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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.

Director:

Cameron Crowe

Writers:

Aline Brosh McKenna (screenplay), Cameron Crowe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,777 ( 784)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Benjamin Mee
Scarlett Johansson ... Kelly Foster
Thomas Haden Church ... Duncan Mee
Colin Ford ... Dylan Mee
Maggie Elizabeth Jones ... Rosie Mee
Angus Macfadyen ... Peter MacCready (as Angus MacFadyen)
Elle Fanning ... Lily Miska
Patrick Fugit ... Robin Jones
John Michael Higgins ... Walter Ferris
Carla Gallo ... Rhonda Blair
J.B. Smoove ... Mr. Stevens (as JB Smoove)
Stephanie Szostak ... Katherine Mee
Michael Panes ... Principal
Kym Whitley ... Cashier
Todd Stanton ... San Diego Vet
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Storyline

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 in 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

Taglines:

A true zoo story. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

23 December 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un zoológico en casa See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,450,000, 25 December 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$75,624,550

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$120,081,841
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Benjamin Mee first meets the staff, Kelly mentions that there is a weak enclosure between the jaguar and the tigers. In the real Dartmoor zoo the jaguar escaped into the tiger enclosure. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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.
[...]
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Connections

Featured in The One Show: Episode #7.39 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Go Do
Written by Jon Thor Birgisson (as Jón Þór Birgisson)
Performed by Jon Thor Birgisson (as Jónsi)
Produced by Jon Thor Birgisson (as Jón Þór Birgisson), Alex Somers, Peter Katis
Mixed by Tom Elmhirst
Courtesy of XL Recordings/Parlophone
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
In praise of earnestness
26 December 2011 | by holdenkaraSee all my reviews

I am grateful that in this cynical world, there are still artists who are courageous enough not to run from earnestness, but to embrace it. Cameron Crowe has done just that with WE BOUGHT A ZOO. This is a beautiful movie, full of life - truthfully acted, beautifully shot and lovingly directed. I expected to cry (which I did, many times) but I didn't know that it would also be so funny with levity coming just when you need it. Matt Damon was brilliant as the heartbroken but hopeful father. And my only gripe about Thomas Haden Church is that there wasn't more of him! The kids were all brilliant -- not an ounce of self-consciousness to their acting, which is rare when it comes to child actors. And the final scene alone is worth the price of admission. Anyone willing to open his or her heart will fall in love with this movie like I did. Kudos to all involved.


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