11 March, 2016
Last weekend, the latest Disney movie, "Zootopia," broke records.
The movie had the largest opening weekend for a Disney animated film. People across the United States bought more than $75 million worth of tickets.
The box office totals pushed the popular movie, "Frozen," to second place in opening weekend success.
Experts say "Zootopia" is expected to stay strong this weekend. They predict it will make as much as $50 million dollars more. Already, the movie's worldwide box office total is more than $230 million.
"Zootopia" is a city of animals. The movie stars a bunny rabbit police officer and a fox criminal who team up to find a missing otter. He is among several animals that have suddenly disappeared from the city.
Actor Ginnifer Goodwin provided the voice of officer Judy Hopps. Justin Bateman is Nick, the con artist.
Critics have strongly praised "Zootopia" for its sharp humor and strong message. The film explores racism and other intolerance in its portrayal of relations between two kinds of animals in the city.
Jared Bush and Phil Johnston wrote "Zootopia." They told reporters that it started out as a spy movie set in several different animal worlds. But they found the mammal world especially interesting. So they changed the story.
Bush and Johnston said building the imaginary world took a lot of research. They both spoke about it to the website Inside the Magic.
Bush said they asked themselves, "What's this world like? What's the history of this world?" And then, he said, they went to the experts.
The writers spoke with people who study culture and group behavior, as well as those who study the psychology of individuals. And they talked with animal experts like zookeepers.
They learned that the natural world is made up of 90 percent prey animals and 10 percent predator animals.
"Zootopia" director Byron Howard says that discovery helped build the film's themes prejudice and inclusion in a diverse world.
The creators have noted that that diversity was not easy to produce in drawings. There are 64 species represented in the movie. There are multiple neighborhoods that represent the different environments of animal habitats.
Disney says "Zootopia" is its most complex animation yet. The extra effort is certainly paying off at the box office.
I'm Caty Weaver.
Caty Weaver wrote this story for Learning English. Her story was based on reports from VOANews. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
ticket - n. a piece of paper that allows you to see a show, participate in an event, travel on a vehicle, etc.
box office - n. used to describe how many tickets have been sold for a movie, play, etc.
con artist - n. a person who tricks other people in order to get their money
intolerance - n. the unwillingness to allow some people to have equality, freedom, or other social rights
portrayal - n. the act of showing or describing someone or something especially in a movie, painting, book, etc.
prejudice - n. an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.