The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it's a melting pot where humanoid mammals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. However, the city is separated into classes, where they face prejudice based on preconceived notions about their species. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn't so easy, as she was sidelined into a awesome career meter maid because she’s the first rabbit in the police force. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case of a missing otter, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve the mystery.
- Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps, a rabbit
- Michael Jackson as Jack Savage, a rabbit
- Bonnie Hunt as Bonnie Hopps, a rabbit
- Don Lake as Stu Hopps, a rabbit
- Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde, a red fox
- Diana Ross as Skye, a white fox
- Idris Elba as Chief Bogo, a cape buffalo
- Nate Torrence as Clawhauser, a cheetah
- J.K. Simmons as Mayor Lionheart, an African lion
- Jenny Slate as Bellwether, a sheep
- Octavia Spencer as Ms. Otterton, an otter
- Tommy Chong as Yax, a yak
- Alan Tudyk as Duke Weaselton, a weasel
- Shakira as Gazelle, a gazelle
- Raymond S. Persi as Flash, a three-toed sloth
- Kristen Bell as Priscilla, a three-toed sloth
- Tommy "Tiny" Lister as Finnick, a fennec fox
- Katie Lowes as Dr. Madge Honey Badger, a honey badger
- Jesse Corti as Manchas, a jaguar
- John DiMaggio as Jerry Jumbeaux Jr., an African elephant
- Peter Mansbridge as Peter Moosebridge, a moose
- Mark Rhino Smith as Officer McHorn, a rhinoceros
- Maurice LaMarche as Mr. Big, an arctic shrew
- Josh Dallas as pig
- Jared Bush as an angry antelope
- John Lavelle as a mouse
On August 9, 2013, Disney announced at the D23 Expo that director Byron Howard (Bolt, Tangled) is directing an animals' world comedy-adventure film with a working title Zootopia from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The film is scripted by Jared Bush, is scheduled for a March 2016 release. Jason Bateman was reportedly in talks to voice a character in the film. According to Howard, Zootopia will be different from other animal anthropomorphic films, where animals either live in the natural world or in the human world. The concept, where animals live in a modern world designed by animals, was well received by chief creative officer John Lasseter, who lifted Howard "in the air like a baby Simba," when he proposed the idea for the film.
In March 2015, it was revealed that Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) had been added as a director of the film, in addition to Jared Bush (Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero) as co-director, and that the film's plot had been revised. As announced in 2013, the original plot would have featured a fast-talking fox named Nick Wilde, who goes on the run after being framed for a crime he didn't commit. Zootopia's top cop named Lieutenant Judy Hopps, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they're forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends.
On May 6, 2015, Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin had been respectively cast as Nick Wilde and Lieutenant Judy Hopps in the film. The filmmakers chose Bateman because they wanted an actor who could bring "a funny yet heartfelt side" with "a wily, dry-witted sort of voice." Bateman described his character as "a crafty, sarcastic schemer," remarking similarity to many of his roles he was doing since he was 12. "I foolishly said, 'What kind of voice do you guys want me to do?' And they just looked at me like I was an idiot and said, 'Just do what you do. Just talk.'" Commenting on Goodwin's pick, Moore said that she brought "very centered sweetness, tremendous heart and a great sense of humor," describing her character as "a little Pollyanna mixed with Furiosa." Goodwin viewed her character as a little emotional at times, but not as someone who should be underestimated. "People mistake kindness for naivete or stupidity and she is a good girl through and through. But she's not a dumb bunny."
Zootopia is rated PG by the MPAA (for some thematic elements, rude humor and action), making it the twelfth Disney animated film to deserve that rating, after The Black Cauldron, Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, Home on the Range, Bolt, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6.
On July 25, 2015, composer Michael Giacchino started to compose the music score for Zootopia, on October 5, 2015 in French, producer Clark Spencer revealed that Giacchino is writing the score, and it was revealed on November 1, 2015 in English. In addition to her voice role of Gazelle, the biggest pop star in Zootopia, Shakira will also contribute to the film an original song, entitled "Try Everything", which will be written by Sia and Stargate.
- Director Byron Howard wanted to create Zootopia as a homage to Robin Hood with modern CG technology.
- Producer Clark Spencer was inspired by The Jungle Book to produce Zootopia.
- On the teaser poster, there are several animal parodies of real-life companies:
- Lululemmings - Lululemon
- Just Zoo It - Just Do It, Nike's famous slogan
- Preyda - Prada
- Bearberry - Burberry
- This the third time where, Jason Bateman and J.K. Simmons co-starred a film, the first was Juno and the second was Up in the Air.
- Nate Torrence, Jenny Slate and Alan Tudyk have co-starred in Star vs. the Forces of Evil.
- The seventh Disney Animation Canon film to not feature any humans, after Bambi, Robin Hood, The Great Mouse Detective, The Lion King, Dinosaur, and Chicken Little.