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The Emperor's New Groove

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Title: The Emperor's New Groove  
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Subject: David Reynolds (screenwriter), Kronk's New Groove, Walt Disney Animation Studios, List of The Emperor's New School episodes, Patrick Warburton
Collection: 2000 Films, 2000S American Animated Films, 2000S Comedy Films, American Animated Films, American Animation with Native American Protagonist, American Films, Animated Adventure Films, Animated Comedy Films, Animated Fantasy Films, Annie Award Winners, Buddy Films, Disney Animated Features Canon, Film Scores by John Debney, Films About Animals, Films About Shapeshifting, Films Based on Fairy Tales, Films Based on Works by Hans Christian Andersen, Films Featuring Anthropomorphic Characters, Films Set in Peru, Films Set in South America, Films Set in the Inca Empire, Indigenous Cinema in Latin America, Narcissism in Fiction, Pregnancy Films, Shapeshifting in Fiction, The Emperor's New Groove, Walt Disney Pictures Films
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Emperor's New Groove

The Emperor's New Groove
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Dindal
Produced by Randy Fullmer
Screenplay by David Reynolds
Story by
Narrated by David Spade
Music by John Debney
Edited by
  • Tom Finan
  • Pam Ziegenhagen
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100 million[1]
Box office $169.3 million[1]

The Emperor's New Groove is a 2000 American animated buddy comedy film created by Walt Disney Feature Animation. It is the 40th film in Disney's animated features canon. It was directed by Mark Dindal, produced by Randy Fullmer, written by David Reynolds, and stars David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton and Wendie Malick.

The film was altered significantly over its six years of development and production. It began as a musical epic titled Kingdom of the Sun, to have been directed by Dindal and Roger Allers (co-director of The Lion King), and was changed by Disney executives into a light-hearted buddy comedy. The documentary The Sweatbox details the production troubles that the film endured.

The film received generally positive reviews and is considered to be one of the best films of Disney's post-Renaissance era. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "My Funny Friend and Me" performed by Sting, but lost to "Things Have Changed" by Bob Dylan from Wonder Boys. A direct-to-video sequel, Kronk's New Groove, was released in 2005, followed by an animated television series, The Emperor's New School in 2006.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast and characters 2
  • Production 3
    • Kingdom of the Sun 3.1
    • Production overhaul and script rewrite 3.2
    • Design and animation 3.3
  • Release 4
    • Home media 4.1
  • Reception 5
    • Critical reaction 5.1
    • Box office 5.2
  • Accolades 6
  • The Sweatbox 7
  • Adaptations and sequels 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The film opens with narration from Kuzco, a teenage Inca emperor who has been transformed into a llama. He tells the story of how his life as a ruler used to be and how it was ruined "for no reason". However, in his flashback he is shown to have been rude and narcisissitic, albeit charismatic. He even goes so far as insulting the appearances of potential brides and throwing an old man out the window for "throwing off his groove." After Kuzko fires his conniving advisor, Yzma, for abusing her power, she comes up with a scheme to usurp the throne with the help of Kronk, her dim-witted but jovial henchman. Meanwhile, Kuzco meets with Pacha, a kind peasant and village leader, and tells him that he wants to demolish his hilltop family home to build himself a lavish summer home called "Kuzcotopia". Pacha protests, but is dismissed.

Yzma and Kronk later attempt to poison Kuzco, but end up giving him the wrong potion and accidentally turn him into a llama. After knocking Kuzco out, Yzma orders Kronk kill him and hide the body, but Kronk has a stroke of conscience and saves him. However, he accidentally leaves him in the back of Pancha's cart asPancha is leaving the city. Pacha returns home but does not tell his pregnant wife or children about Kuzco's decision. After awakening in the cart, Kuzco reveals himself as a llama and orders Pacha to take him back to the palace, but Pacha will only do so if Kuzco agrees to spare his family's home. Kuzco haughtily sets off into the jungle alone, before being ambushed by jaguars. Thankfully, Pacha rescues him and the two make a deal about going to the palace.

