The film premiered in Belgium on March 1, 2006. It was eventually released in 70 countries, with the last release being in China, on June 9, 2006. The Meltdown received mixed critical reaction but was a box office success by earning over $660 million. Three more sequels were released — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2009, Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012 and Ice Age: Collision Course in 2016.
In the opening scene, Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel climbs a glacier to bury his acorn, but accidentally opens a hole in it, causing water to spurt out. The world of ice is slowly melting. The creatures of the Ice Age are all shown enjoying themselves on slides and pools made by the melting ice; among them the three protagonists of the first film: Manny, Sid, and Diego. Sid opens a small day camp, where none of the younger creatures take him seriously, nor do Manny and Diego, which leaves Sid seeking a daring deed. Fast Tony, a local con artist is claiming that the earth will flood and that the bark and reeds which he sells are needed to stay alive. Manny dismisses the idea, but is distracted when he sees that Sid will try to high dive from a giant waterfall known as "the Eviscerator"; as Manny goes with Diego to the top of the Eviscerator to save Sid from his act of daredevilry, suddenly the ice under Diego's feet begins breaking, causing him to bolt in fear, this also made Sid figure out that Diego is afraid of the water. The Herd figure that the pleasant weather has caused the ice shelves to melt, and it is kept from destroying the valley only by the glaciers, which have formed a dam.
A lone vulture warns the animals that a giant tree can act as a boat and save them if they make it to the end of the valley within three days time, and all soon set out to find it. As the animals begin their journey, Sid sings three songs to tease Manny about Mammoths being "extinct". During the evacuation, a glacier which contains two sea reptiles from the Mesozoic era, Cretaceous and Maelstrom, breaks off.
When Manny briefly is separated from them, Diego and Sid encounter two cheeky opossums named Crash and Eddie who drive them nuts by playing Whac-A-Mole with them. Manny is still worried about being the last mammoth alive and his family, who had been killed by humans, but is surprised when he encounters Ellie, a female mammoth who believes she is an opossum and Crash and Eddie's adoptive sister. Sid invites her to tag along with the group to escape the flood, and she brings her brothers. After a dangerous encounter with Cretaceous and Maelstrom while crossing a pond, Sid prompts Diego to encourage him to admit and face his fears - Diego insists that "fear is for prey", so Sid points out that Diego is behaving as if he is the water's prey. They discover an area which Ellie recalls as the place where she was adopted. She finally realizes she is a mammoth and also expresses her suspicions about how different she was from other opossums. Despite this bonding moment with Manny, she distances herself from him when he suggests "saving their species". Ellie and Manny ultimately make up when they must co-operate to save the group when the ground cracks under their feet. Sid is kidnapped by a tribe of mini-sloths who believe Sid to be a god. Sid lights a fire for them, and believes that he has finally found respect, but they plan to sacrifice him by tossing him into a volcano. Sid narrowly escapes. The next morning, Sid tells the others his experience but none are convinced. They find a field of hot geysers, which separate Manny, Sid, and Diego from Ellie and her brothers when they argue about which way to go through it.
When the flood comes, Manny saves Ellie from drowning as she is caught in a cave (due to falling rocks), while Diego overcomes his fear of water to save Sid, Crash and Eddie from drowning. Cretaceous and Maelstrom arrive, but due to Manny's quick thinking, they are finished off by a rock which falls on them, killing them both. The other animals are at the mercy of the water currents. Meanwhile, Scrat climbs up the glacier and at the top sticks the acorn he has into the ice. This forms a crack in the glacier, which widens into a fissure, diverting the flood and saving the animals. Scrat is then washed away. In the final scene, a herd of mammoths shows up, but Manny and Ellie decide to remain together anyway, taking Sid, Diego, and the opossum brothers along. Sid encounters the mini-sloths again - they believe Sid stopped the flood and invite him to be their leader. Diego, surprised to see the mini-sloths are real, convinces Sid to stay with the others, reluctantly admitting that Sid is a vital part of their 'herd'.
The epilogue shows Scrat having a near death experience after falling into the fissure. He enters a heaven full of acorns. Suddenly, he finds himself torn away. He unhappily wakes up, having been resuscitated by Sid, who he proceeds to viciously attack.Ray Romano as Manny, the woolly mammoth.
John Leguizamo as Sid, the giant ground sloth.
Denis Leary as Diego, the Smilodon.
Chris Wedge as Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel.
Queen Latifah as Ellie, the woolly mammoth, who is under the delusion that she is a possum.
Seann William Scott and Josh Peck as Crash and Eddie, the opossums, respectively.
Will Arnett as Lone Gunslinger Vulture
Jay Leno as Fast Tony, the giant armadillo.
Tom Fahn as Stu, the Glyptodon.
Alex Sullivan as James, the aardvark.
Alan Tudyk as Cholly, the chalicothere.
Clea Lewis as Female Mini Sloth / Dung Beetle Mom.
Debi Derryberry as Aardvark Mom.
Zack Shada as Additional Voices.
Ariel Winter as Additional Voices.
