In its first weekend, Secret Life of Pets broke the record for the biggest-ever opening for an animated non-sequel, and it drew those massive audiences with frenetic, gag-filled, Looney Tunes-channeling entertainment.
Another animal-led toon Secret Life recalls: Dumbo, specifically, the Pink Elephants on Parade hallucination sequence that unfolds after Dumbo and Timothy inadvertently become intoxicated on champagne.
That Dumbo scene was an inspiration for Secret Life“s sausage factory scene.
If you don”t want to know plot details of Secret Life of Pets, consider this your spoiler warning.
The schlubby stray mutt Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) and the pampered terrier Max (Louis C.K.) have not been getting along, caught in an “alpha dog” struggle after Max”s owner brings Duke home, and then constantly bickering when wild circumstances land both of them lost in the streets of Manhattan. But they finally bond over the discovery of Weiner Kingdom, the sausage factory that sends the sweetest smells into the air of Brooklyn (yes, they end up lost in Brooklyn too).
What unfolds is a weird dream sequence featuring the two dogs gorging themselves in the sausage wonderland, drifting into a fluffy cloud-filled heavenly landscape, and being serenaded by dancing sausages that (coincidentally) look not unlike the lead characters of Seth Rogan”s upcoming R-rated animated movie Sausage Party.
The real occurrence “meat drunk,” known particularly to impact cats, led co-director Chris Renaud to come up with the fantasy sequence. Renaud told HitFix that he referenced both Pink Elephants on Parade and Eddie Valiant”s “Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!”-backed drive into Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when working with Secret Life“s board artists on the Weiner Kingdom scene.
The sausages sing Grease number “We Go Together.” Temped into the sequence was “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows,” though Renaud knew they wouldn”t use it since the Lesley Gore song was in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
The Grease tune was deemed a good fit since the scene”s meant to be “a transformative moment in [Duke and Max”s] relationship, bonding over something, their shared dream experience,” Renaud explained. “We go together, Max and Duke, but also they go together with the food.”
So that”s how a troupe of singing and dancing sausages ended up in The Secret Life of Pets, now in theaters. Meanwhile, the decidedly less family-friendly Sausage Party will open August 12.