Sing (also stylized as SING) is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment.[4] It was directed and written by Garth Jennings and co-directed by Christophe Lourdelet.[5] The film stars the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, and Nick Kroll. The film is about a group of anthropomorphic animals that enter a singing competition hosted by a koala hoping to save his theater.

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".[6] It was released by Universal Pictures on December 21, 2016. The film received positive reviews, and has grossed $634.33 million worldwide. Along with The Secret Life of Pets, it marked the first time that Illumination Entertainment released two feature films in the same year.

A sequel, entitled Sing 2, has been announced for a release on December 25, 2020.


In a world of anthropomorphic animals, optimistic koala Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) 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 (Garth Jennings), 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 (John C. Reilly), 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 (Reese Witherspoon) 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 (Nick Offerman). Meena (Tori Kelly) has a great singing voice, but has severe stage fright, causing her pushy grandfather (Jay Pharoah) to pressure her to face her fear. Mike (Seth MacFarlane) 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 (Taron Egerton) is the son of mobster Big Daddy (Peter Serafinowicz) who wants him to follow in his criminal footsteps, but Johnny aspires to be a singer. Punk-rocker Ash (Scarlett Johansson) is in a band with her boyfriend Lance (Beck Bennett) 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 (Nick Kroll) 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 tries to get enough money for the promised reward.

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 when she thinks Lance cheated, Johnny inadvertently letting his dad be arrested during a heist in the shipping lanes, Meena's 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 (Jennifer Saunders) 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. Before Buster can face anyone's wrath, a 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 (including Rosita and Meena's families) to come. Mike bails out when he learns that the prize money is omitted, but soon returns to show his stuff. Throughout their acts, Johnny, Rosita, and Meena amaze their families with Big Daddy breaking out of jail to see Johnny and Lance getting a crush on Ash again after seeing her on TV. The show becomes a success and Buster gains the money to rebuild the theater.


Additional voices


In January 2014, it was announced that Garth Jennings would write and direct an animated comedy film for Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment about "courage, competition and carrying a tune,"[13] which was originally titled Lunch,[14] and then retitled as Sing.[7]

On January 14, 2015, Matthew McConaughey was added to the cast to voice the lead role in the film.[4] Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy would be producers on the film.[4] On June 17, 2015, it was confirmed that McConaughey voiced Buster and John C. Reilly voiced Eddie, a black sheep and Buster's best friend, while Jennings was directing the film based on his own script.[8] In November 2015, it was announced that Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Tori Kelly, and Taron Egerton joined the cast for the film.[7]


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


The almost complete[15] film was screened as a work in progress on September 11, 2016, at the Toronto International Film Festival.[16] Universal Studios scheduled the film for a December 21, 2016, release.[17]


Box office

As of October 9, 2017, Sing has grossed $270.3 million in the United States and Canada and $264 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $634.3 million, against a production budget of $75 million.[3]

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.[18] The film made $1.7 million during its Tuesday night previews.[19] It went on to gross $35.3 million in its opening weekend (a six-day total of $75.5 million), finishing second at the box office, behind Rogue One.[20] Sing holds the record for being the highest-grossing film to never reach the No. 1 spot at the North American box-office.[21]

Critical response

On the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 73%, based on 150 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. 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."[22] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Reviewing the version of the film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Stefan Pape of the British website HeyUGuys 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".[25]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Annie Awards February 4, 2017 Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production Joby Talbot Nominated
Golden Globe Awards January 8, 2017 Best Animated Feature Film Sing Nominated
Best Original Song "Faith" – Ryan Tedder, Stevie Wonder and Francis Farewell Starlite Nominated


Universal and Illumination have announced plans for a Sing 2, slated for December 25, 2020.[26]


