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Migration is a 2023 animation film from the creative minds at Illumination studio and directed by Benjamin Renner. The animated adventure comedy takes viewers on a whimsical journey with a family of mallards. A delightful family film that navigates the family’s attempt to convince their over protective father to embark on a grand migration from New England to Jamica through New York city.

The stellar cast includes Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Keegan-Michael Key, Awkwafina, and Danny DeVito who take views on a perfect adventure of family, self discovery and the pursuit of an extraordinary vacation.

The casting and animation choices for Migration

The team put forth a brilliant cast of voice actors to bring the characters to life on the big screen and coupled in with the right animation choices, it makes for a wonderful watch.

Casting chemistry

Migration casting proved to be a genius masterstroke for the creators as they were able to seamlessly blend the voice actors with their animated counterparts. Kumail Nanjiani, with his love for routine mirroring the character of Mack, and Elizabeth Banks, embodying the adventurous spirit of Pam, created a dynamic duo that resonated with audiences. The inclusion of talents like Keegan-Michael Key, Awkwafina, and the legendary Danny DeVito added layers of charm and humour, making the Mallard family truly come alive.

migration movie trailer
migration movie trailer

Tresi Gazal became an intriguing addition to the cast, voicing Gwen. Daughter of film editor, Christian Gazal, Migration marked Tresi’s debut in Hollywood. Although, she was initially brought in for a brief stint for scratch vocals, she soon was able to transition to a full member of the cast.

Animation style

Migration’s animation efforts were brought to life by Illumination Studios Paris. Presenting with a unique challenge for the director who was known for his minimalist drawing style in traditional animation, Benjamin Renner had to adapt with the transition to computer graphics. Plus, with the demanding sequences demanding the raw compute powers of modern computers, Renner had to mould his approach.

migration movie review
migration movie review

Renner, drawing from his experience in Yellowbird (2014), was able to skilfully take on this challenge. The film opens with a visually distinctive scene, a storytelling prelude that seamlessly blends the two techniques which evidently portrays Renner’s dedication to maintaining the essence of his drawing style, even with computer animation. This does add an extra layer of authenticity to the film’s visual narrative.

Migration’s script development and writing

Crafting a quirk tale of a bird family does come with its own nuances and the genesis of the script can be traced back to February 2022 when Illumination Studios announced the project.

Film development

The responsibility was offered to first time director, Benjamin Renner along with co-director Guylo Homsy and screenwriter Mike White. Although his first stint in the chair of a director, Renner brought in plenty of animation experience with his traditional style of work in other films like The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales and Ernest & Celestine to bring a fresh perspective to the studio’s repertoire.

migration movie release date
migration movie release date

And this sensibility was first noticed by head of Illumination, Chris Meledandri which helped the studio infuse the filmmaker’s vision into the project. The result was Migration, the studio’s first animation venture since 2016.


The director’s commitment to avoiding “sleazy jokes” is evident in the film’s humour, throughout to appeal to both children and adults. The writing draws major inspiration from Renner’s own childhood, and several of the humorous situations are based on his experiences as the youngest sibling in his family.

The film cleverly skips out on commonplace gags that are more seen in family movies and takes a more nuanced approach to try at genuine comedy that transcends generational boundaries and ensure viewers find real moments of laughter and reflection. The witty banters, clever situational comedy and an emotional resonance with the mallard family does bring forth the multifaceted appeal of the film.

Migration release

While the film was originally planned for a June 2023 release, a brief delay meant that the studio had to switch with DreamWorks Animation’s Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken. However, the audience did not have to wait long as a 25 minute preview was launched in June 2023 at the Annecy International Animation Fil Festival which did settle a bit of curiosity before the eventual release of the film.

migration movie
migration movie

Maiden screening for the public took place on October 19, 2023 at the grand summit matinee of the VIEW Conference expo in Turin. American shores saw the release on December 22 in 2023. Migration’s release in the US was considered a milestone for animation films as it became the first animated film to be released in the ScreenX format. Plus, the decision to release the film in 3D further added to the visual spectacle of the film.

The newly released ScreenX format is known for its panoramic and multi projection technologies that offer a more immersive viewing experience and added with the 3D format, does really allow the viewers to feel the gust of the wind as the mallards soar through the skies.

Migration box office collection

As of January 2024, Migration grossed $191.6 million worldwide at the box office, raking in $94.7 million from the US and Canada and $96.9 million from other countries. Despite an initial projection figure of $10 to $15 million in its four day opening, the film’s $12.5 million debut marked as one of Illumination’s lowest grossing opening weekend. However, by the second weekend, the film was able to secure the second spot with a fine $17.2 million collection which showcased the appeal of this feathery adventure.

A cast of endearing characters, captivating animation and a perfectly heartfelt narrative, the film is a must watch for all ages and as the Mallard family takes flight from New England to Jamaica, audiences are invited to a pleasing cinematic experience filled with humour, emotion and the universal desire for adventure. And coupled in with every cinematic technology, this feathered masterpiece will surely leave the viewers with a desire to embark on their very own adventure to remember.

Movie Info:

Available in
December 22, 2023
Quality option
720p, 1080p
Benjamin Renner
Main Stars
Kumail Nanjiani,Elizabeth Banks,Keegan-Michael Key,Awkwafina,Danny DeVito
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