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The Secret Life of Pets is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy buddy film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. The sixth feature film from Illumination, it was directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Yarrow Cheney, and written by Brian LynchCinco Paul and Ken Daurio, and stars the voices of Louis C.K.Eric StonestreetKevin HartSteve CooganEllie KemperBobby MoynihanLake BellDana CarveyHannibal BuressJenny Slate, and Albert Brooks.

The Secret Life of Pets premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 16, 2016, and was released in theaters in the United States on July 8, 2016. The film received generally positive reviews and grossed $875 million worldwide, becoming the seventh highest-grossing film of 2016, and was the year's most profitable release. A sequel is set for release on June 7, 2019, with Patton Oswalt taking over Max's voice role from Louis C.K.


A Jack Russell Terrier named Max lives with his owner Katie in a Manhattan apartment. While she is at work during the day, he hangs out with other pets in the building: tabby cat Chloe, pug Mel, dachshund Buddy, and budgerigar Sweet Pea. One day, Katie adopts Duke, a large mongrel from the pound, leaving Max jealous because of her divided focus on Duke. Enraged by Max's attitude towards him, Duke tries to abandon Max in an alley, but they are both attacked by cats led by Sphynx cat Ozone who removes both dogs' collars and leaves them to be caught by Animal Control. Duke fears that he will be put down if he goes back to the pound. When Gidget, a white Pomeranian discovers that Max is missing, she has to find him.

Max and Duke are rescued by a white rabbit named Snowball, the leader of "The Flushed Pets" – a gang of sewer-dwelling animals who hate humans because their owners mistreated them. After Max and Duke pretend to despise humans as much as they do by saying they killed their owners, the Flushed Pets invite them to join. Before they can prove their loyalty, by allowing a one-fanged viper to bite them, Snowball learns from the cats that Max and Duke are domesticated. The two dogs escape the sewers and board a ferry to Brooklyn, inadvertently killing the viper in the process. Snowball vows to kill them and leads the Flushed Pets after them.

Meanwhile, Gidget recruits a red-tailed hawk named Tiberius to find Max, but he mistakenly returns carrying Ozone, whom Gidget coerces into telling what he knows about the dogs. They then enlist Mel, Buddy, Chloe, guinea pig Norman and Sweet Pea. On the way, they meet Pops, an old Basset Hound, who helps Gidget and the pets find Max. Meanwhile, Max and Duke raid a sausage factory for food. Then, Gidget and her team encounter Snowball, who vows to kill them as well, and Norman is captured as the rest of Gidget's team flees.

In the meantime, Duke tells Max about his previous owner, Fred, an elderly man who adopted him as a puppy and loved spending time with him. One day, Duke got lost while chasing a butterfly and was caught by Animal Control, but Fred never came to claim him. Max convinces him to visit Fred's house in a nearby neighborhood, confident Fred will still love him and take him back. When they arrive at Fred's house, they learn from the resident cat Reginald that Fred has died. Heartbroken, Duke accuses Max of attempting to get rid of him and barks at the new homeowners who have just returned to the house and called Animal Control. The handlers catch Max, but Duke interferes long enough for Max to escape and ends up being captured instead.

While trying to rescue Duke as he follows the Animal Control van, Max is attacked by Snowball who tries to kill him. However, when his gang is captured, Snowball realizes that he and Max must work together to rescue them. They drive a city bus into the van on the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping traffic. The Flushed Pets encircle Max, unaware of his partnership with Snowball, but Gidget and her team save him. Gidget uses her kung-fu fighting skills, and Max starts to fall in love with her. The van gets stuck in scaffolding and the Flushed Pets escape. As soon as Max gets the keys to Duke's cage, the van plummets into the East River with him inside. Max is unable to free Duke, so Snowball jumps into the river to retrieve the keys, allowing them to escape the sinking van. Once out of the river, Snowball realizes how good being heroic feels.

The entire group returns to the apartment block by pig-driven taxi. Max expresses his love for Gidget, who returns his affection. Snowball and the Flushed Pets then come up with a new plan to annihilate all humans, but a little girl named Molly arrives to adopt Snowball and the remaining Flushed Pets return to the sewers. At first, Snowball resists, but gives in and lets himself become a domesticated pet. The other pets return to their homes and embrace their owners, and Max and Duke finally reunite with Katie, sparking a true friendship.

In a mid-credits scene, Buddy and Mel show up in costume at a party in poodle Leonard's apartment. Leonard's owner returns and Tattoo crashes to the floor on the chandelier.


