‘The Secret Life Of Pets’ Sets Record At The Box Office; Linked To The Struggle Of Black Americans

The Secret Life of Pets, the Universal Pictures animated movie, has enthralled animal lovers by showcasing the wonderful world of pets. The plot of the cute story revolves around the lovable pets and the events that take place when they are home alone. The story highlights the adventures that the pets go through while rescuing their pet friends who are mistakenly taken by animal control.

In a similar twist to the Toy Story series of animated movies, The Secret Life Of Pets becomes even more exciting as the animals have to save their friends and bring them home before their owners arrive. The animators have successfully managed to pique the audience’s interest in the movie as the filmmakers are very well aware of the fondness that many people have towards their pets. Additionally, the writers have taken the same old formula and rewritten the script with different personalities that entertain the audiences with a well-paced slapstick humor. According to Business Insider, the animators have done a great job by projecting the funny-sweet behavior of pets through their characters that are seen snuggling on beds or enjoying a belly rub.

With characters that are voiced by comedians like Louis C.K., Kevin Hart and Jenny Slate, The Secret Life of Pets has already become a box-office hit. The movie has earned $103.2 million in the USA and Canada, already surpassing expectations set by analysts who had projected a collection of $75 million after the film’s debut. Apart from being in the league of the biggest grossing animated movies, The Secret Life of Pets has pulled in $42.6 million internationally. Additionally, the movie has managed to charm the critics and earn positive ratings on major review sites. According to the L.A. Times, the movie has scored an A-minus on CinemaScore and even managed to scale up to 75 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Much of the film’s success at the box-office has been attributed to the successful marketing campaign that targeted adult animal-lovers along with children. Additionally, the film was released at a time when children were enjoying their summer vacations, creating an obvious impact on ticket sales.

The Secret Life of Pets might have won accolades and done well in ticket sales, however, it has been also linked to the pain and frustration of black Americans who have faced oppression since the birth of the nation. According to The College Fix, Jason Johnson, an academic in the field of political science, feels that the movie has a serious underlying message which criticizes the entire idea of domestication.

The movie shows characters Max and Duke being harmed by the system whose primary goal is to protect them. Eventually, the two are rescued by the colored Snowball who shuns oppression with his Flushed Pets movement whose slogan is “Revolution Forever, Domestication Never.” After rescuing Max and Duke with the help of a pig named Tatoo, Snowball goes on to highlight the sorry state of pet animals that are used and thrown away as per the wishes of their owners. Jason Johnson has drawn a parallel between the movie and American history by correlating “pet owners” with white people and the oppressed pets with African Americans. In fact, Jason has compared the revolutionary Snowball to the black American leader or civil rights activist.

However, most of the critics haven’t analyzed the movie so deeply and for many of them, the film is just a harmless animal-themed movie that is succeeding in appealing to adults and children alike. Similarly to the Toy Story franchise, The Secret Life Of Pets is being viewed as a springboard that catapults the audience into an amusing world that tells about the various mischief that pets can resort to when left alone at home.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News‘s film critic commended the film for urging audiences to be kind to animals.

The Secret Life of Pets is a hilarious account of the relationship we have with our animals, and a gentle reminder to treat them with love and respect.”

[Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Universal Pictures]