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We Bought a Zoo (2011)

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Set in Southern California, a father moves his young family to the countryside to renovate and re-open a struggling zoo.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter MacCready (as Angus MacFadyen)
Mr. Stevens (as JB Smoove)


Benjamin has lost his wife. In a bid to start his life over, he purchases a large house that has a zoo. This is welcome news for his daughter, but his son is not happy about it. The zoo is need of renovation and Benjamin sets about the work with the head keeper, Kelly, and the rest of the zoo staff. But, the zoo soon runs into financial trouble. The staff must get the zoo back to its former glory, pass a zoo inspection, and get it back open to the public. Written by Kad

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 December 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un zoológico en casa  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,450,000 (USA) (23 December 2011)


$75,621,915 (USA) (11 May 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the second collaboration of actor Patrick Fugit and director Cameron Crowe. Their first was Almost Famous. See more »


The movie continuously refers to the zoo's upcoming opening day as Saturday, July 7, 2010. July 7, 2010 was actually a Wednesday. The real Dartmoor Zoo that the story was based on reopened on Saturday, July 7, 2007, and this date was moved up exactly 3 years to make it more current. See more »


[first lines]
Dylan Mee: My dad is a writer who specialized in adventure.
Benjamin Mee: This is Benjamin Mee. I am surrounded by hundreds, probably thousands of killer bees. If I wasn't wearing this suit, I would be dead in an instant.
Dylan Mee: He interviewed dangerous dictators.
Hugo Chavez: Take this message to that American cowboy. We already gave a 10 billion dollar oil credit to China. Swallow that, Mr. Danger!
Benjamin Mee: What's your favorite movie?
Hugo Chavez: Toy Story.
[to his staff]
Hugo Chavez: The first one or the second one?
Segundo: The second.
See more »


Referenced in Cameron's Book of Love (2014) See more »


Work to Do
Written by O'Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley and Rudolph Isley
Performed by The Isley Brothers
Courtesy of Epic Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Stop comparing to Jerry Maguire! This is a great family film.
1 January 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

We bought a zoo is a great movie to go see with the family. Damon flaunts his emotional acting abilities with great form but the stage stealer is young Maggie Elizebeth Jones playing Damon's seven year old daughter. Jones is an eccentric little girl who is bound to bring laughter and Aww's out of you. Elle Fanning does a great job as always; Tomas Haden Church plays his perfect role, and Scarlett Johansson levels things out very nicely.

If you want a lot of emotion with consistent laughter, We Bought a Zoo is a great Sunday afternoon choice. Bound to bring tears, smiles and laughter, with a great true story to back it up.

41 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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There is something seriously wrong with this film. sosvovenon
Not happy with the Easter Bunny Reference! todins
as hot as Scarlett Johansson is arunsah
Why so much hate? alien_surfer_05
Little girl was annoying! BGEditor11
Has Anyone Been to the Actual Zoo soxpeat056
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