Happy Feet 2 on France 4: a look back at the failure of George Miller’s animated film – teller report

After Happy Feet, France 4 is broadcasting its sequel tonight. Still co-directed by George Miller (Mad Max), the film was a box office failure unlike its predecessor.

Five years after Happy Feet, George Miller returns with the continuation of Mumble’s adventures. Co-directed with David Peers and Gary Eck, the feature film takes place several years after the first part. Become the king of the tap dance, Mumble is a dad and he finds himself very annoyed when he discovers that his son Erik is allergic to dance. It is then that the latter runs away and meets Sven Mighty, a penguin capable of flying! But the situation only gets worse when the world is threatened by telluric forces … Mumble then mobilizes the people of penguins and other creatures: from the tiny Krill to the gigantic elephant seal, to restore order …

If the first opus was a critical success (the film received the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2007) and public – since it totaled 384 million dollars in international revenue for an estimated budget of 100 millions – this is not the case with its sequel. Indeed, Happy Feet 2 only made $ 159 million at the world box office for a budget of $ 135 million … during its opening weekend and as it airs on over 3,600 screens, the feature film totals $ 21 million, barely half of the 41.5 million recorded by the first film during its first weekend of exploitation.

A failure that resulted in 600 layoffs

A big disappointment for the production which expected to do at least as well as the first film. But these weak results also caught the box office forecasting sites off guard, which unanimously predicted a first weekend of between 35 and 45 million. Unexpected and sudden losses which resulted in the dismissal of more than 600 employees of the Australian production studio founded in 2007 by George Miller, Dr D. Studios. The studio did not resist the failure of the film and closed its doors in 2013 after having produced only one single film.

Happy Feet 2 on France 4 a look back at

Warner Bros. France

On the side of critics, same observation. Across the Atlantic, the film garners 45% of good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes against 76% for the first opus. British newspaper The Telegraph states that Happy Feet 2 is one of the ten worst movies of 2011: “a spooky 3D animation sequel about a colony of singing, dancing and angry penguins“.

In France, Gérard Delorme of the magazine First writes about the first film: “Sign of a lot of writing work, the story unfolds with clarity and fluidity. Far from the excesses of Mad Max, Miller operates here to the extent. It controls its effects with precision to generate a wide range of atmospheres “. 5 years later, his colleague Gaël Golhen descends the following: “Weighted down by a script that goes all over the place and sacrifices its characters, sabotaged by an asthmatic realization and a tense soundtrack, the film is devoid of the obviousness of the first episode.. ”

Asked in November 2011 (a month before the release of the second film), on the possibility of a third part, George Miller specified that he would do so only if he had a good story to tell. But the results of the second film quickly put an end to all attempts and George Miller focused on Mad Max: Fury Road.