna be in it, and I saw Don Cheadle's name, and I'm like, oh, absolutely". She also said of her co-star Emma Roberts that "Emma is so much fun to be around and she's hilarious. Emma's great because I wasn't sure how everything was going to be, because I was older than the other actors in the movie".
  • Don Cheadle as Bernie Wilkins, a sympathetic social worker who tries his best to find a home for Andi and Bruce and to prevent them from being placed with separate foster families. Later, he becomes Andi and Bruce's adoptive father at the end. Cheadle joined the cast in September 2007. He described the film as "an opportunity to do a film that my kids can see" and praised both Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin as being "really professional. They showed up to do the work and were serious and took it seriously and had acting coaches and everything".
  • Robinne Lee as Carol Wilkins, Bernie's wife who initially tells her husband not to get too emotionally involved with the children he works with despite showing deep sympathy and care for them as well. Later, she becomes Andi and Bruce's adoptive mother.
  • Lisa Kudrow as Lois Scudder, Andi and Bruce's controlling, wannabe rock star former foster mother. Kudrow signed up for the film in October 2007. It was her first time working with dogs in a film. She said that her co-star Emma Roberts "was one of the draws for me to do this".
  • Kevin Dillon as Carl Scudder, Andi and Bruce's former foster father and an aging rocker who refuses to give up on his dreams of becoming a star. Dillon was cast in November 2007. Dillon said in an interview that singing and playing guitar during the band practice scenes was "one of the things that was the most fun" while filming.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown as Ms. Camwell; was seen as either Mark's mom or boss.
  • Gregory Sporleder as ACO Herb Dooley; the chief and boss of the animal pound workers, who stops at nothing to capture stray dogs, put them in cages, and then, have them put to sleep.
  • Eric Edelstein as ACO Max; a cruel, cold hearted animal pound worker, who along with his partner Jake, does everything in his power to lock up every stray dog in the city, even Andi and Bruce's own dog, Friday.
  • Ajay Naidu as ACO Jake; a cruel, cold hearted animal pound worker, like his partner Max, who does everything in his power to lock up and put down every stray dog they find and capture in the city.
  • Maximiliano Hernández as Officer Mike; a strict, yet caring, police officer, who along with his partner Jeff, has been keeping an eye on Andi and Bruce since the time they ripped a pawn shop owner off. At the end, he allows Andi and Bruce to keep the dogs.
  • Andre Ware as Officer Jeff; Officer Mike's similar partner who has been keeping an eye on Andi and Bruce since the time they ripped a pawn shop owner off. At the end, he allows Andi and Bruce to keep the dogs as well.
  • Jonathan Klein as Evan; a pawn shop owner whom Andi ripped off by selling him a rock in a phone box for twenty-seven dollars at the beginning.
  • Kenny Vibert as Jason; an old acquaintance of Andi and Bruce, who accidentally notifies everyone that Andi is an orphan living with the Scudders in the same building his grandmother lives in at the party.
  • Cosmo the Dog as Friday, Andi and Bruce's pet dog. He is a Jack Russell Terrier.
  • Alexandra Holden as Chela (deleted scenes).


The score to Hotel for Dogs was composed by John Debney, who recorded his score at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers.

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