  • This movie takes place in April, according to a calendar seen during practice rehearsals.
  • In total, there were 22 shown auditions.
    • During the auditions scene, Buster Moon sat in seat 20, and Miss Crawly sat in seat 21.
    • After the auditions, every rejected participant who auditioned was given 10% discount coupons to the theater.
  • The mini-movies included on the home video release of Sing ("Gunter Babysits", "Love At First Sight" & "Eddie's Life Coach") can be logically connected to Sing as part of the movie, but are not treated as deleted scenes.
  • The release of Sing, alongside The Secret Life of Pets, marks the first time that Illumination Entertainment released two feature films in one year.
    • Sing is the first Illumination Entertainment film to center on an entirely non-human cast.
    • In the 2017 movie Despicable Me 3, another Illumination Entertainment 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.
  • 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.
  • The Wilhelm scream, a famous sound effect, is heard when Richard accidentally steps on Ray.
  • The song being played during the scene in which Buster and Eddie have lunch at Les Calmars is called "Concert No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, "La Primavera" (Spring)" by Antonio Vivaldi.
  • From August 3, 2017 to February 3, 2019, Sing was available on the video subscription service Netflix.
  • When Miss Crawly was crying and blew her nose, the sound of her blowing her nose matches the party horn sound effect from the Minions' "Banana" song from the first teaser trailer of Despicable Me 2, another Illumination production.
  • Before the film, four minions, include Mel, Kevin, Stuart and Bob, stand at the logo of Illumination Entertainment. Kevin plays a harmonica, sings a G tone with the solfège "La", and then he starts a chorus of "Illumination" with other three minions in D key. The high-pitched voice of Bob causes the light of some letters of the logo goes out.
  • These letters can become a word "MINION". On the other hand, before The Secret Life of Pets, the letters of "MINION" spawn first.
  • 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 is Taron Egerton's first time working on an animated feature. He has stated that he has a love for singing.
  • During the theater flooding scene, Taron Egerton's character, Johnny, saves everyone by pushing Meena out of the way of the only exit. In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Egerton's character Eggsy also saves several people when a room begins to flood by breaking through a glass window.
  • 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.
  • The scene where Big Daddy makes his escape is reminiscent of the scene in Kingsman: The Secret Service, where Eggsy (Taron Egerton) tries to escape his stepfather's thugs by jumping from roof to roof.
  • This is the second Illumination Entertainment's musical film, after The Lorax.
  • With a runtime of 108 minutes, Sing is Illumination Entertainment's longest film.
  • It is Seth MacFarlane's first voiceover work in a full-length animated feature not under his studio's Fuzzy Door Productions label.
  • This was the fourth animated feature film of 2016 following Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, and The Angry Birds Movie, to be set in a world of anthropomorphic animals.
  • This is the first time that two Illumination Entertainment films were released in the same year. The Secret Life of Pets was released 5 months before Sing.
  • This film marks the 1st CGI film and 2nd family film since Tooth Fairy that Seth MacFarlane has been involved in.
  • In the full-length official trailer, the gorilla Johnny sings "The Way I Feel Inside" by The Zombies and "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith.
  • This is the second film in 2016 to feature Scarlett Johansson in a voice-over role, following The Jungle Book.
  • This is Reese Witherspoon's second animated movie since 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 first collaboration between Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey since Mud.
  • 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.
  • This is the first Illumination Entertainment film to not feature any humans, followed by The Grinch.
  • This is the first Illumination Entertainment film to be released in December.
  • It is also 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.
  • With the running time of 1 hour and 48 minutes, this is the longest Illumination film in history.
  • The fifth Illumination Entertainment film to be accompanied by three shorts for home media releases, after Despicable Me, The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions.
  • 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.
  • Songs associated with three different artists who died in 2016 are on the movie's soundtrack. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (George Michael), "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen), and "Under Pressure" (David Bowie and Queen).
  • This is the last film to have the 2010-present Illumination Entertainment logo (2010-2016 version).
  • Mike the mouse is largely based on the late Frank Sinatra, who Seth MacFarlane often imitates. Sinatra was known for his short temper, style of dress, and apparent ties to organized crime, which are incorporated into Mike's character. He sings Sinatra's signature song "My Way" on the movie's soundtrack.
  • Before Mike's final performance piece, Frank Sinatra's "My Way", the three bears are seen with stereotypical links to Russian mafia-types chasing after him following cheating them out of money in an earlier card game. This could be a subtle reference to Sinatra's alleged involvement with the Italian-American Mafia.
  • Meena's grandfather appears to be a reference to the titular character of the classic cartoon Babar, an elephant in a green suit.
  • There are at least three references to Back to the Future and its sequels:
    • Ash does her guitar solo, which in turn makes the music stop and everyone is staring at her silently in a similar manner to Marty McFly doing his solo at the school dance.
    • Buster Moon is trying to steal power from the neighboring building, he is walking outside on the ledge with an extension cord only for the ledge to break under his feet and that the cable is too short. This is a nod to Doc Brown trying to connect the cable at the top of the courthouse clock tower.
    • When Johnny is hiding behind a wall in the alley to avoid the police, he is wearing a not-so-inconspicuous leather jacket and hat he talks on a walkie-talkie to his dad. Very similar to a scene in Back to the Future Part II where Marty dresses in a not-so-inconspicuous leather jacket and hat hides with a walkie-talkie to talk to Doc. Both films were also distributed by Universal.
  • 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 animals singing certain popular songs:
  • When Johnny performs "I'm Still Standing", the audience is seen swaying their hands in unison, possibly referring to the way an audience of aliens sway their hands in the music video for Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)".
  • Sing will premiere on FX on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 8 PM ET/7 PM CT following The Secret Life of Pets. There will be an encore presentation following its premiere. This will be the first time the film is played on American cable television.

