Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Eric Darnell
Conrad Vernon[1]
Tom McGrath[2]
Produced by Mireille Soria
Mark Swift
Written by Eric Darnell
Noah Baumbach
Starring Ben Stiller
Chris Rock
David Schwimmer
Jada Pinkett Smith
Sacha Baron Cohen
Cedric the Entertainer
Andy Richter
Tom McGrath
Jessica Chastain
Bryan Cranston
Martin Short
Frances McDormand
Music by Hans Zimmer
Edited by Nick Fletcher
Distributed by Paramount Pictures1
Release dates
  • May 18, 2012 (2012-05-18) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • June 8, 2012 (2012-06-08) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $145 million[3]
Box office $746.9 million[4]

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated comedy film, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures.1 It is the third installment of the Madagascar series and a sequel to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. It is also the first in the series to be released in 3D. The film is directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, and Conrad Vernon. It made its world premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2012.

In this film, Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria are still struggling to get home to New York. This time, their journey takes them to Europe, where they are relentlessly pursued by the murderous Monaco-based French Animal Control officer Captain Chantel Dubois (Frances McDormand). As a means of getting passage to North America, the animals join a circus, where they become close friends with the animal performers, including the new characters of Gia (Jessica Chastain), Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), and Stefano (Martin Short). Together, they spectacularly revitalize the business and along the way find themselves reconsidering where their true home really is.

The film was released on June 8, 2012, to moderately positive reviews from critics.[5] It is the highest-grossing Madagascar film, with a worldwide gross of over $746 million.[4] A spin-off/sequel titled Penguins of Madagascar was released on November 26, 2014. A sequel, Madagascar 4, was initially announced for 2018 but it was removed from its schedule due to the studio's restructuring.[6]


Many days after bidding the penguins goodbye, Alex suggests to his friends and the lemurs that they should go to Monte Carlo to get the penguins and the chimpanzees and fly back to New York City, which they agree to do.

In Monte Carlo, the penguins and chimpanzees have been saving up their daily winnings from the casino to fly back to Africa and bring their friends home. Alex's interference to kidnap them leads to animal control, led by a vicious big-game hunter named Chantel DuBois, pursuing them around the city, with Alex and the gang barely escaping. With determination, DuBois vows to capture Alex and add him to her collection of animals she's captured (through taxidermy).

In the skies of France, the plane crashes as the authorities close in. They come across a circus train consisting of Stefano, Gia, and Vitaly, and manage to gain entry, claiming that they are circus animals themselves. The animals soon learn from Stefano that they are performing in Rome and London, where they plan to impress a promoter to get them on their first American tour. Before the zoo animals' claim is discredited, the penguins suddenly appear with a deal to purchase the circus themselves; however, the circus animals' show in Rome proves to be a failure.

In route to London, Stefano soon reveals to Alex that Vitaly was the biggest star of them all, but quit due to an accident in one of his stunts; therefore, the friends lost faith in the circus. At a stop in the Alps, Alex convinces the circus to continue pursuing the circus. In the process, they grow closer.

Meanwhile, DuBois is arrested in Rome while chasing the animals, but escapes and discovers that Alex was the missing lion from the zoo in New York. Once free, DuBois recruits her injured men and they head toward the Alps, forcing the animals to proceed to London despite incomplete rehearsals. Alex finds Vitaly preparing to leave and convinces him to stay by reminding him of how he enjoys performing the impossible. He suggests that he uses hair conditioner as a safer lubricant to perform his flaming ring jump as well as fix his damaged fur. As a result, Vitaly's stunt is performed perfectly and the show is a spectacular success. After the impressed promoter arranges for an American tour, DuBois shows up with a paper showing that Alex was missing. Though the penguins are able to foil Dubois' plan, Alex is forced to confess that the four of them are just zoo animals trying to get home, disappointing the others who feel used and lied to.

The zoo animals and circus go their separate ways, but arrive in New York City at the same time. Realizing how much their adventures have changed them, the zoo animals find that their true home was with the circus. Before they can go back, however, DuBois tranquilizes and captures them, before being discovered by the zoo staff, who believe she is responsible for returning the missing animals. Julien and the penguins manage to get to the circus and convince the circus animals to rescue their friends.

