Meet the Robinsons
Meet the robinsons.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Anderson
Screenplay by
Based onA Day with Wilbur Robinson
by William Joyce
Produced byDorothy McKim
Edited byEllen Keneshea
Music byDanny Elfman
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release dates
  • March 23, 2007 (2007-03-23) (United Kingdom)
  • March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1][2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$150 million[3]
Box office$169.3 million[4]

Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 47th Disney animated feature film, it is loosely based on the 1990 children's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce. The film was directed by Stephen J. Anderson (in his feature directorial debut) and produced by Dorothy McKim, from a screenplay written by Anderson, Don Hall, Nathan Greno, Joe Mateo, Aurian Redson, Jon Bernstein, and Michelle Spitz. The film stars the voices of Daniel Hansen, Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, Harland Williams, Laurie Metcalf, Nicole Sullivan, Adam West, Ethan Sandler, Tom Kenny, and Anderson. Meet the Robinsons follows the interactions between Lewis (Fry), an orphaned 12-year-old inventor desperate to be adopted, and Wilbur Robinson (Singerman), a young time-traveler who travels to the year 2037 to visit the family. Along the way, the two must prevent a mysterious bowler-hatted man (Anderson) from changing Lewis' story, and, by proxy, the entire future.

Originally titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson, development of Meet the Robinsons began in June 2004, with a release planned for 2006. At the time of the production, Anderson was confirmed as the director due to his personal connection to the main character Lewis, as they grew up adopted. The designs of the characters were inspired by Pixar's The Incredibles, while the inspiration for the film came from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, and from Warner Brothers cartoons to capture the 1950s aesthetic. Disney's acquisition of Pixar in early 2006 led to nearly 60% of the film, including the villain and the ending, being scrapped and reworked. Danny Elfman provided the film's score with artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Rob Thomas, The All-American Rejects and They Might Be Giants contributing tracks for the film.

Meet the Robinsons premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on March 25, 2007, and was released in standard and Disney Digital 3-D formats in the United States on March 30. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise directed towards the animation and story.[5] However, it was a box office bomb, grossing $169.3 million against a budget of $150 million.[6]


Lewis is an aspiring 12-year-old inventor who grew up in an orphanage. His energy and eccentricity have been scaring off potential parents, so he works all night on a machine to scan his memory to locate his birth mother, who abandoned him at the orphanage when he was a baby. While taking the scanner to his school's science fair, Lewis meets 13-year-old Wilbur Robinson, a mysterious boy claiming to be a time cop from the future. Wilbur needs to recover a time machine that a man wearing a bowler hat has stolen. Lewis tries to demonstrate the scanner, but it has been sabotaged by Bowler Hat Guy and falls apart, throwing the science fair into chaos. Lewis leaves while the Bowler Hat Guy, with the help of his robotic bowler hat named Doris, steals the scanner, and successfully passes it off as his own to an invention corporation.

Wilbur meets Lewis at the orphanage and asks him to repair the scanner. Lewis demands proof that Wilbur is telling the truth. Wilbur does so by taking them in a second time machine to the year 2037, which is highly advanced technologically. When they arrive, Lewis realizes he can simply use the time machine to meet his mother; the resulting argument makes them crash. Wilbur asks Lewis to fix the time machine, and Lewis agrees on the condition that Wilbur has to take him to visit his mother afterwards. Reluctantly, Wilbur agrees and hides Lewis in the garage. Lewis accidentally leaves, however, and ends up meeting the rest of the Robinson family except for Cornelius, Wilbur's father and the inventor of the time's technologies, who is away on a business trip. Having followed Lewis, the Bowler Hat Guy and Doris try to kidnap him, but the Robinsons beat them back. The Robinsons offer to adopt Lewis, but change their mind when they learn that he is from the past. Wilbur admits to lying to Lewis about taking him back to see his mom, causing Lewis to run off in disgust.

The Bowler Hat Guy and Doris approach Lewis, and offer to take him to his mother if he fixes the memory scanner. Once he does, they betray him and tie him up. The Bowler Hat Guy reveals that Cornelius Robinson is, in fact, Lewis's future self, and that he himself is an adult version of Lewis's roommate, Michael "Goob" Yagoobian. Because he was kept awake by Lewis's work on the scanner, Goob fell asleep during a Little League baseball game and failed to make an important catch, costing his team the championship. Goob became so withdrawn and bitter that he was never adopted and remained in the orphanage long after it closed. Doris is "DOR-15", one of Lewis's failed and abandoned inventions. They both blamed Lewis for their misfortunes and decided to ruin his life. Leaving Lewis in the future, they return to the past and enact their plan. However, it is revealed that Doris tricked everyone; once mass-produced, the Doris hats dispose of Goob and enslave humanity. Lewis repairs the second time machine, confronts Doris in the past, and destroys her by promising to never invent her, restoring the future to its utopian state. Wilbur tries to ask the adult Goob to join the family, but he has fled in remorse.

