Animators decided upon Judy's purple eye color because they thought the rest of her gray fur markings were too dull, particularly for a main character. Purple was chosen to represent her energetic and optimistic personality.
Duke Weaselton is voiced by Alan Tudyk, who also voiced the Duke of Weselton (often mispronounced Weaseltown) in Frozen (2013). In contrast to the character of the latter, Judy mispronounces Duke's last name as "Weselton" in this movie.
To best accommodate various countries, the crew at Disney substituted a different animal for news anchor Moosebridge that Has significance in that particular country. Examples include: Australia: Koala, voiced by Australian Entertainer David E. Campbell; Japan: Tanuki (a raccoon dog), voiced by Japanese comedian and choreographer Koura Kazumasa; China: Giant Panda, still voiced by Peter Mansbridge; Brazil: Jaguar, voiced by Brazilian Journalist Ricardo Boechat; Moosebridge was going to be a corgi for the UK version, but they kept him a moose, renamed "Moosos Alexander" and voice by BBC sport reporter, Vassos Alexander. However, the UK home release kept the character's US name and voice.
The pirated DVDs that Duke Weaselton is selling are movies with word plays to other Walt Disney Animation Studio features. Examples are: "Pig Hero 6" (Big Hero 6 (2014)), "Floatzen" (Frozen (2013)), "Wrangled" (Tangled (2010)) and "Wreck-It Rhino" (Wreck-It Ralph (2012)). He also claimed to have movies that haven't been released yet, which were "Meowana" (Moana (2016)), and "Giraffic" (Gigantic). These were intended to be foreshadowing of future projects of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Moana would be released later that year. However, Gigantic was shelved a year later and eventually canceled due to creative problems.
According to Nick's employment application form, he is 4 feet tall, weighs 80 pounds and his special abilities are "night vision, excellent sense of smell and business savvy". Also, when asked if he has a criminal record, he checked "yes" then crossed it out and checked "no."
It was November 2014 when the production team decided to change the story to emphasize Judy Hopps as the main character rather than Nick Wilde. To help with the difficulties of the late sudden change, Jared Bush was hired as a co-director alongside directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore.
Some have speculated that Judy Hopps from Zootopia is a reference to Judy Hoffs from 21 Jump Street (1987). Other than their remarkably similar names, they are both law enforcement officers who face workplace discrimination. According to Zootopia director Byron Howard, this is "a hilarious but amazing coincidence."
This is the fourth consecutive Disney animated feature for Alan Tudyk as an antagonistic role, following Wreck-It Ralph (2012) (as the Main Antagonist), Frozen (2013) (as the Secondary Antagonist), and Big Hero 6 (2014) (as an Anti-hero).
Parodies of various songs from past Disney animated feature films on Judy's music player. These include "Let it Go" from Frozen (2013), "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid (1989), "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King (1994), and "Arabian Nights" from Aladdin (1992).
When interrogated Nick said he had been doing this "since he was 12." While Judy is multiplying everything together to figure out how much he owes in taxes, we hear her say "times two decades." That would make Nick 32.
The horn heard when Judy Hopps leaves her hometown and again when she arrives in Zootopia is the horn from the Monorail at Disney Parks. The SkyTram in the rainforest zone is a reference to the Skyway that ferried guests from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. The Sky Buckets were removed from Disneyland in 1994 and from the Magic Kingdom in 1999.
In earlier versions of the script, Nick was the son of a tailor and was always sharply dressed in a suit and tie, while his friend Finnick wore the Hawaiian shirt. With the change in focus, not only was Finnick's role drastically changed, but Nick was given the Hawaiian shirt to make him look more relaxed and laid back.
When Chief Bogo is handing out assignments at the end, he says, "Snarlov, Wolford, Higgins: undercover..." at which point, officer Wolford pulls a ram mask over his head. He is literally a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Judy's two obnoxious next-door neighbors, who can constantly be heard to tell each other to shut up, are a reference to the infamous "shut up little man" recordings. The tapes were a pre-internet viral sensation where a pair of next-door neighbor male roommates were captured on audio arguing incessantly, often ending with the pair screaming at each other to shut up.
Josh Dallas voices a background character named "frantic pig." Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin, who voices Judy, star together in the ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time (2011) as Snow White and Prince Charming, and they are married to each other in real life.
As a change of pace, Kristen Bell, who voices DMV sloth Priscilla, is a slow-talker compared to her Frozen (2013) character Princess Anna, who is a fast-talker. Sloths are one of Bell's favorite animals.