Back at the zoo, Alex awakens to find that he along with his friends are trapped in larger fence enclosures. DuBois, who was honored by the zoo guards, secretly loads a poison-filled dart into a gun that she hides inside a foam finger in preparation for publicly executing Alex. The circus animals arrive led by Skipper and are able to defeat DuBois and her henchmen. Alex and his friends decide to permanently join the circus to pursue their adventures. Meanwhile, DuBois and her henchmen are sent off in crates bound for Madagascar.

Voice cast

Ben Stiller and Jessica Chastain at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where the film had its worldwide premiere.


DreamWorks Animation's CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg confirmed in 2008 that there would be an additional sequel to Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. Katzenberg stated, "There is at least one more chapter. We ultimately want to see the characters make it back to New York."[7] At the Television Critics Association press tour in January 2009, Katzenberg was asked if there would be a third film in the series. He replied, "Yes, we are making a Madagascar 3 now, and it will be out in the summer of 2012."[8] On August 9, 2010, Katzenberg revealed in an e-mail that writer-director Noah Baumbach has done sixty pages of re-writes to the screenplay.[9]

A significant amount of the animation and visual effects for the film had been done at DreamWorks Dedicated Unit, an India-based unit at Technicolor.[10]


Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2012.[11] The American release followed on June 8, 2012.[12] The film was also converted to the IMAX format and shown in specific European territories, including Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.[13]

Home media

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on October 16, 2012. It was the first DreamWorks Animation film to use the UltraViolet System and the Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D comes with a rainbow wig.[14]


Critical reception

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted received generally positive reviews from critics. Based on 129 reviews, the film holds a "Certified Fresh" rating of 79% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Dazzlingly colorful and frenetic, Madagascar 3 is silly enough for young kids, but boasts enough surprising smarts to engage parents along the way."[15] This marks the best general review consensus of the film series that has showed improving critical favor with the original film having a score of 55%,[16] and the sequel scoring 64%.[17] On Metacritic, it holds a score of 60 out of 100, based on 26 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[5]

Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and said, "From time to time the improbable occurs: A sequel outdoes its original."[18] Colin Covert of Star Tribune said that Madagascar 3 set a high standard for cartoon comedy and was almost too good for kids. He gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars.[19] Giving the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, Betsy Sharkey of Los Angeles Times said, "A neon-saturated, high-flying trapeze act with enough frenetic funny business that it's a wonder the folks behind this zillion-dollar franchise about zoo critters on the lam didn't send the animals to the circus sooner."[20] Stephen Witty of the Newark Star-Ledger calls the movie "fun and fast family entertainment. [...] the animals' jazzy circus performance, done in black-light colors and set to a Katy Perry song — may be one of the trippiest scenes in a mainstream kiddie movie since Dumbo saw those pink elephants."[21] Film scholar Timothy Laurie writes that the plot development of Madagascar 3 is "met with large servings of personal growth and side dishes of overcooked romance".[22]

Box office

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted earned $216,391,482 in North America and $530,529,792 in other countries for a worldwide total of $746,921,274.[4] Its worldwide opening weekend totaled $137.6 million.[23] Worldwide, it is the highest-grossing film in the series,[24] the fourth highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation film,[25] the second highest-grossing animated film of 2012, and the eighth highest-grossing film of that year.[26] Overall, it is the eleventh highest-grossing animated film and the 52nd highest-grossing film of all time. The film took between 66 and 94 days of release, respectively, to out-gross its two predecessors. It surpassed Kung Fu Panda 2 to become Dreamworks' highest-grossing non-Shrek film, and the first non-Shrek film to reach over $700 million.