Back in Wilbur's time, Lewis finally meets Cornelius face to face. Cornelius explains how the memory scanner started their successful career, and persuades Lewis to return to the science fair. Wilbur takes Lewis back, but makes one stop first: as he promised, he takes Lewis back to see the moment when his mother abandoned him. Lewis nearly taps his mother's shoulder, but stops himself and leaves with Wilbur.

Wilbur drops Lewis off in his own time and leaves. Lewis heads to the fair, en route waking up Goob just in time for him to make the winning catch, and Goob is adopted later that day. Back at the fair, Lewis asks for one more chance to demonstrate his scanner, which this time succeeds. Lewis is adopted by Lucille, one of the science fair judges, and her husband Bud, who nicknames him "Cornelius" and takes him home.

The film ends with a quote which reiterates the message of not dwelling on failures and "keep moving forward", attributed to Walt Disney.

Voice cast

Note: The character of Lewis was voiced by both Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry. Daniel Hansen voiced Lewis at the beginning of the film's production, and when the studio needed Lewis' lines changed, they had Jordan Fry re-dub many segments.[7][8][9]


Director Stephen Anderson at the film's premiere
Director Stephen Anderson at the film's premiere

Originally titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson, production began in June 2004, and was scheduled for a 2006 release.[10][11] During the film's production, Walt Disney Animation Studios' storyboard artist Stephen Anderson decided to direct the film due to his personal connection to Lewis, since they both grew up adopted.[12][13]

The studio planned to adapt Joyce's style to the film, but due to his involvement stylistically in Blue Sky Studios' Robots, the style was slightly reworked. While still taking cues from his retro style, influenced by everything from Technicolor movies to '40s architectural design, the crew also took inspiration from the company Apple.[12] Unlike their previous film Chicken Little, a film starring CG animals, the animation crew had the challenge to animate CG humans. They took inspiration from Pixar's The Incredibles when animating the characters. They also took inspiration from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, and from Warner Brothers cartoons to capture the 1950s aesthetic.[12]

While the film was in production, The Walt Disney Company announced on January 24, 2006, that it would be acquiring Pixar, and as a result, John Lasseter became the chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. When he saw an early screening for the movie, he told Anderson that he did not find the villain scary or threatening enough, and suggested that he make some changes. Ten months later, almost 60% of the film had been scrapped and redone. The villain had improved and was given a new sidekick, a dinosaur chase had been added, and the ending was changed.[14]


Over 600 REAL D Cinema digital 3D-equipped theaters presented Disney Digital 3-D version of the film.[15] In all theatrical showings, the standard version of the film was preceded by the 1938 Mickey Mouse short film Boat Builders and the 3D version was preceded by the 1953 Chip 'n Dale 3D short Working for Peanuts.[16] The final credits of the 3D version were left two-dimensional, except for the names of those who converted the film to 3D.

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray versions were both released on October 23, 2007.[17] Both versions feature 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, plus music videos, the "Family Function 5000" game, deleted scenes, and other bonus features. The DVD's audio commentary contains Anderson's narration, occasionally interrupted by himself as the Bowler Hat Guy. The Blu-ray also includes uncompressed 5.1 audio and a BD-J game, Bowler Hat Barrage!. A 3D Blu-ray was released on November 8, 2011.[18]

As of January 2008, the DVD had sold approximately 4 million copies.[19]


Critical reception

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 143 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critics consensus states, "Meet the Robinsons is a visually impressive children's animated film marked by a story of considerable depth."[5] Metacritic reported the film had a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 27 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[21]

Realmovienews stated that it has "a snappy plot that demands close attention as it whizzes back and forth in the space-time continuum, touching on serious ideas and proposing some rather disturbing alternate realities. And the witty story twists are handled with rare subtlety and intelligence. In the end it may get a little weepy and inspirational. But it's so charming that we don't mind at all".[22] Danny Minton of the Beaumont Journal said that "The Robinsons might not be a family you want to hang out with, but they sure were fun to meet in this imaginative and beautiful 3-D experience".[23] Andrew L. Urban of Australian Urban Cinefile said that "Walt Disney stood for fantasy on screen and this is a loving tribute to his legacy".[24] Kyle Smith of the New York Post named it the 10th best film of 2007.[25]

Conversely, A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "Meet the Robinsons is surely one of the worst theatrically released animated features issued under the Disney label in quite some time",[26] while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C" and said "This is one bumpy ride".[27]

Box office

Meet the Robinsons grossed $25,123,781 on its opening weekend, ranking in second place behind Blades of Glory.[28] Over its theatrical run, it grossed $97,822,171 in the United States and Canada and $71,510,863 in other territories, totaling $169,333,034 worldwide.[4]


Meet the Robinsons
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedMarch 27, 2007
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerDanny Elfman
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Chicken Little
Meet the Robinsons
Singles from Meet the Robinsons
  1. "Kids of the Future"
    Released: February 28, 2007
  2. "Little Wonders"
    Released: March 13, 2007

The soundtrack album was released by Walt Disney Records on March 27, 2007. It includes four original songs written for the film, performed by Rufus Wainwright, Jamie Cullum, and Rob Thomas. Contributors to the album beyond the Danny Elfman score include another track by Wainwright ("The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)"), The All-American Rejects ("The Future Has Arrived"), They Might Be Giants ("There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"), and the Jonas Brothers ("Kids of the Future"). The track "Little Wonders", recorded by Thomas, reached number 5 on the Billboard AC chart and the top 20 in Australia and Canada.

