The film received generally negative reviews from critics, and earned $201.6 million on a $80 million budget. The film premiered at Westwood on December 11, 2010, and was theatrically released on December 17, 2010 by Warner Bros. Pictures. Yogi Bear won the Top Box Office Films at the ASCAP Awards and the Feature Film at the EMA Awards in 2011, and received a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice Animated Movie: Voice. The theme song from the classic animated series was never played in the movie.
Yogi and Boo Boo are two brown bears who like stealing picnic baskets from visitors to Jellystone Park, while park rangers Smith and Jones try to prevent the thefts. Meanwhile, Mayor R. Brown realizes that Franklin City is facing bankruptcy due to profligate spending on his part. To solve it and fund his election campaign to be the next governor, the mayor decides to select Jellystone as a logging site, and Jellystone is prepared to be shut down.
To save the park, Smith and his love interest, a woman named Rachel, who was currently in Jellystone to film a documentary, hold a Centennial festival where Smith hopes to make a profit selling Season Passes. To sabotage the effort, Brown plays on Jones' desire to be head ranger and promises him the position if the funds are not raised. Yogi and Boo Boo had promised Smith to stay out of sight during the festival, but Jones convinces them otherwise. They try to please the crowd with a waterskiing performance, but Yogi inadvertently sets his cape on fire, causing the fireworks Smith set up to be knocked over and ignited prematurely, launching them into the crowd, who flee in a panic. After Jellystone is shut down, Ranger Smith is forced to stay in Evergreen Park, a small urban enclave choked with litter and pollution, but not after he tells Yogi that he is not as smart as he thinks he is.
Now seeing that their home is in danger of being destroyed, Yogi and Boo Boo travel to Evergreen Park and tell Smith about this, where he places the clues that Brown had given him, that Brown and his chief of staff are planning to cut down Jellystone and its trees to make money. They return to Jellystone, and along with Rachel plan to stop the sale of the park. They learn that Boo Boo's pet turtle is a rare and endangered species known as a "Frog-Mouthed" turtle, which means that, by law, the Park cannot be destroyed if the turtle is residing there. Jones then turns against Brown and teams up with Smith, Rachel, and the bears, after learning that he has been manipulated Brown learns about this and has his guards steal the turtle so he can continue with his plot of shutting down Jellystone for power.
After Brown leaves for his conference, Rachel reveals that she had installed a camera in Boo Boo's bow tie, which secretly recorded the entire conversation. The turtle manages to escape from Brown's Chief of Staff by using his frog-like tongue to pull itself through the car window and out into the park. Yogi and Boo Boo keep the guards distracted so Smith can upload the conversation in the Jumbotron. When the turtle is revealed to the citizens as an endangered species, police arrest Brown.
Jellystone Park is reopened and becomes a great success. Jones loses his position as head ranger and Smith takes it back, but Jones still works there, handing out flyers about how Jellystone Park has a rare and endangered turtle. Rachel and Ranger Smith admit their feelings for each other, but after they kiss, however, they start chasing after Yogi and Boo Boo, who are back to stealing picnic baskets once again.
Anna Faris as Rachel Johnson, a nature documentary filmmaker, and Ranger Smith's love interest. She is called "Miss Movie Lady" or "Miss Moviemaker Lady" by Yogi and Boo Boo. She has spent time with the animals that she makes a documentary on learning a gorilla's rage and pinning down people like a snow leopard.
T.J. Miller as Ranger Jones, a park ranger who is tricked by Mayor Brown into getting Jellystone shut down, making the excuse that Jones will be the head ranger of the park.
Andy Daly as Mayor R. Brown, the main antagonist of the film. He is the Mayor of Franklin City who wants to shut Jellystone Park down so that he can make money for his city and become governor.
On October 2, 2008, it was confirmed that a live-action/CGI Yogi Bear movie was in the works. Ash Brannon was originally scheduled to direct the film but was replaced by Eric Brevig (Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D) when it was decided that the film would be produced as a 3-D project. Filming took place on the Lake Whakamaru Reserve, Waikato, New Zealand, as it was winter in the northern hemisphere and to wait for summer would put the production end time to be six months longer than if in southern hemisphere.
Like many Hanna-Barbera characters, in the original cartoon, Yogi's personality and mannerisms were based on a popular celebrity of the time. Art Carney's Ed Norton character on The Honeymooners was said to be Yogi's inspiration; his voice mannerisms broadly mimic Carney as Norton. Norton, in turn, received influence from Borscht Belt and comedians of vaudeville.