When Judy and Nick search records from traffic cameras in the City Hall, the system gives the coordinate of the one which can show the 'Sky Tram': '37.181716, -118.312193'. In the real world, these coordinates are located exactly in Los Angeles, California.
Chief Bogo, when chastising Judy for having unrealistic dreams of becoming a "real cop", tells her that they aren't living "in a cartoon world where you sing a little song and all your dreams come true" before telling her to "let it go." This is an obviously self-referential nod to the large body of prior Disney animated classics, which frequently feature heroes seeking to fulfill lofty dreams, singing, and wishing, particularly the mega-hit Frozen (2013) whose feature song was the anthem "Let it Go" by Idina Menzel.
Judy's cellphone provider, as seen on her screen, is "PB&J," a reference to the company AT&T, and means "Peanut Butter and Jelly". On the back of her phone is a carrot with a bite taken out of it, a clear reference to Apple Inc. and the iPhone, which AT&T offers to users. PB&J was also used as the title for the Disney Junior (at the time Playhouse Disney) series PB&J Otter (1998).
Young Judy Hopps was nine years old in the beginning of the movie (where she was bullied and attacked by Gideon Grey, the Fox). The movie skips fifteen years into the future where Judy start the Police training. Judy confirms her age as being nine when the "incident" with Gideon Grey occurred. If the Police training last 1 year, this makes Judy twenty-five years old when she moves to Zootopia.
When Duke Weaselton is about to be iced at Mr. Big's place, he says "They offered me what I couldn't refuse. Money", a clear reference to the famous dialogue said by Marlon Brando's character Don Corleone, "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." from The Godfather (1972). In the earlier context, it actually meant that he was going to threaten to kill someone in order to get them to do what he wanted.
Because the change in script was left so late in the production cycle, many character models and set pieces from the first script were retained with cosmetic changes. The abandoned warehouse in which Nick's "Wild Times" amusement park was to have been hidden is visible when Judy meets Nick at the bridge, for example, while the Oasis Hotel in Sahara Square was originally the Golden Palm in the Rainforest District (and would have featured a thrilling escape down the "leaf" roofs).
In addition to being a popular phrase used to inspire hope and comfort, Judy Hopps's self-consoling line, "Tomorrow is another day," can be seen as a reference to the title of a major song from an earlier Walt Disney animated film, The Rescuers (1977), in which unlikely animal heroes also work together to investigate and solve a crime while facing menacing predators.
Judy Hopps was originally going to be a cynical, no-nonsense, aggressive and seasoned police officer, but the screening for the film's development was felt to be dark and unpleasant. As a result, the story was revamped by Byron Howard and the rest of the production team, and they changed Judy's personality to an optimistic and starry-eyed rookie.
Freeze frame on the first citation written, at 9:15 am, reveals that a parking with an expired meter is a $25 fine. So, writing 201 tickets means Officer Hopps has earned the city $5,025 in revenue in two hours and 45 minutes (at a pace of almost two tickets per minute).
When Nick has his long monologue after Judy finds out about his "pawpsicle" hustle, both go along the street and pass a wooden fence where Judy almost gets hit by a walking-by rhino. Attached to the fence is a black-colored poster for the musical "Rats", similar to the original "Cats".
Lemmings are erroneously known for committing mass suicides by jumping of cliffs or drowning -- a myth started by the 1958 Disney nature documentary 'White Wilderness.' In this film, lemmings in tiny suits are seen exiting a building with the sign "Lemming Brothers." This is a wordplay on Lehman Brothers, a company infamous for filing the largest bankruptcy claim in US history.
As Judy's train passes the 'Leaving Bunnyburrow' sign, it can been seen that the population of the town is rapidly increasing. This, plus Judy's hundreds of siblings, is a reference to the formidable procreative ability of rabbits.
The only types of Mammals not featured in Zootopia are Primates, due to their looking "Too Human"; Bats, since they would've been the only residents with the ability to fly, along with Flying Squirrels; and Marine Mammals like Seals and Dolphins, since it would've been odd to feature animals that can't move on land, beside the fact that they'd have been the only residents with fins. There is however a fish market, where presumably animals can buy them as a food source. Disney has done this before with their litany of talking animals who end up having a pet such as a dog.
Bellwether is a sheep. All sheep in the movie have sheep-like eyes, except her. She has 'regular' eyes. Near the end of the movie she stands next to a sheep cop with the more accurate eyes, which makes for a strange contrast.
