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As a huge animal lover, I have always been drawn towards movies about pets. The great thing is they are usually family-friendly and therefore a great way to get parents, grandparents and kids all enjoying the same activity. Even better, there are life lessons built into these movies which children absorb, without you even having to spell them out – isn’t that a win/win? Kids having a great time while learning!
This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but there are some great titles below, many of them classics, and all worth a watch.
Get comfy on the sofa, break out the popcorn and enjoy!
The Psychology of Why We Love Movies About Pets
As a movie enthusiast, I have noticed that movies about pets never fail to capture our hearts. It’s not just about the cuteness overload, but there’s something deeper that draws us to these movies.
Here are some reasons why we love movies about pets:
- Emotional connection: Pets are members of our family, and we form emotional bonds with them. Seeing them on screen evokes feelings of love, joy, and even sadness.
- Relatability: Many of us have owned or currently own pets, so we can relate to the experiences portrayed in the movies. It’s comforting to see our own pets’ quirks and personalities reflected in the characters on screen.
- Escapism: Movies about pets offer a form of escapism from our daily lives. We get to immerse ourselves in a world where pets can talk, have adventures, and even save the day.
- Catharsis: Movies about pets can also be cathartic, allowing us to process our own emotions and experiences related to our pets. They can provide a sense of comfort and healing, especially when dealing with loss or grief.
The Evolution of Pets in Cinema: From Sidekicks to Stars
Pets have always played a significant role in movies, but their portrayal has changed over time. Here’s a brief look at how pets have evolved in cinema:
- Early films often used pets as mere props or sidekicks, such as Toto in “The Wizard of Oz”. It’s interesting to note though that even though Toto was not billed as a star of the show, he has a lasting legacy in our memories of the film.
- In the 90s, pets began to take on more prominent roles, such as the title character in “Beethoven” or the wise-cracking cat in “Homeward Bound.”
- Today, pets are often the main characters in movies, such as the lovable dog in “A Dog’s Purpose” or the adventurous cat in “The Secret Life of Pets.”
The Role of Pet Trainers in Making Movies About Pets
Pet trainers play a vital role in making movies about pets. Here are some key points to consider:
- Pet trainers are responsible for training the animals used in movies to perform specific actions or behaviors required by the script.
- Trainers work closely with the animal actors to ensure their safety and well-being on set.
- They also work with the film crew to ensure that the animals’ needs are met, such as providing adequate food, water, and rest breaks.
- Pet trainers may also be involved in casting animals for specific roles in the movie, based on their breed, size, and temperament.
- Their expertise and experience can help ensure that the animal actors are able to perform their roles effectively, which can enhance the overall quality of the movie.
In short, pet trainers play a crucial role in making movies about pets. Their knowledge and skills can help bring the animal characters to life on the big screen, making them more relatable and engaging for audiences.
The Business of Pet Movies: Box Office Successes and Failures
Movies featuring pets have been a popular genre for a long time. The following are some of the box office successes and failures in the pet movie genre:
Box Office Successes
- The Secret Life of Pets (2016) – This animated movie raked in over $875 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing pet movies of all time.
- Marley & Me (2008) – This heartwarming comedy-drama about a mischievous Labrador Retriever became a massive hit, grossing over $247 million worldwide.
- Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) – This adventure movie about three pets making their way back home was a hit with audiences, grossing over $41 million in the United States alone.
Box Office Failures
- Cats (2019) – Despite its star-studded cast, this movie adaptation of the popular Broadway musical was a critical and commercial failure, grossing only $73 million worldwide against a budget of $95 million.
- Marmaduke (2010) – This live-action adaptation of the comic strip about a Great Dane failed to impress audiences, grossing only $83 million worldwide against a budget of $50 million.
- Rover Dangerfield (1991) – This animated comedy about a dog who dreams of becoming a Las Vegas singer was a critical and commercial flop, grossing only $6.5 million against a budget of $20 million.
Overall, the pet movie genre has seen its share of successes and failures. However, as long as people continue to love their furry friends, I believe that pet movies will continue to be a popular genre in the film industry.
Our Top 10 Movies About Pets
Lassie Come Home is a classic. It is one of the first pet movies to have hit the big screen. A young dog is taken from her owners and finally finds her way home after many trials.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey explores the mentality of pets when their owners leave them for an indeterminate amount of time. Are they coming back? Do they really care? The movie follows a group of two dogs and a cat searching for their owner despite the many dangers.
