The film has more than 85 classic songs from famous artists and also has an original song by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande called "Faith". It was released by Universal Pictures on December 21, 2016. The film received generally positive reviews, and has grossed $634.33 million worldwide. Along with The Secret Life of Pets, it marked the first time that Illumination released two feature films in the same year.
A sequel, entitled Sing 2, will be released on December 22, 2021.
In a world of anthropomorphic animals, optimistic koala Buster Moon is the owner of a music theater, having been interested in show-business ever since his father took him to his first music show when he was a child. His assistant is a slightly senile green iguana named Miss Karen Crawly, who has a glass eye that tends to pop out. Lately, Buster's theater is in financial trouble due to showing productions that have bombed, and his theater is in danger of closing down. Buster tells his friend, Suffolk sheep Eddie Noodleman, that he will try and save his theater from closure by hosting a singing competition, with the prize being $1,000, despite having only random stuff in his briefcase.
Buster isn't the only one in a crisis, as other animals in the city have issues of their own. Rosita is a talented singer, but has given up her dreams of performing to raise 25 unruly children and is constantly neglected by her workaholic husband, Norman. Meena has a great singing voice, but has severe stage fright, causing her pushy grandfather to pressure her to face her fear. Mike is a street musician who plays the saxophone but doesn't make easy money, prompting him to threaten people into giving him cheap profits. Johnny is the son of mobster Big Daddy who wants him to follow in his criminal footsteps, but Johnny aspires to be a singer. Punk-rocker Ash is in a band with her boyfriend Lance who is critical of her rocking style.
While printing fliers for the competition, Miss Crawly's glass eye causes her to accidentally print $100,000 instead of $1,000. Before the fliers can be checked, they are accidentally blown out of Buster's office and make it to many animals around the city including Johnny, Meena, Ash, Rosita, and Mike. After holding auditions with a turnout greater than expected, Buster picks Mike, Johnny, Rosita, Ash, and a few others to be in the contest. Meena's stage fright causes her to bomb her audition, Lance is dismissed from the contest when he auditions with Ash, and Rosita is partnered with another pig contestant named Gunter to be in a dancing routine. Soon enough, Buster discovers Miss Crawly's error when Eddie shows him the flier, but instead of telling the contestants of the mistake and of the true prize of $1,000, he remains optimistic.
Convinced by her grandfather, Meena tries to get Buster to give her another audition, but due to some technical difficulties, she is hired as a stage hand instead. After some of the animals quit, Rosita, Mike, Johnny, Gunter, Ash, and (eventually) Meena are the only ones left in the show. However, their individual problems begin to hinder rehearsals, such as Rosita floundering in her dance routine with the glory hog Gunter, Ash suffering from immense heartbreak after Lance cheats on her, Johnny inadvertently letting his dad be arrested during a heist in the shipping lanes when trying to do rehearsals and his father's heists, with his father disowning him after confessing that he wants to be a singer, Meena doesn't get any help with her stage fright, and Mike owing money to a mob of bears when he cheats in a card game. Buster visits Eddie to convince him to get his grandmother Nana Noodleman to host the reward money for the show. When they visit Nana, she accepts their offer, but in a snobbish manner. On the day Nana Noodleman comes, the bear mob who Mike earned the ire from come and demand the money from Buster, but his suitcase is full of junk, leading the others to turn on Buster for his deception. The glass tank full of luminescent squids shatters and floods the theater, evicting everyone from it. After Nana leaves in a huff, the theater literally comes crashing down.
Homeless and crestfallen, Buster takes up residence at Eddie's house. News of what transpired at the theater hits the airwaves and Buster is ridiculed, further diminishing his confidence. The contestants (except Mike) visit him and try to cheer him up, but Buster is too despondent to listen to them, so they leave. Buster tries to earn his keep by opening a car wash, using the same bucket that his dad used to pay for Buster's theater. Eddie, unwilling to see Buster so miserable, reminds him of what Buster had told him before: "Once you hit rock bottom, there's nowhere else to go but up."
After hearing Meena sing in the remains of the theater, Buster's confidence is renewed and he reinstates the show, leading everyone to come. Mike bails out when he learns that the prize money is omitted, but when his singing abilities are doubted, he returns to show his stuff. Throughout their acts, Johnny, Rosita, and Meena amaze their families, with Big Daddy breaking out of jail to reconcile with Johnny and apologize for selfishly disowning him and Lance getting a crush on Ash again after seeing her on TV and Meena overcomes her fear. The show becomes a success and Buster gains the money to rebuild the theater.
Reese Witherspoon as Rosita, a domestic pig who gave up her teenage music dreams to become a devoted wife of Norman and mother to 25 piglets.
Seth MacFarlane as Mike, a small white crooning mouse with a big Frank Sinatra-esque voice and an arrogant attitude.
Scarlett Johansson as Ash, a crested porcupine punk rocker who takes part in an alternative-rock music group with her boyfriend Lance until she rejects him for cheating on her with another crested porcupine.
The almost complete film was screened as a work in progress on September 11, 2016, at the Toronto International Film Festival. Universal Studios scheduled the film for a December 21, 2016 release in North America.
During it's theatrical run, Sing has grossed $270.3 million in the United States and Canada and $363.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $634.3 million, against a production budget of $75 million.
In North America, the film opened alongside Passengers and Assassin's Creed, and was expected to gross around $70 million from 4,022 theaters over its first six days of release. The film made $1.7 million during its Tuesday night previews. It went on to gross $75.5 million in its first six days, finishing second at the box office behind Rogue One. Sing currently holds the record for being the highest-grossing film to never reach the No. 1 spot at the North American box-office.
