The film premiered on April 21, 2010 at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was theatrically released by Paramount Pictures1 on May 21, 2010 in the United States, in 3D and IMAX 3D formats. The film was the #1 film in the United States and Canada for three consecutive weeks and grossed a worldwide total of $752 million. Additionally, Shrek Forever After is DreamWorks Animation's second highest-grossing film at the foreign box office.
During the events of the first film, King Harold and Queen Lillian approach Rumpelstiltskin and ask for him to release Fiona from captivity. Rumpel agrees on the condition that the kingdom of Far Far Away becomes his. As Harold is about to sign the contract, they are notified of Fiona's rescue by Shrek, and tear up the contract. Angered, Rumpel wishes Shrek were never born.
In the present, Shrek has grown steadily tired of being a family man and celebrity among the local villagers, leading him to wish for when he felt like a "real ogre" again. When he takes his family to Far Far Away to celebrate his children's first birthday, a series of mishaps further injure his ego, causing him to lose his temper and walk out in anger.
Shrek encounters Rumpelstiltskin, who seizes his chance, having observed Shrek's angry outburst. He follows Shrek and arranges for Shrek to appear to save his life. He gives Shrek a day to live like a real ogre, in exchange for a day from his childhood that he would not remember being erased to "thank" him.
Shrek signs the contract and appears in an alternate reality where the events starting from Fiona's rescue are irrelevant. Now feared by villagers, he takes the opportunity to cause some lighthearted mischief until he finds "WANTED" posters for Fiona and his home deserted and desolate. He is kidnapped by witches and taken to Rumpel, now the King of Far Far Away, which has become derelict and run down.
Upon inquiry, Rumpel reveals that he took away the day Shrek was born. Therefore, Shrek never saved Fiona or met Donkey, and consequently Rumpel was able to get King Harold and Queen Lillian to sign their kingdom away, making them both disappear. When the day ends, Shrek will disappear as well. Shrek escapes Rumpel's castle with Donkey. Initially terrified of Shrek, Donkey decides to trust him after seeing Shrek cry over his erased history, something he had never seen an ogre do before. After Shrek explains the situation, Donkey helps him find a hidden exit clause: the contract can be nullified by "true love's kiss".
They soon encounter an army of ogres who are resisting Rumpel. The ogres are led by a still-cursed Fiona who, after escaping from the tower where she was held captive, keeps the retired and overweight Puss in Boots as a pet. Shrek does everything he can to gain Fiona's love, but she is too busy preparing an ambush on Rumpel. She is also bitterly cynical and disillusioned about the power of true love and throws herself into planning Rumpel's capture. While sparring with her, Fiona begins to like Shrek, but stops short of kissing him. Puss encourages him to continue pursuing Fiona.
During the ambush, the ogres are captured by the Pied Piper, though Shrek and Fiona escape with the intervention of Puss and Donkey. Shrek insists Fiona kiss him, saying it will fix everything; however, because in this altered timeline Fiona does not truly love him, the kiss does not work. When he hears that Rumpel is offering a wish to the one who brings him Shrek, Shrek turns himself in and uses the wish to free the other ogres, who storm the castle, battle the witches, and capture Rumpel.