See also


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named tslopabout
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Sing (2016)". Retrieved April 14, 2016. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Kit, Borys (January 14, 2015). "Matthew McConaughey to Star in Illumination Animated Film (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named THRReview
  6. Sadlier, Allison (September 9, 2016). "Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande collaborate on track for Sing movie". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Truitt, Brian (November 10, 2015). "Sneak peek: A-list animals 'SING' together". USA Today. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hopewell, John (June 17, 2015). "Annecy: Chris Meledandri on Matthew McConaughey as a Koala Legit Theater Owner, ‘The Grinch’". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  9. Yuen, Jenny (September 11, 2016). "TIFF 2016: Matthew McConaughey optimistic about 'Sing'". Toronto Sun. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Trumbore, Dave (November 11, 2015). "Meet the Animated Animals of Illumination Entertainment’s 2016 Musical Comedy, ‘Sing’". Collider. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  11. Buxton, Adam (April 14, 2016). "EP.16 - Pub Walk With Garth Jennings". Retrieved April 17, 2016. 
  12. "Sing - Full Cast and Credits". Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  13. "‘Despicable Me 3′ Set For June 2017 Release; ‘Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ Arrives Five Months Later". Deadline. January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  14. Hopewell, John (January 8, 2014). "France Fights Bidding War to Lure Hollywood Filmmakers". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2014. "Universal now has “Max” and “Lunch” set up at Illumination MacGuff." 
  15. Grobar, Matt (December 5, 2016). "‘Sing’ Director Garth Jennings On Working With “Wizards,” The Learning Curve Of His Feature Animation Debut". Deadline. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  16. Hammond, Pete (August 23, 2016). "Universal & Illumination To Launch ‘Sing’ With Live Jennifer Hudson And Tori Kelly Performances At Toronto". Deadline. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  17. McClintock, Pamela (January 15, 2014). "Universal Dates 'Despicable Me 3,' New 'Grinch Who Stole Christmas'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  18. "Will ‘Rogue One’ Vanquish The Christmas B.O. Competition?". 
  19. "'Sing's' Box-Office Debut Tops 'Assassin's Creed,' 'Passengers' in Tuesday Night Previews". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  20. "With ‘Fences,’ ‘La La Land’ Enter Top 10 As ‘Rogue One’ & ‘Sing’ Rule Holiday – Monday AM Update". 
  21. "Top Grossing Movies that never hit #1". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  22. "Sing (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  23. "Sing reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  24. "CinemaScore". 
  25. "TIFF 2016: Sing Review - HeyUGuys". Retrieved September 21, 2016. 
  26. Kilday, Gregg (January 25, 2017). "'Sing' Sequel Coming From Illumination and Universal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2017. 

External links