A Jack Russell Terrier named Max lives with his owner Katie in a Manhattan apartment. While she is at work during the day, he hangs out with other pets in the building: tabby cat Chloe, pug Mel, dachshund Buddy, and budgerigar Sweet Pea. One day, Katie adopts Duke, a large mongrel from the pound, leaving Max jealous because of her divided focus on Duke. Enraged by Max's attitude towards him, Duke tries to abandon Max in an alley, but they are both attacked by cats led by Sphynx cat Ozone who removed both dogs' collars and leave them to be caught by Animal Control. Duke fears that he will be put down if he goes back to the pound. To her desperation, Gidget, a white Pomeranian actually discovers that Max is missing.
Meanwhile, he and Duke are rescued by a white rabbit named Snowball, the leader of "The Flushed Pets" – a gang of sewer-dwelling animals who hate humans because their owners mistreated them. After Max and Duke pretend to despise humans as much as they do by saying they killed their owners, the Flushed Pets invite them to join. Before they can prove their loyalty by allowing a one-fanged viper to bite them, Snowball learns from the cats that Max and Duke are domesticated. The two dogs escape the sewers and board a ferry to Brooklyn, inadvertently killing the viper in the process; Snowball vows to kill them and leads the Flushed Pets after them.
Meanwhile, Gidget recruits a red-tailed hawk named Tiberius to find him, but mistakenly returns carrying Ozone, whom Gidget coerces into telling what he knows about the dogs. They then enlisted Mel, Buddy, Chloe, guinea pig Norman and Sweet Pea. On the way, they meet Pops, an old Basset Hound, who helps Gidget and the pets find Max. Meanwhile, Max and Duke raid a sausage factory for food. Gidget and co. encounter Snowball, who vows to kill them as well, and Norman is captured as the rest of Gidget's team flees.
Meanwhile, Duke tells Max about his previous owner, Fred, an elderly man who adopted him as a puppy and loved spending time with him. One day, Duke got lost while chasing a butterfly and was caught by Animal Control, but Fred never came to claim him. Max convinces him to visit Fred's house in a nearby neighborhood, confident Fred will still love him and take him back. When they arrive at Fred's house, they learn from the resident cat Reginald that Fred has died. Heartbroken, Duke accuses Max of attempting to get rid of him and barks at the new homeowners who had just returned to the house, who call Animal Control. The handlers catch Max, but Duke interferes long enough for Max to escape and ends up being captured instead.
While trying to rescue Duke as he follows the Animal Control van, Max is attacked by Snowball who tries to kill him. However, when his gang is captured, Snowball realizes that he and Max must work together to rescue them. They drive a city bus into the van on the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping traffic. The Flushed Pets encircle Max, unaware of his partnership with Snowball, but Gidget and her team save him. When Gidget is using her kung-fu fighting skills, Max starts to fall in love with her. The van gets stuck in scaffolding and the Flushed Pets escape. Once Max got the keys to Duke's cage, the van plummets into the East River with him inside. Max is unable to free Duke, so Snowball jumps into the river to retrieve the keys, allowing them to escape the sinking van. Once out of the river, Snowball realizes how good being heroic feels.
The entire group returns to the apartment block by pig-driven taxi. Max expresses his love for Gidget, who returns his affection. Snowball and the Flushed Pets then come up with a new plan to annihilate all humans, but a little girl named Molly arrives to adopt Snowball and the remaining Flushed Pets return to the sewers. At first, Snowball resists, but gives in and lets himself become a domesticated pet. The domesticated pets return to their homes and embrace their owners, and Max and Duke finally reunite with Katie, sparking a true friendship.
In a mid-credits scene, Buddy and Mel show up in costume at a party in poodle Leonard's apartment. Leonard's owner returns and Tattoo crashes to the floor on the chandelier.Louis C.K. as Max, a Jack Russell Terrier.
Eric Stonestreet as Duke, a large, brown, shaggy mongrel.
Kevin Hart as Snowball, a white rabbit.
Jenny Slate as Gidget, a white Pomeranian and Max's love interest.
Ellie Kemper as Katie, Max and Duke's friendly owner.
Lake Bell as Chloe, an obese and apathetic grey tabby cat who is one of Max's friends.
Dana Carvey as Pops, an elderly Basset Hound, who is paralyzed in his back legs.
Hannibal Buress as Buddy, a laid-back dachshund and one of Max's friends.
Bobby Moynihan as Mel, an hyperactive pug and one of Max's friends.
Steve Coogan as Ozone, a Cockney-accented Sphynx cat.
Steve Coogan also voices Reginald, a malevolent Himalayan cat.
Albert Brooks as Tiberius, a curmudgeonly red-tailed hawk.
