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Shrek (franchise)

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"Shrek franchise"
Creator DreamWorks Animation
Films and television
  • Shrek (2001)
  • Shrek 2 (2004)
  • Shrek the Third (2007)
  • Shrek Forever After (2010)
Theatrical presentations
  • Shrek the Musical (2008–)
Video games
  • Shrek
  • Shrek 2
  • Shrek the Third
  • Shrek Forever After
  • many others
  • List of songs featured in Shrek
Short films
Television specials
  • Shrek the Halls (2007)
  • Scared Shrekless (2010)

The Shrek franchise from DreamWorks Animation, based on William Steig's picture book, with the same name, consists of four computer-animated films including: Shrek (2001), Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010). A short 3D film, Shrek 4-D, which originally was a theme park ride, was released in 2003. A spin-off project, the Christmas television special Shrek the Halls, premiered on ABC in the USA and worldwide in 2007 to successful ratings as well as another spin-off project, the Halloween television special Scared Shrekless, which premiered on NBC in the USA in 2010. A spin-off film titled Puss in Boots was released in October 2011.

The series primarily focuses on Shrek, a reclusive but good-hearted ogre, who becomes a respected hero with an ever growing collection of friends and family in a fairy tale world in spite of himself.

In May 2010, The New York Times called the principal Shrek characters "brilliantly realized" and said "nearly a decade after the first Shrek film they remain as vital and engaging fusions of image, personality and voice as any characters in the history of animation."

The series was a great financial success, being the 8th highest-grossing franchise of all time, and the highest-grossing animated franchise.

Film series

Directed by First two films:
Andrew Adamson
First film:
Vicky Jenson
Second film:
Kelly Asbury
Conrad Vernon
Third film:
Chris Miller
Fourth film:
Mike Mitchell
Produced by First three films:
Aron Warner
First two films:
John H. Williams
First film:
Jeffrey Katzenberg
Second film:
David Lipman
Fourth film:
Teresa Cheng
Gina Shay
Written by First film:
Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
Joe Stillman
Roger S. H. Schulman
Fourth film:
Josh Klausner
Darren Lemke
Screenplay by Second film:
Andrew Adamson
Joe Stillman
J. David Stern
David N. Weiss
Third film:
Jeffrey Price
Peter S. Seaman
Chris Miller
Aron Warner
Story by Second and third films:
Andrew Adamson
Starring Mike Myers
Eddie Murphy
Cameron Diaz
John Lithgow
Antonio Banderas
Julie Andrews
John Cleese
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
First film:
John Powell
Studio DreamWorks Animation
Distributed by First two films:
DreamWorks Pictures
Third and Fourth films:
Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) First film:
May 16, 2001 (2001-05-16)
Second film:
May 19, 2004 (2004-05-19)
Third film:
May 18, 2007 (2007-05-18)
Fourth film:
May 21, 2010 (2010-05-21)
Running time First film:
90 minutes
Second and fourth films:
93 minutes
Third film:
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,510,516,231 (all four Shrek films combined plus Puss In Boots)

Shrek (2001)

Shrek, a solitary ogre, finds a surprise when fairy tale creatures are sent to live in his swamp by the evil Lord Farquaad. Shrek befriends a talking Donkey, and the two set off to meet with Lord Farquaad. Lord Farquaad needs Princess Fiona to marry him so he will become king. So when Shrek and Donkey visit him, they are forced to rescue her from an enormous fire-breathing dragon. The Dragon turns out to be a girl, and she falls in love with Donkey. Donkey, Shrek, and Fiona escape, and Dragon chases them.

Once Shrek and Donkey rescue Fiona they take her back to Lord Farquaad. Along the way, however, Shrek falls in love with Fiona. Fiona reveals she is cursed to Donkey and turns into an ogress at night. The only way the curse can be broken is by true love's first kiss. Fiona and Farquaad have a marriage ceremony, but they are interrupted by Shrek, who tells Fiona he loves her. Donkey and Dragon enter and Dragon eats Lord Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona kiss, and Fiona turns into an ogress permanently. Shrek gets his swamp back, and the two marry there. After a karaoke party the two set off on their honeymoon.

Shrek 2 (2004)

The second film opens with Prince Charming on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona from the Dragon. When he gets there, he finds the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood in Fiona's bed. He asks the wolf where Fiona is and the wolf tells him that she is on her honeymoon with Shrek. Once Shrek and Fiona return from their honeymoon, they find Donkey in the swamp who tells them he and Dragon are going through a rough patch. They then get invited to the land of Far Far Away by Fiona’s parents and who want to bless their marriage. When they arrive Shrek and Fiona aren’t what they expected. The evil Prince Charming and his mother, the Fairy Godmother, are trying to break up Shrek’s marriage by making Fiona fall in love with Prince Charming. However it doesn’t work and Shrek and Fiona stay together. Shrek and Donkey get a new sidekick called Puss in Boots. They have a lengthy quest to search the Fairy Godmother's cottage to get a love potion. At the end of the film, King Harold turns back into a frog.

Shrek the Third (2007)

Shrek and Fiona are reluctantly reigning over Far, Far Away during King Harold's prolonged illness. The King promises that if they can find Fiona's cousin Artie, he will make him the next in line, so Shrek doesn't have to run the country after his death. As Shrek, Donkey and Puss set off to find Artie, Fiona reveals she is pregnant. Shrek is shocked as he believes he won't be a good father and will ruin his child's life. This is reinforced by his relationship with his father, 'he tried to eat me.' After finding Artie, Artie is frightened of being king, and they end up on an island where they meet Artie's former magic teacher, Merlin. Meanwhile Charming plots to overthrow Shrek and become king, but this is foiled by Shrek. The film ends with Shrek and Fiona caring for their ogre triplets and joined by Queen Lillian, Donkey, Dragon, The Dronkeys and Puss.

Shrek Forever After (2010)

Shrek has become a domesticated family man, living happily with Princess Fiona and the triplets. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, a reluctant Shrek now agrees to autograph pitch forks. Longing for the days when he felt like a "real ogre," Shrek is tricked into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumplestiltskin is king, Puss is fat, Donkey doesn't know who Shrek is and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Shrek joins The Resistance and meets Fiona but she doesn't love him. Rumpelstiltskin sets bounty on Shrek and uses The Pied Piper, as a reward for finding Shrek, he offers a 'deal of a lifetime'. Shrek turns himself in and instead of asking for his life back, frees the captured ogres. The ogres then ambush the palace, and Shrek and Fiona battle Dragon. As the twenty four hours are almost up and Shrek lays dying, Fiona kisses him and everything reverts back to Shrek's universe. At the end, instead of storming out of the triplets birthday party Shrek kisses Fiona and appreciates all that he has, truly living happily forever after.

Cancelled fifth film

Following the success of Shrek 2 in May 2004, Jeffrey Katzenberg revealed that the Shrek story had been outlined into five films almost from the beginning. "Before the first one was finished we talked about what the whole story of Shrek is, and each of the chapters answers questions about the first movie and gives us an insight," said Katzenberg, "Shrek 3 and 4 are going to reveal other unanswered questions and, finally, in the last chapter, we will understand how Shrek came to be in that swamp, when we meet him in the first movie." After the release of Shrek the Third in 2007, Katzenberg announced that the fifth film would be released in 2013.

In May 2009, DreamWorks Animation (DWA) announced that the fourth film's title would be Shrek Forever After, indicating that it would be the last in the Shrek series. Later that year, that was confirmed by Bill Damaschke, head of creative production at DWA, with him saying: "All that was loved about Shrek in the first film is brought to the final film."

Josh Klausner, one of the writers of Shrek Forever After, explained in 2010 the script's evolution: "When I first came onto the project, it wasn't supposed to be the final chapter — there were originally going to be 5 Shrek movies. Then, about a year into the development, Jeffrey Katzenberg decided that the story that we'd come up with was the right way for Shrek's journey to end..."

Short films

Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party

Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party is a 2001 3-minute musical short film, included on Shrek VHS and the Shrek 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. It takes up right after Shrek's ending, with film's characters performing a medley of modern pop songs.

Shrek 4-D

Shrek 4-D, also known as Shrek 3-D, Shrek 4D Adventure, Shrek's Never Before Seen Adventure, and The Ghost of Lord Farquaad, is a 4-D film/ ride at various theme parks around the world. It premiered in 2003 at Universal Studios Florida, and was released on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. The short takes place right after the first Shrek film. Lord Farquaad returns from the dead to kidnap Princess Fiona and it is up to Shrek and Donkey to rescue her.

Far Far Away Idol

Far Far Away Idol is a five-minute short, released in November 2004, as extra on the Shrek 2 DVD. It is based on American Idol and guest starring Simon Cowell. Taking place right after Shrek 2 ends, the characters from Shrek sing and dance popular songs, and at the end the viewer gets to pick the winner.

Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular

Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular is a five-minute short released as a part of the holiday program Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular, which was released on December 7, 2010, with Shrek: The Whole Story box set and Shrek Forever After.

This short takes place in the Candy Apple, the new version of the Poison Apple. Donkey suggests everyone sing Christmas carols. Donkey sings "It's the Most Wonderful Time". Shrek, Fiona, the Ogre children, and the army of ogres sing an ogre version of " Jingle Bells" (such as "Bug Cocoon, Lick the spoon. Try our cricket slurp). Puss in Boots sings " Feliz Navidad", although he titles it "Fleas Navidad". Then everyone sings " Jingle Bell Rock" as "Fairy Tale Rock".

Thriller Night

Thriller Night is a six-minute short film parody of Michael Jackson's music video Thriller. It was directed by Gary Trousdale, and released on September 13, 2011, on the Scared Shrekless DVD. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 28, 2012, as a part of Shrek's Thrilling Tales (Shrek's Spooky Stories).

Deceased characters such as Mongo, Prince Charming, Lord Farquaad, Fairy Godmother and King Harold in his frog form appear as zombies. A 3D version of the short was added in October 2011 to the Nintendo Video service for Nintendo 3DS owners.

The Pig Who Cried Werewolf

The Pig Who Cried Werewolf is a six-minute 3D Halloween short film, directed by Gary Trousdale and released on October 4, 2011, for a limited time, exclusively on the Nintendo Video service on Nintendo 3DS. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 28, 2012, as a part of Shrek's Thrilling Tales (DreamWorks's Spooky Stories).

The Three Little Pigs find themselves in trouble when they ignore the warning signs of a new neighbour moving in next door who takes on a ferocious form during a full moon.

Television specials

Shrek the Halls

Shrek the Halls is a 22 minute television special, set shortly after the events of Shrek the Third (and before the events of Shrek Forever After) as Shrek and Fiona's children are still infants, that premiered on the American television network ABC on Wednesday, November 28, 2007.

Scared Shrekless

Scared Shrekless is a 21 minute television special set shortly after the events of Shrek Forever After. Shrek challenges Donkey, Puss in Boots and his other fairy tale friends to spend the night in Lord Farquaad's haunted castle, telling scary stories to see who can resist becoming scared and stay the longest. The special premiered on the American television network NBC on Thursday, October 28, 2010.


Puss in Boots (2011)

Puss in Boots is a computer-animated American action comedy film that was released on October 28, 2011. The film is based on and follows the character of Puss in Boots on his adventures with Kitty Softpaws and mastermind Humpty Dumpty before his first appearance in Shrek 2.

Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos

Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos is a 13-minute CG animated short film, directed by Raman Hui, and was released on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of Puss in Boots on February 24, 2012. The short tells a story of Puss in Boots on a mission to recover princess' stolen ruby from the notorious French thief, Whisperer. Reluctantly accompanied by three little kittens, The Three Diablos, Puss must tame them before they endanger the mission.

Puss in Boots 2 (TBA)

In November 2012, executive producer Guillermo del Toro said that a couple of drafts for a sequel were already done, and that the director Chris Miller wants to take Puss on an adventure to exotic places.


Despite the advances in computing power over the 2000s decade, the increasing usage of novel techniques like global illumination, physics simulation, and 3D demanded ever more CPU hours to render the films. DreamWorks Animation noticed that every Shrek film took roughly twice the CPU hours than the previous film and thus labelled this trend as the "Shrek's law". Similar to "Moore's law" the Shrek's law says, "The CPU render hours needed to complete production on a theatrical sequel will double compared to the amount of time needed on the previous film." In 2001, Shrek required approximately 5 million CPU render hours. In 2004, Shrek 2 required over 10 million CPU render hours. In 2007, Shrek the Third required over 20 million CPU render hours, and the 2010 3D release of Shrek Forever After demanded more than 50 million CPU render hours on behalf of rendering double amount of frames. Puss in Boots, which was released only one year after the previous Shrek film, utilized 63 million render hours.


Box office performance

Film Release date Revenue Rank Budget Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Shrek 02001-05-18May 18, 2001 $267,665,011 $216,744,207 $484,409,218 #60
#114 $60,000,000
Shrek 2 02004-05-19May 19, 2004 $441,226,247 $478,612,511 $919,838,758 #8
#24 $150,000,000
Shrek the Third 02007-05-18May 18, 2007 $322,719,944 $476,238,218 $798,958,162 #28
#38 $160,000,000
Shrek Forever After 02010-05-21May 21, 2010 $238,736,787 $513,864,080 $752,600,867 #82 #46 $165,000,000
Shrek films $1,270,347,989 $1,685,459,016 $2,955,807,005 $535,000,000
Puss in Boots 02011-10-28October 28, 2011 $149,260,504 $405,448,722 $554,709,226 #237 #87 $130,000,000
Total $1,419,608,493 $2,090,907,738 $3,510,516,231 #6 #8 $665,000,000
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Shrek 89% (176 reviews) 84 (34 reviews)
Shrek 2 89% (209 reviews) 75 (40 reviews)
Shrek the Third 41% (206 reviews) 58 (35 reviews)
Shrek Forever After 57% (188 reviews) 58 (35 reviews)
Puss in Boots 83% (139 reviews) 65 (24 reviews)
Average Ratings 72% 68

Academy Awards

Award Main series Spin-offs
Shrek Shrek 2 Shrek the Third Shrek Forever After Puss in Boots
Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Animated Feature Won Nominated Nominated
Original Song Nominated

Cast and characters

Character Theatrical films Spin-offs TV specials Short films Attractions
Shrek (2001) Shrek 2 (2004) Shrek the Third (2007) Shrek Forever After (2010) Puss in Boots (2011) Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (2012) Shrek the Halls (2007) Scared Shrekless (2010) Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular (2010) Thriller Night (2011) The Pig who Cried Werewolf (2011) Shrek 4-D (2003)
Shrek Mike Myers   Mike Myers Michael Gough   Mike Myers
Fiona Cameron Diaz   Cameron Diaz Holly Fields   Cameron Diaz
Donkey Eddie Murphy   Eddie Murphy Dean Edwards Eddie Murphy Dean Edwards   Eddie Murphy
Puss in Boots   Antonio Banderas André Sogliuzzo  
Pinocchio Cody Cameron   Cody Cameron   Cody Cameron
The Three Little Pigs Cody Cameron   Cody Cameron Cody Cameron
Sean Bishop
Cody Cameron
Gingy Conrad Vernon   Conrad Vernon   Conrad Vernon
Three Blind Mice Christopher Knights
Simon J. Smith
Christopher Knights   Christopher Knights   Christopher Knights
Simon J. Smith
Big Bad Wolf Aron Warner Aron Warner Cameo
Dragon Frank Welker   Frank Welker   Frank Welker
Farquaad John Lithgow   John Lithgow
(archival recording)
Cameo in end credits   Mentioned only   Sean Bishop   John Lithgow
Magic Mirror Chris Miller   Chris Miller   Chris Miller
Thelonious Christopher Knights   Cameo in end credits   Brentley Gore   Christopher Knights
Dronkeys   Frank Welker   Frank Welker   Frank Welker  
Prince Charming Mentioned only Rupert Everett Cameo in end credits   Sean Bishop   Sean Bishop  
Queen Lillian   Julie Andrews   Cameo  
King Harold   John Cleese   Sean Bishop  
Doris   Larry King (US)
Jonathan Ross (UK)
Snow White Cameo Mentioned only Amy Poehler Cameo in end credits  
Cinderella Cameo Mentioned only Amy Sedaris Cameo in end credits  
Pied Piper Cameo   Jeremy Steig   Jeremy Steig  
Sleeping Beauty   Cameo Cheri Oteri Cameo in end credits  
Captain Hook   Tom Waits Ian McShane Voice in Soundtrack   Ian McShane  
Fairy Godmother   Jennifer Saunders Mentioned only Cameo in end credits   Pinky Turzo  
Mongo   Conrad Vernon   Conrad Vernon  
Ogre Babies   Jordan Alexander Hauser
Dante James Hauser
Jasper Johannes Andrews
Zachary James Bernard
Jasper Johannes Andrews
Ollie Mitchell
Miles Christopher Bakshi
Nina Zoe Bakshi
  Miles Christopher Bakshi
Nina Zoe Bakshi
Dante James Hauser
Miles Christopher Bakshi
Nina Zoe Bakshi
Rumpelstiltskin   Conrad Vernon Walt Dohrn   Walt Dohrn  
Artie   Justin Timberlake Deleted Scenes  
Rapunzel   Mentioned only Maya Rudolph  
Merlin   Eric Idle  
Sir Lancelot   John Krasinski  
Mabel   Regis Philbin  
Kitty Softpaws   Salma Hayek  
Humpty Dumpty   Zach Galifianakis   Cameo
Jack   Billy Bob Thornton  
Jill   Amy Sedaris  
Note: A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.

Video games

  • Shrek
  • Shrek: Hassle at the Castle
  • Shrek: Extra Large
  • Shrek: Super Party
  • Shrek 2
  • Shrek Super Slam
  • Shrek Smash n' Crash Racing
  • Shrek the Third
  • Shrek n' Roll
  • Shrek Forever After
  • DreamWorks Super Star Kartz


Shrek the Musical is a musical based on the first film of the franchise. After a try-out in Seattle, Washington, it began performances on Broadway from November 8, 2008, before opening on December 14. Despite mixed reviews, the musical received eight Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. At the time, the most expensive musical on Broadway ran for over a year and closed, at a loss, on January 3, 2010, after 478 performances.

A re-imagined version of the show ran as a tour of the United States from July 2010 to July 2011. The second tour launched under two months later. A West End production opened in London, UK in June 2011, to positive reviews. It received five Laurence Olivier Award nominations including Best New Musical. A differently staged production ran in Israel in 2010, with international productions running since 2011 in Poland and Spain, and since 2012 in France. The show is soon to premiere in Brazil, Italy, Australia, and Philippines in 2012.

On Broadway, the title role was originated by Brian d'Arcy James, while Nigel Lindsay creates the role for the West End incarnation. Other notable performances include Amanda Holden (West End), Sutton Foster (Broadway) and Kimberley Walsh (West End) as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber (Broadway) and Nigel Harman (West End) as Lord Farquaad, and John Tartaglia (Broadway) as Pinocchio.


Dark Horse Comics released in 2003 three 32-page full colour comic books featuring Shrek, Donkey and Fiona - Shrek #1, Shrek #2 and Shrek #3. The comics were written by Mark Evanier and illustrated by Ramon Bachs and Raul Fernandez.

Ape Entertainment has also released under KiZoic label five full colour comic books - a 52-page prequel to Shrek Forever After titled Shrek (2010), and four 32-page books: Shrek #1 (2010), Shrek #2 (2010), Shrek #3 (2011) and Shrek #4 (2011).

Themed land

Far Far Away is one of the seven themed lands in Universal Studios Singapore, and it consists of many locations from the Shrek franchise, including the 40-metre tall Far Far Away Castle.

Shrek's Faire Faire Away is one of the three areas at the DreamWorks Experience themed land at the Australian theme park Dreamworld. It opened in 2012 and it consists of a fixed arm, rotating plane ride Dronkey Flyers, a kite flyer Gingy's Glider, a swing ride Puss in Boots Sword Swing and a carousel Shrek's Ogre-Go-Round.


In order of the Shrek franchise history:

  1. Puss in Boots (2011)
  2. Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (2012)
  3. Puss in Boots 2 (TBA)
  4. Shrek (2001)
  5. Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party (2001)
  6. Shrek 4-D (2003)
  7. Shrek 2 (2004)
  8. Far Far Away Idol (2004)
  9. Shrek the Third (2007)
  10. Shrek the Halls (2007)
  11. Shrek Forever After (2010)
  12. Scared Shrekless (2010)
  13. Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular (2010)
  14. Thriller Night (2011)
  15. The Pig Who Cried Werewolf (2011)
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