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Migration Release Date, Cast, Trailer, Plot And More Details

While Illumination has been dominating the animation industry with its multitude of multi-million dollar family-friendly franchises, this holiday season will see the studio take flight into new territory with its next animated feature, "Migration." Illumination's most recent film, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," blew everyone away at the box office, becoming the second highest-grossing movie of 2023 so far, and it's the animated movie with the biggest worldwide opening weekend ever with nearly $1 billion earned. 

Box office domination isn't anything new for the studio. Illumination's in-house productions "The Secret Life of Pets," "Sing," and "Despicable Me" have all gone on to spawn their own billion-dollar film series, with the latter currently reigning as the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time. Time will tell if "Migration" has what it takes to join these box office heavyweights. For now, it's time to waddle through everything known about the upcoming animated production.

When will Migration be released?

When "Migration" was first announced in February 2022, it was slated to be released on June 30, the same day as "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny." That date was moved to December 22 of that same year, likely in an attempt to avoid competition with the upcoming summer blockbuster and aim for a holiday audience. Although the film will still have its fair share of titles to compete with during this time, including Timothée Chalamet's "Wonka" on December 15 and the DC film "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" on December 20, it will surely find an audience given its seemingly lighthearted, family-friendly nature and Illumination's successful history.

What is the plot of Migration?

"Migration" follows the escapades of a family of ducks who manage to convince their father to go on a larger-than-life journey. The film sees the family travel through several states and countries between New England and the Bahamas, including New York City. Along the way, their bravery will be put to the test with the ducks encountering a variety of dangers from harsh weather to vicious predators.

If Illumination is good at anything, it's finding universal stories that can attract a wide audience, and it seems "Migration" will be no different. The film appears to be blending its comedic road trip premise with themes about family and stepping out of one's comfort zone, which is sure to hit home for many. Add its holiday release date to the mix, and it appears that Illumination's newest feature checks all the boxes for a fun-filled family flick.

Who is starring in Migration?

Illumination made sure not to skimp on the voice cast of "Migration" with a wide array of star-studded A-listers.

Providing the lead voice of anxious father Mack is none other than "The Big Sick" and "Eternals" star Kumail Nanjiani. The true leader of the flock, however, is Pam, Mack's partner, who will be voiced by "Hunger Games" actor Elizabeth Banks. Both actors have lent their voices to the "Lego Movie" franchise, with Nanjiani voicing Jay in "The Lego Ninjago Movie" and Banks voicing Wyldstyle in both "The Lego Movie" and "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part."

Rounding out the family, there's the enthusiastic brother Dax (Caspar Jennings), young daughter Gwen (Tresi Gazal), and less-than-enthused Uncle Dan (Danny DeVito). DeVito previously headed another Illumination entry as the titular character in 2012's "The Lorax." Rounding out the cast are Carol Kane as the friendly Erin the heron, Keegan-Michael Key as a homesick parrot, David Mitchell as the leader of a duck farm, and Awkwafina as a scrappy New York pigeon.

Who is writing and directing Migration?

Helming "Migration" is French filmmaker and cartoonist Benjamin Renner, whose most beloved project is perhaps the 2012 film "Ernest & Celestine." Based on Gabrielle Vincent's children's book series of the same name, the adaptation became a massive hit at film festivals during its initial release, receiving numerous nominations and accolades from such notable events as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival. It was even nominated for an Academy Award for animated feature film alongside such titles as "The Wind Rises" and "Frozen," ultimately losing to the Disney film.

Renner's second and so far only other feature, 2017's "The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales...," is also highly acclaimed. It currently holds a 97% Tomatometer rating and 93% audience score, with many critics praising its "simple, classic animation style" and humble storytelling. 

"Migration" will be the director's first English-language project. However, he's not the only talented person working behind the camera. The screenplay comes from Mike White, the creative genius who penned "School of Rock," created the "White Lotus" series, and has shown up on reality shows such as "Survivor: David vs. Goliath." 

Is there a trailer for Migration?

On July 18, 2023, Illumination released the first full-length trailer for "Migration," its tentpole CGI-animated release for the 2023 holiday season. The clip package effectively does its job, introducing audiences to a tight-knit family of ducks as they embark on the journey of a lifetime, which so happens to be the plot of the movie — they're going to give migration a try. 

They're inspired to do so by an impressive and enchanting flock of worldly ducks flying in formation. Dad duck Mack is hesitant and wants to stick to the little corner of paradise he's found to raise his family, but mom duck Pam craves a little travel and adventure, so off they go, tentatively enjoying the trip and flying through the snow-like clouds until they realize, too late it seems, that they've been heading the wrong way. Instead of Jamaica, the ducks wind up in smoggy, frightening New York, home of sky-encroaching buildings and speeding buses. They'll do their best to get out, but the trip might be as fun as the destination for the ducks of "Migration," which hits theaters on December 22, 2023.

What will Migration be rated?

"Migration" has been given a PG rating by the Motion Pictures Association as the film "contains action/peril and mild rude humor." It's more than likely that the rating given to "Migration" won't be off-putting to many families, but given its elements of adventure, the film is sure to have a few moments where the stakes are risen. Judging from the trailer, there may also be some imagery that could give kids a bit of a fright, most notably a large-eyed heron that stares down the duck family.

This rating has done little to hamper the success of any previous Illumination movies. From 2010's "Despicable Me" to this year's "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," every Illumination release has been given a PG rating by the MPA. There may be some jokes here and there that will fly over the heads of younger audience members, but for the most part, its library is all family-friendly to the upmost degree, and it appears "Migration" will be joining that flock.