Chris Renaud as Norman, a guinea pig who keeps getting lost trying to find his apartment.
Michael Beattie as Tattoo, a slow-witted tattooed pig who is one of the Flushed Pets.
Sandra Echeverría as Maria, a character from the La Pasión de la Pasión telenovela that Gidget watches.
Jaime Camil as Fernando, a character from the La Pasión de la Pasión telenovela that Gidget watches.
Kiely Renaud as Molly, a little girl who adopts Snowball.
In January 2014, it was announced that Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart had joined the cast of the film, with Chris Renaud set to direct from a screenplay written by Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, while Illumination Entertainment would produce, and Universal Pictures would distribute the film and was originally titled Max. In June 2014, Albert Brooks, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell and Ellie Kemper joined the cast. The animation was created entirely in France by Illumination MacGuff.
Music and soundtrack
The original score for the film was composed by Alexandre Desplat. The soundtrack was released on July 1, 2016 by Back Lot Music.Track listing
All music composed by Alexandre Desplat, except "We Go Together" by The Sausage Factory Singers.
The film was originally scheduled to be released on February 12, 2016, but was pushed back to July 8, 2016. It was released in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D using DMR. The Secret Life of Pets premiered at the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 16, 2016, and was screened at VidCon. The film is accompanied by a Despicable Me short film entitled Mower Minions.
The Secret Life of Pets was released on Digital HD on November 22, 2016, and on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and DVD on December 6, 2016. In addition to the short film Mower Minions, which was released theatrically with the feature film, the releases also include two short films: Norman Television and Weenie.
The Secret Life of Pets grossed $368.4 million in Canada and the U.S., and $507.1 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $875.5 million, against a production budget of $75 million. Its internationally takings helped push Universal Pictures [International] past $1 billion for the tenth consecutive year, and aided Illumination Entertainment to pass the $4 billion mark for the first time since 2010.
Worldwide, it is the fifth highest-grossing original film of all time (behind Avatar, Zootopia, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo), the sixth highest-grossing film of 2016, the 12th highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the 50th highest-grossing film of all time. Deadline.com calculated the net profit of the film to be $374.6 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film, making it the most profitable release of 2016.
In Canada and the United States, the film was projected to gross around $70 million in its opening weekend, with some predictions going as high as $100 million. It received the widest release for an animated film as well as for a PG-rated film (breaking Shrek Forever After's record) and the seventh widest of all time overall, across 4,370 theaters, the widest release since The Dark Knight Rises. It made $5.3 million from Thursday night previews in 3,009 theaters, which is the second biggest of all time for Illumination, behind only Minions ($6.2 million), and the third biggest of all time for an animated film, behind Finding Dory ($9.2 million) and Minions. This was followed by a record-breaking $38.5 million opening day gross (including previews), the biggest for an original film. In its opening weekend, it exceeded expectations and grossed $104.4 million, finishing first at the box office. Its debut is the sixth biggest for an animated film, the sixth highest weekend debut in July, and the fourth biggest opening weekend for Universal Pictures. It also set the record for largest opening for an original film, eclipsing the $90.4 million debut of Inside Out.
In its second weekend, the film made $50.8 million (-51.3%) while maintaining the top spot, despite facing stiff competition with newcomer Ghostbusters. Although it slipped into second place when overtaken by Star Trek Beyond in its third weekend, it was still able to fend off the two other new releases—Lights Out and Ice Age: Collision Course—by earning another $29.6 million. It passed $300 million on its twenty-sixth day—the same day it crossed $400 million worldwide—becoming the seventh film of 2016, the seventh Universal Pictures film (the first for the year), and the twelfth animated film overall to reach the benchmark.
Internationally, The Secret Life of Pets received a scattered release from June to September in a total of 69 markets, and faced competition from other animated films such as Finding Dory and Ice Age: Collision Course in the course of its release. In total, it had number-one openings in 45 markets and recorded the biggest opening for an original animated film in 17 territories, and the No. 1 animated film of 2016 to date in 13 markets. It topped the international box office in its ninth weekend after earning $43.8 million in 53 markets (dethroning Suicide Squad). However, this wasn't the film's biggest single weekend gross. Its biggest weekend gross was actually in its seventh weekend when it grossed $69.3 million. That weekend it was No. 3 behind Suicide Squad ($133.3 million) and Chinese film Time Raiders ($64.6 million).