  • Louis C.K. as Max, a Jack Russell Terrier.
  • Eric Stonestreet as Duke, a large, brown, shaggy mongrel.
  • Kevin Hart as Snowball, a white rabbit.
  • Jenny Slate as Gidget, a white Pomeranian and Max's love interest.
  • Ellie Kemper as Katie, Max and Duke's friendly owner.
  • Lake Bell as Chloe, an obese and apathetic grey tabby cat who is one of Max's friends.
  • Dana Carvey as Pops, an elderly Basset Hound, who is paralyzed in his back legs.
  • Hannibal Buress as Buddy, a laid-back dachshund and one of Max's friends.
  • Bobby Moynihan as Mel, an hyperactive pug and one of Max's friends.
  • Steve Coogan as Ozone, a Cockney-accented Sphynx cat.
    • Steve Coogan also voices Reginald, a malevolent Himalayan cat.
  • Albert Brooks as Tiberius, a curmudgeonly red-tailed hawk.
  • Chris Renaud as Norman, a guinea pig who keeps getting lost trying to find his apartment.
  • Michael Beattie as Tattoo, a slow-witted tattooed pig who is one of the Flushed Pets.
  • Sandra Echeverría as Maria, a character from the La Pasión de la Pasión telenovela that Gidget watches.
  • Jaime Camil as Fernando, a character from the La Pasión de la Pasión telenovela that Gidget watches.
  • Kiely Renaud as Molly, a little girl who adopts Snowball.

Additional voices



Renaud first became involved with the project in 2012, while he was still working on Despicable Me 2. At that time, Illumination's CEO Chris Meledandri pitched him an idea on a film about what pets do when their caretakers are away. While Renaud found the premise interesting he and his team did not know what form the story would take, with them at one point considering making it a murder mystery, before deciding to make something "that was a bit more relatable" 

The team used Jean-Jacques Sempé as an influence in designing the environment and attention was specifically paid to keep the designs "very vertically oriented" In keeping with the tradition of old WB cartoons, the owners faces are almost never seen. The home of the Flushed Pets was created to "hint at the darker side" of pet ownership "without, hopefully, getting too heavy. as well as to explore "this whole mythology in New York of the world that’s unseen, " while still maintaining the pet theme. The animation was created entirely in France by Illumination MacGuff.

Music and soundtrack

The original score for the film was composed by Alexandre Desplat. The soundtrack was released on July 1, 2016 by Back Lot Music.

Track listing

All music composed by Alexandre Desplat, except "We Go Together" by The Sausage Factory Singers.

  1. Meet the Pets
  2. Katie's Leaving
  3. Meet Duke
  4. Fetch Me a Stick
  5. Telenovela Squirrels
  6. Hijack!
  7. Gidget Meets Tiberius
  8. Initiation Time
  9. Rooftop Route
  10. The Viper
  11. You Have an Owner?
  12. Good Morning Max
  13. Sewer Chase
  14. Who's With Me?
  15. Me Like What Me See
  16. Traveling Bossa
  17. Flushed Out To Brooklyn
  18. Sausages!
  19. Duke's Old House / Captured
  20. Brooklyn Bridge Showdown
  21. Rescuing Duke
  22. Wet But Handsome / Blue Taxi
  23. Max and Gidget
  24. Welcome Home
  25. We Go Together (originally from Grease)


The film was originally scheduled to be released on February 12, 2016, but was pushed back to July 8, 2016, taking place of the slot previously held by Universal Animation Studios' Imagimals. It was released in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D using DMR. The Secret Life of Pets premiered at the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 16, 2016, and was screened at VidCon. The film is accompanied by a Despicable Me short film entitled Mower Minions.

Home media

The Secret Life of Pets was released on Digital HD on November 22, 2016, and on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and DVD on December 6, 2016. In addition to the short film Mower Minions, which was released theatrically with the feature film, the releases also include two short films: Norman Television and Weenie.


Box office

The Secret Life of Pets grossed $368.4 million in Canada and the U.S., and $507.1 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $875.5 million, against a production budget of $75 million. Its international takings helped push Universal Pictures [International] past $1 billion for the tenth consecutive year, and aided Illumination Entertainment to pass the $4 billion mark for the first time since 2010.

It is the seventh highest-grossing original worldwide film of all time (behind AvatarParadoria, ZootopiaImagimals, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo), the seventh highest-grossing film of 2016, the 17th highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the 55th highest-grossing film of all time. calculated the net profit of the film to be $374.6 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film, making it the most profitable release of 2016.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 208 reviews with an average rating of 6.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Fast-paced, funny, and blessed with a talented voice cast, The Secret Life of Pets offers a beautifully animated, cheerfully undemanding family-friendly diversion." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100 based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three out of four stars and called it "an animated fluffball—a sort of Toy Story with pets does everything to drive you crazy and ends up being totally irresistible." Scott Tobias, writing for NPR, characterized the film's concept as "Toy Story but with house pets," highlighting the film's "thinly distinguished characters" and "gloppy sentimentality." Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three out of four stars and said "In much the same way that the smash Zootopia demonstrated that creatures of different culture and class and species are better off when they come together, The Secret Life of Pets is a testament to teamwork and friendship and fixing the rifts that divide us. Let the fur—and the warm, fuzzy feelings—fly."