On the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 71%, based on 178 reviews, with an average rating of 6.49/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted – albeit familiar – storyline that lives up to its title." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Debruge of Variety, reviewing the version of Sing screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, praised Jennings' direction, the cast's voice performances and the film's silliness.Brian Truitt of USA today gave Sing 2.5/4 stars and wrote, "In a year full of talking-animal hits, Sing isn't quite as strong a number. It's a tale that might not be particularly thought-provoking but sure is toe-tapping." Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times called Sing "a cute movie with genuinely funny moments (keep an eye out for the koala car wash), and some great tunes to boot." Conversely, Stefan Pape of the British website HeyUGuys, also reviewing the version of Sing screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, gave the film a mixed review of 2/5, stating that "Garth Jennings's Sing effectively acknowledges early on that it's following a completely unoriginal formula, and yet carries on regardless."
Sing is the first Illumination film to center on an entirely non-human cast.
In the 2017 movie Despicable Me 3, another Illumination film, Gru's Minions can be seen performing a song on a competition show called "SING!". This may be a reference to Sing, as both movies were made by the same company.
This is the first Illumination film to not feature any humans, followed by The Grinch.
This is the first Illumination film to be released in December.
This is the second Illumination musical, after The Lorax.
With the running time of 1 hour and 48 minutes, this is the longest Illumination film to date.
Sing is the fifth Illumination film to be accompanied by three exclusive shorts on its home media releases, after Despicable Me, The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions.
This is the last film to have the 2010 Illumination Entertainment logo.
In December 2016, a feature related to Sing was added to Xfinity's X1 platform. Users could say commands to the voice remote such as "Show me Ash", "Show me Mike", etc. Upon saying these commands, a graphic of the requested character would show up on screen for a moment before displaying more information about Sing. For a limited time, Xfinity X1 users could also view a special interactive menu including trailers, clips, character profiles, and more from the movie. This feature was quietly removed a few months later, but the special interactive menu can be accessed upon a full HD purchase of the movie.
From August 03, 2017 to February 03, 2019, Sing was available on the video subscription service Netflix.
A lizard man similar to one in the film Minions can be seen when Johnny was talking to his dad at prison.
The film features over 85 hit songs from the 1940s to the present day.
This was Taron Egerton's animated feature debut. He has stated that he has a love for singing.
Taron Egerton's character Johnny sings a cover of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing". Taron Egerton would later star alongside Elton John in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
In 2019, Egerton would portray Elton John in the musical biopic Rocketman.
This is Seth MacFarlane's first voiceover work in a full-length animated feature not under his studio's Fuzzy Door Productions label.
This film marks the 1st CGI film and 2nd family film since Tooth Fairy that Seth MacFarlane has been involved in.
This marks the 2nd time that Seth MacFarlane has played a character named Mike after the Family Guy episode "Cool Hand Peter" where Peter tricks Lois on the phone.
In a 2019 episode of Family Guy titled "You Can't Handle the Booth", Mike and Sing were mentioned by Peter Griffin, as a meta joke about Seth MacFarlane’s other roles in film and television. This is one of the first occurrences of Sing being referenced in a television show.
The episode itself featured the characters overdubbing a previous episode in the style of DVD commentary, and when Seth MacFarlane himself comes into the audio, his character Peter Griffin says "It’s the mouse from Sing! I’d recognize your voice anywhere!"
This was the fifth animated feature film of 2016 to be set in a world of anthropomorphic animals, following Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, The Angry Birds Movie, and the Chinese release of Rock Dog.
This is the second film of 2016 to feature Scarlett Johansson in a voice-over role, following Disney's remake of The Jungle Book.
This is Matthew McConaughey's second animated movie after Kubo and the Two Strings, which was also released in 2016.
This is Reese Witherspoon's third animated movie, after The Trumpet of the Swan and Monsters vs. Aliens.
The first film to be directed by Garth Jennings in nearly ten years following Son of Rambow. This film also represents first foray into animated filmmaking.
This is the second collaboration between Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey, after Mud.
Sing is Universal Pictures' third animated theatrical film released in December, after Balto in 1995 and The Tale of Despereaux in 2008.
This marks British composer Joby Talbot's first scoring debut in an animated film.
The movie is dedicated in the credits to Igor Khait (1963-2016), an animation producer in the movie who died from pancreatic cancer during production.
The songs each main character sings for their auditions, versus the songs each sings for the finale, directly mirror each character's arc. Rosita sings "Firework," a song encouraging others to come out of their shells (something Rosita needs to do), while Gunter sings "Bad Romance," foreshadowing his and Rosita's partnership; together they sing "Shake It Off," symbolizing Rosita getting rid of her doubts. Johnny sings "Stay With Me," representing his mindset to keep his father pleased, then later sings "I'm Still Standing," representing his ability to move on without his father. Ash sings backup for her boyfriend's song, similar to the dynamics of their relationship; she then sings "Set It All Free," a song she wrote to symbolize taking control of her life. Mike sings "Pennies from Heaven," showing his lust for money, then later sings "My Way," showing he has no regrets for his actions throughout the film. Though she doesn't actually get to sing it, Meena auditioned with "Chandelier," a song about a woman who cannot express herself without the use of alcohol, thus mirroring Meena's inability to express herself; she then sings "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," giving herself reassurance against her anxiety.
A sneak peek of the teaser trailer was released on February 11, 2016, featuring snippets of animal auditions:
Rosita was starting to sing "Venus" by Shocking Blue before she tripped.
Sing premiered on FX on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 8 PM ET/7 PM CT following The Secret Life of Pets. There was an encore presentation following its premiere. This was the first time the film was played on American cable television.