The film premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on January 23, 2011. It was theatrically released in the United Kingdom and United States on February 11, 2011. Despite mixed reviews, the film earned $194 million on a $36 million budget. The film received nominations for the Satellite Award for Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, the Critics' Choice Award for Best Song and the Annie Award for Directing in a Feature Production, Storyboarding in a Feature Production, Voice Acting in a Feature Production and Writing in a Feature Production.
Mrs. Montague and Mr. Capulet (Julie Walters and Richard Wilson) are two elderly neighbours who despise each other. When they leave their respective gardens, their garden gnomes and other lawn ornaments come alive. The Montague garden is filled with blue-hat gnomes, and the Capulet garden has red-hat gnomes. Like their human gardeners, the gnomes also despise each other.
The gnomes hold a back alley lawnmower race, with Gnomeo (James McAvoy) driving for the blues and Tybalt (Jason Statham) for the reds. Tybalt cheats to win the race, destroying Gnomeo's lawnmower. Gnomeo and his best friend, Benny (Matt Lucas), are disappointed to see Mrs. Montague ordering a new "Kitty Clipper" lawnmower to replace it.
That night, Gnomeo and Benny infiltrate the red garden in black disguise. Benny sprays Tybalt's well and accidentally triggers a security light. During the escape Gnomeo ends up in a nearby garden where he bumps into a disguised Juliet (Emily Blunt), the daughter of the red gnomes leader Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine). Juliet is attempting to retrieve a unique orchid, and the two romantically fight over it. They each discover the other's color before fleeing the garden. When they both go back to their own gardens, Juliet tells her frog-sprinkler friend Nanette (Ashley Jensen) about her newfound love. Nanette states that the relationship is a romantically tragic.
Gnomeo and Juliet have secret meetings in the nearby garden, where they meet a pink plastic flamingo named Featherstone (Jim Cummings) who encourages their love. Lord Redbrick pairs Juliet with a Red Gnome named Paris (Stephen Merchant), but Juliet isn't interested in him and distracts him with Nanette who has feelings for him.
Gnomeo's mother and the blue gnomes leader Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith), is distraught after the reds infiltrate the garden and destroy the plant nurtured by Gnomeo's deceased father. The blues want Gnomeo to take revenge on the reds, and he realizes that he cannot refuse unless he tells his secret. Just as he is about to spray the prized tulips of the reds, Juliet sees him and he backs out of the attack.
When he and Juliet meet up again, they argue until Featherstone stops them, telling them he lost his wife when the two people living in the house, where the garden is, broke up and never saw each other again. Benny sees them and runs into the alleyway, where Tybalt is waiting with his lawnmower, attempting to run Benny down and chops off his hat. Gnomeo intervenes, and he and Tybalt fight on the red lawnmower until the lawnmower runs into the wall. Gnomeo jumps off at the last minute, but Tybalt crashes into the wall, destroying himself. The reds attempt to attack Gnomeo, thinking that Tybalt died because of him, but Juliet, to the surprise of her clan, defends Gnomeo, saying that she loves him. Gnomeo ends up on a road, and everyone believes he was run over by a truck. Lord Redbrick and the red gnomes glue Juliet's feet to her fountain because he does not want to lose her as she lost her mother.
Shroom, Gnomeo's mushroom friend finds out that Gnomeo is still alive (A blue teapot fell out of the truck that 'ran him over', which all the gnomes came to believe was Gnomeo), as he eventually reaches a park where he climbs onto a statue of William Shakespeare (Patrick Stewart) and tells him his story. Shakespeare tells Gnomeo that his story is very similar to Romeo and Juliet and that it is likely Gnomeo's will have a sad ending as well.
Benny gets onto Mrs Montague's computer and changes her lawnmower order to a powerful Terrafirminator unit, intending to get revenge on the reds. However, the Terrafirminator goes out of control, destroys most of the two gardens, and gets itself stuck while the gnomes wage a full-scale war. Gnomeo returns to Juliet with the help of Featherstone. However, when he arrives, the Terrafirminator frees itself, sending it flying. Gnomeo tries to un-glue Juliet, but is unable to. She tells him to go, but he refuses. The two share a passionate kiss just as the lawnmower crashes into the fountain, self-destructing in the process. When everyone believes that both are dead, Lord Redbrick and Lady Bluebury decide to end the feud. Miraculously, Gnomeo and Juliet emerge from the ruins and the two clans celebrate.
