Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a 2012 computer-animated adventure comedy film, produced by DreamWorks Animation. It stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain, Martin Short, and Frances McDormand. In this film, Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria are pursued by a group of animal control officers led by Chantel DuBois while trying to return to New York and join a circus to avoid being captured.
The story continues from the events of the second film. As the movie opens, the penguins are leaving in their monkey-powered plane and they tell Alex that they're never coming back to Africa - then he sees all his friends and himself have become terribly old waiting for them.
Alex wakes up from his nightmare and suggests to Marty, Melman and Gloria that they should go to Monte Carlo themselves to get the penguins to fly them back to New York City, which they agree to do.
The four and the lemurs arrive at Monte Carlo via water. In the Hotel De Paris, the penguins, and the two chimpanzees, Mason and Phil, disguised as the King of Versailles, have been gambling and winning. Alex creates an opening in the dome and Marty removes the glass. He plans to have the lemurs shut the power, then descend, snatch the penguins and convince them for a return trip. However, he and Marty enter a heated argument, with the other two joining, until Gloria's mass causes the glass to shatter, much to the surprise of the penguins and the chimpanzees. The hotel security calls Monaco Animal Control officer Captain DuBois to deal with the animals. DuBois, however, desires their heads, specifically Alex', as trophies. During a high-speed chase between the relentless DuBois and the animals in a modified Van driven by the penguins to reach their aircraft, the animals just barely manage to elude their determined and highly skilled pursuer.
In the skies of France, the plane's gear assemble is badly damaged and the plane loses all power, crashing into a suburban rail yard, rendering it useless as the authorities close in. Seeing their only chance of escape is on a circus train, the four Zoosters desperately claim that they are circus animals themselves, which convinces circus friends Stefano the sea lion and Gia the jaguar whom Alex is smitten with upon first sight of to let them in despite the protests of Vitaly the tiger. The animals soon learn from Stefano that they are performing in Rome and London, where they plan to impress a promoter to get them on their first American tour. Before the zoo animals' claim is discredited, the penguins suddenly appear with a deal to purchase the circus themselves, unfortunately, the penguins paid too much to the owners, resulting in the departure and early retirement of all the humans. Meanwhile, Julien falls in love with Sonya the bear and goes on a city tour across Rome while the others prepare for the performance at the Colosseum.
Unfortunately, the circus proves to be so terrible that the disappointed audience demands refunds, to going to the point of chasing the circus to the departing train to London. En route to London, the Zoosters are in despair of having wasted their money on the failing circus and not any closer to getting home. Stefano soon reveals to Alex that Vitaly was once their inspiration before being severely burnt in a stunt gone wrong, and the entire circus has been devastated since then. An inspired Alex has the train to make a stop in the Alps and convinces the performers to rework their act to become the opposite of the world-famous human-only Cirque du Soleil as an animal-only circus. Heartened by Alex's vision, the Zoosters and the circus animals develop sophisticated acts together and becoming closer friends in the process, especially Alex and Gia who find themselves falling in love, although Vitaly is somewhat skeptic to Alex' proposals.
Meanwhile, DuBois is arrested & detained in Rome after causing problems with the local police officers while chasing the animals out of her jurisdiction when attempting to get to the Colosseum the very night they'd been in Rome, but escapes and researches Alex on the Internet, learning he was the missing lion from the zoo in New York. Once free, DuBois recruits her injured men and heads toward the Alps, forcing the animals to proceed to London despite incomplete rehearsals. In London, the troupe prepares for the promoter in the audience, but Vitaly is discovered packing to leave. Despite the tiger's hostility to him, Alex convinces Vitaly to stay by reminding him of how he enjoys performing the impossible and suggests that he uses a hair conditioner as a safer lubricant to perform his flaming ring jump.
Vitaly's stunt kicks off correctly, which proves to be the opening of a spectacularly successful show. After the impressed promoter arranges for an American tour, DuBois shows up with a paper showing that Alex was missing. Though the penguins are able to foil DuBois's plan to capture Alex, the lion is forced to confess that the four of them are just zoo animals trying to get home, disappointing the others who feel used by these lying amateurs who could have gotten them killed developing and performing their new acts.
Finally, both the ashamed Zoosters and the circus arrive in New York City. However, Gia, Vitaly, and Stefano find that even after learning the truth about Alex's gang, they are ready to forgive their new friends without whom their lives and performances feel woefully incomplete. Likewise, the Zoosters and Julien finally arrive at the gates of the closed Central Park Zoo. Staring at their small enclosures, they realize that their time traveling and exploring has changed them too much to just return to captivity as the zoo no longer feels like home to them anymore, and they decide it might be better to go back to the Circus. Unfortunately, they are then tranquilized and captured by DuBois. The zoo staff, delighted by Alex's reappearance, thank DuBois, incorrectly believing that she was trying to return the missing animals. A delusional Julien manages to reach the circus, and Skipper, after finding the dart declares that the four have been ambushed at the zoo. Gia and Vitaly convince the circus animals to rescue their former friends, performing aboard a flying circus, with the rescue mission dubbed "Operation: Afro Circus Rescue."
