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Horton Hears A Who!
Hhaw title.jpg
One Elephant One World One Story
Film information

Directed by

Jimmy Hayward
Steve Martino

Produced by

Bob Gordon
Bruce Anderson

Written by

Cinco Paul
Ken Daurio
Dr. Seuss

Music by

John Powell


Blue Sky Studios
Dr. Seuss Enterprises
20th Century Fox Animation

Distributed by

20th Century Fox

Running time

85 Minutes




$85 million

Gross Revenue

$297.1 million

Preceded by

Ice Age: The Meltdown

Followed by

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Horton Hears a Who! (also known as Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!) is a 2008 American computer animated musical film adventure comedy film based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss, produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino in their directorial debuts, the film's screenplay was written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, and features the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell as Horton the Elephant and Mayor Ned McDodd, respectively, alongside Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Isla Fisher, and Amy Poehler. John Powell composed the film's music.

The film was released and grossed $297 million on a budget of $85 million. Horton Hears a Who! was the third Dr. Seuss feature film adaptation, the first adaptation to be fully animated, and the second Dr. Seuss film starring Jim Carrey after How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000).


In the Jungle of Nool on the fifteenth of May, a caring, imaginative teacher elephant named Horton, the jungle's nature teacher,pushes a whole tree, takes a dip in the pool. A dust speck floats past him in the air, and he hears a tiny yelp coming from it. Believing that an entire family of microscopic creatures are living on that speck, he places it on top of a pink, fuzzy clover that he holds in his trunk. In fact, he finds out the speck harbors the city of Who-ville and all its inhabitants, led by Mayor Ned McDodd. He has a loving wife, Sally, 96 daughters who all have names that start with the letter H, and one son named JoJo, who, by Who custom, is next in line for the mayoral position.

JoJo does not want to become mayor, which leads him to become sullen and mute, despite Ned's giving him extra attention. The Mayor finds out from Dr. Larue that Who-ville will be destroyed if Horton does not find a So Horton resolves to place the speck atop Mt. Nool, the safest place in the jungle. This outlook earns Horton nothing but ridicule from the inhabitants of Nool, especially from the strict official of the jungle, the Sour Kangaroo, who tries to get Horton to give up the speck, so as not to put supposedly ridiculous ideas into the heads of the children. Ever faithful to his motto, Horton refuses.

Also taking force toward Horton are the Wickersham brothers, a group of angry bullying monkeys who love making misery. All the small incidents that Horton experiences on his trek across the jungle have a catastrophic effect on Who-ville. He almost falls off a rickety bridge over a gaping chasm with a river of dangerous saltwater crocodiles at the bottom, which causes a dentist's needle to accidentally slip into the Mayor's arm while getting a root canal. When Horton left the clover outside overnight, it frosted over, which created winter in the summer down in Who-ville which gone away thanks to Horton's massive breath. As the other Whos become suspicious, the Mayor finally reveals the truth, but at first, the Whos do not believe him any more due to the Chairman than the animals believe Horton. In the meantime, the Kangaroo has enlisted a nefarious buzzard named Vlad Vladikoff to get rid of the speck by force.

Vlad manages to steal the clover with the speck on it, flee from a chasing Horton and drop it from hundreds of feet into a valley full of nearly identical clovers, to show what the wind means in Whoville. The impact nearly demolishes Who-ville like an earthquake. Horton painstakingly picks 2,999,999 clovers through the field and finally finds it The earthquake, combined with hearing Horton's voice through the drain pipe, is enough to convince the rest of the Whos that the mayor is not crazy, and they all tell Horton they believe in him. The Kangaroo finds out that Horton still has the speck, and, as her patience completely runs out, organizes a mob by telling lies to get rid of the speck once and for all. The animals plan to rope and cage Horton, but the Kangaroo turns this into a chance for attention, and offers Horton an ultimatum: give up the speck and he was wrong and that she was right, or pay the price. Despite a heartfelt speech from Horton that clearly touches the animals, Kangaroo still takes this refusal as an insult to her authority, orders them to proceed, and drop the speck into a pot of boiling beezlenut oil too.