As the sun rises, Shrek begins to fade from existence, but Fiona, having fallen in love with him, kisses Shrek just before he disappears, restoring Shrek to his world just before he lashed out at the party. Shrek embraces his friends and family with a newfound appreciation for everything he has.Mike Myers as Shrek
Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona
Eddie Murphy as Donkey
Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots
Julie Andrews as Queen Lillian
John Cleese as King Harold
Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin
Jon Hamm as Brogan the Ogre
Jane Lynch as Gretched the Ogre
Craig Robinson as Cookie the Ogre
Lake Bell as Patrol Witch, Wagon Witch #2
Kathy Griffin as Dancing Witch and Wagon Witch #1
Mary Kay Place as Guard Witch
Kristen Schaal as Pumpkin Witch, Palace Witch
Other charactersConrad Vernon as Gingerbread Man
Aron Warner as Wolf
Christopher Knights as Blind Mice
Cody Cameron as Pinocchio, Three Pigs
Chris Miller as Magic Mirror, Geppetto
Meredith Vieira as Broomsy Witch
Jeremy Steig as Pied Piper
Larry King as Doris the Ugly Stepsister
Regis Philbin as Mabel the Ugly Stepsister
Mike Mitchell as Witch Guard #2 and Butter Pants
Ryan Seacrest as Father of Butter Pants
Following the success of Shrek 2, a third and fourth Shrek film, along with plans for a fifth and final film, were announced in May 2004 by Jeffrey Katzenberg: "Shrek 3 and 4 are going to reveal other unanswered questions and, finally, in the last chapter, we will understand how Shrek came to be in that swamp, when we meet him in the first movie." In October 2006, DreamWorks Animation revealed that the fourth film would be released in 2010.
In October 2007, Katzenberg announced a title for the fourth film, Shrek Goes Fourth, explaining that "Shrek goes out into the world, forth!" In May 2009, however, DreamWorks Animation retitled the film to Shrek Forever After, indicating that it would be the last in the Shrek series. In November 2009, Bill Damaschke, head of creative production at DreamWorks Animation, confirmed with "All that was loved about Shrek in the first film is brought to the final film."
Tim Sullivan was hired to write the script in March 2005, but was later replaced by Darren Lemke and Josh Klausner. Klausner said about the script's evolution: "When I first came onto the project, it wasn't supposed to be the final chapter – there were originally going to be 5 Shrek movies. Then, about a year into the development, Jeffrey Katzenberg decided that the story that we'd come up with was the right way for Shrek's journey to end, which was incredibly flattering." In May 2007, shortly before the release of the third film, it was announced Mike Mitchell would be on board to direct the new installment. Much of the film was written and recorded in New York City.
Similar to most of the other Shrek films, the film's original score was composed by British composer Harry Gregson-Williams.
Shrek Forever After premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2010. It was publicly released on May 20, 2010, in Russia, while the American release followed the next day. The film was also released in IMAX 3D format.
In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation from Paramount Pictures.
Shrek Forever After was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 7, 2010. As of April 24, 2011, the movie has made $75 million in DVD and Blu-ray sales. The film is also included in Shrek: The Whole Story, a box set released on the same day that included all four Shrek movies and additional bonus content.
Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 58% based on 189 reviews; the average rating is 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "While not without its moments, Shrek Forever After too often feels like a rote rehashing of the franchise's earlier entries." Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, gave the film a score of 58 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Pete Hammond of Boxoffice gave the film 4.5 stars out of 5, writing "Hilarious and heartfelt from start to finish, this is the best Shrek of them all, and that's no fairy tale. Borrowing liberally from Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, this edition blends big laughs and emotion to explore what Far Far Away might have been like if Shrek never existed." James Berardinelli of Reelviews awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote "Even though Shrek Forever After is obligatory and unnecessary, it's better than Shrek the Third and it's likely that most who attend as a way of saying goodbye to the Jolly Green Ogre will not find themselves wishing they had sought out a more profitable way of spending 90-odd minutes."
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B−" grade, saying "Everyone involved fulfills his or her job requirements adequately. But the magic is gone and Shrek Forever After is no longer an ogre phenomenon to reckon with." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote "It's a fun ride. What's missing is the excitement of a new interpretation." Mary Pols of Time concluded her review with "Can an ogre jump a shark? I think so." Giving the film 1 star out of 4, Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote "After the frantic spurt of fairy-tale allusions and jokes in the first three Shreks, this one inches along with a few mostly pointless action scenes and the occasional mild pun."