The film ends happily with the red and blue gnomes finally coming together to celebrate their newfound peace. Tybalt is revealed to still be alive having been glued back together, Featherstone is reunited with his wife after Benny finds and orders her online, Gnomeo and Juliet are married on a purple lawnmower, which symbolizes the new union of both gnome clans.James McAvoy as Gnomeo; a blue gnome counterpart to Romeo Montague.Emily Blunt as Juliet; a red gnome counterpart to Juliet Capulet.Michael Caine as Lord Redbrick, the leader of the red gnomes and Juliet's overprotective widower father; counterpart to Lord Capulet.Maggie Smith as Lady Bluebury, the leader of the blue gnomes and Gnomeo's widowed mother; counterpart to Lady Montague.Jason Statham as Tybalt; a red gnome counterpart to Tybalt.Ashley Jensen as Nanette, a plastic garden frog and Juliet's best friend; counterpart to Nurse.Matt Lucas as Benny, Gnomeo's impulsive and tall-hatted best friend; counterpart to Benvolio.Stephen Merchant as Paris, a nerdy red gnome who was arranged to marry Juliet; counterpart to Count Paris.Patrick Stewart as the statue of William Shakespeare.Ozzy Osbourne as Fawn, a garden deer and Tybalt's best friend; counterpart to Peter.Jim Cummings as Featherstone, a lonely plastic flamingo with a thick Spanish accent; counterpart to Friar Laurence.Hulk Hogan as Terrafirminator Announcer.Julie Walters as Ms. Montague, the elderly owner of the Blue garden.Richard Wilson as Mr. Capulet, the elderly owner of the Red garden.Kelly Asbury as Red Goon Gnomes; counterparts to Gregory, Sampson, Anthony, and Potpan.Shroom, a silent mushroom and Gnomeo’s friend/pet; counterpart to Romeo's servant Balthasar.The Bunnies, a group of small, cement bunnies that act as servants for Lady Bluebury and others in the Blue Garden; counterparts to Abram and other miscellaneous servants of the Montagues.Dolly Parton as Dolly Gnome, the lawnmower race announcer.Julia Braams as Stone Fish, a stone fish that attached to the Fishing Gnome. In the end, it is seen being dragged by Gnomeo and Juliet's purple lawnmower.James Daniel Wilson as Fishing Gnome, a red gnome.Tim Bentinck as Conjoined Gnome Left, a red gnome.Julio Bonet as Mankini Gnome, a red gnome.Neil McCaul as Conjoined Gnome Right, a red gnome.Maurissa Horwitz as Call Me Doll, Benny's newfound girlfriend.John Todd as Dancer.
There is no counterpart for Mercutio, as stated by James McAvoy in an interview with NBC, ”Gnomeo in this is a little bit of amalgamation between Romeo and Mercutio. We don’t have that Mercutio character in this. We don’t have that leader of the pack, which Romeo isn’t but Gnomeo is a little bit." Prince Escalus also doesn't have a counterpart.
The film was the original idea of Sprackling and Smith, who sold the spec script to Disney through Rocket Pictures. Disney studio chairman Dick Cook greenlit the film, under the Disney-owned Miramax Films. Miramax was later sold by Disney in 2010, but the latter studio retained the rights to the film. Disney then opted to release the film through its Touchstone Pictures banner, when Starz Animation decided to produce and animate the film. Disney Australian director Adam Elliot was approached and asked to direct the film, but he rejected the offer due the film's incompatibility with his style, as well as his lack of experience with CGI. Starz Animation Toronto (which also made 9) produced all of the animation for the film, including the stereoscopic version.
Ashbury got on board in 2006, and was attracted the movie in order to work with Elton John. Ashbury and Hamilton Shaw then rewrote the film " sort of from scratch," A particular challenge, according to Asbury was how to differentiate the ending between the original play and the movie in order to "keep daggers and poison and suicide out". Ashbury had free range of the casting and conducted the process only through listening to voices, not knowing which actor was auditioning until he felt they were right for the character. Prior to the casting of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, the roles of Gnomeo and Juliet were to be voiced by Ewan McGregor and Kate Winslet, respectively.
Gnomeo & Juliet: Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack album and was released by Buena Vista Records on February 8, 2011. It features music by Elton John (who was also the film's executive producer), Nelly Furtado, Kiki Dee, and selections from the score composed by Chris P. Bacon and James Newton Howard (who played keyboards for Elton John and arranged strings on many previous projects).
The duet of John and Lady Gaga for "Hello, Hello" was featured in the film, released on February 11, 2011, but the soundtrack version only features John. Additionally, on May 4, 2011 the duet was leaked online and available for download on most sharing websites.