Marley and Me is relatable to any pet owner! The story follows a dog and his two owners who are just trying to get by as writers. Fortunately for John, Marley, his dog, is just the sort of character to inspire his articles. Pretty soon, much of South Florida is following Marley’s antics through John’s column in the paper.
Doctor Dolittle is one of the quintessential ‘what if’ movies exploring pets and human communication. A doctor born with the gift of understanding and talking to animals learns to befriend them and get himself into trouble because of it. This movie not only explores animal communication, but also a range of animals from wildlife to cats and dogs.
Paulie is sort of the opposite of Doctor Dolittle. Instead of one human talking to every animal, one bird can communicate with every human. This leads Paulie, the conure parrot in question, to use his gift of speech to help him travel across the US in an attempt to find his long-lost love – his first owner, Marie.
The Aristocats is a 1970 animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions. The story follows a family of aristocratic cats who are kidnapped by their butler and left in the countryside, but with the help of an alley cat named Thomas O’Malley, they find their way back home. Along the way, they encounter various obstacles and adventures, including run-ins with a group of jazz-loving geese and a pair of bumbling dog-nappers. Ultimately, the cats are reunited with their wealthy owner and live happily ever after.
Hotel for Dogs begins by introducing two kind-hearted foster children who are always getting themselves into trouble. They have a dog that they are trying to hide, and soon find the perfect opportunity to do so – in an abandoned hotel. The abandoned hotel eventually turns into a retreat for all stray dogs in the area.
Babe is a 1995 film about a pig named Babe who is raised by a border collie named Fly on a farm. Babe is different from the other pigs on the farm as he is polite and friendly. He learns to herd sheep from Fly and becomes determined to become a sheepdog himself. Despite the other animals’ doubts, Babe trains hard and eventually competes in a sheepdog trial. With the help of Fly and the other animals on the farm, Babe wins the competition and earns the respect of everyone around him. The film is a heartwarming story about the power of determination, kindness, and friendship.
There is also a much-loved sequel, Babe: Pig in the City.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis takes a new spin on the pet that loses his way and tries to find his way back home. Instead, this story is about a cat and dog that lose each other and set off on a journey to be reunited again. This is especially heart-warming to pet owners whose pets have a very special bond not only with their owners, but with other pets as well.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 animated film produced by DreamWorks Animation. The movie follows the story of a wild mustang horse named Spirit, who is captured by American soldiers during the 19th century and taken to a cavalry post.
Spirit refuses to be tamed and escapes, making his way back to his homeland. Along the way, he meets a Lakota Native American named Little Creek and develops a bond with him. Together, they face various challenges, including escaping from the cavalry and fighting off a group of cowboys. In the end, Spirit returns to his herd and Little Creek returns to his tribe, but they remain connected by their shared experiences. The film is a tale of freedom, friendship, and the unbreakable spirit of the wild.
Getting Set Up For a Great Evening of Movie Watching
The right set-up is crucial for a great movie-watching experience. Here are some tips to help you get set up for a fantastic evening of pet-themed movies:
Choose a comfortable spot: Whether it’s your couch, bed, or favorite chair, make sure you have a comfortable spot to settle in for the movie.
Gather your snacks: No movie night is complete without snacks. Popcorn, candy, and soda are classic options, but you can also opt for healthier choices like fruit, veggies, and dip.
Set the mood: Dim the lights, close the curtains, and turn off any distractions like your phone or computer. This will help you fully immerse yourself in the movie.
Pick your movie: With so many great pet-themed movies out there, it can be hard to choose just one. Check our list above or browse Amazon Prime Video for some more ideas.
Get comfortable: Grab a cozy blanket, pillows, and anything else you need to make yourself comfortable for the duration of the movie.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a great evening of movie-watching.
The Enduring Appeal of Movies About Pets
So many of us love pet-themed movies that this genre will be around for the long haul.
Whether you’re a dog person, a cat person, or a fan of any other type of pet, there’s a movie out there that can capture your heart and imagination. I hope you enjoyed our list of movies about pets and will be settling in for an evening of relaxed movie-watching very soon.