Shrek Forever After earned $238.7 million in North America, and $513.9 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $752.6 million. This made it the 52nd highest-grossing film, the 12th highest-grossing animated film, the fifth highest-grossing of 2010, the second highest-grossing animated film of 2010 (behind Toy Story 3) and the second lowest-grossing film of the Shrek series.
Shrek Forever After had the widest release for an animated film (4,359 theaters - later expanded to 4,389) in North America. On its opening day (May 21, 2010), it ranked No.1, grossing $20.8 million, which was lower than the opening days of the last two Shrek films. The film then opened in three days with $70.8 million, lower than box office analysts predictions of an opening of $105 million and also lower than the two previous films of the franchise. Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing for DreamWorks Animation, said they were "happy with the film's opening" since it debuted at #1 and also had the fourth best opening for an animated film, at the time, in the United States and Canada. Shrek Forever After was No.1 for three consecutive weekends.
In North America, it was the eighth highest-grossing film of 2010, the fourth highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation film, 2010's third highest-grossing animated film, trailing Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me and the lowest-grossing Shrek film. Executives at DreamWorks Animation were impressed because the film earned $238.7 million in North America, although it was the fourth film in the series, seemingly being outgrown by its fans.
Having made $513.9 million in other continents, it is the highest-grossing Shrek film, DreamWorks Animation's second biggest hit (behind Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted) and the seventh highest-grossing animated film. It topped the weekend box office once on July 16–18, 2010 with $46.3 million. In Russia and the CIS, its second highest-grossing country, it had a $19.7 million opening weekend which was a record among animated films. It earned $51.4 million in total. Third in total earnings came the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta, where it opened with £8.96 million ($13.6 million) and finished its box office run with £31.1 million ($51.1 million).
Shrek Forever After is an action-adventure video game based on the movie of the same name. It was released by Activision on May 18, 2010.
Following the success of Shrek 2 in May 2004, Jeffrey Katzenberg revealed that the Shrek story had been outlined into five films almost from the beginning. "Before the first one was finished we talked about what the whole story of Shrek is, and each of the chapters answers questions about the first movie and gives us an insight," said Katzenberg, "Shrek 3 and 4 are going to reveal other unanswered questions and, finally, in the last chapter, we will understand how Shrek came to be in that swamp, when we meet him in the first movie." After the release of Shrek the Third in May 2007, Katzenberg announced that the fifth film would be released in 2013.
In May 2009, DreamWorks Animation (DWA) announced that the fourth film's title would be Shrek Forever After, indicating that it would be the last in the Shrek series. Later that year, that was confirmed by Bill Damaschke, head of creative production at DWA, with him saying: "All that was loved about Shrek in the first film is brought to the final film."
Josh Klausner, one of the writers of Shrek Forever After, explained in 2010 the script's evolution: "When I first came onto the project, it wasn't supposed to be the final chapter — there were originally going to be 5 Shrek movies. Then, about a year into the development, Jeffrey Katzenberg decided that the story that we'd come up with was the right way for Shrek's journey to end..."
In February 2014, in an interview with Fox Business Network, Katzenberg hinted that the fifth film still may be made. "We like to let them have a little bit of time to rest," he said of the characters. "But I think you can be confident that we'll have another chapter in the Shrek series. We're not finished, and more importantly, neither is he."
On June 15, 2016, after NBCUniversal purchased DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion; Steve Burke, who is the NBCUniversal chief, discussed plans to revive the franchise, as well as other DreamWorks films. In July 2016, The Hollywood Reporter cited sources saying that a fifth film is planned for a 2019 release. In September 2016, Eddie Murphy confirmed that the film is expected to be released in 2019 or 2020, and that the script had been completed. In October 2016, Mike Mitchell stated that Austin Powers screenwriter Michael McCullers had written the script based on his own original idea.
Puss in Boots is a computer-animated feature film that was released on October 28, 2011. The movie is based on and follows the character of the same name on his adventures with Kitty Softpaws and mastermind Humpty Dumpty before his first appearance in Shrek 2.