The foxes try to buy a Jumbo-pop, but the manager of Jumbeaux's Café refuses, due to his strong hatred of foxes. Judy Hopps intervenes in a peaceful manner, and convinces him to allow Nick to have the Jumbo-pop. This scene was inspired by a similar scene in Giant (1956), where Rock Hudson's character, Bick Benedict, peacefully convinces a restaurant manager to allow Mexicans in the restaurant, before the situation escalates and Benedict engages the manager in a fistfight. The restaurants in both films have signs saying that they "reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."
HIDDEN MICKEY: After Judy enters the Rainforest District on the tram and it starts raining, as the camera pans down to show the pedestrians walking under the tramway, a Hidden Mickey can be seen as the design on the top of one of the blue umbrellas to the right.
Zootopia is called Zootropolis in Europe because the Danish Zoo called Givskud Zoo had trademarked zootopia for Europe. It should have been in use by it's 50th anniversary in 2019, but due to Disney calling their movie Zootopia in the rest of the world, they have decided to use it now, so the zoo now is called Givskud zoo Zootopia.
On June 2, 2016, Byron Howard and Rich Moore stated that because of the film's success, a sequel or TV series to Zootopia is potential. On July 10, 2017, Mark Rhino Smith stated he was reprising his role as Officer McHorn in the sequel.
As Officer Hopps gives her statement to the press on 'cracking the case,' the station microphones on the podium are arranged in the order of channels 9, 2, 11, and 5. Coincidentally, 92115 is the ZIP code for the city of San Diego, home of one of the largest zoos in the world.
Possible homage to Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) when Judy is attempting to start the train and transport the Nighthowler evidence to the ZPD. The sound effects match those of the Millenium Falcon when Han Solo is trying to start it up in order to flee the ice planet Hoth. Coupled with that, the camera shot and actions of the protagonists bear strong similarities.
When Judy calls Duke Weaselton "frozen", this is a reference to a character The Duke of Weselton from Frozen (2013). Both Weaselton in Zootopia (2016) and Weselton from Frozen (2013) are voiced by Alan Tudyk.
In many respects, this film is a modern answer to the deficiencies of their previous major furry film, Robin Hood (1973). Robin Hood was derided at its original release as an unambitious kiddie film with anthropomorphic animal characters that was beneath the artistic standards of the late Walt Disney, such as recycling numerous animation sequences from previous films. In addition, the female characters like Maid Marian are strictly secondary and disappear when their particular scenes are concluded. By contrast, Zootopia is a big budgeted, widely hailed and Oscar winning film with anthropomorphic animals and noted cinematic innovations such as in the depiction of texture. Furthermore, whereas the animators of Robin Hood complained at how their character designs were arbitrarily rejected in favor of cliched animal stereotypes, Zootopia has the subversion of stereotypes, and the prejudices involved, as a central theme of the film. Furthermore, the female cop character, Judy Hopps, is the central character with her struggles largely being the primary plot of the film.
This is the second Disney animated feature film to have characters voiced by Raymond S. Persi (A Hippo Officer and Flash the Sloth) and Rich Moore (A Security Wolf and Doug the Ram). The first one is Wreck-It Ralph (2012), where Persi voiced Cyril the Zombie and Gene, and Moore voiced Zangief and Sour Bill.
In the Polish dub, the white wolf that was tricked by Judy to start howling is called Geralt, this is a reference to Geralt of Rivia, the main character of the Polish video game and novel series The Witcher, whose alias is White Wolf.
Both Idris Elba and J.K. Simmons lent their voices for animated animal characters in separate animated films in 2016. Elba had three: one for Chief Bogo the Cape Buffalo in Zootopia, the second as Fluke the Sea Lion in Finding Dory (2016) and the third being Shere Khan in The Jungle Book (2016), although technically the last was meant to be an actual tiger, rather than an animation. Simmons' contributions were for Mayor Lionheart the Lion in Zootopia and Kai the Bull in Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) after all both Kai the Bull from Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) and Shere Khan from The Jungle Book (2016) are villains who appear to be animals.
On March 21, 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Disney by Esplanade Productions, a company owned by Gary L. Goldman, screenwriter of Total Recall. The lawsuit claims that Goldman twice pitched a concept for a live-action/animation hybrid film titled Looney (which featured an animated component called Zootopia), to Disney in 2000 and 2009 but was twice rejected, and alleges that Disney then copied the concept and marketed the film as its own. Filed with the lawsuit was a graphic of early concept artwork of characters that are claimed to appear similar to major characters from the film, including Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps, Flash, and Chief Bogo. A Disney spokesperson described the lawsuit as being "ridden with patently false allegations." In their defense, Disney requested a dismissal of the lawsuit on May 23, 2017. On June 26, 2017, it was ruled that Goldman had not provided enough evidence to justify the case going to court. However, Goldman was granted permission to file another complaint if he collects any further information.
