Madagascar (franchise)

This article is about the animation franchise. For other uses, see Madagascar (disambiguation).
Creator Tom McGrath
Eric Darnell
Films and television
Short films
Animated series
Theatrical presentations
Video games

Madagascar is a computer-animated franchise produced by DreamWorks Animation. Voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith are featured in the films. It began with the 2005 film Madagascar, the 2008 sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and the third film Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted in 2012. A spin-off film featuring the penguins, titled Penguins of Madagascar, was released in 2014. A fourth film, Madagascar 4, was announced for 2018, but has since been removed from its schedule due to the studio's restructuring.

The overall plot through the series follows the adventures of four Central Park Zoo animals who have spent their lives in blissful captivity and are unexpectedly shipped back to Africa. Now they must struggle to survive while attempting to return to New York City with the help of a crafty cadre of penguins and with many other characters along the way.

The series has now grossed over $1.8 billion, making it the 22nd highest-grossing franchise of all time, the fourth highest-grossing animated franchise (behind Shrek, Ice Age, and Despicable Me), and the second highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation's franchise.

Main films

Madagascar (2005)

Madagascar is a 2005 computer-animated comedy film and the first film in the series. Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, the film tells the story of four Central Park Zoo animals: Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo. These animals have spent their lives in comfortable captivity, and are unexpectedly shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar.

The film was a commercial success, grossing over $532 million worldwide.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a 2008 computer-animated comedy/adventure film, and the sequel to the 2005 film Madagascar. Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, the film continues the adventures of Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria, who try to escape Madagascar, but they crash-land in Africa.

The film grossed over $603 million worldwide, which is higher than its predecessor.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a 2012 computer animated comedy film, and the third installment in the series, directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, along with Conrad Vernon. Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman are still struggling to get home to New York. This time, their journey takes them to Europe where they purchase a failing traveling circus as they become close friends with the staff like Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short), Vitaly the tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain), and Sonya The Bear (Frank Welker), King Julien's (Sacha Baron Cohen) true love. Together, they spectacularly revitalize the business even as the fanatical Monaco Animal Control officer Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand) relentlessly pursues them. In the end, the zoo animals finally get back to New York, only to find that they have grown too much in spirit to return to captivity, and decide to stay with the circus instead.

The film grossing over $746 million worldwide, marking the highest-grossing film in the series.

Madagascar 4 (TBA)

DreamWorks Animation C.E.O. Jeffrey Katzenberg has stated that there is likely to be a fourth installment in the franchise.[1] However, in June 2012, DreamWorks Animation's head of worldwide marketing, Anne Globe, said, "It's too early to tell. There hasn't been a lot of discussion about that."[2] Eric Darnell, who co-directed all three films, spoke of the possibility of the fourth film, noting, "Two things have to happen. One is that the world has to want Madagascar 4, because if they don't want it, it doesn't matter what we do. And the other thing is even if the world wants Madagascar 4, we have to make sure that we have an idea that is incredible, that is great, that is unexpected. If the audience wants it and we have a great idea, we will see – maybe."[3] On June 12, 2014, the film was scheduled to be released on May 18, 2018.[4] In January 2015, Madagascar 4 was removed from the release schedule following corporate restructuring and DreamWorks Animation's new policy to release two films a year.[5]

Spin-off films

Penguins of Madagascar (2014)

A direct-to-video film featuring the penguins had been in the works since 2005, when the first Madagascar film had been released, with a release date planned for 2009.[6] In March 2011, it was announced that the penguin characters would be given their own feature film, similar to the 2011 Puss in Boots movie,[7] to be directed by Simon J. Smith, the co-director of Bee Movie, produced by Lara Breay, and written by Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, the writers of DreamWorks' Megamind.[8] In July 2012, at Comic-Con, it was announced that the film, titled The Penguins of Madagascar, would be released in 2015.[9] Robert Schooley, one of the producers of The Penguins series, said that the film will be unrelated to the TV series of the same name, but he did say that could always change.[10] In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced the release date for March 27, 2015, and a new pair of writers, Michael Colton and John Aboud.[11] In August 2013, it was reported that Benedict Cumberbatch would voice Agent Classified from the North Wind and John Malkovich the film's charming villain, Dr. Octavious Brine (a.k.a. Dave the octopus).[12] On May 20, 2014, the film's release date was moved up to November 26, 2014, switching places with DreamWorks Animation's other film Home.[13]