- "Hello Hello" (Album Version) – Elton John
- "Crocodile Rock" – Nelly Furtado & Elton John
- "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" – Elton John
- "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" – Elton John & Kiki Dee
- "Love Builds a Garden" – Elton John
- "Your Song" – Elton John
- "Rocket Man" – Elton John
- "Tiny Dancer" – Elton John
- "Bennie and the Jets" – Elton John
- "Gnomeo & Juliet (Score)" – Chris P. Bacon and James Newton Howard
- "Dandelions (Score)" – Chris P. Bacon and James Newton Howard
- "Bennie and the Bunnies (Score)" – Chris P. Bacon and James Newton Howard
- "Terrafirminator (Score)" – Chris P. Bacon and James Newton Howard
- "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room" – Wally Boag, Thurl Ravenscroft, Fulton Burley & The Mellomen
Track 1-9: Original lyrics by Bernie Taupin, all music by Elton John & band.
Track 10: Written by James Newton Howard, contains music by Elton John.
Track 11 & 13: Written by James Newton Howard & Chris P. Bacon, contains music by Elton John.
Track 12: Written by James Newton Howard & Stuart Michael Thomas, contains music by Elton John.
Track 14: Written by Robert & Richard Sherman.
Elton John & band:Elton John: Piano, vocalsDavey Johnstone: Guitars, backing vocalsBob Birch: Bass, backing vocalsNigel Olsson: Drums, backing vocalsJohn Mahon: Percussion, backing vocalsJames Newton Howard: Keyboards
Gnomeo and Juliet's worldwide premiere was at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on January 23, 2011. The film was released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures under the Touchstone Pictures banner on February 11, 2011. The film was Touchstone's first animated film since 1993's The Nightmare Before Christmas and also Touchstone's first and, so far, only film to receive a G rating from the MPAA, despite some mild language. The film was distributed in the United Kingdom and Canada by Entertainment One Films. Elton John and director Asbury presented 10 minutes of the film at the Cannes Film Festival.
Gnomeo & Juliet was released by Touchstone Home Entertainment on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD on May 24, 2011. The film was produced as three different packages: a 1-disc DVD, a 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and a 3-disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD combo pack. The 3-disc package also includes access to a digital download of the film. Both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the release include the music video for Elton John and Nelly Furtado's version of John's "Crocodile Rock", as well as the extras "Elton Builds a Garden" and "Frog Talk" with Ashley Jensen. In addition, the Blu-ray version also has several deleted and alternate scenes, as well as a feature with Ozzy Osbourne called "The Fawn of Darkness".
Gnomeo & Juliet received generally mixed reviews. Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 55% of professional critics gave positive reviews based on 117 reviews with an average rating of 5.6/10. Its consensus states "While it has moments of inspiration, Gnomeo & Juliet is often too self-referential for its own good". Another review aggregator, Metacritic, gave the film a 53 rating based on 28 reviews on its review scale.
Gnomeo and Juliet earned about $100 million in North America and $94 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $194 million. Gnomeo & Juliet was ultimately a sleeper hit for Disney, outperforming the much higher-budgeted (and eventual box office bomb) Mars Needs Moms the studio released a month following Gnomeo & Juliet. On its first weekend, the film had a worldwide opening of $30.7 million, finishing in second place behind Just Go with It ($35.8 million). However, on its second weekend —Presidents' Day weekend— it topped the worldwide box office (although not being in first place either in North America or overseas) with $29.8 million, ahead of Unknown which ranked second ($26.4 million).
It opened in 2,994 theaters in North America on Friday, February 11, 2011, grossing $6.2 million on its first day and ranking third behind Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Just Go with It. It then finished the weekend with $25.4 million in third place. However, it scored the largest opening weekend ever for an animated feature released during the winter period (both January and February). It also made the largest debut on record for a minor animated movie (i.e., one with little status, expectations and/or built-in audience), according to Box Office Mojo. With a $99.97 million total it became the highest-grossing animated feature among those released in winter, until it was surpassed by The Lego Movie in 2014.
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Malta, it topped the weekend box office by earning £2.9 million ($4.7 million) on its opening. In total it has grossed $25.3 million, making the UK the only market, except North America, where it grossed more than $10 million.
In March 2012, it was reported that a sequel titled Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes is in development at Rocket Pictures. Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil, two of the nine writers on the first film, are writing the script for the sequel. Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish are producing the film, and Elton John, an exec producer, is again composing new songs for the film. The film will feature Sherlock Gnomes, "the greatest ornamental detective" hired by the characters from the first film, who will try to solve the mystery of disappearing gnomes. In September 2012, it was reported that John Stevenson, the director of Kung Fu Panda, has been set to direct the sequel. In November 2015, it was announced that Johnny Depp would voice Sherlock Gnomes and that the film is scheduled for release on January 12, 2018. Paramount Animation and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will produce the film, with McAvoy and Blunt reprising their roles. On May 26, 2017, Paramount delayed the film's release date to March 23, 2018.