Meanwhile, Yzma takes the throne, but Kronk then reveals that he lost Kuzco. The two set off to find him and finish the job. Pacha and Kuzco are almost back to the palace when Pacha falls through a bridge and Kuzco refuses to help him up, admitting he never meant to keep his promise. However, he soon finds himself in danger too, and they work together to save both their lives. Without the bridge their journey is delayed, giving Pacha hope that Kuzco will change his mind. Kronk and Yzma stop at a jungle restaurant at the same time Kuzco and Pacha are there disguised as a married couple. Neither party realizes the other is there until Pacha overhears Yzma and Kronk talking about trying to kill Kuzco. He tries to warn Kuzco, but Kuzco does not believe him and the two separate angrily. Kuzco then overhears Yzma's plot to kill him, but when he tries to return to Pacha, he finds that he has already left and is unable to find him.

The film then returns to the opening scene, with Kuzco lost in the jungle alone. However, he is soon reunited with Pacha, and they enlist the help of Pacha's family to keep Yzma and Kronk occupied while they escape. The race to the palace seems to end with Yzma and Kronk falling off a cliff, but they still inexplicably reach the palace first. Yzma orders Kronk to kill Pacha and Kuzco, but Kronk gets into a conversation with his shoulder angel and devil, and finds he cannot bring himself to commit murder, which leads Yzma to insult Kronk and his cooking and resign to do it herself. Yzma calls the guards who do not recognize Kuzco and attack the two of them, while Pacha and Kuzco take all the potions they can carry in hopes that one will turn Kuzco back.

After several guards are transformed into animals while testing potions and Yzma is transformed into a kitten, Pacha and Kuzco work together to try and get the last vial. Yzma snatches it at the last moment, but is unintentionally foiled by Kronk. Now a human again, and a more selfless ruler, Kuzco decides to build his summer home elsewhere, and Pacha suggests a neighboring hilltop. In the end, Kuzco is shown living next door to Pacha's family in a modest cabin, sharing a swimming pool with Pacha and his family. Yzma, still a kitten, grudgingly joins Kronk's Junior Chipmunk troop, along with Pacha's children.

Cast and characters

  • David Spade as Emperor Kuzco, the vain, 18-year-old[2] emperor of the Inca Empire. He initially is narcissistic and pays no heed to the needs of others. However, though being transformed into a llama and bonding with Pancha, he has a change of heart.
  • John Goodman as Pacha, a peasant village leader who serves as a foil for Kuzco. Despite Kuzco's initial unkindness towards him, Pancha selflessly goes out of his way to save his life, ultimately prompting Kuzco to have a change of heart.
  • Eartha Kitt as Yzma, Kuzco's advisor who claims that she "practically raised him." She is a very skinny old woman described by a member of Pancha's village as "scary beyond all reason." Yzma is power hungry and plots to kill and overthrow Kuzco.
  • Patrick Warburton as Kronk Pepikrankenitz, Yzma's dim-witted and muscular right hand man. Despite working with Yzma, he is very pleasant and kind to strangers. Kronk is a talented chef and has the ability to talk to squirrels. His moral dilemmas manifest themselves in an angel and devil on his shoulders.
  • Wendie Malick as Chicha, Pacha's pregnant wife.
  • Kellyann Kelso and Eli Russell Linnetz as Chaca and Tipo, Pacha's young children.
  • Bob Bergen as Bucky the Squirrel, Kronk's companion who has an unpleasant encounter with Kuzco and dislikes Yzma.
  • Tom Jones as the Theme Song Guy, Kuzco's personal theme song conductor.
  • Patti Deutsch as a waitress.
  • John Fiedler as an old man thrown out of Kuzco's castle. In the sequel his name is revealed to be Rudy.
  • Joe Whyte as an official in charge of finding Kuzco a bride.
  • Frank Welker (uncredited) as Black panthers, Fly, Cat, Llamas and Bees.

Additional voices include Andre Stojka, Jess Harnell and Sherry Lynn.


Kingdom of the Sun

"Kingdom of the Sun was such a heart-breaking experience for me. I put four years of my heart and energy into that one. Though I may have seemed calm for the camera (as I always tried to be for my crew) inside it was a chaotic struggle resulting in annihilation. I was creating an "epic" picture mixing elements of adventure, comedy, romance and mysticism. The head of Disney Features at the time was afraid that we were doing, in his opinion, too many films in the same vein. He was also uncomfortable with the spiritual and cultural (Inca) aspects of it. Hence, he decided to make it a simple slapstick comedy. They kept just enough of my elements (characters and such) that I can never produce my original vision or story elsewhere. Would it have worked out if we had had more time? I would hope so, but one can never know these things."

