Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a 2009 American computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the third installment in the Ice Age series and the sequel to Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006). It was directed by Carlos Saldanha and co-directed by Mike Thurmeier. Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary reprise their roles from the first two films and Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, and Josh Peck reprise their roles from The Meltdown, with Simon Pegg joining them in the role of a weasel named Buck. The story has Sid the Sloth being taken by a female Tyrannosaurus after stealing her eggs, leading the rest of the herd to rescue him in a tropical lost world inhabited by dinosaurs beneath the ice.
The film was released on July 1, 2009, becoming the first Ice Age film and the first 20th Century Fox film to be released in 3D. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, it ranked at the time as the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the highest-grossing Ice Age film earning $886.7 million worldwide. A sequel, titled Ice Age: Continental Drift, was released in 2012, and another film, titled Ice Age: Collision Course, was released in 2016.
Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Manny (Ray Romano), the two woolly mammoths, are expecting their first child, and Manny struggles to make life perfect and safe for the family. At the same time, Diego (Denis Leary) the saber-toothed cat finds himself unable to catch a cocky gazelle (Bill Hader) he has been stalking and decides to leave The Herd, believing that he is losing his predatory nature as a tiger. Sid (John Leguizamo) the ground sloth begins to wish for a family of his own and takes three apparently abandoned eggs that he finds in an icy underground cavern and calls them Egbert, Shelly, and Yoko (Carlos Saldanha). Manny tells him to put them back, but Sid ignores Manny and looks after the eggs, which hatch into baby Tyrannosaurus Rex the next morning.
Although Sid tries his best to raise the three dinosaurs, their rambunctious behavior scares away all the younger animals and ruins a playground Manny built for his child. Not long after, a female Tyrannosaurus Rex, whose eggs Sid stole, soon returns and carries both Sid and her young underground, with Diego in pursuit. Manny, Ellie, Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) the opossums follow as well and discover that the icy cavern leads to a vast subterranean jungle populated by dinosaurs thought to be extinct. Here, an angry Ankylosaurus threatens The Herd despite Diego's efforts to fend it off; they are saved from a further crowd of angry reptiles by a deranged one-eyed weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg).
Buck has been living in this jungle for quite some time and is fighting Rudy, a huge albino Baryonyx, intending to avenge the eye he lost to it when he was young with a knife he carved from one of Rudy's teeth. He agrees to lead The Herd through the jungle's perils to Lava Falls, where the dinosaur has taken Sid and her babies. In the meantime, Sid and the mother dinosaur try to outdo each other in feeding the offspring; he loses this contest, but is reluctantly welcomed into the family regardless. The next day, however, Sid is separated from the family and attacked by Rudy. Sid is knocked onto a loose rock slab that is floating on a river of lava and about to plummet over the falls.
As The Herd moves toward Lava Falls, Ellie goes into labor and a Guanlong pack strikes, causing a rock slide that separates her from Manny and Diego. Manny doubles back to protect her and Diego fends off further attacks, while Buck takes Crash and Eddie ahead to rescue Sid. Just as he goes over the falls, the trio swoops in on a commandeered Harpactognathus only to be chased by a flock of Pterodactylus on the way and saves his life. Manny reaches Ellie just in time to hear the cry of a newborn baby girl. Ellie names her Peaches after the fruit. Sid is saddened at the fact that he never had a chance to say goodbye to "his" children as he returns to The Herd and learns of Peaches' birth.
Before they can leave the jungle, they are ambushed by Rudy, who begins to attack them at full force; working together Manny, Sid, Diego, and Buck manage to trap Rudy by ensnaring him in vines. However, he quickly breaks free and resumes his onslaught. The Herd is saved by the timely arrival of the mother dinosaur, who charges at Rudy and knocks him off a cliff. As she and her children wish Sid well, Buck, now without a purpose in life since Rudy is gone, decides to join The Herd and live on the surface. However, a distant roar tells him that Rudy is still alive; he changes his mind and sends The Herd home, blocking off the path to the underground jungle at the same time. Manny and Ellie welcome Peaches into their frozen world and admit that Sid did a good job looking after Momma's children. Diego decides to remain with The Herd, while Buck stays underground, happily battling it out with Rudy.
- Ray Romano as Manny, a woolly mammoth and the leader of The Herd and Ellie's husband.
- John Leguizamo as Sid, a giant ground sloth and the founder of The Herd.
- Denis Leary as Diego, a saber tooth tiger and a member of The Herd.
- Seann William Scott as Crash, an opossum, Eddie's biological brother and Ellie's adoptive brother.
- Josh Peck as Eddie, an opossum, Crash's biological brother and Ellie's adoptive brother.
- Queen Latifah as Ellie, a female woolly mammoth, Manny's wife, and Crash and Eddie's adoptive sister.
- Simon Pegg as Buck, a one-eyed weasel and a dinosaur hunter who joins The Herd.
- Chris Wedge as Scrat, a saber-toothed squirrel.
- Karen Disher as Scratte, a female saber-toothed squirrel and Scrat's love interest.
