Shark Tale

Shark Tale is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and released by DreamWorks Pictures, It was directed by Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. The first computer-animated film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at the Glendale studio, the film stars Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese. Other voices were provided by Ziggy Marley, Doug E. Doug, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore and Peter Falk. It tells the story of a fish named Oscar (Smith) who falsely claims to have killed the son of a shark mob boss (De Niro) to advance his own community standing.

Shark Tale opened at #1 with $47.6 million, which was the second-highest opening for a DreamWorks Animation film at the time, behind Shrek 2 ($108 million). It remained as the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada for its second and third weekends, and made $367 million worldwide against its $75 million budget. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.


In Southside Reef, in 2004, an underachieving bluestreak cleaner wrasse named Oscar (Will Smith) fantasizes about being rich and famous. Soon after arriving for work at the Whale Wash, he is called to the office of his boss, a pufferfish named Sykes (Martin Scorsese), to discuss the fact that he owes a large sum of money and must pay it back by the next day. He remembers being made fun of as a young child because his father was a tongue scrubber, so his angelfish best friend Angie (Renée Zellweger) offers him a shiny pink pearl that was a gift from her grandmother to pawn and pay his debt. Oscar brings the money to the race track to meet Sykes, but hears that the race is rigged and bets it all on a seahorse named "Lucky Day". Sykes is furious that Oscar bet the money but agrees to see how the race turns out. Moments before Lucky Day crosses the finish line, he trips and loses.

Meanwhile, a family of criminally-inclined great white sharks has a problem with one of their sons, Lenny (Jack Black), who is a vegetarian and refuses to act the part of a killer. His crime lordfather, Don Edward Lino (Robert De Niro), orders Lenny's more savage older brother Frankie (Michael Imperioli) to tutor Lenny in the family business. Frankie sees Oscar being electrocuted by Sykes' two jellyfish enforcers Ernie (Zizzy Marley) and Bernie (Doug E. Doug) and charges at Oscar. However, Frankie is killed when an anchor falls on him. Lenny flees, overcome with grief and guilt. As there were no other witnesses and Oscar was seen near the body, everyone comes to believe that he killed Frankie, an opportunity that Oscar decides to exploit for fame.

Oscar returns to the city with a new title of "Sharkslayer". Sykes becomes his manager and Oscar moves to the "top of the reef" to live in luxury. At the same time, Don Lino has everyone search for Lenny. When several sharks approach Oscar's neighborhood, his neighbors expect him to drive them away so he goes and runs into Lenny. Since he does not wish to return home, Lenny begs Oscar to let him stay at Oscar's house. Soon, Angie finds out about the lie and threatens to tell everyone. Oscar and Lenny stage an event in which Lenny pretends to terrorize the town and Oscar defeats him. Though this further cements Oscar's reputation, and causes Lola (Angelina Jolie) to become his girlfriend, it greatly angers Don Lino. Afterwards, Oscar and a jealous Angie get into an argument, where she reveals that she had feelings for Oscar even before he became the "Sharkslayer", causing Oscar to dump Lola and reflect on the aftermath of his actions.

Oscar buys some Valentine's Day gifts for Angie, but before he can present them to her, he finds that Don Lino has kidnapped Angie to force a sit-down. Lenny attends disguised as a dolphin named Sebastian. Don Lino threatens to eat Angie if Oscar does not comply. Lenny grabs Angie into his mouth, but later regurgitates her. When Don Lino realizes that "Sebastian" is really Lenny, he chases Oscar through the reef. Oscar heads for the Whale Wash and ends up trapping both sharks. He is given an ovation by the other fish, but Oscar confesses that he is not a "Sharkslayer" and reveals the truth behind Frankie's death. He then tells Don Lino that everyone likes Lenny for who he is and urges him not to prejudge people before he knows them properly. Realizing that Oscar is right, Don Lino makes peace with him and Lenny, stating that he and his gang bear him no ill will. Oscar forsakes all the wealth he has acquired, makes peace with the sharks, becomes co-manager of the Whale Wash (now frequented by sharks, killer whales, and swordfish), and starts dating Angie.

Voice cast 

  • Oscar - Will Smith
  • Don Lino - Robert De Niro
  • Angie - Renée Zellweger
  • Lenny - Jack Black
  • Lola - Angelina Jolie
  • Sykes - Martin Scorsese
  • Ernie - Ziggy Marley
  • Bernie - Doug E. Doug
  • Frankie - Michael Imperioli
  • Luca - Vincent Pastore
  • Don Feinberg - Peter Falk
  • Katie Current - Katie Couric (U.S. Version)
  • Katie Current - Fiona Phillips (U.K. Version)