Roger Allers, reflecting on the troubled history of Kingdom of the Sun[3]

The idea of Kingdom of the Sun was conceived by Roger Allers and Matthew Jacobs,[4] and development on the project began in 1994.[5] Upon pitching the project to then-Disney CEO and chairman Michael Eisner, Allers recalled Eisner saying "it has all of the elements of a classic Disney film",[6] and because of his directorial success on The Lion King that same year, Eisner allowed Allers to have free rein with both the casting and the storyline.[7] By January 1995, Variety reported that Allers was working on "an Inca-themed original story."[8]

In 1996, the production crew traveled to Machu Picchu in Peru, to study Inca artifacts and architecture and the landscape this empire was created in.[9][10]

Kingdom of the Sun was to have been a tale of a greedy, selfish emperor (voiced by David Spade) who finds a peasant (voiced by Owen Wilson) who looks just like him; the emperor swaps places with the peasant for fun, much as in author Mark Twain's archetypal novel The Prince and the Pauper. However, the evil witch Yzma has plans to summon the evil god Supai and capture the sun so that she may retain her youth forever (the sun gives her wrinkles, so she surmises that living in a world of darkness would prevent her from wrinkling). Discovering the switch between the prince and the peasant, Yzma turns the real emperor into a llama and threatens to reveal the pauper's identity unless he obeys her. The emperor-llama learns humility in his new form, and even comes to love a female llama-herder named Mata (voiced by Laura Prepon).[11] Together, the girl and the llama set out to undo the witch's plans. The book Reel Views 2 says the film would have been a "romantic comedy musical in the 'traditional' Disney style".[12]

Following the underwhelming box office performances of Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, studio executives felt the project was growing too ambitious and serious for audiences following test screenings, and needed more comedy.[13] In early 1997, producer Randy Fullmer contacted Mark Dindal, who had just wrapped up work on Cats Don't Dance, and offered him to be co-director on Kingdom of the Sun.[14] Meanwhile, Allers personally called Sting, in the wake of Elton John's success with The Lion King's soundtrack, to compose several songs for the film.[6] He agreed, but on the condition that his filmmaker wife Trudie Styler could "document the process of the production".[15] Along with collaborator David Hartley, Sting had composed eight songs inextricably linked with the original plot and characters.[5] This film, which was eventually entitled The Sweatbox, was made by Xingu Films (their own production company).

In summer 1997, it was announced that Roger Allers and Mark Dindal would serve as the film's directors and Randy Fullmer as producer. David Spade and Eartha Kitt had been confirmed to voice the emperor, Manco, and the villainess, while Carla Gugino was in talks for a role.[16][17] Harvey Fierstein was also cast as Hucua, Yzma's sidekick.[6]

By the summer of 1998, it was apparent that Kingdom of the Sun was not far along enough in production to be released in the summer of 2000 as planned. At this time, one of the Disney executives stormed into Randy Fullmer's office and, placing his thumb and forefinger a quarter-inch apart, angrily remarked that "your film is this close to being shut down".[18] Fullmer approached Allers, and informed him of the need to finish the film on time for its summer 2000 release as crucial promotional deals with McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and other companies were already established and depended upon meeting that release date. Allers acknowledged that the production was falling behind, but was confident that, with an extension of between six months to a year, he could complete the film. When Fullmer denied Allers's request for an extension, the director decided to leave the project.[18] On September 23, 1998,[5][19] the project was dead with production costs amounting towards $25–30 million[5][7] and twenty-five percent of the film animated.[20]

Production overhaul and script rewrite

Angered that Allers left the project, Michael Eisner gave Fullmer two weeks to salvage the film or production would be shut down.[21] Fullmer and Dindal halted production for six months to retool the project retitling it to Kingdom in the Sun,[14] making it the first Disney animated feature to have an extensive overhaul since Pinocchio.[22] Meanwhile, following Eric Goldberg's pitch for the Rhapsody in Blue segment for Fantasia 2000, the animators were reassigned to work on the segment.[23] In the interim, Chris Williams, who was a storyboard artist during Kingdom of the Sun,[24] came up with the idea of making Pacha an older character as opposed to the teenager that he was in the original story.[25] Following up on the new idea, former late-night comedy writer David Reynolds stated, "I pitched a simple comedy that's basically a buddy road picture with two guys being chased in the style of a Chuck Jones 'toon, but faster paced. Disney said, 'Give it a shot.'"[26] One of the new additions to the revised story was the scene-stealing character of Yzma's sidekick Kronk.[27] Meanwhile, the name Manco was changed to Kuzco following Fullmer's discovery of the Japanese slang term omanco, which translates to vagina.[7] Due in part of the production shutdown, Sting began to develop schedule conflicts with his songwriting duties interfering with his work on his next album he was planning to record in Italy. "I write the music, and then they're supposed to animate it, but there are constantly changes being made. It's constantly in turnaround," the singer/songwriter admitted, but "I'm enjoying it."[6][28] Because of the shutdown, the computer-animated film Dinosaur assumed the summer 2000 release date originally scheduled for Kingdom.[7]

