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Penguins is a 2019 American nature documentary film directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson. The coming-of-age story follows an Adélie penguin named Steve, who joins fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family. The American release of the film is narrated by Ed Helms.

Penguins film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written byDavid Fowler
Narrated byEd Helms[1]
Music byHarry Gregson-Williams
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • April 17, 2019 (2019-04-17) (US)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$7.7 million[3]

Produced by Disneynature, the film was released in the United States on April 17, 2019, five days before Earth Day. It is the fifteenth nature documentary to be released by Disney under the Disneynature label. The film received positive reviews from critics, who singled out the "beautiful cinematography".[4]



The coming-of-age story follows an Adélie penguin named Steve who joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family. None of it comes easily for him, especially considering he’s targeted by everything from killer whales to leopard seals, who unapologetically threaten his happily ever after.[5]


The film was released in the United States on April 17, 2019.[5]


Box officeEdit

In the United States and Canada, Penguins was released alongside Breakthrough, and was projected to gross $5–7 million from 1,800 theaters in its five-day opening weekend.[6] The film made $503,000 on its first day and $456,000 on its second.[7] The film ended up underperforming, grossing just $2.3 million in its opening weekend (and a total $3.3 million over the five days), finishing outside the top 10.[8] In its second weekend the film fell 50% to $1.1 million, finishing 10th.[9]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 57 reviews, with an average rating of 7.06/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Disneynature: Penguins plays up its subjects' adorable appeal with a beautifully filmed documentary that adds plenty of anthropomorphic entertainment value for young viewers."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 78% and a "definite recommend" of 52%.[8]

Variety's Courtney Howard called Penguins a "sweet, sentimental Earth Day documentary" and wrote "Instead of bombarding the audience with factoids and heavy scientific terminology, it lets a poignant narrative unspool — one with an engaging, highly accessible and hugely entertaining underdog hero's journey."[12]


  1. ^ Hemmert, Kylie (February 26, 2019). "'Penguins': Ed Helms to Narrate Disneynature's Feature Film". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Penguins (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  4. ^ Ryan Fujitani (April 18, 2019). "The Curse of La Llorona is a Crying Shame". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Hermanns, Grant (December 21, 2018). "Disneynature Debuts Penguins Poster For First Day of Winter". Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (April 16, 2019). "Will 'Shazam!' Be Cursed By 'Llorona' Over Easter Weekend? – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (April 18, 2019). "'Shazam!' Smashes $100M; Disney-Fox's Faith-Based 'Breakthrough' Mints $1.7M Opening Day; 'Penguins' Near $500K – Wednesday B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Anthony D'Alessandro (April 21, 2019). "Lowest Easter Weekend At The B.O. Since 2005 Despite $26M Purse Of 'La Llorona' – Saturday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  9. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 28, 2019). "Avengers: Endgame' Rests At $357M+ Opening Record; Eyes $33M+ Monday & Record $180M 2nd Frame; Weekend Biz Hits $401M+ High". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  10. ^ "Disneynature: Penguins (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "Penguins reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Howard, Courtney (March 17, 2019). "Film Review: Disneynature's 'Penguins'". Variety. Retrieved March 21, 2019.

External linksEdit