The flower shop that is robbed is called Flora and Fauna. These are scientific terms, flora meaning plants and fauna meaning animals, in addition to being the names of 2 of the Fairies from Sleeping Beauty (1959).
On June 5, 2016, two days before it's Blu-ray and Digital HD release date, it grossed $1 billion worldwide, only the fourth animated film and second Disney animated film in history to reach this milestone.
Despite the fact that Koslov (who is a parody of a Russian mafia stereotype) is a polar bear, his name refers to the word "Kosyol/Kozyol", the Russian male word for "Goat", or the "Kosa/Koza", the female version of "Kosyol". But Koslov is also a common Russian surname.
The sloths' role in the movie was originally to a small gag early in the movie where, after Judy exists the train arriving in Zootopia, a sloth leaving the train would be too slow to make it out before the doors close. Once their roles were expanded to the DMV scene later in development, the artists had to redesign their faces to accommodate more varied facial expressions and deliver an actual performance.
Apes and monkeys are not featured in this movie. These animals were intentionally left out of the film as they were too closely related to humans. A now-debunked rumor claimed that it was due to fear of them being viewed as racist stereotypes of black people. Said rumor is thought to have originated with Sing (2016), released later that same year.
This is the first film from Walt Disney Animation Studios to not be released in November since Winnie the Pooh (2011) five years prior, as well as the first to be released in March since Meet the Robinsons (2007) nine years prior.
The fourth Walt Disney Animation Studios film to be produced in 2.35:1, after Wreck-it Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013) and Big Hero 6 (2014). Apparently the author of this comment doesn't count hand drawn animated films which were produced in this aspect ratio like Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp and Atlantis: the lost empire. A mimuch more daring feat.
The first animated film of Alan Tudyk's that is not associated with 20th Century Fox's Ice Age franchise where he voices an animal character he later did so in Moana (2016) and the sequels to The Angry Birds Movie (2016).
In the Judy Hustle scene, on Nick's 1040 his Zootopia Benefits number is given as 555-16-2239. If ZBN follow the rules for SSN, this would indicate a ZBN issued in the State of California between the years 1936 and 1950. Assuming that it was issued at Nick's birth, which is common, that it was the latest possible year, and Nick's age is 32, this puts the year that the movie was set in as 1982.
The city of Bunnyburrow is 211 miles (339 km) away from Zootropolis. It could have been any number but it so happens that Rennes, a really old city in northwestern France with a lot of places of interests and the capital of the region of Brittany, is 211 miles or 339 km away from Paris (to be precise: from Disney's Hotel Cheyenne). It is one of a few trips visitors might take if they are visiting Disneyland in Paris (another trip might be travelling to Lille, far north from Paris).
Idris Elba and J.K. Simmons who are in this film have been in superhero films. Elba who is in this film plays Hemidall in Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Simmons, who is also in the film previously played J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002-2007) and will play Com Gordon in Justice League (2017).
The pairing of Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps is very similar to the pairing of Lupo Alberto and Marta from Italian Classic cómic Lupo Alberto by Silver. Alberto is a wolf and Marta a chicken (predator and prey) but they are falling in love.
Byron Howard and Rich Moore were previously nominated in the Best Animated Feature category before they won with this film. Byron was nominated for Bolt (2008) and Rich was nominated for Wreck-It Ralph (2012). Both lost to Pixar films, Bolt lost to WALL-E (2008) and Wreck-It Ralph lost to Brave (2012).
The two main sloths in the DMV scene featured hairstyles inspired by members of the crew. Flash's hairstyle was inspired by director Byron Howard's haircut, while Precilla's was inspired by Character Look Supervisor Michelle Robinson.
Before she boards the train for Zootopia, Judy tells her parents, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This is obviously a quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, the world Judy lives in is one where humans supposedly never existed, so the quote must have had a different origin for her.
Nick calls Judy Hopps by her first name only once in the film, and it's after the scene where they flush themselves from a toilet. He more commonly calls her "Rabbit", "Carrots." or "Fluff". The fact he calls her by her first name when he is most frantic about her safety after falling into the water below marks his true feelings for her.
