Kennedy Miller Mitchell and Dr. D Studios from Sydney, Australia, produced the film, which premiered in North American theaters on November 18, 2011 in Digital 3D and IMAX 3D. The film was released with a Looney Tunes short called I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat starring Sylvester Cat and Tweety Bird. The film received mixed reviews and lost $40 million, resulting in the immediate closure of Miller's Dr. D Studios.
Erik, son of the penguins Mumble and Gloria, is unable to dance like the other penguins. Erik and his two best friends, Bodicea and Atticus, follow Ramon to Adélie-Land and find that Adélie-Land has been ruled by a God-like "penguin" named Sven. Sven is actually a puffin in Adélie-Land who survived the loss of his native fishing grounds due to his "miraculous" ability to fly. Erik instantly becomes enamored with Sven, who takes a liking to him. Sven and Lovelace tell the others that they were saved by humans. The two eventually flee (under Sven's mistaken assumption that the humans were going to eat them) and end up on Antarctica, where Sven performs his first miracle by revealing moss to the local penguins. Sven uses his power of "Sven Think" to help Ramon find a mate. Ramon instantly falls in love with Carmen, another Adélie penguin who is uninterested. Mumble follows the chicks' footprints to Adélie-Land and orders them to return to Emperor-Land, but they refuse. Sven sends Erik back to Emperor-Land with Mumble.
Meanwhile, a couple of krill are in the midst of a swarm. Will is an adventurous and existentialist krill determined to discover what lies beyond the swarm. His friend, Bill, reluctantly follows him to ensure his safety. Once separated from the swarm, Will and Bill realize that krill are at the bottom of the food chain, created to be eaten. Inspired, Will ventures out to evolve and "move up the food chain" by eating a real creature instead of being eaten.
Mumble tells Erik that he is unique to the world and that he will someday find his calling, but Erik is oblivious. While trying to cross a perilous ice bridge, the penguins encounter Elephant Seal Bryan the Beach Master and his two young sons, who refuse to let the penguins pass. Suddenly the ice gives away and Bryan is trapped in a deep crevice below the ice. Mumble sets out to free Bryan by luring a leopard seal to chase him down. Seeking acceptance from Erik, Mumble is devastated to learn Erik attributed the feat of courage to Sven Think. Bryan returns to the southern elephant seal beach.
When the penguins return to Emperor-Land they discover that a large iceberg has trapped the emperor penguin population below large walls of ice. Bo ventures out to Adélie-Land to recruit the help of Ramon, the Amigos and the Adélie penguins to bring fish to the doomed Emperor penguins. Meanwhile, Mumble, Erik and Atticus deliver meager supplies of fish to the trapped penguins. Erik attempts to deliver a fish to Gloria by flying and nearly tossing himself over the edge of the iceberg. Mumble scolds Erik for his beliefs, saying that no penguin can fly and that none of the emperor penguins will be able to escape. Once Erik realizes Emperor-Land is destined to die, he begins to break down. Gloria sends Mumble off to hunt for fish, calming Erik and the rest of the hysterical Emperor-Land. In the process, Bill becomes inspired to create another swarm of krill but Will refuses, preferring to adhere to his new predator lifestyle.
The next morning, a large flock of skua attack the trapped Emperor-Land. Noah the Elder encourages the penguins to stand up to the birds through perseverance and unity. When all hope seems lost, Bo returns with the entire Adélie-Land, led by Sven, to aid the trapped emperor penguins. Sven orchestrates a cooperative effort to feed the trapped emperor penguins through hunting and bringing back a flow of fish from the sea. Meanwhile, Will becomes increasingly agitated with Bill's behavior and leaves him into the Adélie feeding swarm, to join "fellow predators". In the process he is attached to a fish carried by Sven and down into the trapped Emperor-Land.
The humans that saved Sven and Lovelace come to Antarctica again to help the penguins find a way out. However, a blizzard approaches and causes the humans to flee and not return. Sven reports that the ocean has frozen over significantly and there is no chance of the humans returning or the Adélie penguins transporting food over such a distance. Erik urges Sven to teach the penguins how to fly, but Sven reveals that he is not a penguin but a puffin. He admits that after the loss of Svenland, he was lonely and grew to love the penguins who accepted him as a family. Mumble, after watching snow fall into a crevice between chunks of iceberg, begins to tap-dance on the ice and lead the Adélie penguins in a dance to force snow between the ice and weaken it. The plan works until several chunks break loose, sending Bo, Atticus, and a portion of the Adélies as well as several chinstrap, little blue and Magellanic penguins into the doomed crevice. Erik and Lovelace tumble towards the edge, and Mumble grabs the thread from Lovelace's vest. The thread snaps and Lovelace falls on Sven. Mumble and the Amigos pull on the thread that Erik is holding onto and pull him up but Mumble injures his foot, unable to dance and lead the Adélies. Ramon realizes Carmen is trapped below and, risking his own life, jumps off the iceberg to be with her and professes their love to each other. Sven becomes aware of the dancing and proves himself to be a worthy dancer despite public outcry against him. He leads the remaining Adélies in dance while Erik and Mumble venture off to the elephant seal beach.
