Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale is a 1986 New Zealand-Australian animated comedy film directed by Murray Ball, produced by John Barnett and Pat Cox with music by Dave Dobbyn and written by Tom Scott and Murray Ball. It was based on cartoonist Murray Ball's comic strip Footrot Flats. The film features the voices of John Clarke, Peter Rowley, Rawiri Paratene, Fiona Samuel, Peter Hayden, Dorothy McKegg, Billy T. James, Brian Sergent, Marshall Napier and Michael Haigh. It was New Zealand's first feature-length animated film. The film was theatrically released on 9 April 1986 by Kerridge-Odeon. Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale grossed $2,500,000 at the New Zealand box office (making it one of the most successful local films of the 1980s). In Australia it grossed $4,317,000 which is equivalent to $8,677,170 in 2009.
The film began as an idea from producer Pat Cox who suggested to Murray his popular comic strip be made into a feature-length movie. Once Murray and writer Tom Scott had worked together to complete the script, animation director Robbert Smit was brought on to ensure the animation was successful. The main challenge faced in the animation was to get the voice acting right so that audiences who had created their own voice for the characters through the comic strip could relate to it. This was solved by employing a cast of New Zealand's best comedy talent at the time.
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