Ice Age: The Meltdown is a 2006 computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. As the first sequel to the 2002 film Ice Age, it focuses on the herd escaping an upcoming flood, during which Manny finds love. It was directed by Carlos Saldanha, co-director of the first film, with the music composed by John Powell. The original voice cast — Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary and Chris Wedge — is joined by Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott and Josh Peck.
The film premiered in Belgium on March 1, 2006. It was eventually released in 70 countries, with the last release being in China, on June 9, 2006. Despite receiving mixed reviews from film critics, The Meltdown was positively welcomed from audience and was a box office success by earning over $660 million. Three more sequels were released — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2009, Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012 and Ice Age: Collision Course in 2016.
Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary) are currently living in a large valley surrounded by an enormously high ice wall on all sides. However, the trio discovers that the ice wall is actually a dam that is barely holding a massive body of water that could flood the valley to nearly a mile underwater. A vulture (Will Arnett) tells them that there is a boat at the other end of the valley that may save them all, but they only have three days to reach it or die. Manny is also having trouble fearing the fact that he may be the last mammoth left.
During the evacuation, a glacier that contains two sea reptiles from the Mesozoic era, Cretaceous a Cymbospondylus and Maelstrom a Pliosauroidea, breaks off. When Manny is briefly separated from them, Diego and Sid encounter two mischievous opossums named Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) who drive them nuts by playing Whac-A-Mole with them. Manny is still worried about being the last mammoth alive and his family, who had been killed by humans, but is surprised when he encounters Ellie (Queen Latifah), a female woolly mammoth who believes she is an opossum and Crash and Eddie's adoptive sister. Sid invites her to tag along with the group to escape the flood, and she brings her brothers. After a dangerous encounter with Cretaceous and Maelstrom while crossing a pond, Sid prompts Diego to encourage him to admit and face his fears - Diego insists that "fear is for prey", so Sid points out that Diego is behaving as if he is the water's prey. They discover an area which Ellie recalls as the place where she was adopted. She finally realizes she is a mammoth and also expresses her suspicions about how different she was from other opossums. Despite this bonding moment with Manny, she distances herself from him when he suggests "saving their species". Ellie and Manny ultimately make up when they must co-operate to save the group when the ground cracks under their feet. Sid is kidnapped by a tribe of mini-sloths who believe Sid to be a god. Sid lights a fire for them, and believes that he has finally found respect, but they plan to sacrifice him by tossing him into a volcano; Sid narrowly escapes. The next morning, Sid tells the others his experience but none are convinced. After being harassed by vultures, the group finds the boat behind a field of hot geysers, which separates Manny, Sid and Diego from Ellie and her brothers when they argue about which way's safest to go through.
When the flood comes, Manny saves Ellie from drowning as she is caught in a cave (due to falling rocks), while Diego overcomes his fear of water to save Sid, Crash and Eddie from drowning. Cretaceous and Maelstrom arrive, but due to Manny's quick thinking, they are finished off by a rock which falls on them, killing them both. The other animals are at the mercy of the water currents. Meanwhile, Scrat (Chris Wedge) climbs up the glacier and at the top sticks the acorn he has into the ice. This forms a crack in the glacier, which widens into a fissure, diverting the flood and saving the animals in the valley; Scrat is then washed away. In the final scene, a herd of mammoths show up, proving mammoths aren't extinct. But Manny and Ellie decide to remain together anyway, taking Sid, Diego and the opossum brothers along. Sid encounters the mini-sloths again - they believe Sid stopped the flood and invite him to be their leader. Diego, surprised to see the mini-sloths are real, convinces Sid to stay with the others, admitting that Sid is a vital part of their 'herd'.
The epilogue shows Scrat having a near death experience after falling into the fissure. He enters a heaven full of acorns. Suddenly, he finds himself torn away. He unhappily wakes up, having been resuscitated by Sid, who he proceeds to viciously attack.
- Ray Romano as Manny, the woolly mammoth.
- John Leguizamo as Sid, the giant ground sloth.
- Denis Leary as Diego, the saber tooth tiger.
- Chris Wedge as Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel.
- Queen Latifah as Ellie, the woolly mammoth, who is under the delusion that she is a possum.
- Seann William Scott and Josh Peck as Crash and Eddie, the opossums, respectively.
- Will Arnett as Lone Gunslinger Vulture
- Jay Leno as Fast Tony, the giant armadillo.
- Tom Fahn as Stu, the Glyptodon.
- Alex Sullivan as James, the aardvark.
- Alan Tudyk as Cholly, the chalicothere.