Additional Voices

  • Shrimp, Worm, Starfish#1, and Killer Whale#2 - David Soren
  • Crazy Joe - David P. Smith
  • Shortie#1 - Bobb'e J. Thompson
  • Shortie#2 - Kamali Minter
  • Shortie#3 - Emily Lyon Segan
  • Giuseppe, Great White#1 - Lenny Venito
  • Pontrelli - Saverio Guerra
  • Mrs. Sanchez - Shelley Morrison
  • Announcer - Mark Swift
  • Great White#2, Hammerhead - James Madio
  • Great White#3 - Frank Vincent
  • Great White#5 - Joseph Siravo
  • Messenger Fish, Tip Fish#2 - Steve Alterman
  • Prawn Shop Owner - Phil LaMarr
  • Motown Turtle - Jenifer Lewis
  • Tip Fish#1, Great White#4, Whale, and Killer Whale#1 - Sean Bishop
  • Cashier, Starfish#2, Starfish#3, Oyster, and Clown Whale - James Ryan
  • Whale Wash Co-Worker - Latifa Ouaou
  • Taxi Fish - David Yanover


The film was originally developed under the title of Sharkslayer. By September 2003, however, it had been retitled Shark Tale, to make the title sound less violent and more family friendly. Bill Damaschke, the producer of the film, explained the change of the title: "We set out to make a movie a little more noir, perhaps a little darker than where we've landed." In April 2002, production officially began.

The film was produced concurrently with Finding Nemo, another animated film set underwater, which was released a year and a half before Shark Tale. DreamWorks Animation's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, defended the film, saying that "any similarities are mere coincidence. We've been open with the Pixar people so we don't step on each other's toes."


The Piazza San Marco in Venice a day before the film's world premiere, where it was projected on the world's largest inflatable movie screen.

Shark Tale was originally scheduled to be released on November 5, 2004, but was moved up to October 1 in order to avoid competition with Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles. The film had its worldwide premiere on September 10, 2004 in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. Screening as part of the Venice Film Festival, it marked the first time that Piazza San Marco was closed for a premiere of a major feature film. The film was projected on the largest inflatable screen in the world, measuring more than six stories tall and over 3,900 square feet (360 m2). It required 20,000 cubic feet (570 m3) of air to inflate and more than 50 tons of water for stabilization. The premiere was attended by 6,000 visitors, including Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, and Michael Imperioli. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the executive producer of the film, explained that they "wanted to find a unique way to introduce this movie to the world. We needed a big idea. … More than anything, we are in showbusiness. This is the show part."

Box office

Shark Tale opened at #1 with $47.6 million, which was, at the time, the second-highest opening for a DreamWorks Animation film behind Shrek 2 ($108 million). It remained as the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada for its second and third weekends.

Overall, the movie grossed $160,861,908 in North America and $206,413,111 internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $367,275,019.

Critical reception

The film received a 35% "Rotten" rating at the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus: "Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes." On another review aggregator, Metacritic, the film holds a 48 out of 100 rating or "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.

John Mancini, the founder of the Italic Institute of America, protested Shark Tale for perpetuating negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans.[20] DreamWorks reacted by changing the name of Peter Falk's character from Don Brizzi to Don Feinberg. However, Mancini demanded that everything Italian—character names, the mannerisms, the forms of speech—be dropped. The American Family Association, a Christian conservative organization, raised concerns about Shark Tale, suggesting that it was designed to promote the acceptance of gay rights by children.

Roger Ebert gave Shark Tale two out of four stars, observing, "Since the target audience for Shark Tale is presumably kids and younger teenagers, how many of them have seen the R-rated Godfather and will get all the inside jokes? Not a few, I suppose, and some of its characters and dialogue have passed into common knowledge. But it's strange that a kid-oriented film would be based on parody of a 1972 gangster movie for adults." He also opined that younger viewers would have trouble enjoying a film about adult characters with adult problems, such as an elaborate love triangle and a main character wanting to clear his debt with loan sharks, and compared it to more successful fish-focused animated features like Pixar Animation Studios' Finding Nemo, which Ebert felt featured a simpler plot that audiences could more easily identify with. However, Richard Roeper commented that although the film wasn't on the same level as Finding Nemo, it was definitely a film worth seeing.

Home media

Shark Tale was released on DVD and VHS on February 8, 2005, accompanied with a DVD-exclusive animated short film Club Oscar. The three-and-a-half-minute short film continues where the main film ends, showing the characters of Shark Tale dancing at the whale wash to a spoof of Saturday Night Fever. It was also released on Game Boy Advance Video in October 2005.