Andreas Deja declined to return to the film observing his more serious version of Yzma was incompatible with the wackier, comedic tone of the film, and moved to Orlando, Florida, to work on Lilo & Stitch. Animator Dale Baer would replace Deja as the supervising animator for Yzma.[29] Fulmer would inform Sting by telephone that his songs, related to specific scenes and characters that were now gone, had to be dropped.[6][30] Bitter about the removal of his songs, the pop musician commented that "At first, I was angry and perturbed. Then I wanted some vengeance." Disney eventually agreed to allow three of the six deleted songs as bonus tracks on the soundtrack album such as Yzma's villain song titled "Snuff Out the Light", the love song titled "One Day She'll Love Me", and a dance number called "Walk the Llama Llama."[31] The plot elements such as the romance between the llama herder Pacha and Manco's betrothed Nina, the sun-capturing villain scheme, similarities to The Prince and the Pauper stories, and Inca mythology were dropped.[32] The character of Hucua was also dropped from the story, though he would make a cameo appearance as the candle holder during the dinner scene in the finished film.[33] Kuzco – who was a supporting character in the original story – eventually became the protagonist.[34]

By summer 1999, cast members Owen Wilson, Harvey Fierstein, and Trudie Styler were dropped from the film.[35] Eartha Kitt and David Spade remained in the cast, Dindal commented, "And then John Goodman and Patrick Warburton [who played Elaine's boyfriend Puddy on the Seinfeld series] came aboard."[36] After Sting's songs for Kingdom of the Sun were dropped from the new storyline, Sting remained on the project, though he was told by the studio that "All we want is a beginning and an end song."[37] The song, "Perfect World", was approached "to open the movie with a big, fun number that established the power of Kuzco and showed how he controlled the world", according to Feature Animation president Thomas Schumacher.[38] The filmmakers had asked Sting to perform the song for the film, though Sting declined telling them that he was too old to sing it and that they should find someone younger and hipper. They instead went with Tom Jones, who was eleven years older than Sting.[39]

In February 2000, the new film was announced as The Emperor's New Groove with its new story centering around a spoiled Inca Emperor – voiced by David Spade – who through various twists and falls ends up learning the meaning of true happiness from a poor peasant, played by John Goodman. The release date was scheduled for December 2000.[40] Despite the phrasing of the title, the film bears no relation to Hans Christian Andersen's classic Danish fairy tale The Emperor's New Clothes.[41] However, Eisner worried that the new story was too close in tone to Disney's 1997 film Hercules, which had performed decently yet below expectations at the American box office. Dindal and Fullmer assured him that The Emperor's New Groove, as the film was now called, would have a much smaller cast, making it easier to involve audiences. Towards the end of production, the film's ending originally had Kuzco building his Kuzcotopia amusement park on another hill by destroying a rainforest near Pacha's home, and inviting Pacha and his family to visit. Horrified at the ending, Sting commented that "I wrote them a letter and said, 'You do this, I'm resigning because this is exactly the opposite of what I stand for. I've spent 20 years trying to defend the rights of indigenous people and you're just marching over them to build a theme park. I will not be party to this."[42] The ending was rewritten so that Kuzco constructs a shack similar to Pacha's and spends his vacation among the villagers.[43]