Meanwhile, at the zoo, Alex awakens to find that he, along with Marty, Melman, and Gloria is back in their enclosures, and worse, they are now surrounded by tall chain-link fences with barbed wires to keep them from escaping again. DuBois steps on stage to receive a million-dollar check of appreciation from the zoo, but at the same time secretly loads a toxic dart into a gun which she hides inside a foam finger in preparation to kill Alex. The circus animals arrive in time to stop her and a massive brawl occurs where the circus uses all of what they had developed as part of their revamped act. As the group tries to leave, DuBois attempts to kill Stefano, who is stranded at the zoo. However, Alex saves Stefano and all the animals then defeat DuBois and escape.
Realizing that they truly belong with their new friends, Alex and his friends decide to join the circus permanently. With the circus reunited, the animals all happily proceed with their American tour. Meanwhile, Skipper, in retribution for the ordeal brought by DuBois, had herself and her minions sealed in crates on a freighter bound for Madagascar.
- Ben Stiller as Alex
- Chris Rock as Marty
- David Schwimmer as Melman
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria
- Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien
- Frances McDormand as Chantel DuBois
- Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice
- Andy Richter as Mort
- Tom McGrath as Skipper
- Chris Miller as Kowalski
- John DiMaggio as Rico
- Christopher Knights as Private
- Jessica Chastain as Gia
- Bryan Cranston as Vitaly
- Martin Short as Stefano
- Conrad Vernon as Mason
Based on 130 reviews, the film holds an approval rating of 79% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Dazzlingly colorful and frenetic, Madagascar 3 is silly enough for young kids, but boasts enough surprising smarts to engage parents along the way." This marks the best general review consensus of the film series that has shown improving critical favor; the original film has a score of 55%, and the sequel scores 64%. On Metacritic, it holds a score of 60 out of 100 based on 26 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and said, "From time to time the improbable occurs: A sequel outdoes its original." Colin Covert of Star Tribune said that Madagascar 3 set a high standard for cartoon comedy and was almost too good for kids. He gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars. Giving the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times said, "A neon-saturated, high-flying trapeze act with enough frenetic funny business that it's a wonder the folks behind this zillion-dollar franchise about zoo critters on the lam didn't send the animals to the circus sooner." Stephen Witty of the Newark Star-Ledger calls the movie "fun and fast family entertainment. […] the animals' jazzy circus performance, done in black-light colors and set to a Katy Perry song—may be one of the trippiest scenes in a mainstream kiddie movie since Dumbo saw those pink elephants." Film scholar Timothy Laurie writes that the plot development of Madagascar 3 is "met with large servings of personal growth and side dishes of overcooked romance".
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted to earn $216,391,482 in North America and $530,529,792 in other countries for a worldwide total of $746,921,274 Its worldwide opening weekend totaled $137.6 million. Worldwide, it is the highest-grossing film in the film series, the fourth highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation film, the second-highest-grossing animated film of 2012, and the eighth-highest-grossing film of that year. Overall, it is the eleventh highest-grossing animated film and the 52nd-highest-grossing film of all time. The film took between 66 and 94 days of release, respectively, to out-gross its two predecessors. It surpassed Kung Fu Panda 2 to become DreamWorks' highest-grossing non-Shrek film, and the first non-Shrek film to reach over $700 million.
In North America, the film made $20.7 million on its opening day, which was higher than the opening day grosses of the original film ($13.9 million) and its sequel ($17.6 million). For its opening weekend, the film ranked at the no. 1 spot, beating Prometheus, with $60.3 million, which was higher than the opening of the original Madagascar ($47.2 million) but was behind the opening weekend of Escape 2 Africa ($63.1 million). It remained at the top spot for two consecutive weekends. In North America, it is the highest-grossing film in the series, the sixth highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation film, the second-highest-grossing 2012 animated film, and the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2012.
Outside North America, Europe's Most Wanted out-grossed Shrek Forever After to become DreamWorks Animation's highest-grossing film. On its opening weekend, it topped the box office with $77.3 million from 28 countries. It held that position for three consecutive weekends. Its three highest-grossing openings occurred in Russia and the CIS ($15.7 million), China ($10.4 million), and Brazil ($10.1 million in 5 days). It set an opening-day record for animated films in Russia with $3.7 million (since surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift) and became the highest-grossing animated film (surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift) and the third-highest-grossing film ever (at the time), earning $49.4 million. It also set an opening-weekend record for any film in Argentina with $3.80 million (first surpassed by Ice Age: Continental Drift) and it set opening weekend records for animated films in Brazil, Venezuela, Trinidad, and the United Arab Emirates.
- When Vitaly rescues Marty from the cage, the circus hat he is wearing switches over to Marty when they get out of the cage.
- Main article: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted: Music From The Motion Picture
- "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" - Sacha Baron Cohen (sung by Danny Jacobs on Soundtrack)
- "Wannabe" - Sacha Baron Cohen (sung by Danny Jacobs on Soundtrack)
- "Hot in Herre" - Sacha Baron Cohen (sung by Danny Jacobs on Soundtrack)
- "We No Speak Americano" - Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP
- "Non Je Ne Regrette Rein" - Frances McDormand
- "Love Always Comes As A Surprise" - Peter Asher
- "Firework" - Katy Perry
- "Afro Circus/I Like To Move It" - Chris Rock & Sacha Baron Cohen (Sacha Baron Cohen is replaced by Danny Jacobs on Soundtrack)