Fly Me to the Moon (film)

Fly Me to the Moon is a 2008 Belgian-American computer-animated 3D science fiction comedy film about three flies who stowaway aboard Apollo 11 and travel to the Moon. It was directed by Ben Stassen and written by Domonic Paris. The film was released in digital 3D in Belgium on 30 January 2008, and in the US and Canada on 15 August 2008. The film was also released in IMAX 3D in the US and Canada on 8 August 2008.

Fly Me to the Moon
To the moon film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBen Stassen
Produced by
  • Gina Gallo
  • Charlotte Huggins
  • Mimi Maynard
  • Caroline Van Iseghem
Written byDomonic Paris
Music byRamin Djawadi
Edited byKerry Fulton
Distributed by
Release date
  • 30 January 2008 (2008-01-30) (Belgium)
  • 15 August 2008 (2008-08-15) (United States)
Running time
  • 84 minutes[1]
  • 50 minutes[2] (IMAX version)
  • Belgium
  • United States
Budget$25 million[3]
Box office$41.7 million[3]

Fly Me to the Moon was produced by nWave Pictures in association with Illuminata Pictures, and distributed by Summit Entertainment and Vivendi Visual Entertainment in the United States.


The narrator explains that in 1957, the Soviet Union launched Earth's first satellite Sputnik 1 into orbit. In 1961, when NASA was putting a monkey named Enos aboard Mercury Atlas 5, astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to go to space. Feeling the sense of urgency to overtake the Soviets in the space race, U.S. President John F. Kennedy made a statement toward a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, stating that before the decade is out, he plans to launch a man to the Moon and return him safely to the Earth.

Eight years later, in 1969, an 11-year-old fly named Nat and his two best friends, I.Q. and Scooter, build a "fly-sized" rocket in a field across from Cape Canaveral, Florida, where Apollo 11 sits on the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39. From his earliest memory, Nat's grandfather, Amos, often tells him of his many adventures such as his daring rescue of Amelia Earhart when she crossed the Atlantic Ocean on her historic 1932 solo flight. Wanting to be an adventurer like his grandpa, Nat tells his friends his plan to get aboard Apollo 11 and go to the Moon. They, with some reluctance, are in. The next morning, the three flies make it in to Mission Control and stow away inside the space helmets of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

Grandpa, Nat's mother, and the others watch TV to get news of their offspring's adventure. As the astronauts appear on camera, the heroic flies wave in the background, visible to other flies but barely seen by humans – except for the attentive NASA flight controller Steve Bales, who informs Armstrong of the "contaminants" on board. In the Soviet Union, there are other flies watching TV – Soviet flies who cannot tolerate the idea that American flies might get to the Moon first. Special Soviet operatives are enlisted to interfere with the American mission, including an operative named Yegor. Fortunately, Nadia, a Soviet fly, hears Scooter calling out the name of Amos, who she met in Paris and loved many years ago.

Onboard the Command Module Columbia, as the burn cycle to enter the Moon's trans-lunar injection orbit begins, the spacecraft is violently rocked. There's a short circuit in the service module that must be fixed manually or the ship won't be able to complete its mission. Nat and I.Q. fly through a maze of wires, find the problem, and repair it just in time. Unaware of the flies' aid, the ship enters orbit and just as they congratulate each other, the flies are sprayed with a numbing aerosol and held captive in a test tube.

The flies manage to break the vial. Nat sneaks into Armstrong's helmet as he enters the Lunar Module Eagle, which lands on Mare Tranquillitatis. From inside Armstrong's helmet, Nat beams with every awe-inspiring historic step. I.Q. and Scooter join him on the surface inside Aldrin's helmet. After a climactic rescue with Nat bringing Scooter back to Columbia, Eagle is jettisoned. Back on Earth, other plots are being set in motion. After more than 30 years apart, Nadia arrives in America and visits Amos, and tells him and Nat's mother about the Soviet plot to divert the mission. Amos takes off with a vow to save the mission. At Mission Control, the Soviet operatives prepare to alter the descent codes. Unaware of the potential danger, the Apollo 11 astronauts and the flies prepare to come back home.

Amos, Nat's mother, and Nadia join forces to stop Yegor and the Soviet plan as the command module Columbia arrives near Earth's atmosphere. After a period of radio silence due to ionization blackout, Columbia splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean, where it is recovered by the USS Hornet. Nat, I.Q. and Scooter return to their junkyard as heroes.

At the film's end, the real Buzz Aldrin appears and explains that no flies were on board during the historic flight, and it is scientifically impossible for a bug to go to space.



The total production budget of Fly Me to the Moon is €17.3 million (about $25.2 million). nWave financed about 75% of the budget itself. To raise the rest, investors could benefit from Belgium's Tax Shelter system. The Flanders Audiovisual Fund contributed €100,000 ($146,100), 10% of its annual budget for animation.

Apart from the feature-length version, two further versions of the films exist. The 49-minute Attraction version was released across theme parks starting in the summer of 2007. Venues showing this version, which features added 4D effects, include Isla Magica in Spain, Mirabilandia in Italy, Bellewaerde in Belgium, Bakken and Planetariet in Denmark, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the UK, as well as the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the Museum of Science in Boston. This version of the film omits the subplot about the attempt by Russian flies to sabotage the mission. The 13-minute Ride version is featured at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey and Six Flags Over Texas in Texas.

Fly Me to the Moon marked the final film role of actor Charles Rocket; it was released three years after his death in 2005. Charles Rocket played the voice of Mission Control for the scenes set in 1961.


Fly Me to the Moon was distributed in the U.S. by Summit Entertainment and in the U.K. by Momentum Pictures. As IMAX 3-D films are usually less or around an hour, some scenes were cut and censored from the IMAX version. The IMAX version starts with the opening scene which shows the first monkey being launched to space. It then cuts to Nat sneaking out to meet his friends and sneak into the command center, cutting out the scene with Nat and Amos, discussing Amelia Earhart. The IMAX version also cuts out the Soviet subplot.

Fly Me to the Moon was released on DVD in North America on 2 December 2008. Two versions were released, a standard 2-D version and a 3-D version of the film that includes two pairs of 3-D glasses. Bonus features on both versions include an interactive game, production notes, and more.

Box officeEdit

Fly Me to the Moon was released in 12 IMAX 3D theaters on 8 August 2008 in Canada and the United States, and in a further 18 on 15 August 2008. The film was released widely in 3D equipped theaters on 15 August 2008. It earned $704,000 on opening day in 452 theaters and $1,900,523 in its opening weekend, drawing in the number 12 spot. As of 4 November 2009, the film has grossed $41,412,008 worldwide.[3]


As of June 2020, the film holds a 20% approval rating on the review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, based on 84 reviews with an average rating of 3.95/10. The site's consensus reads: "Flatly animated and indifferently scripted, Fly Me to the Moon offers little for audiences not comprised of very young children."[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Fly Me to the Moon [3D version] (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Fly Me to the Moon [Abridged IMAX version] (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Fly Me to the Moon". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
  4. ^ "Fly Me to the Moon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 June 2020.

External linksEdit