Ever since the first teaser trailer was released, there's been no shortage of speculation that Zootopia might be aimed at one market in particular - and it isn't children. No, I'm actually talking about a totally different group of moviegoers who you may not have been aware even had their own category: furries.
What's a furry, you ask? I'll let Urban Dictionary explain:
furry n., adj. Someone who finds the idea of anthropomorphic (humanlike) animals, in art, fiction, cartoons, costume, or other media, to be an appealing one. Furries can range from people who enjoy portraying anthropomorphic animals in art; people who enjoy imagining what a future, past or alternative world might be like if humans were replaced with or accompanied by anthropomorphic animals; and people who like wearing costume tails, ears and/or animal mascot costumes, to those who feel spiritual connections to animals or to the animal form; those who admire the beauty, power, speed or grace of of the animal form; those who believe they have empathy with or can communicate with animals; people who have a great deal of respect for animal welfare; and people who find the concept of anthropomorphic animals enjoyable in a sexual way.
So the definition is pretty broad, but it's not difficult to see why this particular community might think that Disney's latest animation was made with them in mind. Just days after the first teaser was released, fur suits of the Zootopia characters started to appear on Furaffinity.net. See the clip for yourself below:
Still not convinced? Well, this might just do it. The guys over at Buzzfeed have obtained an email sent by Disney's digital marketing company, Allied Integrated Media, to a furry Meetup group that pretty much confirms what the furries have thought all along. The email reads:
My name is [name redacted] and I am representing Walt Disney Studios. Our next film being released is ZOOTOPIA and it is about a world inhabited by animals all living in peace together. The pictures of the members of your group all looking like animals are incredible and align perfectly with the film. All of you could live peacefully in Zootopia. It would be great for you all to share these photos on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. You can take new photos of each other and share these new photos online using the hashtags #Zootopia and #ZooU. You can be representing ZOOTOPIA and the participants can receive film based items such as the poster and rabbit or fox crowns. This can be a lot of fun and your group seems perfect to participate. If you are interested start posting the photos today and email me at [email protected] Thanks!
As if this wasn't enough evidence, one of Disney's animators has also favorited a tweet about Zootopia from a member of the furry community and another requested photos of them in costume.
And let's not forget that one of the leading characters in the film is a wily fox who looks suspiciously like Disney's Robin Hood, a creature many furries name the hero of the fandom.
Shakira's character, Gazelle, has also been somewhat sexualized - you can see her shimmying on stage with a group of tigers who, let's be honest, look like extras from Magic Mike in this clip:
It's certainly looking like more than just coincidence that the city’s mantra is 'Anyone can be anything!' To be fair, the furry fandom is one of Disney's longest-adoring demographics; maybe it's about time they got a bit of recognition. Although the producers will probably never admit to it, the furries' theory makes total sense - and they're pretty damn excited about it.
Whoever the movie is marketed at, in the words of the famous fox himself, Zootopia will be like nothing we’ve ever seen 'befur.'
Do you think 'Zootopia' was made for the furry fandom?