The song "This Much Fun" by Cowboy Mouth, which was featured in the trailer, was not featured in the film or on the soundtrack. The song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was originally from the Disneyland attraction General Electric's Carousel of Progress.

All music is composed by Danny Elfman, except as noted.

1."Another Believer"Rufus Wainwright4:39
2."Little Wonders"Rob Thomas3:45
3."The Future Has Arrived"The All-American Rejects3:05
4."Where Is Your Heart At?" (written by Rufus Wainwright)Jamie Cullum2:23
5."The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)"Rufus Wainwright2:35
6."Give Me the Simple Life"Jamie Cullum2:04
7."The Prologue" 1:24
8."To the Future!" 1:16
9."Meeting the Robinsons" 1:56
10."The Science Fair" 2:47
11."Goob's Story" 1:01
12."A Family United" 1:37
13."Pop Quiz and the Time Machine Montage" 3:45
14."The Evil Plan" 4:13
15."Doris Has Her Day" 4:58
16."Setting Things Right" 6:00
17."There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"They Might Be Giants2:00
18."Kids of the Future"Jonas Brothers3:18
Total length:52:46

Video games

Main article: Meet the Robinsons (video game)

Disney's Meet the Robinsons video game is available from Buena Vista Games for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, and PC. The independent England-based company Climax Group developed their own adaption for the Game Boy Advance.

Cancelled sequel

Disneytoon Studios originally planned to make a direct-to-video sequel to the film, tentatively titled Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date.[29] However, when Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios' new chief creative officer, he cancelled all sequels in development at Disneytoon, including Meet the Robinsons 2 and sequels to Chicken Little (2005) and The Aristocats (1970), and ordered the studio to shift its focus towards spin-off films and original productions.[29]


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  2. ^ Simon, Ben (October 24, 2007). "Meet The Robinsons". Animated Views. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Meet the Robinsons: 60% of the Movie was Redone".
  4. ^ a b "Meet the Robinsons". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
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  6. ^ "The 10 Best Disney Movies That Bombed at the Box Office". Observer. May 23, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  7. ^ Meet the Robinsons (2007) - IMDb, retrieved August 2, 2020
  8. ^ Meet the Robinsons (2007) - IMDb, retrieved August 2, 2020
  9. ^ Both Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen are listed as voice actors for Lewis on the movie webpages for "Meet the Robinsons" on Disney, Amazon, iTunes, and other official websites.
  10. ^ "Walt Disney Feature Animation Set To Spend 'A Day With Wilbur Robinson' With New Animated Feature Slated For 2006". PR Newswire. January 11, 2004. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  11. ^ Dunkley, Cathy (January 11, 2004). "Mouse re-tooning animation strategy". Variety. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
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  14. ^ M. Holson, Laura (March 5, 2007). "John Lasseter: Disney's new boss re-imagines the Magic Kingdom". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  15. ^ Carolyn Giardina (March 7, 2007). "New dimension at Real D". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  16. ^ Peter Sciretta (March 23, 2007). "3D Meet the Robinsons Advertisement, Featurette, and Fun Facts". /Film. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2007.
  17. ^ "Meet The Robinsons (English/French/Spanish DVD)". Archived from the original on July 12, 2007.
  18. ^ McCutcheon, David (August 5, 2011). "Disney's Blu-ray 3D Line-up". IGN. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  19. ^ "Meet the Robinsons - Video Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
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  21. ^ Manfredi, Lucas (November 24, 2022). "Strange World CinemaScore Might Be the Lowest Ever For a Walt Disney Animation Studio Film". TheWrap. Archived from the original on November 25, 2022. Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  22. ^ "Meet The Robinsons (2007) Movie Review". Real Movie News. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007.
  23. ^ Minton, Danny (March 29, 2007). "Meet the Robinsons - Critic Review". Beaumont Journal. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
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  25. ^ "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  26. ^ A. O. Scott (March 30, 2007). "FILM REVIEW; A Nerdy Orphan Plows Ahead With a Lot of Familiar Novelties". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Lisa Schwarzbaum (March 28, 2007). "Meet the Robinsons (2007)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  28. ^ "'Blades' skates to No. 1 at the box office". Los Angeles Times. April 2, 2007.
  29. ^ a b Hill, Jim (June 20, 2007). "Say "So Long !" to direct-to-video sequels : DisneyToon Studios tunes out Sharon Morrill". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved February 7, 2015.