- Clea Lewis as Female Mini Sloth / Dung Beetle Mom.
- Debi Derryberry as Diatryma Mom.
After the release of Ice Age in March 2002, executive producer Chris Meledandri commented on the potential Ice Age sequel: "The success of Ice Age is something that gives us additional momentum. It's too early to say, but it's certainly something we'll explore." By June 2002, Blue Sky Studios was already working on the sequel. In 2003, Lori Forte, the producer of the first film, signed a multi-year deal with Fox Feature Films to develop and produce animated films, including a potential Ice Age sequel. During an interview with Denis Leary in July 2003, he said that he had expressed hope to reprise his role as Diego in the sequel: "I think there's a story – the people at Fox are working on one right now. I think they're talking about going back into the studios something around late Fall." In that same year, 2006 was reported as the planned release year, and by August 2004, its final release date, March 31, 2006, had been set.
Initially developed under the working title of Ice Age 2, it was renamed by June 2005 to Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, but for the film's final release in March 2006, the creators decided to remove the number 2, calling it Ice Age: The Meltdown. However, in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, and Australia, its title is promoted as Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Also, most of the sponsors of the film had the 2 in their packaging after the name change (they however did edit the 2 out of their TV ads).
Carlos Saldanha, the director of the film, strove to make the characters eyes appear alive and not mechanical. “You want the facial expressions to work. I wanted it to be so that if you looked into their eyes, you would know what they were thinking.” in his own words. The characters, despite being from the last movie, were remodeled for the sequel.
The score is by John Powell; the soundtrack also features the song "Food Glorious Food" from the musical and film Oliver!. Powell composed brand new music for the film that replaced the theme songs from the previous film. Aram Khachaturian's Adagio from Spartacus is featured during Scrat's Heavenly vision.
Ice Age: The Meltdown was composed by John Powell and was released on March 28, 2006 by Varèse Sarabande Records.
Ice Age: The Meltdown had its world premiere on March 19, 2006, at the Mann's Grauman Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California. The film was re-released in 3D on October 13, 2014 in China only.
As an additional marketing ploy a special "anti-cell" spot was created with Sid complaining to the audience about a ringing cellular phone. The same was done for Brother Bear, I, Robot, Kung Fu Panda, and Robots.
On Family Guy's episode "Sibling Rivalry", Scrat is shown trying to take three nuts out of the side of a glacier; Peter shows up and tries to stop him, admonishing the squirrel for stealing, which drives Scrat to subsequently attack Peter. Apart from Peter, the scene was rendered in 3D (Family Guy is normally drawn in 2D), and Scrat was voiced by Chris Wedge who voices him in the films. The episode originally aired the week before the film opened. Fox aired promotions for the film throughout the evening. During the same evening of this cameo, Sid was hosting the entire FOX line-up, showing up in intermittent times between commercials.
Re-edited scenes of Ice Age: The Meltdown were shown in Airhead candy commercials on several kids' channels and programs, such as the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, ABC Kids on ABC, and more. It shows, in part, that after Scrat defeats a school of piranha, he proudly displays an Airhead packet (replaced by an acorn in the actual film), when suddenly an eagle comes over and swipes it from him.
One of the posters for the film was a parody of an iPod advertisement, with "iAge" replacing "iPod" and an acorn replacing an iPod.
Ice Age: The Meltdown was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD were released in the North America on November 21, 2006 according to the official web store. They were released in the UK on October 23, 2006, and both include a new Scrat short, No Time for Nuts.
The film exceeded expectations by opening with an $68,033,544 in its first weekend. This was the second biggest opening for a non-summer, non-holiday release, after the $83,848,082 of The Passion of the Christ. But the record for highest grossing weekend for March only lasted a year, due to the $70,885,301 weekend of 300. The film grossed a total of $195,330,621 at United States and Canadian box offices, making it the first film in 2006 to pass the $100 million mark. The film has grossed $660,940,780 worldwide and it is the 66th highest-grossing film of all time. Ice Age: The Meltdown was the highest grossing animated film worldwide of 2006, but lost to Cars for being the highest grossing animated film in North America.
Meledandri, then president of 20th Century Fox Animation, credited the film's successful performance to the studio's strength in global marketing and distribution, the diversity of the crew, and Saldanha's method of using images rather than words to solve creative problems, which helped him realize that the animation of a film is just as important as the story and dialogue, leading him to start Illumination Entertainment with Universal a year later.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from film critics, the film was positively welcomed from audience who praised its animation, story, humor, emotional weight, character development, the characters of Ellie and Crash and Eddie, the soundtrack, John Powell's themes, action scenes and the climax.