When Judy and Nick are in the subway car watching Doug make the Night Howler shots, the scene shifts to a subway map of Zootopia printed by the ZTA (Zootopia Transit Authority). The map has pictures of the predators pinned to the locations where Doug poisoned them. If you look closely at the map, the street names in each of the "districts" coincide with the central theme of that district. Tundratown has Plow St., Snowcastle Way, Glacier Falls, and Blizzard St.; Rainforest District has Shady Place, Misty Blvd, and Precipitation St.; and Sahara Square has Tundra Gate, Cactus Grove, Aloe Ave, Agave Ave, and Dry River Road.
When Judy asks to check the traffic camera feed in Assistant Mayor Bellwether's office, the name of Doug visible, with a phone number underneath. Doug is one of the rams creating the savage drug later on.
The Assistant Mayor's surname is Bellwether, which is the leading sheep of a flock, with a bell around its neck. Additionally, a wether is a castrated ram. A ram is the sign of the devil, and can symbolise evil.
Judy appears to be the only bunny in Zootopia until the scene after Nick walks out, and the reporters swarm around her. At that point, there is a bunny news reporter who asks her, "We can't even trust our own friends?"
When Judy and Nick are running from the wild jaguar, Judy radios in to the police station to give their crossroads. She mispronounces Tujunga and Nick is quick to correct. The Disney campus where Zootopia was created is on Tujunga in Burbank, California.
When Judy and Nick are in Bellwether's office watching the traffic cameras you can see a sticky note on her desk with a phone number for Doug. Doug is the name of the ram that's been turning the animals savage and works for Bellwether.
This is the ninth film from Walt Disney Animation Studios where the identity of the villain is a surprise, in this case it was Dawn Bellwether. The eight previous films that had villains who didn't seem villainous/antagonistic at first (though DOR-15 did serve as a Secondary Antagonist of her film, and though Gantu was the only one who failed to reform) were: Winky from The Wind in the Willows Segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949), Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone (1963), Clayton from Tarzan (1999), Gantu from Lilo & Stitch (2002), DOR-15 from Meet the Robinsons (2007), Gothel from Tangled (2010), Turbo (King Candy) from Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Prince Hans from Frozen (2013) and Professor Robert Callahan from Big Hero 6 (2014).
While Judy is accusing him of Popsicle hustling, Nick steals and eats a blueberry from a nearby stand. This is the same fruit that he and Judy later use to trick Bellwether into revealing her villainy.
Between the scene where Judy learns about the Night Howlers, and the scene where Mayor Bellweather is arrested, Judy and Nick are wearing clothes that are similar to the characters Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox from Song of the South (1946). Both films are known for how they depicted race relations. Song of the South was criticized for its condescending portrayal of freed slaves, while Zootopia was praised for its message on stereotypes and discrimination.
Reference to breaking bad: when Judy and Nick are in their subway listening to the sheep making poison darts, the sheep gets a phone call but has to hang up because "Walter and Jesse" were there with his latte
When Officer Judy realizes Night Howlers refer to the flowers, and jumps in the family farm truck to drive back to Zootopia to solve the case, the license plate reads JER2911 -- referring to a popular passage in the Bible -- Jeremiah 29:11, a passage that states: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." This could refer to the idea that Judy was meant to be a cop, and it is her destiny/calling.
When Nick and Judy were investigating about the kidnapping of Manchas the jaguar. They asked assistant mayor Bellweather for help with the jam cams, you can see a post it with Doug's contact number by her phone (Doug 805-5550127) when mayor Lionheart paged her. Giving a clue that Bellweather has been contacting Doug and causing the missing mammals.
Nick and Judy faking Judy's death at the museum is a small tribute to Song of the South (1946) and the Uncle Remus stories. In the stories, Brer Rabbit fakes his own death to escape from the main animal antagonists, most famously done in the "Everyone has a Laighin' Place" story.
There appears to be a brief homage to Avatar (2009) when Judy is being chased by the maddened Manchas. From the way he turns to look at the two main characters, to Judy saying 'Run, Run!' as Dr. Grace Augustine did, the scene plays out similarly to Jake Sully's being pursued by a relatively larger predator. The main character ducks into a hollowed-out log, and the predator tries to get at them through the sides.
At the end of the film, when Bogo is handing out assignments, a well known saying is referenced. When they are told to go undercover, one of the officers, who is a wolf, disguises himself as a sheep, thus making him "a wolf in sheep's clothing."