Meanwhile, Will, weary from the dangers he experienced as a predator on the surface, ventures back into the sea to find Bill, but not before experiencing the penguin's dancing. He is suddenly forced down a crack in the ice and into the sea beneath Emperor-Land. Reuniting with Bill and his swarm, the krill enter the inaccessible ice below Emperor-Land.
Mumble and Erik arrive at Elephant Seal Beach where Bryan is in the middle of a fight of dominance between another large male. Mumble pleads to the elephant seals to help free the emperor penguins. Hesitant to return a favor at such a pivotal time of the year, Bryan declines. Using his singing abilities, Erik commends Mumble for his bravery and lectures Bryan for his lack of kindness. The elephant seals travel en-masse to Emperor-Land. The penguins and the seals begin slamming the ice to the beat of Queen's song Under Pressure, joined by Will, Bill and their krill swarm below the ice. Finally, the iceberg crumbles enough for the emperor penguins to climb out of the crevice and reunite with their families.Elijah Wood as Mumble, husband of Gloria and father of Erik
Robin Williams as Ramon and Lovelace, This was Williams' last animated feature before his death in 2014
Hank Azaria as The Mighty Sven, an Atlantic puffin
Pink as Gloria, wife of Mumble and mother of Erik (replacing Brittany Murphy)
Brad Pitt as Will the Krill
Matt Damon as Bill the Krill
Sofía Vergara as Carmen, Ramon's love interest
Ava Acres as Erik, only son of Gloria and Mumble and Memphis and Norma Jean's grandson. (singing by E.G. Daily)
Meibh Campbell as Bodicea "Bo", daughter of Miss Viola, and Erik's best friend. (singing by E.G. Daily)
Benjamin "Lil' P-Nut" Flores Jr. as Atticus, son of Seymour, and Erik's best friend.
Richard Carter as Bryan the Beach Master
Magda Szubanski as Miss Viola (Bo's mother)
Hugo Weaving as Noah the Elder
Common as Seymour (Atticus's father) (replacing Fat Joe)
Anthony LaPaglia as Alpha Skua
Jai Sloper and Oscar Beard as Weaner Pups
Carlos Alazraqui as Nestor
Johnny A. Sanchez as Lombardo
Lombardo Boyar as Raul
Jeffrey Garcia as Rinaldo
Danny Mann as Brokebeak
Lee Perry as Francesco, Wayne the Challenger, Eggbert and Leopard seal
Live action cast featured Septimus Caton as the guitarist and Ivan Vunich as the beanie man.
Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Magda Szubanski and Hugo Weaving reprised their previous performances as Mumble, Ramón, Lovelace, Ms. Viola and Noah. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman make a brief cameo as Norma Jean and Memphis. Also returning for the film are Carlos Alazraqui, Johnny A. Sanchez, Lombardo Boyar and Jeffrey Garcia as Nestor, Lombardo, Raul, and Rinaldo. No other actors repeated their earlier performances. Miriam Margolyes didn't come back for the sequel as Mrs Astrakhan before she was written out of the sequel. Fat Joe was replaced by Common as Seymour.
Brittany Murphy, who originally voiced Mumble's love interest Gloria, was set to reprise her role and scheduled to begin recording some time in 2010, but died from pneumonia and anemia on December 20, 2009. Steve Irwin, who voiced Trev the elephant seal and an albatross, died of a stingray injury on September 4, 2006. Pink replaced Murphy's roles (Pink had already contributed a song "Tell Me Something Good" to the soundtrack of the first film). Brad Pitt and Matt Damon voiced the tiny krill, Will and Bill. Hank Azaria also signed on to voice The Mighty Sven. E.G. Daily, who played young Mumble in the previous film, played the vocals for Mumble's choreophobic son Erik and the daughter of Miss Viola, Boadicea, as well as additional voices. Sofía Vergara appears in the film as a new character. There is a live action scene in the movie as in the first Happy Feet. Mitchell Hicks signed up as the movie's choreographer.
The DVD, Blu-ray, and 3D Blu-ray release of Happy Feet Two were released on March 13, 2012 from Warner Home Video.
The film grossed $64,006,466 in the United States along with $86,000,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $150,403,134. Produced on a budget of $135 million, the film made a $40 million loss.
