On July 17th, 2013 DreamWorks Animation released their film “Turbo” which happened to be one of the most competitive weekends that summer for animated features. Pitted against the sequels for two mega-hit movies, Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, it landed number three at the box office on its opening weekend, making Turbo one of the lowest grossing openings in the studio’s history.
Also playing in theaters at the time were Epic and The Smurfs 2. Although the film had tough competition in the North American market it was well received in the International market opening at number one in 32 territories across the globe. It went on to become one of the top animated films of all time in China, Korea and Venezuela. An original idea by first-time director, David Soren, “Turbo” features an ordinary garden snail whose dream to become the fastest snail in the world comes true.
The idea for the film started five years earlier when DreamWorks Animation organized a competition for all employees to pitch a one page storyline. The night before the competition, Soren conceptualized Fast & Furious with snails, and won the competition. The studio bought the idea, and proceeded to put it on the back burner for over five years. But when Soren and his family moved into a new home with a backyard infested with snails, he pushed for the idea and “got it back on the fast track.”
On why he chose snails for the film Soren says, “For me, it was less about trying to make a racing movie and more about finding an underdog that I could really latch onto. I think that a snail is inherently an underdog. It’s smashed, eaten by people, the butt of slow jokes around the world. It just seemed loaded with obstacles. Obviously, the opposite of slow is fast, and that’s where racing came into the picture.” For the racing side of the film, Soren was inspired by his six-year-old son’s fascination with race cars.
The star-studded voice-over cast in Turbo includes:
• Ryan Reynolds as Theo aka Turbo, a garden snail who dreams of becoming a racer.
• Paul Giamatti as Chet, Turbo’s brother
• Michael Pena as Tito, a “Dos Bros” taco truck driver who finds and befriends Turbo
• Snoop Dogg as Smoove Move, a snail
• Maya Rudolph as Burn, a snail
• Michelle Rodriguez as Paz, a car mechanic
• Samuel L. Jackson as Whiplash, a snail leader
• Luis Guzmán as Angelo, Tito’s brother and a “Dos Bros” taco truck driver
• Bill Hader as Guy Gagne, a French-Canadian Indy 500 champion
• Richard Jenkins as Bobby, a shopkeeper
• Ken Jeong as Kim-Ly, a shopkeeper
• Ben Schwartz as Skidmark, a snail
• Kurtwood Smith as Indy CEO
• Michael Bell as White Shadow, a snail
• Dario Franchitti as Scottish Anchor, Male Tourist
• Will Power as Australian Anchor
• Mario Andretti as an Indianapolis Motor Speedway traffic director
• Paul Page as a booth announcer
Netflix will release the television series Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team), as a follow up to the film in December 2013.