Design and animation

During production on Kingdom of the Sun, Andreas Deja was the initial supervising animator of Yzma, and incorporated supermodeling poses published in magazines in order to capture Yzma's sultry, seductive persona.[44] Nik Ranieri was originally slated as the supervising animator for Yzma's rocky sidekick, Hucua. During the research trip to Peru in 1996, Ranieri acknowledged that "I was researching for a character that looked like a rock so I was stuck drawing rocks for the whole trip. Then when we got back they piled it into this story about ancient Incas."[45] Mark Pudleiner was to be the supervising animator of Kuzco's proposed maiden, Nina.[46] In early 1997, David Pruiksma came on board to animate the llama, Snowball.[47] According to Pruiksma, Snowball was "a silly, vain and egotistical character, rather the dumb blond of the llama set. I really enjoyed developing the character and doing some early test animation on her as well. Before I left the film (and it was ultimately shelved), I created model sheets for not only Snowball, but for the rest of the herd of seven other llamas and for Kuzco as a Llama."[48] When the film was placed on production shutdown, Pruiksma transferred to work on Atlantis: The Lost Empire being developed concurrently and ultimately the llama characters were dropped from the storyline.[47]

Following the production overhaul and the studio's attempts for more cost-efficient animated features, Mark Dindal urged for "a simpler approach that emphasized the characters rather than overwhelming special effects or cinematic techniques."[49] Because of the subsequent departure of Deja, animator Dale Baer inherited the character of Yzma. Using Eartha Kitt's gestures during recording sessions, Baer commented that "She has a natural voice for animation and really got into the role. She would gesture wildly and it was fun just to watch her. She would come into each session almost serious and very professional and suddenly she would go wild and break up laughing."[50] Ranieri was later asked to serve as the supervising animator of Kuzco (as a human and a llama), though he would admit being reluctant at first until he discovered that Kuzco "had a side to him, there was a lot of comedy potential and as a character he went through an arc."[45] Pudleiner was also reassigned to work as an animator of the human version of Kuzco.[51] In addition to drawing inspiration from David Spade during recording sessions, the Kuzco animation team studied llamas at the zoo, visited a llama farm, watched nature documentaries, and even observed the animals up close when they came for a visit to the studio.[49] For the rewritten version of Pacha, animator Bruce W. Smith observed that "Pacha is probably the most human of all the characters," and further added that he "has more human mannerisms and realistic traits, which serve as a contrast to the cartoony llama he hangs out with. He is the earthy guy who brings everything back into focus. Being a big fellow about six-foot-five and weighing about 250 pounds we had to work hard to give him a sense of weight and believability in his movement."[49]

Actual animation began in 1999, involving 400 artists and 300 technicians and production personnel.[45] Outside of the Walt Disney Feature Animation studio building in Burbank, California, animators located at Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida and Disney Animation France assisted in the production of The Emperor's New Groove.[12] During the last eighteen months of production, a 120-crew of clean-up artists would take an animation cel drawing from the animation department, and place a new piece of paper over the existing image in order to draw a cleaner, more refined image. "We're basically the final designers," said clean-up supervisor Vera Pacheco, whose crew worked on more than 200,000 drawings for "Groove."[52]


After the release date had shifted to a winter 2000 release, similarities were made between the film and DreamWorks Animation's The Road to El Dorado.[53] Marc Lument, a visual development artist on El Dorado, claimed "It really was a race, and Katzenberg wanted ours out before theirs". Lument also added that, "We didn't know exactly what they were doing, but we had the impression it was going to be very similar. Whoever came out second would face the impression that they copied the other."[4] Fullmer and Dindal denied the similarities with the latter commenting "This version [The Emperor's New Groove] was well in the works when that movie came out," and further added "Early on, when our movie got to be very comic, all of us felt that you can't be making this farce about a specific group of people unless we are going to poke fun at ourselves. This didn't seem to be a proper choice about Incas or any group of people. It was more of a fable."[54]

The marketing campaign for The Emperor's New Groove was relatively restrained as Disney opted to heavily promote the release of 102 Dalmatians which was released during Thanksgiving.[54][55] Nevertheless, the film was accompanied with six launcher toys of Kuzco, Kuzco as a llama, Pacha, Yzma, Yzma as a cat, and Kronk[56] accompanied with Happy Meals at McDonald's in North America. The European, Asian and Australian toys from 2001 were different from the North American set. Stuffed animals were also made and sold in places like The Disney Store.