Award Category Name Outcome
Academy Awards[29][30] Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Bill Damaschke Nominated
Annie Awards[31] Annie Award for Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production Scott Cegielski Nominated
Annie Award for Best Character Animation in a Feature Production Ken Duncan Nominated
Annie Award for Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Carlos Grangel Nominated
Annie Award for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Armand Baltazar Nominated
Samuel Michlap Nominated
Pierre-Olivier Vincent Nominated
Annie Award for Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production Michael J. Wilson

Rob Letterman

BAFTA Children's Awards[32] Best Feature Film Nominated
BET Comedy Awards[33] Best Performance in an Animated Theatrical Film Will Smith Nominated
Casting Society of America[34] Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting Leslee Feldman Won
Golden Reel Awards[35] Best Sound Editing in an Animated Feature Film Richard L. Anderson

Thomas Jones Wade Wilson Mark Binder Mike Chock Ralph Osborn David Williams Mark A. Mangini Slamm Andrews

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards[36] Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Will Smith Won
Saturn Awards[37] Saturn Award for Best Animated Film Nominated
Visual Effects Society[38] Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture Renée Zellweger

Ken Duncan



Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on September 21, 2004. The soundtrack features newly recorded music by various artists, including Justin Timberlake with Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, JoJo, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige, and Will Smith, and also features the first song recorded by pop group The Pussycat Dolls as well as the film's closing theme composed by Hans Zimmer.

Janet Jackson and Beyoncé initially planned to record a duet for the film's soundtrack. Jackson's frequent collaborator Jimmy Jam, who had recently worked with Beyoncé for The Fighting Temptations soundtrack, commented "Obviously we'd love to have the involvement of Janet and Beyonce, who we just worked with on Fighting Temptations. They've already expressed interest", adding "There are a lot of opportunities with an animated piece to work with some different people."[37] Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks' Animations, had appointed Jackson's producers Jam & Lewis to be involved with the soundtrack, though the duo only ended up producing only one song for the film, with Jam saying "We worked for DreamWorks before on the Bryan Adams song for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and the Boyz II Men tune for The Prince of Egypt, and Katzenberg is a fan of what we do. He thought we would be perfect to do the music for Shark Tale."[37]

Track listing 

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Three Little Birds" (Sean Paul and Ziggy Marley) Bob Marley Stephen Marley 3:37
2. "Car Wash (Shark Tale Mix)" (Christina Aguilerafeaturing Missy Elliott) Norman Whitfield(additional lyrics by Missy Elliott) Missy Elliott, Ron Fair 3:50
3. "Good Foot" (Justin Timberlake featuringTimbaland) Timberlake, Timothy Mosley Timbaland 3:57
4. "Secret Love" (JoJo) Samantha Jade, Jared Gosselin, Phillip White White, Jared 4:00
5. "Lies & Rumours" (D12) DeShaun Holton, J. Rotem, Denaun Porter, O. Moore, V. Carlisle, Rufus Johnson, M. Chavarria Denaun Porter 4:20
6. "Got to Be Real" (Mary J. Blige featuring Will Smith) David Foster, David Paich & Cheryl Lynn Andre Harris, Vidal Davis 3:33
7. "Can't Wait" (Avant) Damon E. Thomas, Antonio Dixon, Harvey W. Mason, Eric Dawkins, Steven Russell The Underdogs 3:44
8. "Gold Digger" (Ludacrisfeaturing Bobby Valentino &Lil' Fate) Alonzo Lee, Shamar Daugherty, Christopher Bridges, Bobby Wilson, Arbie Wilson The Trak Starz 3:47
9. "Get It Together" (India.Arie) Drew Ramsey, Shannon Sanders, India.Arie, Dana Johnson, Mel Johnson India.Arie, Sanders, Ramsey 4:54
10. "We Went as Far as We Felt Like Going" (The Pussycat Dolls) Bob Crewe, Kenny Nolan Ron Fair 3:51
11. "Digits" (Fan 3) Allison Lurie, Paul Robb, David Clayton-Thomas, Fred Lipsius BitCrusher 3:41
12. "Sweet Kind of Life" (Cheryl Lynn) James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Cheryl Lynn, Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila, Tony Tolbert, James Q. Wright Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis 3:59
13. "Some of My Best Friends Are Sharks" (Hans Zimmer) Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer 3:25
Total length: 50:33


Chart (2004) Peak


U.S. Billboard 200 34
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4


In April 2011, DreamWorks Animation's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, commented that the studio did not have plans to produce future movie genre parodies like Shark TaleMonsters vs. Aliens, and Megamind, saying that these films "all shared an approach and tone and idea of parody, and did not travel well internationally. We don't have anything like that coming on our schedule now."

Video game

Main article: Shark Tale (video game)

A video game based on the film was released on September 29, 2004 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance.[41]Published by Activision, Edge of Reality developed the console versions of the game, while Vicarious Visions developed the Game Boy Advance version, and Amaze Entertainment developed the PC version.[41] The cast from the film did not reprise their roles in the game.

Club Oscar

Club Oscar is a five-minute computer-animated film that was included as a bonus feature on the DVD and VHS releases of Shark Tale and is set after the film. In the short, the Whale Wash turns into a party club.


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