Disneynature releases new film 'Monkey Kingdom'

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Just in time for Earth Day, DisneyNature is rolling out its latest movie on the big screen.

"Monkey Kingdom" is Disneynature's new True Life Adventure, and the follow-up to 2014's "Bears.”

Monkey Kingdom swings into theaters April 17. For every ticket sold opening week, Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats.

The film features a diverse range of monkeys who represent different levels of their society. Filmmakers captured behaviors rarely seen by people. For instance, the film shows the slow, but deliberate overthrow of an alpha male, something scientists have documented for years, but filmmakers have never really captured before. The team spent nearly 1,000 days on location to offer a glimpse of what it means to be a macaque. This marks the most days spent in the field for any Disneynature feature film.

When the monkeys venture off into a nearby village, they sample birthday cake and break into chicken coops, some of the funnies moments on film. And, it's the low-ranking monkeys that figure out pretty quickly how to navigate this new world. The film focuses on a low-ranking monkey named MAYA, living among ancient ruins in the jungles of South Asia. Clever and resourceful, Maya's a quick learner who's willing to work hard and take risks-especially if it means securing a bright future for her new son, Kip.

Featuring a rich variety of characters, including a mischievous mongoose, simple-minded langur monkeys, predatory leopards and monitor lizards, "Monkey Kingdom" is narrated by Tina Fey ("30 Rock"), directed and produced by Linfield ("Chimpanzee," "Earth") and co-directed and produced by Fothergill ("Chimpanzee," "Bears"). Award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams ("The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "Shrek" movies) supplies the score. "Monkey Kingdom" is the sixth theatrical release for Disneynature. The first five big-screen releases under the Disneynature label-"Earth," "Oceans," "African Cats," "Bears" and "Chimpanzee"-are among the top six highest grossing feature-length nature films of all time.

On Tuesday's Good Morning Arizona, we spoke about the movie with primatologist and anthropologist, Dr. Jane Goodall & Dr. M. Sanjayan, executive vice president and senior scientist for Conservation International. They had high praise for the film and told us a bit about what went into making it.

Goodall is considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees. She best known for her 55-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. She is also the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots program, and she has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues.

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