Television series

The Penguins of Madagascar

The Penguins of Madagascar is a television series that aired on Nickelodeon. In a situation completely separate and non-canonical to the Madagascar films, the series follows the adventures of the four penguins: Skipper (the leader of the group), Kowalski (the smartest), Rico (the craziest), and Private (the youngest) in New York City's Central Park Zoo. The penguins rule the roost at their Central Park habitat, carrying out secret missions in the heart of the city. At times, their missions beckon them to venture outside the zoo. King Julien, the primary antagonist, is also a resident of the zoo (though it is unknown how he, Maurice, and Mort got there) and the penguins must compete against him to maintain order in the zoo. While Tom McGrath, John DiMaggio, Conrad Vernon, and Andy Richter reprised their roles as Skipper, Rico, Mason, and Mort respectively, Jeff Bennett replaced Chris Miller as Kowalski, James Patrick Stuart replaced Christopher Knights as Private, Danny Jacobs replaced Sacha Baron Cohen as Julien, and Kevin Michael Richardson replaced Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice. The series also features a new character, Marlene, an otter voiced by Nicole Sullivan.

All Hail King Julien

Main article: All Hail King Julien

All Hail King Julien is a television series starring the lemur King Julien from the Madagascar franchise, which takes place in Madagascar, before the events of the first film.[14] The series debuted on December 19, 2014, on Netflix, when the first five 22-minute episodes were released.[15] The series features the voices of Danny Jacobs (replacing Sacha Baron Cohen) as King Julien; Henry Winkler as Julien's regal predecessor, Uncle King Julien; Andy Richter as Mort; Kevin Michael Richardson (replacing Cedric the Entertainer) as Maurice; and India de Beaufort as Clover, the king's special-ops expert.[15]

Short film

The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper

The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper is a computer-animated short film, which premiered in theaters on October 7, 2005 with the stop-motion film, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The short was directed by animation veteran Gary Trousdale, produced by Teresa Cheng, and written by Michael Lachance. Set on Christmas Eve, the 12-minute film features four penguins from Central Park Zoo who discover that one of them has gone missing.

Television specials

Merry Madagascar

Main article: Merry Madagascar

Merry Madagascar was a Christmas special first broadcast on the NBC network in November 2009, which starred the characters from the Madagascar film series. The story appears to takes place sometime between the first and second films. It featured many of the same voice actors as the films, including Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith. However, voice actor Danny Jacobs replaced Sacha Baron Cohen as the voice of the character King Julien. Carl Reiner provided the voice of Santa Claus. Santa Claus crash lands in his sleigh on Madagascar and loses his memory after Alex shoots him down, leaving him, Marty, Gloria and Melman to be Santa for the night. King Julien realises that Christmas is about giving and not receiving.

Madly Madagascar

Main article: Madly Madagascar

Madly Madagascar is a Valentine's Day-themed TV special,[16] It was released on DVD on January 29, 2013,[17] and starred all the main characters from the Madagascar film series. The story appears to take place sometime between the second and third films. It featured many of the same voice actors as the films, including Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith. However, voice actor Danny Jacobs once again replaced Sacha Baron Cohen as the voice of the character King Julien. King Julien finds a love potion and starts selling it to members of the watering hole, making Marty attractive to all the animals. Skipper and the penguins organise a rescue mission for his doll girlfriend. A television airdate is yet to be announced.

Cast and characters

Characters Films Short film Specials TV Shows Spin-off Film
Escape 2 Africa
Europe's Most Wanted
The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper
Merry Madagascar
Madly Madagascar
The Penguins of Madagascar
All Hail King Julien
Penguins of Madagascar
Alex Ben Stiller Ben Stiller
Quinn Dempsey Stiller and Declan Swift (young)
Ben Stiller Ben Stiller Wally Wingert Silhouette + Archive Audio
Marty Chris Rock Chris Rock
Thomas Stanley (young)
Chris Rock Chris Rock Silhouette + Archive Audio
Melman David Schwimmer David Schwimmer
Zachary Gordon (young)
David Schwimmer David Schwimmer Silhouette + Archive Audio
Gloria Jada Pinkett Smith Jada Pinkett Smith
Willow Smith (young)
Jada Pinkett Smith Jada Pinkett Smith Silhouette + Archive Audio
King Julien Sacha Baron Cohen Danny Jacobs Danny Jacobs
Sacha Baron Cohen (archive recordings)
Skipper Tom McGrath Tom McGrath
Kowalski Chris Miller Jeff Bennett Chris Miller
Rico Jeffrey Katzenberg John DiMaggio Character is mute John DiMaggio Conrad Vernon
Private Christopher Knights James Patrick Stuart Christopher Knights
Maurice Cedric the Entertainer Cedric the Entertainer Kevin Michael Richardson
Mort Andy Richter Andy Richter
Mason Conrad Vernon Silent Cameo Conrad Vernon
Phil Character is mute, uses sign language Character is mute, uses sign language
Nana Elisa Gabrielli Elisa Gabrielli
Vitaly Bryan Cranston Photograph
Santa Claus Carl Reiner Carl Reiner
Note: A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.


