The Female Creatives Behind ‘Zootopia’: Changing The Landscape For Women In The Industry

Zootopia, Disney’s new 3D animated comedy film, portrays a world where predators and prey thrive together to maintain peace and harmony.

The plot revolves around a rookie bunny cop named Judy Hopps who works in the land of Zootopia, a metropolis where animals from every environment live together. Determined to prove her worth, Judy teams up with a scam-artist fox to solve a mystery case.

Zootopia is filled with lovable characters of all shapes and stripes that carry a heartfelt message of diversity and tolerance. Disney has put together a fantastic cast comprising of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, and J.K. Simmons who have lent their voices to bring the colorful Zootopian characters to life.

Zootopia‘s creators have made it a point to localize the film around the world. For example, animal characters depicted in certain scenes will change from the original version depending on which country you see the movie. Tech Insider reported that Disney changed which animals portray a news reporter in several different countries.

For example, the Australian version shows a koala as a news reporter, while the Japanese version shows a tanuki as the news reporter. In yet another instance, an eagle-eyed viewer spotted a jaguar newscaster in the Brazilian version. Newscasters appear to be voiced by popular journalists and television personalities in each respective country or region.

Similarly in Disney’s Inside Out, American audiences saw a hockey game in one scene while international audiences saw soccer being played instead, as soccer is more popular in other regions of the world.

Customizing graphics to cater to local audiences is just another way to make sure that film resonates with global audiences. In fact, Forbes reported that in China, Zootopia is the leggiest movie ever released and it has also outgrossed Batman v Superman while it was only in its second weekend.

The massive box office collection for Zootopia continues to pile up as eager moviegoers extended the animated film’s record-setting China haul to $220 million.

Zootopia‘s success wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated effort put in by the creative women of Fusion, a multi-platform media company that serves the millennial generation. Fusion reports that this is a significant achievement for the women of Zootopia as the field of animation has long been dominated by men, with female professionals comprising only 20 percent of the workforce.

Fusion spent two years with the film’s creative team during the final stage of Zootopia‘s production. Behind Zootopia‘s fantastic world is a community of storytellers, artists, animators, and technologists that create animations which mesmerize children all the while keeping adults entertained. Yet, audiences seldom have the chance to see the gifted magicians at work behind the scenes. Broadway World reports that Fusion has released a new original documentary, Imagining Zootopia, that offers a rare chance to meet the creative community who helped bring Zootopia and its characters to life.

Natalie Osma and Kristofer Rios, the documentary filmmakers, spent over two years covering the ups and downs that Fusions’ creative team went through as the storyline and the filmmaking process evolved. The documentary takes the audience on a journey to show how the film was produced, from conceptualization to the complex piece of art that the audience sees in the movie theater. According to Cartoon Brew, Imagining Zootopia does a fine job of detailing the story development process and offering insights into exactly what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish.

It will also serve as an inspiration for female creatives to continue striving in this largely male-dominated industry.

[Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney]