As we celebrate Earth Day, the new Disneynature film Monkey Kingdom is wrapping up its first week at the box office. This is the sixth theatrical release from Disneynature, which was created in April 2008 with the purpose of bringing the world’s top nature filmmakers together to capture a variety of wildlife subjects and stories.
In addition, Disneynature helps continue a longstanding Disney tradition of supporting conservation, with a conservation initiative tied to each film. Past Disneynature releases have helped plant over 3 million trees in Brazil, established over 40,000 acres of marine protected area in the Bahamas, initiated research and restoration grants across hundreds of thousands of acres of U.S. national parks, and protected 65,000 acres of savanna in Kenya and nearly 130,000 acres of chimpanzee habitat in the Congo. That’s in addition to several complementary educational programs provided to educators nationwide.
For every ticket sold during Monkey Kingdom’s opening week—through tomorrow (April 23)—Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats, supporting projects across Cambodia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Narrated by Tina Fey, Monkey Kingdom transports audiences into the storied jungles of South Asia, full of monkeys, leopards, monitor lizards and even a mischievous mongoose. “It’s a fabulously atmospheric location,” said director Mark Linfield. “Ruins of a grand city that ruled Sri Lanka a thousand years ago still stand—and now these monkeys call it home—only to them it’s a giant playground.”
Among an extended family in this grand city lives Maya, a resourceful blonde-bobbed macaque monkey, and her newborn son, Kip. When the monkeys are forced from their home by a neighboring rival band, Maya must use her ingenuity to help the group work together and reclaim their home.
The Disneynature filmmakers were able to capture this incredible journey through patience and careful observation, and as co-director Alastair Fothergill noted, “We witnessed events that few people get to see—much less film.”
For all the impressive effort it took to bring Maya and Kip to the big screen, the most important work is being done off-screen to protect these amazing animals.