However, some critics disliked the film's unexpected similarities with Pixar's Toy Story. Matthew Parkinson of The Escapist compared the plots of both films and wrote that "The Secret Life of Pets feels like one of those hour-long ripoffs you'd see on a children's television network." Ethan Anderton of the website /Film criticised the film's characterisation, and noted that the relationship between Max and Duke was akin to "Woody and Buzz Lightyear all over again."


Award Category Recipient Result
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Animated Movie Nominated
Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Kevin Hart
Favorite Villain Won
Most Wanted Pet


Main article: The Secret Life of Pets 2

In August 2016, it was announced that there would be a sequel with director Chris Renaud, producers Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and writer Brian Lynch, with a release date of July 13, 2018. On January 25, 2017, its release date was pushed back to July 3, 2019. On August 15, 2017, its release date was moved forward to June 7, 2019. On November 10, 2017, it was announced that Louis C.K. would not be reprising his role as Max after being accused of, and having admitted to, inappropriate sexual conduct with five women. In April 2018, it was announced that Patton Oswalt will replace C.K. as Max while Hart, Stonestreet, Slate, Kemper, Bell, Carvey, Buress and Moynihan will return. Additional casting includes Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, Harrison Ford and Pete Holmes.

v - e - d
Secret life of pets logo
Films: The Secret Life of PetsThe Secret Life of Pets 2

Short films: Norman TelevisionWeenie


v - e - dUniversal Pictures theatrical animated features
Universal Animation Studios (Universal Animated Features)
Universal Animation Golden Age

Ama and the Mysterious Crystal (1997) · Galaxion (1999) · Paint World (1999) · Mistress Masham's Repose (2001) · Me & Mobo (2002) · Magina (2003)

Universal Animation Dark Age

Computeropolis (2004) · M.I.S.S.I.O.N. (2005) · BJ and Wally (2006) · Computeropolis 2 (2007) · Swapped (2008) · Woo La La (2009) · Computeropolis 3 (2010)

Universal Animation Revival

Gabriel Garza (2011) · Plucky Chicken (2012) · Quest (2013) · Gabriel Garza 2 (2014) · Paradoria (2015) · Luna & Zak (2015) · Imagimals (2016) · Gabriel Garza 3 (2017) · Lix (2017) · Computeropolis: The Deep Web (2018)


Paradoria 2: Enchanted Realm (2019) · Luna & Zak: Level Two (2020) · Earth Farm (2021) · Hyper (2021)


Despicable Me (2010) · Hop (2011) · The Lorax (2012) · Despicable Me 2 (2013) · Minions (2015) · The Secret Life of Pets (2016) · Sing (2016) · Despicable Me 3 (2017) ·


The Grinch (2018) · The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) · Minions 2 (2020) · Sing 2 (2020)

DreamWorks Animation

Antz (1998) · The Prince of Egypt (1998) · The Road to El Dorado (2000) · Chicken Run (2000) · Shrek (2001) · Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) · Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) · Shrek 2 (2004) · Shark Tale (2004) · Madagascar (2005) · Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) · Over the Hedge (2006) · Flushed Away (2006) · Shrek the Third (2007) · Bee Movie (2007) · Kung Fu Panda (2008) · Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) · Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) · How to Train Your Dragon (2010) · Shrek Forever After (2010) · Megamind (2010) · Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) · Puss in Boots (2011) · Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) · Rise of the Guardians (2012) · The Croods (2013) · Turbo (2013) · Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) · How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) · Penguins of Madagascar (2014) · Home (2015) · Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) · Trolls (2016) · The Boss Baby (2017) · Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) ·


How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) · Abominable (2019) · Trolls World Tour (2020) · The Croods 2 (2020) · The Boss Baby 2 (2021) · Spooky Jack (2021)

Big Idea Entertainment

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002) · The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008)

Animated Films Distributed by Universal

The Snow Queen (1959) · Pinocchio in Outer Space (1969) · An American Tail (1986) · The Land Before Time (1988) · Jetsons: The Movie (1990) · An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) · We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993) · Romeo and Juliet (1994) · Ghost Vision (1995) · Balto (1995) · Cassiopeia (2000) · The Gabriel Garza Movie (2002) · Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003) · Tony Tom-Tom's Delivery Service (2003) · Zina and the Vivid Crew (2004) · Curious George (2006) · Tony 2: Across the Nation (2007) · The Tale of Despereaux (2008) · The Pandemoniums Movie (2009) · Defender D (2011) · ROBLOX: The Movie (2011) · Uploaded (2012) · Defender 2D (2017) ·

Animated Films Distributed by Focus Features

Coraline (2009) · 9 (2009) · ParaNorman (2012) · The Boxtrolls (2014) · Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)