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Sing (2016 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Garth Jennings
Produced by
  • Chris Meledandri
  • Janet Healy
Written by Garth Jennings
Music by Joby Talbot
Editing by Gregory Perler
Studio Illumination Entertainment
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) September 11, 2016 (2016-09-11) (TIFF)
December 21, 2016 (2016-12-21) (United States)
Running time 110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $75 million
Money made $634.2 million

Sing is a 2016 American computer-animated musical comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment and released by Universal Pictures. It was written and directed by Garth Jennings, co-directed by Christophe Lourdelet and stars the ensemble voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Nick Kroll, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly. Its characters are anthropomorphic animals, and it centers on a struggling theater owner who decides to hold a singing competition, as well as how the competition interferes with the personal lives of its contestants.

The film features more than 60 songs from famous artists, and also has an original song by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande called "Faith," which was nominated for a Golden Globe. It screened on the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2016, premiered at Microsoft Theater on December 3, 2016 and was released in the United States on December 21. The film received generally mixed reviews and grossed $634 million worldwide. The sequel, Sing 2, is scheduled to be released in December 2021.


In a city of anthropomorphic animals called Calatonia, koala theater owner Buster Moon hosts a singing competition to promote his struggling theater, following financial problems brought up by llama bank representative Judith. A mishap involving the glass eye of Buster's assistant, elderly iguana Miss Crawly, applies two extra zeroes to the prize money, and the misprinted flyers are blown out the window into the street.

Animals from across the city gather for auditions. Those selected include: housewife and mother of 25 piglets Rosita; punk-rock porcupine Ash; gorilla Johnny, son of mobster Big Daddy; street musician mouse Mike; singing and dancing frog trio Ricki, Howie, and Kai; and opera singer camel Pete. Teenage elephant Meena fails her audition from stage fright, Ash's self-absorbed boyfriend Lance is dismissed from the contest, and Rosita is paired with an exuberant pig named Gunter for a dance routine. After Buster discovers the flyers advertise a prize of $100,000, he arranges a visit with his friend Eddie's grandmother, former opera singer and stage actress Nana Noodleman, who is hesitant to sponsor the prize money but agrees to attend a private preview of the show.

Pressured by her grandfather, Meena tries to ask Buster for another chance to perform, but becomes his stage hand instead. When the frog trio breaks up and Pete is injured, Meena is added as an act. Rosita flounders in her dance routine with Gunter, distracted by her parenting duties that have fallen into disarray. After discovering Lance broke up with her for a new girlfriend, Ash breaks down while singing her assigned song, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." Johnny is torn between rehearsals and having to help his father as the driver of a getaway car in a heist. Trying to do both, he fails to pick up the robbers in time due to a traffic jam, causing the gang to be arrested with his dad being disappointed that he wants to be a singer. Meena does not get any help in overcoming her stage fright, and Mike, certain the prize money is as good as his, buys a fancy car to impress a female mouse but swindles a group of Russian bears in a card game.

The day of the preview, the Russian bears interrupt the show, demanding the money from Mike, who points to Buster. The bears open the prize chest, but it is nowhere near $100,000. The glass tank of luminescent squids lighting the stage breaks and floods the theater, which comes crashing down. Judith repossesses the lot and Buster, who had been living at the theater, takes up residence with Eddie at his parents' pool house. The contestants try to cheer him up, but Buster is too despondent to listen. He tries to start over by opening a car wash.

When Meena goes to the rubble of the theater and sings Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", Buster hears her and is inspired to reinstate the show without the prize money, performing on a makeshift stage on the lot for Rosita and Meena's families. Rosita and Gunter perform Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off", which finally prompts Rosita's husband, Norman, to pay attention to her singing talent. More animals are drawn to the scene as the show is broadcast on the news. Johnny's rendition of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" impresses his father, who escapes from prison to reconcile with him and apologize to him. Despite an interruption by Judith, Ash sings her original rock song "Set It All Free," which her ex-boyfriend watches on TV and finally acknowledges Ash's talent. Mike returns to the show and sings Frank Sinatra's "My Way,” and Meena finally overcomes her fears and sings Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing", which literally brings down the house.

The show is a success and impresses Nana, who was in the audience. She buys the lot and the theater is rebuilt and reopened.

Voice cast

  • Garth Jennings, the film's writer and director, as Miss Crawly, an elderly iguana with a glass eye who is Buster's administrative assistant.
  • Peter Serafinowicz as Big Daddy, a gorilla gang leader who wants his son Johnny to follow in his crime business.
  • Nick Kroll as Gunter, a passionate dancing domestic pig who is partnered with Rosita for the show.
  • Beck Bennett as Lance, a crested porcupine and Ash's self-absorbed boyfriend.
  • Jay Pharoah as Meena's Grandfather, an Indian elephant and Meena's unnamed grandfather who pressures her to overcome her stage fright.
  • Nick Offerman as Norman, a pig and Rosita's workaholic husband.
  • Leslie Jones as Meena's Mother, an Indian elephant and Meena's unnamed mother.
  • Rhea Perlman as Judith, a brown llama from the bank who warns Buster that his theater will be repossessed if he does not pay.
  • Laraine Newman as Meena's Grandmother, an Indian elephant and Meena's unnamed grandmother.
  • Adam Buxton as Stan, a gorilla who is a member of Big Daddy's gang.
  • Brad Morris as an unnamed Baboon whom Mike attacks for not donating more money to his street performances.
  • Bill Farmer as Bob, a dog and news reporter who documents Buster's singing competition.
  • Townsend Coleman as Bull Banker, an unnamed cattle who gives Mike his own credit card in light of the singing competition.
  • Jim Cummings (credited as "James J. Cummings") as the Russian bears and a rhino cop.
  • Tara Strong as:
    • Becky, a crested porcupine and Lance's new girlfriend.
    • Nancy, a female white mouse who becomes Mike's girlfriend.

The voices of Rosita and Norman's piglet children were provided by Oscar, Leo, Caspar, and Asa Jennings, the children of Garth Jennings, the film's writer and director. Jennings had directors Edgar Wright (as a goat) and Wes Anderson (as Daniel, a giraffe who auditions with the song "Ben") provide "additional voices", continuing a tradition of the three friends appearing in each other's films. An archival recording of Shooby Taylor, who died in 2003, singing "Stout-Hearted Men" was used for the singing voice of a hippopotamus that worked at a pharmaceutical company.


A soundtrack album for the film was released on December 21, 2016.


On January 25, 2017, Universal and Illumination announced plans for a sequel with writer/director Jennings, producers Meledandri and Healy, and the original cast returning for it. The film was originally scheduled for release on December 25, 2020. However, on April 12, 2019, the release date was pushed back to July 2, 2021, accommodating the release of The Croods 2.

On April 1, 2020, Universal pushed Sing 2's release date to December 22, 2021, with Minions: The Rise of Gru taking the July 2, 2021 release date.

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