After the release of Ice Age in March 2002, executive producer Chris Meledandri commented on the potential Ice Age sequel: "The success of Ice Age is something that gives us additional momentum. It's too early to say, but it's certainly something we'll explore." By June 2002, Blue Sky Studios was already working on the sequel. In 2003, Lori Forte, the producer of the first film, signed a multi-year deal with Fox Feature Films to develop and produce animated films, including a potential Ice Age sequel. During an interview with Denis Leary in July 2003, he said that he had expressed hope to reprise his role as Diego in the sequel: "I think there's a story – the people at Fox are working on one right now. I think they're talking about going back into the studios something around late Fall." In that same year, 2006 was reported as the planned release year, and by August 2004, its final release date, March 31, 2006, had been set.
Initially developed under the working title of Ice Age 2, it was renamed by June 2005 to Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, but for the film's final release in March 2006, the creators decided to remove the number 2, calling it Ice Age: The Meltdown. However, in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, and Australia, its title is promoted as Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Also, most of the sponsors of the film had the 2 in their packaging after the name change (they however did edit the 2 out of their TV ads).
Carlos Saldanha, the director of the film, strove to make the characters eyes appear alive and not mechanical. “You want the facial expressions to work. I wanted it to be so that if you looked into their eyes, you would know what they were thinking.” in his own words. The characters, despite being from the last movie, were remodeled for the sequel.As an additional marketing ploy a special "anti-cell" spot was created with Sid complaining to the audience about a ringing cellular phone. The same was done for Brother Bear, I, Robot, Kung Fu Panda, and Robots.
On Family Guy's episode "Sibling Rivalry", Scrat is shown trying to take three nuts out of the side of a glacier; Peter shows up and tries to stop him, admonishing the squirrel for stealing, which drives Scrat to subsequently attack Peter. Apart from Peter, the scene was rendered in 3D (Family Guy is normally drawn in 2D), and Scrat was voiced by Chris Wedge who voices him in the films. The episode originally aired the week before the film opened. Fox aired promotions for the film throughout the evening. During the same evening of this cameo, Sid was hosting the entire FOX line-up, showing up in intermittent times between commercials.
Re-edited scenes of Ice Age: The Meltdown were shown in Airhead candy commercials on several kids' channels and programs, such as the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, ABC Kids on ABC, and more. It shows, in part, that after Scrat defeats a school of piranha, he proudly displays an Airhead packet (replaced by an acorn in the actual film), when suddenly an eagle comes over and swipes it from him.
One of the posters for the film was a parody of an iPod advertisement, with "iAge" replacing "iPod" and an acorn replacing an iPod.
The score is by John Powell; the soundtrack also features the song "Food Glorious Food" from the musical and film Oliver!. Powell composed brand new music for the film that replaced the theme songs from the previous film. Aram Khachaturian's Adagio from Spartacus is featured during Scrat's Heavenly vision.
Ice Age: The Meltdown was composed by John Powell and was released on March 28, 2006 by Varèse Sarabande Records.
Ice Age: The Meltdown had its world premiere on March 19, 2006, at the Mann's Grauman Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California. The film was re-released in 3D on October 13, 2014 in China only.
The film exceeded expectations by opening with an $68,033,544 in its first weekend. This was the second biggest opening for a non-summer, non-holiday release, after the $83,848,082 of The Passion of the Christ. But the record for highest grossing weekend for March only lasted a year, due to the $70,885,301 weekend of 300. The film grossed a total of $195,330,621 at United States and Canadian box offices, making it the first film in 2006 to pass the $100 million mark. The film has grossed $660,940,780 worldwide and it is the 66th highest-grossing film of all time. Ice Age: The Meltdown was the highest grossing animated film worldwide of 2006, but lost to Cars for being the highest grossing animated film in North America.
Ice Age: The Meltdown received mixed reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a "rotten" rating, with 57% of reviews positive. The consensus statement reads: "Despite its impressive animation and the hilarious antics of the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown comes up short on the storytelling front." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, calculated a score of 58, placing it at the high end of the site's "mixed or average reviews" category. Roger Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four, stating "the first Ice Age movie more or less exhausted these characters and their world, and the meltdown doesn't add much."
CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave The Meltdown an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Ice Age: The Meltdown was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD were released in the North America on November 21, 2006 according to the official web store. They were released in the UK on October 23, 2006, and both include a new Scrat short, No Time for Nuts.
A 2006 video and computer game based on the film was developed and published by Vivendi Games, and the Wii version was released shortly after the launch of the system. It was Fox Interactive's last title.The third Ice Age film, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was released on July 1, 2009. It was again directed by Carlos Saldanha, and it tells a story of the protagonists discovering a tropical world inhabited by dinosaurs.
The fourth film, Ice Age: Continental Drift, was released in 3-D on July 13, 2012. It was directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier — the first time without Carlos Saldanha. Scrat's never-ending pursuit of acorns has world-changing consequences, separating Manny, Sid and Diego from the rest, forcing them to stand up to a pirate gang.
The fifth film, Ice Age: Collision Course, was released in 3D on July 22, 2016.