The Mayor enlists all of his people to make noise by shouting, as well as playing a variety of instruments, so the animals can hear them. JoJo runs off to Who-ville's abandoned Star-Studying Tower and soon Ned takes off after him. Inside, he reveals his ingenious invention: the Symphony-Phone, a giant machine that serves as an orchestra, and proceeds to add it to the mix of sounds. Still, the sound is not loud enough. The animals do not hear anything and the Kangaroo, who has had Horton caged, takes the clover, holds it over the oil and releases it. In a last-ditch effort to make Whoville heard, JoJo grabs the horn used to project Horton's voice, runs up the highest tower and yells A sound wave emerges and ripples up to the already pressured clouds and collides with them, causing the clouds to break and the sound to come through. Hearing the Whos' cries, Rudy, the Kangaroo's son, grabs the clover before it hits the oil and returns it to Horton, refusing his mother's orders to return to her pouch. The animals finally realize the atrocity they almost committed. The Kangaroo is miserable for her behavior, but Horton forgives her, and offers his friendship, which the Kangaroo accepts with the umbrella. At the end of the film, everyone helps Horton carry the speck up to the top of Mt. Nool. After a big number of the cast singing REO Speedwagon's, the camera zooms out, revealing that along with numerous other worlds in our universe, the jungle of Nool is just one speck among numerous others like our planet.


  • Jim Carrey as Horton the Elephant, an outgoing, eccentric, big-hearted, loving, sweet, and thoughtful elephant and teacher in the Jungle of Nool. Horton has no tusks, lives by himself and possesses acute hearing abilities.
  • Steve Carell as Mayor Ned McDodd, the mayor of Whoville. He has 96 daughters, 1 son named JoJo and a wife named Sally.
  • Carol Burnett as the Sour Kangaroo, an egomaniacal kangaroo who mistrusts Horton's inquisitive nature as a threat to her legal authority over Nool.
  • Will Arnett as Vlad Vladikoff, a scary, savage, eccentric Russian-accented[6] vulture hired by the Sour Kangaroo to steal Horton's flower.
  • Seth Rogen as Morton the Mouse, a mouse who is Horton's best friend in the Jungle of Nool.
  • Selena Gomez as Helga McDodd, one of the mayor's daughters.
  • Dan Fogler as The Chairman, a councilman dedicated to Whoville tradition and mistrustful of Mayor McDodd.
    • Fogler also voices Yummo Wickersham, the largest of the Wickersham apes.
  • Isla Fisher as Dr. Mary Lou LaRue, a professor at Who U.
  • Jonah Hill as Tommy, a fat tiger and one of Horton's students.
  • Amy Poehler as Sally O'Malley-McDodd, Mayor McDodd's wife and mother to Jojo and her 96 daughters.
  • Jaime Pressly as Mrs. Quilligan, a Russian Palooski and Jessica's mother.
  • Charles Osgood as The Narrator
  • Jesse McCartney as JoJo McDodd, Mayor McDodd's quiet son.
  • Fletcher Sheridan as JoJo McDodd's singing voice.
  • Josh Flitter as Rudy Kangaroo, Sour Kangaroo's doubtful son.
  • Niecy Nash as Miss Yelp, Mayor McDodd's assistant.
  • Laura Ortiz as Jessica Quilligan, a Russian Palooski, Mrs. Quilligan's daughter and one of Horton's students.
  • Joey King as Katie, a cute, but eccentric little yellow baby yak.
  • Bill Farmer as Willie, a bear and Tommy's dad.
  • Marshall Efron and Tim Nordquist as The Wickersham Brothers
  • Dee Bradley Baker as Vlad, a cute pink rabbit who is skilled at baking cookies.
  • Jack Angel as One Time Who
  • Jan Rabson as Town Cryer
  • John Cygan as Who
  • Jess Harnell as Another Who
  • Debi Derryberry as Who Mom
  • Jimmy Hayward as Obnoxious Who
  • Laraine Newman as Glummox Mom
  • Joe Pasquale as The Dentist
  • Danny Mann as 2D Who
  • Heather Goldenhersh, Madison Davenport and Madison Pettis as Who Girls
  • Mona Marshall, Bob Bergen, Sherry Lynn, Mickie McGowan and Teresa Ganzel as The Whos

Critical reception

The film received generally positive reviews from film critics.

As of May 8, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 78% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 123 reviews, and an even better 84% rating from the top critics on the site based on 31 reviews, both classifying the film as, and making it by far the most favorably reviewed Dr. Seuss film adaptation on the site. This makes it the most and, as of 2008, only critically successful film based on a Dr. Seuss book.

Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 71 out of 100, indicating, based on 31 reviews, also the most favorably reviewed Dr. Seuss film on the site.

