Garfield: The Movie
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Hewitt
Written by
Based onGarfield
by Jim Davis
Produced byJohn Davis
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited by
Music byChristophe Beck
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 11, 2004 (2004-06-11)
Running time
85 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million[1]
Box office$203.2 million[1]

Garfield: The Movie (titled onscreen as Garfield) is a 2004 American live action/computer-animated comedy film about the titular overweight, lazy, trouble-making cat with a dry sense of humor. Directed by Peter Hewitt and inspired by Jim Davis' comic strip of the same name, it stars Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson and features Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield, who was created with computer animation, though all other animals were real. The film was produced by Davis Entertainment Company and 20th Century Fox. It was released in the United States on June 11, 2004. The film received negative reviews from critics and grossed $200 million on a $50 million budget.[1] A sequel, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was released on June 16, 2006.


Garfield, an overweight, lazy and free-spirited orange cat, lives with his owner Jon Arbuckle in Los Angeles, and passes his time by antagonizing Jon and teasing his aggressive Dobermann neighbor, Luca. Aside from Jon, Garfield maintains an unlikely friendship with a helpful mouse, Louis, and also socializes with his fellow neighborhood cats, Nermal and Arlene.

Jon has begun habitually bringing Garfield to the veterinarian, in order to see vet Dr. Liz Wilson, whom he is in love with. Jon tries to ask Liz out, but due to a misunderstanding, Jon is given custody of a dog named Odie, who is lovable, playful and friendly. Regardless, Jon and Liz begin dating. Garfield, however, begins to dislike Odie and pokes fun at him in any given moment. Odie is brought to a canine talent show, where Liz is a judge. Garfield gets involved in an altercation there with other dogs, which moves Odie to the center of the ring, where he does a successful improvised dance to the Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama". A local television host named Happy Chapman, who is also a judge, is impressed with Odie's performance, and offers Jon a television deal for Odie, but Jon declines.

When Garfield comes back, frustrated over Odie's presence in his life, he hits a ball, causing a chain reaction that leaves the house in disarray. When Jon finds out, he forces Garfield to sleep outside for the night. When Odie comes out to comfort Garfield, he gets inside and deliberately locks Odie out. Nermal and Arlene witness this as Odie runs away but is then picked up by an elderly woman named Mrs. Baker. Jon and Liz search for Odie while Garfield's friends angrily ridicule him for locking Odie out and making him run away the night before, but Garfield claims that he didn't mean for it to happen.

Meanwhile, Happy Chapman, revealed to be allergic to cats, is jealous of his news reporter brother, Walter, and wants to be more by performing on "Good Day New York". Chapman and his assistant Wendell find a notice Mrs. Baker created of Odie and, recognizing the lucrative possibilities, claim Odie as Happy's own. When Garfield sees Odie on television and hears Chapman announce he and Odie are going to New York City, Garfield sets out to rescue Odie. Jon discovers Garfield is also missing so he tells Liz to start searching for him and Odie. Garfield gets into the broadcast tower via the air vents and finds Odie locked in a kennel, but Chapman enters and secures a shock collar to Odie, which, when activated, releases an electric shock that forces Odie to perform tricks.

Chapman heads for the train station with Garfield in close pursuit. However, an animal control officer catches Garfield, mistaking him as a stray. Meanwhile, Mrs. Baker tells Jon that Chapman took Odie, making him believe Garfield was taken by Chapman as well and then learn Chapman is leaving for the train station. Concurrently, Chapman's abandoned feline star Persnikitty, who is really named Sir Roland, along with the other animals, releases Garfield from the pound. Chapman boards a New York-bound train, with Odie in the luggage car. After arriving just to see the train depart, Garfield sneaks into the train system control room and switches the tracks, leading to an impending multiple train wreck. Garfield hits an emergency stop button which halts all the trains just in the nick of time, then returns Chapman's train to the station. Garfield frees Odie and they prepare to leave. However, Chapman chases them and eventually corners the duo in a suitcase area. Chapman threatens Odie with the shock collar, but Garfield's friends from the pound & Louis & his entire rat family (whom Garfield had run into earlier), led by Sir Roland, attack Chapman and place the collar on his neck.

Shortly after, Garfield and Odie subdue Chapman by activating the collar. Jon and Liz arrive and find Chapman, whom Jon punches in the face for kidnapping his pets. Garfield, Odie, Jon, and Liz reunite and return home, while Chapman is arrested for his supposed involvement with the trains, as well as kidnapping Odie. Back home, Garfield regains his friends' respect as they & everyone hail him as a hero. Liz and Jon form a relationship, and Garfield learns a lesson about friendship.


Live action

Garfield creator Jim Davis appeared as an uncredited drunken convention attendee, but his role was cut from the final version of the film.

Voice cast


Jim Carrey was considered for the role of Jon Arbuckle.[2] Jennifer Garner and Angelina Jolie were considered for the role of Liz, but both dropped out with busy schedules.[citation needed] Brad Dourif, Thomas Lennon, and Michael Ironside were considered to play Happy Chapman. Ironside was cast, but he dropped out after one day for unknown reasons, and Lennon was busy on Reno 911.[citation needed] Jack Nicholson was considered for the role of Garfield; he was the only candidate besides Bill Murray.[3] According to Murray's Reddit AMA, he was interested in voicing the titular character because he mistook the screenplay writer's name, Joel Cohen, for Joel Coen of the Coen brothers. He accepted the role, briefly skimming through the script. [4] Co-writer Alec Sokolow disputed Murray's claim in 2014: "He knew it was not Joel Coen well before he met Joel Cohen. It's a funny take. And it kind of defends him against the criticism of making such an overtly commercial film. But, it's complete horse shit."[5][6]

According to Jim Davis, Murray recorded his dialogue in his apartment in New York City and on the set of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in Greece.[3]

Principal photography began on March 10 and wrapped on June 12, 2003.[7]


Garfield: The Movie on the marquee of a theater in Lakeview, Oregon.
Garfield: The Movie on the marquee of a theater in Lakeview, Oregon.