Home media

The standard VHS and DVD was released May 1, 2001, as well as a "2-Disc Collector's Edition" which included bonus features such as Sting's music video of "My Funny Friend and Me", a Rascal Flatts music video of "Walk the Llama Llama" from the soundtrack, audio commentary with the filmmakers, a multi-skill level Set Top Game with voice talent from the movie, and a deleted scene among other features.[57] Unlike its theatrical box office performance, the film performed better on home video, becoming the top-selling home video release of 2001.[58] In September 2001, it was reported that 6 million VHS units were sold amounting towards $89 million in revenue. On DVD, it was also reported it had sold twice as many sales. The overall revenue averaged toward $125 million according to Adams Media Research.[59]

Disney re-released a single-disc special edition called "The New Groove Edition" on October 18, 2005. Disney digitally remastered and released The Emperor's New Groove on Blu-ray on June 11, 2013 bundled in a two-movie collection combo pack with its direct-to-video sequel Kronk's New Groove.[60] On its first weekend, it sold 14,000 Blu-ray units grossing $282,000.[61]


Critical reaction

The film received positive reviews from critics and websites. On Rotten Tomatoes, it receives an 85% "Certified Fresh" approval rating based on 127 reviews with an average of 7.1/10. Its consensus summarized its reception as not being "the most ambitious animated film, but its brisk pace, fresh characters, and big laughs make for a great time for the whole family."[62] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 70 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[63] Many critics and audiences generally consider the film to be one of the better films of Disney's post-Renaissance era and also one of the most comedic.[64]

Writing for Variety, Robert Koehler commented the film "may not match the groovy business of many of the studio's other kidpix, but it will be remembered as the film that established a new attitude in the halls of Disney's animation unit."[65] Roger Ebert, writing his review for Chicago Sun-Times, awarded the film 3 (out of 4) stars distinguishing the film as "a goofy slapstick cartoon, with the attention span of Donald Duck" that is separate from what's known as animated features. Ebert would later add that "it doesn't have the technical polish of a film like Tarzan, but is a reminder that the classic cartoon look is a beloved style of its own."[66] Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum graded the film a B+, describing it as a "hip, funny, mostly nonmusical, decidedly non-epic family picture, which turns out to be less of a hero's journey than a meeting of sitcom minds."[67]

Published in The Austin Chronicle, Marc Sovlov gave the film 2/5 stars noting the film "suffers from a persistent case of narrative backsliding that only serves to make older members of the audience long for the days of the dwarves, beauties, and poisoned apples of Disney-yore, and younger ones squirm in their seats." Sovlov continued to express his displeasure in the animation in comparison to the previous year's Tarzan writing it "is also a minor letdown, with none of the ecstatic visual tour de force."[68] Movie reviewer Bob Strauss acknowledged the film is "funny, frantic and colorful enough to keep the small fry diverted for its short but strained 78 minutes", though except for "some nice voice work, a few impressive scale gags and interesting, Inca-inspired design elements, there is very little here for the rest of the family to latch onto." Strauss would target the massive story overhaul during production as the main problem.[69]

Box office

On its opening weekend, The Emperor's New Groove premiered at fourth place grossing about $10 million behind strong competitions such as What Women Want, Dude, Where's My Car?, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.[70] Overall, the film grossed $89,302,687 at the U.S. box office, and an additional $80,025,000 worldwide; totals lower than those for most of the Disney Feature Animation productions released in the 1990s.[1]

Because of its pre-Columbian theme and Latin American flavor, Disney spent $250,000 in its marketing campaign towards the Latino market releasing dual English and Spanish-language theatrical prints in sixteen multiplexes across heavily populated Latino areas in Los Angeles, California in contrast to releasing dubbed or subtitled theatrical prints of their previous animated features in foreign markets.[71] By January 2001, following nineteen days into its theatrical general release, the Spanish-dubbed prints were pulled from multiplexes as Latino Americans opted to watch the English-language prints with its grossing averaging $571,000 in comparison to $96,000 for the former.[72]


List of Awards and Nominations
Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Results
2001 Golden Satellite Award Best Animated or Mixed Media The Emperor's New Groove Nominated
Best Original Song "My Funny Friend and Me" Nominated
72nd Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song "My Funny Friend and Me" Nominated
28th Annie Awards Best Animated Feature The Emperor's New Groove Nominated
Individual Achievement in Directing Mark Dindal Nominated
Individual Achievement in Writing Mark Dindal, Chris Williams, David Reynolds Nominated
Individual Achievement in Storyboarding Stephen J. Anderson Nominated
Don Hall Nominated
Individual Achievement in Production Design Colin Stimpson Nominated
Individual Achievement in Character Animation Dale Baer Won
Individual Achievement in Voice Acting Eartha Kitt Won
Patrick Warburton Nominated
Individual Achievement in Music Sting, David Hartley Won
Individual Achievement in Music Score John Debney Nominated
73rd Academy Awards Best Original Song "My Funny Friend and Me" Nominated
Phoenix Films Critics Society Awards Best Song "My Funny Friend and Me" Won
Best Animated Film The Emperor's New Groove Nominated
Best Family Film The Emperor's New Groove Nominated
Las Vegas Critics Society Awards Best Family Film The Emperor's New Groove Nominated
Best Song "My Funny Friend and Me" Nominated
2002 44th Annual Grammy Awards Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media "My Funny Friend and Me" Nominated

