Madagascar is a computer-animated series 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 21st 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 franchise, which also enjoyed steadily improving critical favor with the primary film series.
- Main article: Madagascar
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, who have spent their lives in blissful captivity and are unexpectedly shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar. Despite the mixed response from critics, the film was a commercial success, grossing over $532 million worldwide.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
- Main article: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a 2008 computer-animation 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 to Africa. The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, and grossed over $603 million worldwide, which is higher than its predecessor.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)
- Main article: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
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), and Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain). 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 out that they have grown too much in spirit to return to captivity, and decide to stay with the circus instead. The film received mostly positive reviews and more critical praise than the previous two films, grossing only $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. 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."
Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
- Main article: Penguins of Madagascar
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. 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, 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.