20th Century Fox released Garfield: The Movie in theaters on June 11, 2004, eight days before Garfield's 26th anniversary. During its theatrical run, it was preceded by an Ice Age short film, Gone Nutty. The film opened up with $21.7 million in the US in its first weekend. It grossed a total of $75.4 million in the US and a further $125.4 million internationally for a total of $200.8 million worldwide.[1] 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the film on VHS and DVD on October 19, 2004.[8] The special features includes a behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and the Baha Men music video "Holla!". The film was released on a 3-disc Blu-ray on October 11, 2011.[citation needed]


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 14% based on 138 reviews and an average rating of 3.52/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what's left is a simplistic kiddie movie."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 27 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[10] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[11]

Roger Ebert rated it three out of four stars, saying the film was "charming".[12] Joe Leydon of Variety magazine wrote, "Only very small children still easily impressed by interaction of human actors and CGI quadrupeds will be amused by Garfield."[13] A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote, "That Garfield speaks in the supercilious, world-weary drawl of Bill Murray is some small consolation, as are a few of the animal tricks."[14]

Murray's response

Murray said in an interview with GQ that he was confused when he agreed to play the voice of Garfield for the film.[15]

I thought it would be kind of fun, because doing a voice is challenging, and I'd never done that. Plus, I looked at the script, and it said, "So-and-so and Joel Coen." And I thought: Christ, well, I love those Coens! They're funny. So I sorta read a few pages of it and thought, Yeah, I'd like to do that.

Murray continued:

So they went off and shot the movie, and I forgot all about it. Finally, I went out to L.A. to record my lines. And usually when you're looping a movie, if it takes two days, that's a lot. I don't know if I should even tell this story, because it's kind of mean. [beat] What the hell? It's interesting. So I worked all day and kept going, "That's the line? Well, I can't say that." And you sit there and go, What can I say that will make this funny? And make it make sense? And I worked. I was exhausted, soaked with sweat, and the lines got worse and worse. And I said, "Okay, you better show me the whole rest of the movie, so we can see what we're dealing with." So I sat down and watched the whole thing, and I kept saying, "Who the hell cut this thing? Who did this? What the *bleep* was Coen thinking?" And then they explained it to me: It wasn't written by that Joel Coen.

Murray reprised his role two years later in the Cohen co-penned Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

In Zombieland, when Bill Murray (playing himself) is shot he expresses regret for the film.[15]


A sequel, titled Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was released on June 16, 2006 in North America.


On May 24, 2016, it was announced that Alcon Entertainment will develop a new CG animated Garfield film with John Cohen and Steven P. Wegner ready to produce[16][17] and to be directed by Mark Dindal, director of Cats Don't Dance, The Emperor's New Groove and Chicken Little.[18] In August 2019, Viacom acquired the rights to Garfield, leaving the status of the movie for the time uncertain.[19] That was until December 2020, in an interview with The Walt Disney Family Museum where Dindal confirmed that the film is still in production.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d e Garfield: The Movie at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Evans, Bradford (March 17, 2011). "The Lost Roles of Jim Carrey". New York Magazine.
  3. ^ a b Griwkowsky, Fish (June 15, 2018). "Garfield's Jim Davis talks lasagna, Bill Murray and 40 years of Earth's most famous cat". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  4. ^ Child, Ben (July 21, 2010). "Bill Murray's Garfield blunder – a real-life Lost in Translation". The Guardian. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  5. ^ Sokolow, Alec (July 18, 2013). "IAMA Alec Sokolow. AMA". Reddit. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  6. ^ Sokolow, Alec (January 18, 2014). "Bill Murray here: OK, I'll TALK! I'll TALK!". Reddit. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  7. ^ "LXG, Garfield, Hellboy, Spider-Man, Hulk: Comics2Film wrap for June 12, 2003". June 12, 2003.
  8. ^ Tyner, Adam (October 15, 2004). "Garfield: The Movie". DVD Talk. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  9. ^ "Garfield – The Movie". Archived from the original on October 20, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  10. ^ "Garfield". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  11. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 11, 2004). "Garfield: The Movie Movie Review (2004)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  13. ^ Leydon, Joe (June 11, 2004). "Garfield: The Movie". Variety (magazine).
  14. ^ A. O. Scott (June 11, 2004). "A Cat From the Comics, Full of Lasagna". The New York Times.
  15. ^ a b "Bill Murray Is Ready To See You Now". GQ. August 2010. Archived from the original on December 25, 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  16. ^ "'Garfield' Animated Movie in the Works at Alcon". May 26, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  17. ^ "Garfield is Getting a Fully CG-Animated Movie Reboot". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  18. ^ "Mark Dindal To Direct All-Animated 'Garfield' Feature For Alcon". Cartoon Brew. November 12, 2018.
  19. ^ Steinberg, Brian (August 6, 2019). "Viacom Acquires Comic-Strip Cat Garfield". Variety. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  20. ^ "Happily Ever After Hours with Animator and Filmmaker Mark Dindal". December 19, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.