Encore! From the all-star cast of Sing 2 to the Sing 2 soundtrack, here’s everything you need to know about the hit animated sequel

It’s showtime! With Buster Moon’s furry troupe taking on the big city in Sing 2, your whole family is invited along for the ride.

From the Sing 2 trailer to the A-list additions to the cast of Sing 2, here’s why this jukebox musical sequel is a whole different animal…

What’s the backstory to Sing 2?

Back in 2016, Sing was a family animation that turned up the feelgood. In that first movie, writer/director Garth Jennings welcomed us to the animal city of Calatonia, where impresario koala bear Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) faces the closure of his beloved New Moon Theater unless he puts more tails on seats.

Buster’s solution? A singing contest with a big cash prize – which brings forward a bunch of hairy hopefuls including punk-rock porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson), performing porker Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), bashful teenage elephant Meena (Tori Kelly) and leather-jacketed mountain gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton).

With unforgettable characters – plus a jukebox’s worth of reimagined hits – it’s no wonder the original Sing hit the high notes, nominated for two Golden Globes and scoring $634 million at the box office. Now, with the Sing 2 release date set for 28th January, it’s time for the encore.       

What do we learn from the Sing 2 trailer?

They don’t call showbiz ‘the slippery pole’ for nothing. It’s one thing to triumph on a small-town stage. But when Buster’s troupe takes a road trip to the Vegas-style entertainment capital of Redshore City – hoping to impress the ruthless showbiz mogul Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale) and put on a new show at his famous Crystal Tower Theater – they soon discover they’re at the bottom of the food chain.

Crystal passes on the pitch – until a desperate Buster dangles an offer the wolf can’t refuse, promising a show starring legendary rock singer Clay Calloway (voiced by U2 icon Bono). But that might be easier said than done. The ageing lion is now a retired recluse who disappeared from the music business after the death of his wife and hasn’t been seen in over a decade. Even if you make it past the electric fence that protects Calloway’s property, he’ll probably shoot you with a paintball gun.

So begins Buster’s high-stakes quest to win over Calloway and put on the greatest show that Redshore City has ever seen – or be literally thrown to the wolves. “Bobby Cannavale was terrifying,” Jennings told Yahoo of the actor who chilled viewers as Boardwalk Empire’s villainous Gyp Rosetti. “As a man he couldn't be nicer but as a wolf, run for the hills.” 

Who’s in the voice cast of Sing 2?

While the first Sing was star-studded, this sequel sets a new record for cramming celebrities into vocal booths. Jennings has brought back all the original big-hitters – McConaughey, Witherspoon, Johansson – but he dreamed bigger, too. “We thought, Clay Calloway is the ultimate rock star and he’s enigmatic and cantankerous,” the director told The AU Review. “Wouldn’t it be great if that was Bono? And he had seen the first film and loved it.

Even then, Jennings wasn’t done. The director recruited upcoming pop singer-songwriter Halsey to play Jimmy’s spoilt daughter Porsha, and added another musical giant in the form of Pharrell Williams, who plays Alfonso, the ice cream-selling elephant who catches Meena’s eye. Listen out, too, for British comedy legends Jennifer Saunders (as sheep singer Nana Noodleman) and Adam Buxton (as proboscis monkey dance instructor Klaus Kickenklober).

But as the director admitted, it wasn’t always easy to stitch together all the recordings made by a voice cast working remotely through the pandemic. “It took three years to get all the pieces. It's incredible how fragmented the entire process is. You’re getting a voice here, a voice there. How it coalesced at the end is a magic trick.

What songs are on the Sing 2 soundtrack?

A big factor in the success of the original Sing was the retooling of the hits that we’ve all howled into a hairbrush, whether that was Rosita performing Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off or Johnny pounding the ivories to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing.

Now, thanks to the cast of Sing 2’s impressive vocal chops, the new soundtrack might be better still, taking in Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy, Coldplay’s A Sky Full Of Stars, Dionne Warwick’s I Say A Little Prayer and even an original tune – Your Song Saved My Life – written by U2 especially to suit the new movie.

I’d made notes over the years on this idea of: some people sing for a living, some people sing to stay alive, there are all kinds of reasons why people sing,” Bono told Variety. “But only when I got this character, Clay Calloway, did I think, ‘Okay, this is the guy who can talk about it’. My wife is very much alive, but I understand grief… and I wrote that song from a very true place.

What have the Sing 2 reviews been like?

Good animations make you laugh – but great ones make you think, too. Writing for the IGN site, Matt Donato flagged up the movie’s positive focus on overcoming obstacles. “Sing 2 knows how to empower its audience with affirmations of taking giant leaps,” he noted. “As straightforward as Meena talking to her ice cream vendor crush or as complicated as Clay moving on from tragedy.

Deadline’s Pete Hammond also picked up on that theme of triumph over adversity. “Just as Omicron threatens to torpedo our holiday comes the perfect antidote, a bright lively musical animated sequel to 2016’s delightful Sing. If the original was all about chasing your dreams, this edition is all about seeing how far you can take them. Do we believe? Yes, we do.

What’s the Sing 2 release date?

Sing 2 is released January 28th – and with its heartfelt message and cinema-shaking tunes, this hit animation might just be the perfect New Year pick-me-up for your whole family. It might even be – whisper it – better than the all-conquering original.

That was the biggest thing,” Jennings nodded in an interview with Animation Scoop. “It’s got to be bigger and better. It would be emotionally richer. It would be more spectacular. It HAS to be better! Every one of us who’s worked on Sing 2 feels like whatever happens, we know we did our best on this…

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