The Emoji Movie, originally known as Emoji Movie: Express Yourself, is a computer-animated adventure comedy film focusing on the world of emoticons. The film was directed and written by Tony Leondis, with Mike White and Eric Siegel writing with Leondis. The film is produced by Sony Pictures Animation, and was released on July 28, 2017.
Gene is an emoji that lives in Textopolis, a digital city inside the phone of his user Alex. He is the son of two meh emojis named Mel and Mary, and is able to make multiple expressions despite his parents' upbringing. His parents are hesitant of going to work, but Gene insists that he can feel useful. Upon receiving a text from his crush Addie McAlister, Alex decides to send her an emoji. When Alex selects the "meh" emoji, Gene panics and makes a weird expression, then wrecks the text center. Gene is then called by Smiler, a smiley emoji and the leader of Textopolis, who concludes Gene is a "malfunction" and Alex's phone must be deleted. As Gene runs away, he is chased by bots and rescued by a hand emoji named Hi-5 who is a popular who loses his fame due to lack of use. He welcomes Gene to the loser lounge and tells him that they must find a codebreaker, and Hi-5 accompanies him so that he can reclaim his fame. Smiler sends bots to delete Gene due to Alex thinking his phone needs to be fixed. Gene leaves Textopolis with Hi-5 to the piracy app, to find a hacker named Jailbreak, an emoji who wants to escape, to live on the cloud. Smiler's bots appear in the app and spot Gene, Jailbreak questions how he can do different emotions and agrees to help them. They escape to the Candy Crush app shortly after. Jailbreak tells Gene and Hi-5, they need to venture through different apps to get to the Cloud. The gang goes through a short cut but stumble upon Just Dance, Hi-5 turns the app on much to Jailbreak's dismay. Gene, Jailbreak, and Hi-5 have to dance there way out while following the moves of Akiko Glitter. While dancing, Jailbreak's beanie flung off, revealing her true identity as the princess emoji. The bots manage to get to the app and attack Gene. Alex deletes Just Dance and Hi-5 is dragged down with a bot to the trash. Mel and Mary search for Gene and have a very heated arguement causing Mary to wander off. They make up in the Instagram app where Mel tells Mary that he is also a malfunction. Gene and Jailbreak go through Spotify to save Hi-5. While there, Jailbreak admits that she likes Gene just the way he is and should not feel ashamed. They make it to trash and rescue Hi-5, only to be invaded by Smiler's upgraded bot. They make it to the Drop Box and travel to the Firewall, Gene makes different expressions to figure out the password. Once they find out the password, Alex's crush, the Firewall grants access. The gang make it to Cloud City and Jailbreak goes to reprogram Gene. Gene admits his feelings to Jailbreak but she doesn't want to abandon her plan. She unitentionally rejects him causing Gene to turn meh. Gene gets captured by Smiler's bot, Hi-5 and Jailbreak go after to them to stop him from being deleted. As Smiler prepares to delete Gene, Mel and Mary appear only to be threatened also. Hi-5 and Jailbreak disable the bot, and it crushes Smiler. Alex asks the phone store employee to erase his whole phone to fix his problem. Jailbreak enlists Gene to send himself as a text to Addie to stop Textopolis from being erased. Gene makes numerous expressions and Alex sends the emoji to Addie. She got the text and tells Alex that she'd love to go to the dance with him. Alex stops the phone from being erased and Gene is celebrated by all the emojis. Sometime later, all the emojis gather at the text center for a big dance party. Jailbreak also resumes her part as a princess and works with the ram techs. Alex takes his phone out and picks Gene, he does his expressions and accepts himself for who he is. In the mid-credits scene, Smiler is seen in the loser lounge wearing braces and playing go fish with the other forgotten and unused emojis. She loses the game and the emojis laugh at her.
- T.J. Miller as Gene, an outsider emoji who can show multiple expressions
- James Corden as Hi-5, a hand emoji.
- Anna Faris as Jailbreak, a codebreaker/princess emoji.
- Maya Rudolph as Smiler, a smiley emoji
- Steven Wright as Mel Meh, Gene's emoji father.
- Jennifer Coolidge as Mary Meh, Gene's emoji mother.
- Patrick Stewart as Poop, a poop emoji
- Christina Aguliera as Akiko Glitter, a super cool dancer that lives inside the Just Dance app.
- Sofia Vergara as Flamenca, a flamenco dancer emoji.
- Sean Hayes as Steven, a devil emoji.
- Rachel Ray as Spam, a spam message.
- Jeff Rossas as an Internet Troll.
- Jake T. Austin as Alex, a human who owns a phone where Gene and his friends live.
- Tati Gabrielle as Addie McAlister, Alex's crush.
Sony Pictures Animation won a bidding war, against Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, for the rights to develop an animated film centered on emojis's on July 21st, 2015. Michelle Raimo Kouyate signed on to produce the film. At 2016 CinemaCon, the film was officially announced and it was revealed that it would be set in the digital world inside a smartphone.
In July 2016, T. J. Miller was announced as lead Emoji Gene in a tweet by Sony Pictures Animation on World Emoji Day. In October 2016, it was announced that Ilana Glazer and James Corden will be joining the cast as well. In December 2016, the film's title was renamed from Emojimovie: Express Yourself, to simply The Emoji Movie. Glazer was later replaced by Anna Faris.
For the movie, Ricky Reed recorded the song "Good Vibrations".
The film was released on July 28, 2017 in the United States and with a projected gross of $20–30 million from 4,069 theaters in its opening weekend. It was released on the same date as Atomic Blonde.
Many critics unfavorably reviewed the film, comparing the story to Disney's Inside Out. Already, the film has received a 7% approval rating from review site Rotten Tomatoes, similarly, on Metacritic, the film has a score of 9 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike".