Open Season is a 2006 computer-animated film and the first film in the Open Season franchise, produced by Sony Pictures Animation and distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film follows Boog, a domesticated grizzly bear with no survival skills as his perfect world turned upside down when he meets Elliot, a scrawny fast-talking mule deer. They join forces to unite the woodland animals and take the forest back into nature's control.
In the tranquil town of Timberline, 900-pound (407 kg) grizzly bear Boog enjoys a captive, but happy, existence and spends his day as the star attraction of the town's nature show with nights living the life of luxury in the garage of park ranger Beth, who raised him since he was a cub. One day, the hunter Shaw drives into town with a one-antlered deer named Elliot strapped to the hood of his truck. Boog frees Elliot at the last minute and against his better judgment before Shaw can go after him. That night, Elliot follows Boog home and finds him sleeping in the garage and starts to throw rabbits at the window. He tells him to be "free" from his garage and introduces Boog to a world of sweet temptations outside of the garage that he has not known. When Boog becomes intoxicated with sugar sweets, events quickly spiral out of control as the two ransack the town's grocery store. Elliot escapes before Boog is caught by Beth's friend Sheriff Gordy. At the nature show, Elliot who is being chased by Shaw, sees Boog who attacks him, making the whole audience in the show panic before Boog finally threatens to kill Elliot. Shaw tries to shoot Boog, but Beth sedates them with a tranquilizer gun before he could, thanks to Gordy. Shaw flees before he can arrest him for shooting a gun in the town. The two are released into the Timberline National Forest, only three days before open season starts, but they are set over the falls, where they will be safe.
Since he lacks any outdoor skills, Boog takes Elliot as his hapless guide to get him back home to Timberline to reunite with Beth. But in the woods, they quickly learn that it is every animal for itself. The two run into their share of the forest animals including skunks Rosie and Maria, mallard ducks Serge and Deni, panic-stricken rabbits, the Scottish-accented squirrel, McSquizzy and his rogue gang, Reilly and his beaver construction worker team, a porcupine named Buddy who is in search of a friend and the herd of deer led by Ian and Giselle (whom Elliot is in love with) With each adverse encounter, Boog learns a little about self-reliance and Elliot gains self-respect and they start to become friends. Day by day, Elliot tries to lead Boog out of the forest, but it becomes evident that he has no clue where they are going. After winding up at Reilly's dam, Boog and Elliot are confronted by Shaw; Boog loses Dinkleman as the current makes the doll flout out of Boog's paw. They ended up in a waterfall with the flood washes everyone in the forest before the water recedes. Boog then sees a teddy bear shape in the mud and thinks it is Dinklemen, but it turns out it is just a rabbit covered in mud.
At first everyone blames Boog who accuses Elliot of lying to him about leading him home. Elliot admits he thought that if Boog spent time with him, he would befriend him. Boog leaves to unwittingly find Shaw's log cabin. Shaw returns and talks to his gun "Loraine" and says he would take back what is his, discovers him (like Goldilocks and the Three Bears), and pursues him to the city road where Boog happens upon the glowing lights of Timberline. Instead of deserting his companions, Boog helps the other animals defend themselves using supplies taken from Bob and Bobbie's (two "scientists" looking for Bigfoot) RV while their pet dachshund Mr. Weenie joins the wilds. The next day, Boog leads a rampage against the hunters, sending them running after McSquizzy blows up their trucks with a propane tank named "Mr. Happy". Shaw returns for a final battle and shoots Elliot in the process, which enrages Boog to tie up Shaw with his own gun. Boog rushes over to Elliot's body but soon finds that Elliot survived the shot, only losing his second antler in the fight. Beth returns to take Boog back home where he will be safe, but instead, he stays with his friends and all animals live in the forest.
During the credits, Shaw is seen tarred, feathered and tied on the top of Bobbie and Bob's RV, who believe him to be Bigfoot.
- Martin Lawrence as Boog, a 900-pound, smooth-talking grizzly bear.
- Ashton Kutcher as Elliot, a hyperactive mule deer.
- Gary Sinise as Shaw, the nastiest hunter in Timberline and Beth's arch-rival.
- Debra Messing as Beth, a park ranger who raised Boog since he was a cub.
- Billy Connolly as McSquizzy, a grumpy, old Scottish-accented Eastern gray squirrel.
- Jon Favreau as Reilly, a North American beaver
- Patrick Warburton as Ian, a mule deer stag who is Elliot's former arch-rival.
- Jane Krakowski as Giselle, a beautiful mule deer doe who is Elliot's love interest.
- Gordon Tootoosis as Gordy, Timberline's sheriff and Beth's friend.
- Georgia Engel as Bobbie, a fat lady who's Bob's wife and Mr. Weenie's owner.
- Cody Cameron as Mr. Weenie, a domesticated, German-accented dachshund who is Bob and Bobbie's pet.
- Danny Mann as Serge, a French-accented, psychotic mallard duck.
- Matthew W. Taylor as Deni, a mute mallard duck who is Serge's brother and sidekick.
- Buddy, a blue North American porcupine who is in search of a friend.
- Nika Futterman as Rosie, a hot-tempered striped skunk.
- Michelle Murdocca as Maria, a striped skunk who is Rosie's identical sister.
- Fergal Reilly as O'Toole, a North American beaver and one of Reilly's men.
The ideas for Open Season came from cartoonist Steve Moore, who is known for his comic strip In the Bleachers. Moore and producer John Carls submitted the story to Sony in June 2002, and the film immediately went into development. On February 29, 2004, Leap Year Day, Sony Pictures Animation announced the beginning of the production on its first CGI animated film Open Season.
The film location was inspired by the towns of Sun Valley, Idaho and McCall, Idaho, and the Sawtooth National Forest. References to the Lawn Lake, Colorado, Dam flood, Longs Peak, and other points of interest in the area are depicted in the film.
The Sony animation team developed a digital tool called shapers that allowed the animators to re-shape the character models into stronger poses and silhouettes and subtle distortions such as squash, stretch, and smears, typical of traditional, hand-drawn animation.
To choose the voice cast, Culton blindly listened to audition tapes, unknowingly picking Lawrence and Kutcher for the lead roles. Their ability to improvise significantly contributed to the creative process. "They really became meshed with the characters," said Culton. Until the film's premiere, Lawrence and Kutcher never met during production.
Open Season was released on DVD, Blu-ray and UMD Video on January 30, 2007. It includes a new animated short called Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run. The film was later released to 3D Blu-ray on November 16, 2010.
- This is the first feature film by Sony Pictures Animation.
- This is the first Sony Pictures Animation film to be in 3D, followed by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
- This is also Columbia Pictures' first fully animated theatrical film to be rated PG by the MPAA; all of Columbia's previous fully animated theatrical films were rated G.
- At the end of the teaser trailer, McSquizzy pops out of an O for the logo that says Open Season and says Stay away or I'll be kicking ambush and kick bahookie.
- These two actors Billy Connolly and Gordon Tootoosis first stared in Disney's Pocahontas.
- Main article: Open Season: The Video Game
A video game based on the film was released on multiple platforms.