Film Director(s) Producer(s) Writer(s) Composer Editor
Main series
Madagascar Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath Mireille Soria Mark Burton, Billy Frolick, Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath Hans Zimmer H. Lee Peterson
Escape 2 Africa Mireille Soria & Mark Swift Etan Cohen, Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath
Europe's Most Wanted Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath & Conrad Vernon Eric Darnell & Noah Baumbach Nick Fletcher
Penguins of Madagascar Eric Darnell & Simon J. Smith Lara Breay & Tripp Hudson screenplay: Michael Colton, John Aboud & Brandon Sawyer
story: Alan Schoolcraft, Brent Simons, Michael Colton & John Aboud
Lorne Balfe Nick Kenway


Box office performance

Film Release date Revenue Rank Budget (millions) Reference
North America Other territories Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Madagascar May 27, 2005 $193,595,521 $339,085,150 $532,680,671 #173 #135 $75 [18][19]
Escape 2 Africa November 7, 2008 $180,010,950 $423,889,404 $603,900,354 #205 #105 $150 [20]
Europe's Most Wanted June 8, 2012 $216,391,482 $530,529,792 $746,921,274 #137 #67 $145 [21]
Madagascar films $589,997,953 $1,293,504,346 $1,883,502,299 $370 [22][23]
Penguins of Madagascar November 26, 2014 $83,350,911 $290,201,183 $373,552,094 #781 #243 $132 [24][25]
Total (includes above) $656,266,749 $1,428,104,346 $2,257,054,393 #25 #21 $502 [22][23][26][27]

Critical and public reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Madagascar 55% (185 reviews)[28] 57 (36 reviews)[29] A-[30]
Escape 2 Africa 64% (150 reviews)[31] 61 (25 reviews)[32] A-[30]
Europe's Most Wanted 79% (129 reviews)[33] 60 (26 reviews)[34] A[30]
Penguins of Madagascar 71% (98 reviews)[35] 53 (31 reviews)[36] A-[30]
Average 67 58 A-

Video games

Live shows

Madagascar Live!

Madagascar Live! is a 90-minute theatre show based on the Madagascar film.[48] Produced by DreamWorks Theatricals and Broadway Across America, it was directed by Gip Hoppe as the DreamWorks Animation's second stage production after Shrek the Musical.[48] The tour started on January 28, 2011, in York, Pennsylvania, and was expected to visit more than 70 cities across the United States.[49] After a show in New York, on April 24, 2011, Madagascar Live! was cancelled in the United States, citing "unforeseen circumstances" as the reason.[50] Madagascar Live! then toured the United Kingdom, visiting nine cities between January 2013 and March 2013.[51]

Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation

Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation is a 20-minute live stage show featuring Alex, Gloria, King Julien, Mort and The Penguins along with live singers, a live band and dancers. The show opened in 2013 at Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld San Diego.[52] The show closed at SeaWorld in January 2015 and at Busch Gardens in September 2015.

Madagascar Live! Prepare to Party

Madagascar Live! Prepare to Party at Chessington World of Adventures Resort

Madagascar Live! Prepare to Party is a 20-minute live stage show featuring Alex, King Julien, Gloria, Mort and The Penguins as they each present their special party games while dancing and singing. The show premiered in 2012 in an Africa area at the UK theme park Chessington World of Adventures,[53] and in DreamWorks Experience at the Australian theme park Dreamworld.[54] The show has now closed at Chessington and only operates at Dreamworld.

Madagascar Live! It's Circus Time

Madagascar Live! It's Circus Time is a 30-minute live show,[55] based on the film Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. The story follows the characters of Madagascar to a circus, where they try to avoid being captured by the animal control officer Captain Dubois by blending among its artists, performing stunts, singing and dancing.[56] The show opened in 2012, in Everland Resort, in South Korea,[57][58][59] and in 2013 in Heide Park, Germany,[55] and in Gardaland, Italy.[56]

Themed land

Madagascar is one of the seven themed lands in Universal Studios Singapore, and it features lush tropical jungles as well as a water ride Madagascar: A Crate Adventure and a carousel King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round.

Madagascar Madness is one of the three areas at the DreamWorks Experience themed land which is part of Australian theme park Dreamworld. It consists of suspended roller coaster Escape from Madagascar, a show stage King Julien's Theatre in the Wild, a ball play area MAD Jungle Jam and a merchandise shop Madagascar Cargo Hold.

See also


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  3. Harada, Kai (July 27, 2012). "'Madagascar' director Darnell returns to complete his trilogy". The Japan Times. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
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  8. Kit, Borys (August 11, 2011). "'Madagascar' Spin-Off to Be Helmed by 'Bee Movie' Co-Director (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
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