It was released in the United Kingdom and Norway two weeks ahead of its U.S. release, where it grossed a combined total of $14.1 million in the two markets. Prior to its official debut in the UK and Ireland on June 24, the film had two days worth of previews on June 18 and 19, from which it made £3.63 million ($5.2 million) in two days. This figure was later counted in the film's official opening weekend. It went on to score the fourth biggest original animation opening weekend ever there, with £9.58 million ($13.4 million) from 592 theaters, trailing behind Inside Out, Monsters, Inc., and Up. Excluding previews, its total three-day opening was $8.1 million. This was amidst Brexit and despite facing competition from Independence Day: Resurgence. The film held off extremely well in its second and third weekend falling just 20% and 24%, earning £4.47 million ($6.1 million) and £3.62 million ($4.8 million) respectively despite facing some competitions. It has topped the box office for three consecutive weekends and has grossed total of $41 million there. In Norway, it took the number one spot as well, with $778,000. It scored the biggest animation opening of 2016 and the second biggest of all time overall in both Taiwan ($2 million)—behind Madagascar, and Hong Kong ($1.9 million)—behind Inside Out.
In Argentina, the film had a record-breaking number-one debut with $4 million from 195 screens — the biggest opening weekend ever for an animated film and the second biggest opening ever for any film (behind Furious 7). Similarly, Chile also recorded the second biggest animated opening ever with $1.7 million (behind Minions). Colombia also opened at No. 1 with a huge $1.5 million. In Mexico, other than opening at No. 1, it posted the biggest original animated opening of all time with $7.6 million, surpassing the studio's own previous record holder Inside Out. Also in Russia, it scored the biggest original animated opening and the second biggest ever for an animated film, behind Minions with $16.3 million, although this included $6.4 million five days worth of previews. It went on to become the highest-grossing film of the summer that year. In Japan, the film opened on August 11—the date of Japan's first Mountain Day national holiday—with Toho-Towa distributing, and earned $4.6 million on 370,000 admissions for its two-day opening weekend dethroning Shin Godzilla off the top spot. The cumulative total for the four-day holiday (August 11–14) was $9.7 million. Similarly, it had number-one debuts in Germany ($7.1 million) and France ($5.9 million), Australia ($5.6 million), Italy ($5.1 million), Brazil ($4.4 million), Spain ($4.5 million), Poland ($1.7 million), Singapore ($1.3 million), Belgium ($1.2 million) and Denmark ($1.2 million), Indonesia ($1.1 million), the Philippines ($1 million), and South Africa ($463,000). In Germany, it scored the best animation opening since Minions. It topped the box office in Israel for five straight weekends and in Australia, Russia and Spain for three weekends. In Japan, the film was the highest-grossing foreign release of the weekend, holding the top spot for four consecutive weekends.
In China—the world's second biggest film market—the film opened on a Tuesday, earning a modest $5.2 million on its opening day. To Sunday, it achieved a six-day opening of $29.3 million and $15.5 million for the weekend alone (Friday to Sunday), with per screen averages over $500 per screen per day. In both instances, it was behind the local film Time Raiders. In South Korea, despite debuting in fifth place, it had an opening of $6.9 million. Elsewhere, it grossed $2.7 million in the Netherlands, $1.2 million in Sweden and in Hungary it scored the biggest opening of the year with $738,000, and also in Portugal ($965,000), Latvia ($224,000), and South Africa.
In terms of total earnings, its biggest markets are China ($58 million), United Kingdom and Ireland ($47.2 million), Japan ($41.6 million) and Russia ($34.2 million). It became the third highest-grossing film of all time in Russia (behind Avatar and Zootopia) and the highest-grossing film of 2016 in Spain.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 74% based on 200 reviews with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Fast-paced, funny, and blessed with a talented voice cast, The Secret Life of Pets offers a beautifully animated, cheerfully undemanding family-friendly diversion." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100 based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three out of four stars and called it "an animated fluffball-a sort of Toy Story with pets does everything to drive you crazy and ends up being totally irresistible." Scott Tobias, writing for NPR, characterized the film's concept as "Toy Story but with house pets," highlighting the film's "thinly distinguished characters" and "gloppy sentimentality." Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three out of four stars and said "In much the same way that the smash Zootopia demonstrated that creatures of different culture and class and species are better off when they come together, The Secret Life of Pets is a testament to teamwork and friendship and fixing the rifts that divide us. Let the fur – and the warm, fuzzy feelings – fly."
However, some critics disliked the film's unexpected similarities with Pixar's Toy Story. Matthew Parkinson of The Escapist compared the plots of both films and wrote that "The Secret Life of Pets feels like one of those hour-long ripoffs you'd see on a children's television network." Ethan Anderton of the website /Film criticised the film's characterisation, and noted that the relationship between Max and Duke was akin to "Woody and Buzz Lightyear all over again."
In August 2016 it was announced that there would be a sequel, with director Chris Renaud, producers Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and writer Brian Lynch, with a release date of July 13, 2018. On January 25, 2017, its release date was pushed back to July 3, 2019. On August 15, 2017, its release date was moved forward to June 7, 2019.