Dan Aykroyd, the voice actor of Yogi Bear, stated that he is trying to evoke the influences that shaped the original Yogi Bear's voice. Aykroyd said, "It's about hitting certain notes, going back to those old Lower East Side rhythms, the Catskills, Jersey, Upstate New York. It's the Yiddish language, essentially, being spoken in English. It's the 'setup, delivery, punch' that sitcoms live on today. That's where the origin of American humor is."
Aykroyd has stated that he grew up watching Yogi Bear on the long, cold, dark afternoons in his native Ottawa: "As a kid growing up in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where the sky turns dark in the winter at about 3:30, Yogi Bear was my fire, my hearth, when I would come home. I would immediately turn on the TV while I thawed out."
Justin Timberlake came in with a prepared Boo-Boo voice; when he was learning to sing when he was younger, he imitated various cartoon characters. Eric Brevig said that he intended to make a film that did not want parents who remembered watching Yogi Bear cartoons to feel marginalized and displaced by the contemporary rendition of Yogi Bear. Rhythm and Hues provided CGI character animation for Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo Bear and the Frog-Mouthed Turtle in the film. The company had previously worked with Hanna-Barbera on past theatrical productions: The Flintstones (1994), its prequel Viva Rock Vegas (2000), Scooby-Doo (2002), and its sequel Monsters Unleashed (2004).
The film was originally slated for release on June 25, 2010, but was pushed back to December 17, 2010, to avoid competition with Grown Ups.
The film's first trailer was released online on July 28, 2010. It was also attached with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Alpha and Omega. A second trailer premiered with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, and a third trailer premiered with Megamind, Tangled, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. One of the trailers was also attached with showings of Tron: Legacy in the United Kingdom.
Warner Home Video released the film on Blu-ray and DVD on March 22, 2011 in four versions:
DVD (single disc edition)
Blu-ray (single disc edition)
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack
Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 13% based on 101 reviews with an average rating of 3.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Yogi Bear's 3D effects and all-star voice cast are cold comfort for its aggressively mediocre screenplay." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 35 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Common Sense Media gave the film one star, saying "Dumber-than-average family comedy won't even impress kids." IGN gave the film 4.0/10, and summed up their review by saying "Of course, Yogi Bear is meant as a kids movie. And one supposes that it works on that level (the little ones at the press screening I attended seemed mildly amused). But we learned long ago that kids movies can operate on more than one level, and that's not something that director Eric Brevig (Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D) or his screenwriters are interested in. The result is a movie that's dumber than the average bear. Though at least it has a pee joke in it."
One of the few positive reviews came from film critics at Spill.com, who appreciated the film staying true to its original source material, and not trying to "hip it up", comparing the film Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007). The critics also praised Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake's performances, along with the 3D and visual effects.
Yogi Bear debuted at the America and Canadian box office at #2, behind Tron: Legacy, with an under-performing $16,411,322 compared to Tron Legacy's $44,026,211. The opening weekend was lower than Warner Bros. expected, but executives believed that the film would hold well throughout the holiday season. The film earned $28 million in its first seven days, becoming Warner Bros.' top grossing start for a family film for that year. In its second weekend, the film fell 53% to $7.8 million, falling to fifth place.
This number was a much harder fall than what Warner Bros. was hoping for, but it blamed the drop on Christmas Eve landing on a Friday plus the big snowstorm in the eastern United States during that period. On Monday, that blame seemed justified, as the film jumped up 11% from Sunday to $3.6 million, which was altogether a 33% jump from its previous Monday.
In its third weekend, the film jumped up 66% to $13 million and ranking fourth. The next weekend, it dropped 46% and ranked eighth with $6.8 million. Over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend, it was able to pick up $7.4 million for the four day, jumping up 12% from the previous weekend. The film has picked up $100,246,011 in the United States and Canada and also has a worldwide total of $201,584,141. Against an $80 million budget, the film has become a surprise box office hit.
Teen Choice Award
Choice Movie: Voice
Top Box Office Films
"Lasagna" – performed by "Weird Al" Yankovic
"Rhythm of Love" – performed by Plain White T's
"Baby Got Back" – performed by Sir Mix-a-Lot
"The Sound of Sunshine" – performed by Michael Franti and Spearhead
"Nothin' but a Good Time" – performed by Poison
"Runnin' Wild" – performed by Airbourne
"Don't Stop Believin'" – performed by Journey
"My Best Friend" – performed by Weezer
"William Tell Overture" – composed by Gioachino Rossini