On its opening weekend, Happy Feet Two earned $21,237,068 while playing on 3,606 screens. This was barely half of the $41,533,432 that the first Happy Feet made on its opening weekend in November 2006. Approximately 50% of Happy Feet Two's box-office take came from the 2,825 screens that showed it in 3D. Thus, when adjusted for ticket price inflation, Happy Feet Two achieved less than 45% of the attendance figures of its predecessor. Major box-office prediction websites were almost unanimously predicting an opening weekend of $35 million - $45 million, so Happy Feet Two's box-office performance has thus far been underwhelming. Among 2011's animated films, Happy Feet Two's opening weekend ranks 8th. Kurt Orzeck of the Vancouver Sun has reported that "due to the poor performance of Happy Feet Two, 600 of the 700 employees at the Sydney-based Dr. D. Studios, the digital production studio behind the animated movie, have reportedly received their walking papers."
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 46% of critics gave positive reviews, based on 111 reviews, with a general consensus being that "the animation is as eye-popping as ever, but Happy Feet Two's narrative is too noisily incoherent to recapture the Oscar-winning charm of its predecessor." Happy Feet Two currently holds a Metascore of 50 out of 100 on Metacritic. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Richard Corliss of Time gave the film a positive review and said that Miller is "not content to duplicate the pleasures of his first penguin film; he dares to go bigger, deeper, higher — happier." However, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two-and-a-half stars (out of four) stating that "The animation is bright and attractive, the music gives the characters something to do, but the movie has too much dialogue in the areas of philosophy and analysis." Similarly, British newspaper The Telegraph named Happy Feet Two one of the ten worst films of 2011, saying "Happy Feet Two is an appalling 3D animated sequel about a colony of all‑singin’, all-dancin’, all-infuriatin’ penguins."
Happy Feet Two: The Video Game was developed by KMM Games for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. WayForward Technologies developed the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS versions.
The soundtrack album for the film was released by WaterTower Music on CD on November 21, 2011 and on iTunes on November 15, 2011. Unlike the previous film's two album releases—one for its songs and one for its score—both the songs and John Powell's score are included on this album. The songs "Happy Feet Two Opening Medley," "Bridge of Light," and "Under Pressure/Rhythm Nation" are led by Pink, who lends her vocals to the character Gloria, taking the place of Brittany Murphy from the first film.
- "Happy Feet Two Opening Medley" – P!nk, Common, Lil' P-Nut, & the Happy Feet Two Chorus
- "The Mighty Sven" – Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, and the Happy Feet Two Chorus
- "Bridge of Light" – Pink, featuring the Happy Feet Two Chorus
- "Papa Oom Mow Mow" – Happy Feet Two Chorus
- "Dragostea Din Tei" – Hank Azaria & the Happy Feet Two Chorus
- "Erik's Opera" – E. G. Daily and Omar Crook (based on the Puccini aria "E lucevan le stelle")
- "Rawhide" – Elephant Seal Chorus
- "Under Pressure/Rhythm Nation" – P!nk, & the Happy Feet Two Chorus (the film version also features Lil' P-Nut, Common, E.G Daily, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon; that version is only heard in the film) (written by Queen & David Bowie, Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis)
- "Tightrope (Ice Cold Mix) [featuring Lil' P-Nut & the Happy Feet Two Chorus]" – Janelle Monáe
- "In the Hole" – John Powell
- "Ramon and the Krill" – John Powell
- "Lovelace Preshow (feat. Judith Hill)" – John Powell
- "Searching for the Kids" – John Powell
- "The Doomberg Lands" – John Powell
- "I Don't Back Up....." – John Powell
- "Trapped in Emperor Land" – John Powell
- "Skua Attack/Adelie Rescue" – John Powell
- "Dinner a la Sven" – John Powell
- "We Are the Champions" – John Powell (written by Freddie Mercury)
- "Snow Stops Play (feat. Steven Pence)" – John Powell
- "No Fly Zone" – John Powell
- "Krill Joy" – John Powell
- "Tappin' to Freedom" – John Powell
The deluxe edition of the album contains an addition of 5 songs performed by Ozomatli; these songs and more can also be found on the soundtrack for the video game, which was released on iTunes on November 8, 2011.
In a 2011 interview director George Miller was asked if he had any plans for Happy Feet Three.
"If you put a gun to my head and said, 'You have to come up with a story for Happy Feet 3,' I’d say shoot me. I would have no idea. I really would have no idea. The stories creep up on you. You just have to allow the stories to come, and then they get in like little ear worms in your head and they won’t go away. If that happens and we’ve got the energy, we’ll do a third one. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. That’s the only way you can do it. It has to be authentic. I really wanted to make this film better than the first one. Otherwise, at my age, what’s the point? You really want to make it better. If something comes up that’s really exciting and I can convey that enthusiasm to other people, then there would be a third one."