Brian Eggert of Deep Focus Review gave it a negative one and a half stars out of four, criticizing its numerous pop-culture references, calling it a and claiming it ends up

Box office

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $45,012,998 in 3,954 theaters, averaging $11,384 per theater in the United States and Canada, and ranking #1 at the box office.

The film had the 4th largest opening weekend in March, behind only Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and 10 000 B.C..

In the United States and Canada, Horton Hears a Who was also the #1 film its second weekend of release, grossing $24,590,596 over the Easter frame, in 3,961 theaters and averaging $6,208 per venue.

It dropped to #2 in its third weekend grossing $17,740,106 in 3,826 theaters and averaging $4,637 per venue.

Its fourth weekend ranked at #4 grossing $9,115,987 in 3,571 theaters and averaging $2,553 per venue. Its fifth weekend ranked at #6, grossing $5,920,566 in 3,209 theaters and averaging $1,845 per venue.

As of July 20, 2008, it has grossed a total of $295,133,433 worldwide; $154,245,889 in the United States and Canada and $140,887,544 in other territories.

This makes it the first theatrical film in 2008 to pass the $100 million domestic mark.


  • When it is JoJo's turn with the mayor, the clock starts at 12 seconds.
  • After you can see JoJo watching the Mayor, the clock goes back to 12 seconds when it should have only 6 seconds left.
  • Mayor: "A Beautiful wife ninety-six daughters and one son." Horton: "They have a mayor, who has 96 daughters and one son named JoJo." The Mayor doesn't mention his son's name. Unless they have another conversation we don't see, Horton couldn't have known JoJo's name.
  • On the bridge, when Horton blows himself back, the clover flies off his trunk. It is then soon seen back in place.
  • When Horton looks through the clover field, they have to pick the clover to find it, and the clover wasn't growing on the ground.
  • When the Mayor arrives in his house, he jumps on a chair and on the table, there is a timer clock on it, but in the next shot, it vanishes after he drags the chair to the table.


  • This is the only Dr. Seuss adaptation to be released under the 20th Century Fox label (the rest were released under Universal Pictures until 2018 when Warner Animation Group started a creative partnership with Seuss Enterprises).
  • Since Disney now owns most of 21st Century Fox (including 20th Century Fox) as of March 20, 2019, Disney also owns distribution rights for this film,Making this the only Dr Seuss production to owned by Disney.
  • This is the first Dr. Seuss movie to be made by another movie studio, the second will be the upcoming Dr. Seuss movie will be based on The Cat in the hat from Warner Animation Group.
  • This is Dr. Seuss's first CGI animated flim.
  • Horton Hears a Who! is the second film to feature non-humans after ''Robots''
  • This is the second Dr. Seuss related movie that Jim Carrey stars in, after the 2000 live-action adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • During the time the mayor addresses the town, on the right side of the screen are three green Whos and another Who carrying a plate of green eggs and ham, a reference to Dr. Seuss' book Green Eggs and Ham.
  • During the scene where the mayor introduces Horton to some of the people in Who-ville, the mayor introduces a Who holding a coffee cup that reads "Who Sky", a reference to the Blue Sky.
  • This is the second Blue Sky Studios film to begin with the opening credits, after Robots.
  • This is the third (so far), and last Blue Sky Studios film to have the bloopers reels during the credits.
  • This is the second Blue Sky Studios film that Will Arnett stars in.
    • Ironically, the character Arnett had voiced in his first Blue Sky film is also a vulture.
  • This was made two years after Ice Age: The Meltdown.
  • This is first Blue Sky Studios film to be rated G by the MPAA, followed by Rio, Rio 2, and The Peanuts Movie.
    • This is also the first, so far, and only Dr. Seuss animated film to be rated G by the MPAA.
  • The last Blue Sky Studios film that Chris Meledandri was the executive producer of since he now produces Illumination films like Despicable Me.
  • This is the last Blue Sky Studios film not to be converted to 3-D, as the next films beginning with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs would get released in 3-D.
  • Steve Carell, the voice actor of Mayor Ned McDodd, also played Hammy in Over the Hedge, Gru in Despicable Me, and Andy Stitzer in the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
  • Seth Rogen, the voice actor of Morton the Mouse, also played B.O.B. in Monsters vs. Aliens, Mantis in Kung Fu Panda, Cal in the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
  • This is the last Blue Sky Studios film to have a full screen format for its US home release.
  • This is the first Blue Sky Studios film not to be directed by Carlos Saldanha.



Horton Hears A Who teaser