In North America, the film made $20.7 million on its opening day, which was higher than the opening day grosses of the original film ($13.9 million) and its sequel ($17.6 million).[27] For its opening weekend, the film ranked at the #1 spot, beating Prometheus, with $60.3 million, which was higher than the opening of the original Madagascar ($47.2 million) but was behind the opening weekend of Escape 2 Africa ($63.1 million).[28] It remained at the top spot for two consecutive weekends.[29] In North America, it is the highest-grossing film in the series,[24] the sixth highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation film,[25] the second highest-grossing 2012 animated film,[30] and the tenth highest-grossing film of 2012.[31]

Outside North America, Europe's Most Wanted out-grossed Shrek Forever After to become DreamWorks Animation's highest-grossing film. On its opening weekend, it topped the box office with $77.3 million from 28 countries.[32] It hold that position for three consecutive weekends.[33][34] Its three highest-grossing openings occurred in Russia and the CIS ($15.7 million), China ($10.4 million), and Brazil ($10.1 million in 5 days).[35] It set an opening-day record for animated films in Russia with $3.7 million[36] (since surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift)[37] and became the highest-grossing animated film (surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift)[38] and the third highest-grossing film ever (at the time), earning $49.4 million.[39] It also set an opening weekend record for any film in Argentina with $3.80 million[40] (first surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift)[41] and it set opening weekend records for animated films in Brazil, Venezuela, Trinidad,[42] and the United Arab Emirates.[33]


Award Category Nominated Result
ASCAP Award[43] Top Box Office Films Hans Zimmer Won
Teen Choice Awards[44] Movie Voice Chris Rock Nominated
Summer Movie: Comedy/Music Madagascar 3
Annie Awards[45][46] Animated Effects in an Animated Production Jihyun Yoon
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Craig Kellman
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Rob Koo
Satellite Award[47] Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Madagascar 3
Best Original Song "Love Always Comes as a Surprise" - Peter Asher & Dave Stewart
Critics' Choice Movie Awards[48] Best Animated Feature Madagascar 3
Kids' Choice Awards[49] Favorite Animated Movie
Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Ben Stiller
Chris Rock


Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Soundtrack album by Hans Zimmer
Released June 5, 2012
Recorded 2012
Genre Score
Length 40:25
Label Interscope
Producer Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer film scores chronology
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
The Dark Knight Rises

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is the soundtrack of the film scored by Hans Zimmer and was released on June 5, 2012.[50]

No. TitleMusicPerformer Length
1. "New York City Surprise"  Hans Zimmer  3:05
2. "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)"   Danny Jacobs 2:15
3. "Wannabe"   Danny Jacobs 2:37
4. "Game On"  Hans Zimmer  3:12
5. "Hot in Herre"   Danny Jacobs 2:27
6. "We No Speak Americano"  Yolanda Be Cool & DCUPYolanda Be Cool & DCUP 4:29
7. "Light the Hoop on Fire!"  Hans Zimmer  3:10
8. "Fur Power!"  Hans Zimmer  2:18
9. "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien"   Frances McDormand 1:13
10. "Love Always Comes as a Surprise"  Peter AsherPeter Asher 3:21
11. "Rescue Stefano"  Hans Zimmer  5:51
12. "Firework"  Katy PerryKaty Perry 3:46
13. "Afro Circus/I Like to Move It"   Chris Rock & Danny Jacobs 2:41
Total length:


Video games

A video game based on the film, Madagascar 3: The Video Game, was released on June 5, 2012.[51] The game allows gamers to play as Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria as they travel across Europe promoting the circus by performing stunts, circus acts and completing missions.[51] It was released to Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.[51] Published by D3 Publisher, the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions were developed by Monkey Bar Games, and the 3DS and DS versions by Torus Games.[51] The game received negative reviews from critics with Metacritic giving the Xbox 360 version a 45/100.[52]

A mobile video game, Madagascar: Join the Circus!, was released on June 4, 2012, for iPhone and iPad. The game allows players to build a circus and play mini-games.[53][54]

Comic book

A comic book based on the film and titled Madagascar Digest Prequel: Long Live the King! was released on June 12, 2012, by Ape Entertainment.[55][56]

Sequel and spin-off

In June 2014, it was announced that Madagascar 4 would be released on May 18, 2018.[57] In January 2015, the film was removed from the release schedule following corporate restructuring and DreamWorks Animation's new policy to release two films a year.[6]

A spin-off feature film titled Penguins of Madagascar, starring the penguins from the Madagascar films, was released on November 26, 2014.[58] Its story picks up right after Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted,[59] and is not related to the television series of the same name.[60]


  1. ^ In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation from Paramount Pictures.[61]


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