The Sweatbox

The Sweatbox is a documentary that chronicled the tumultuous collaboration of Sting and David Hartley with the Disney studios to compose six songs for Kingdom of the Sun.[73] The documentary featured interviews from directors Roger Allers and Mark Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer, Sting (whose wife created the documentary), Disney story artists, and the voice cast being dismayed by the new direction. Disney was not believed to be opposing Trudie Styler's documentary with Disney animation executive Thomas Schumacher, who had seen footage, commenting that "I think it's going to be great!"[74]

The film premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, but has gone virtually unseen by the public ever since. Disney owns the rights, but has never officially released it.[75] In March 2012, a workprint of the documentary was leaked online and was uploaded on the video-sharing website YouTube, by a United Kingdom cartoonist, before it was ultimately pulled.[76] As of April 2015, some scenes from the documentary could be seen from the home media release, including the behind the scenes and the making of My Funny Friend and Me.

Adaptations and sequels

In April 2005, it was announced that DisneyToon Studios was producing a direct-to-video sequel entitled Kronk's New Groove, which was released on December 13, 2005, timed with the premiere of Disney Channel cartoon series, The Emperor's New School.[77] Patrick Warburton, Eartha Kitt, and Wendie Malick reprised their roles for the sequel and series, although J. P. Manoux took over the role of Kuzco (replacing David Spade for the series) and Fred Tatasciore voiced Pacha in season 1. John Goodman subsequently reprised his role for the second and final season of The Emperor's New School.

Kuzco was featured as a guest in Disney's House of Mouse and Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse television series finale direct-to-video animated film to the series.

Two video games were developed and released concurrent with the film. The first, for the Sony PlayStation, was developed by Disney Interactive and published by Sony Computer Entertainment of America. The second, for the Nintendo Game Boy Color, was developed by Sandbox and published by Ubisoft. Both titles were released in PAL territories the following year. The PlayStation version was re-released for the North American PlayStation Network on July 27, 2010.

The Tokyo DisneySea rollercoaster attraction Raging Spirits took visual inspiration for its Inca ruins theme from the buildings in the film, with a structure based on Kuzco's palace similarly crowning the ruins site.[78]


  1. ^ a b c "The Emperor's New Groove".  
  2. ^ during the "funeral" for Kuzco, Yzma says that he was "taken" on the night of his 18th birthday, showing that he is 18 years old in the film.
  3. ^ Fiamma, Andrea (12 December 2014). "Intervista a Roger Allers, il regista de Il Re Leone". Fumettologica. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Laporte, Nicole. The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks. Mariner Books. pp. 208–9.  
  5. ^ a b c d Kuklenski, Valerie (December 13, 2000). "Finding the Groove".  
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  77. ^ """DisneyToon Studios is producing sequels to "The Emperor's New Groove" and "Brother Bear. (Fee required).  
  78. ^
DVD media
  • Various cast and crew members (May 1, 2001). The Emperor's New Groove—Supplemental Features (DVD). Disc 2 of 2 (The New Groove ed.). Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.  

External links

  • Official website
  • The Emperor's New Groove at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Emperor's New Groove at AllMovie
  • The Emperor's New Groove at the Big Cartoon DataBase
  • The Emperor's New Groove at Rotten Tomatoes
  • The Sweatbox at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Emperor's New TVGuide
  • Designing the Emperor's New Groove A look at the production designs, background art and character designs that went into creating the mythical South American world of The Emperor’s New Groove. (It refers to the film as Disney's 39th animated feature; until 2008 Dinosaur was not part of Disney's canon.)
  • Behind the Voices featurette on YouTube
  • Originally published in September 2000, this article looks at the behind-the-scenes story of how Kingdom of the Sun became the Emperor's New Groove.
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