- Bill Hader as Gazelle
- Joey King as Beaver Girl
- Jane Lynch as Diatryma Mom
- Kristen Wiig as Pudgy Beaver Mom
- Carlos Saldanha as Dinosaur Babies / Flightless Bird
- Eunice Cho as Madison (Diatryma Girl)
- Maile Flanagan as Aardvark Mom
- Clea Lewis as Start Mom
Blue Sky decided to do "more of a what-if adventure" in the third Ice Ageinstallment, titled Ice Age: A New Beginning, "like finding the giant ape in King Kong or a Shangri-la in the middle of snow," and added the dinosaurs to the story. Character designer Peter de Sève welcomed the new plot addition, since he could not think of any other giant mammal to put into the story. The "lost world" approach led to colorful dinosaurs, because "the dinosaurs didn't have to be just brown, and you can take liberties because no one knows what color they were", according to de Sève. Rudy's design was inspired by the Baryonyxbecause of his crocodile-like look, which de Sève considered even more menacing than the T. rex.
The film was released in RealD Cinema where available. The release sparked some controversy when Fox announced that it would no longer pay to supply 3D glasses to theaters, which led to a number of exhibitors threatening to only show the film in standard 2D projection.
The film's original trailer debuted with the film Horton Hears a Who! on March 14, 2008, then online on April 7, 2008. There are three others that have been released, with the third and fourth (which shows Buck) being the most closely resembling each other. Queen Latifah recorded a cover of the song "Walk the Dinosaur".
The film earned $196,573,705 in North America and $690,113,112 in other territories, which gives it a worldwide gross of $886,686,817 against a budget of $90 million. Worldwide, it is the third-highest-grossing film of 2009, the highest-grossing animated film of 2009, the 53rd-highest-grossing film of all time, the highest-grossing Ice Age film, the 12th-highest-grossing animated film of all time. It is also the highest-grossing animated film of 2009 worldwide. It set a worldwide opening-weekend record for an animated feature ($218.4 million), previously held by The Simpsons Movie ($170.9 million). However, it was later surpassed by Incredibles 2 ($235.1 million) in 2018. It marks the highest-grossing film of the Ice Age series, the second-highest-grossing film of 20th Century Fox for 2009 (after Avatar) and stands as the studio's third-largest film of all time behind the latter and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
The film made $13,791,157 on its opening day in 4,099 theaters. It reached $41,690,382 on its first weekend, putting it at number 2 behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, marking the lowest-grossing first weekend for the franchise, although it had a Wednesday release and therefore burned off attendance until the weekend. The film became 20th Century Fox's third-largest 2009 release in North America behind Avatar and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. It is the third-highest-grossing animated feature of 2009. It heavily out-grossed its predecessor, Ice Age: The Meltdown which earned $195,330,621 three years before, to become the highest-grossing movie in the franchise, but it was way behind the two first Ice Age movies in estimated attendance.
On its opening weekend it earned $151.7 million, which is the biggest opening for an animated feature and the 13th-largest of all time. Outside North America, it is the fifteenth-highest-grossing film of all time and the second-highest-grossing animated movie of all time (out-grossing Finding Nemo, later out-grossed by Frozen). Its highest-grossing market after North America was Germany ($82.2 million), followed by France and the Maghreb region ($69.2 million), and the UK, Ireland and Malta ($56.9 million). It was the highest-grossing animated film of the year in all major countries, except Spain and Australia.
As of March 2012 it is the highest-grossing animated film of all time in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, where the film holds the opening-weekend record, Finland, Norway, Denmark,Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro,Slovenia, Croatia, France and the Maghreb region, the Netherlands,Germany, Austria, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from film critics, the film was positively welcomed by audience who praised its story, humor, screenplay, emotional weight, soundtrack, the Sid and Momma T-Rex's subplot, action scenes, character development, the character of Buck, the Scrat and Scratte's subplot and the climax, with many calling it the best Ice Age movie.
The film was nominated in two categories at the 8th Visual Effects Society Awards, for "Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture" and "Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture."
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was released on high-definition Blu-ray Disc and standard DVD in North America on October 27, 2009, and in the United Kingdomon November 23, 2009. Two versions of the DVD exist: a single-disc DVD, and a "Scrat Pack" double DVD pack with three Scrat games.
The 3-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes a Blu-ray, the single-disc DVD, and a Digital Copy, as well as an Ice Age digital story-book maker, commentary by director Carlos Saldanha, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, the two Scrat shorts: Gone Nutty and No Time for Nuts (that each originally came on home video for both the first and second films), and a how-to-draw Scrat tutorial with the filmmakers.
On September 21, 2010, a 3D DVD was released as a two-disc set, with the first disc being the TrioScopics 3D (green-magenta anaglyph) version and the second disc being the 2D version.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - The 4-D Experience
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - The 4-D Experience is a 14-minute 4D filmshown at various 4D theatres over the world. It retells the condensed story of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs with the help of 3D projection and sensory effects, including moving seats, wind, mist, snow and scents. Produced by SimEx-Iwerks, The 4-D Experience premiered in May 2012, at the San Diego Zoo 4-D Theater. Since June 2012, it is being shown at the Roxy Theatre, at the Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia, and since July 2012, at the Shedd Aquarium's Phelps Auditorium in Chicago.
Main article: Ice Age (franchise)
The fourth film, Ice Age: Continental Drift, was released in 3D on July 13, 2012. It was directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier—the first time without Carlos Saldanha. The film takes place a few years after the events of the third film, with Peaches in her teenage years. Scrat's never-ending pursuit of acorns has world-changing consequences, separating Manny, Sid and Diego from the rest, forcing them to stand up to a pirate gang, led by Captain Gutt.
The fifth film, Ice Age: Collision Course, was released in 3D on July 22, 2016.