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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 »
2,149 ( 228)
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
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Did You Know?


During the first pub scene an old TV is showing a soccer match where a goal had just been scored by Brian Talbot for Arsenal. This was a significant English FA Cup final match in 1979 between Arsenal and Manchester United where with minutes remaining Arsenal snatched victory to win 3-2 ending a thrilling final. See more »


Walter Ferris worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but his government vehicle's license plates were State of California Exempt plates. His vehicle should have had U.S. government license plates rather than a state government's license plates. 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 Half in the Bag: 2015 Re-Cap (So Far) (2015) See more »


Hunger Strike
Written by Chris Cornell
Performed by Temple of the Dog
Courtesy of A&M Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Film Clips Don't Do This Movie Justice
5 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

We Bought A Zoo is a heart-warming, fun movie. The casting is a good as you could wish for and if I had to choose, I'd pick this as my favorite Matt Damon film. For anyone who loves animals, and I have to confess I'm about head of the line as one of them, this is a marvelous picture with not only the people personalities shining forth, but so too the animals. In most cases, we all know that the brief film clips shown prior to the movie are supposed to be showing the best of the picture. In this case, that is far from the truth. I almost passed this delightful movie up because all I could think of was, if this is the best there is...I don't think so. I'm so glad I opted to see it in spite of my reservations. Who ever picked the preview clips should be fired...or retrained, perhaps, because what they went with most certainly didn't do this movie justice. Not even close. It's a really enjoyable movie and I'd recommend it to everyone.

82 of 108 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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