Pop Culture | Movies | 90s

11 Marvelous Facts About "Mousehunt" - The Movie You Forgot You Loved


It was dark and downright weird, but that's why we loved Mousetrap so much. In a world full of sugary sweet kids' movies, this bizarre comedy about two brothers trying to evict a genius rodent really stood out.

If you asked your parents to rent this movie over and over and over, you'll get a kick out of these 11 facts.

1. A sneaky ad for the movie poked fun at Disney

Mousehunt was the first live-action family comedy from Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg,  and David Geffen's studio Dreamworks. It seems the trio couldn't resist poking fun at their biggest competitor in this ad, which didn't wind up on the movie's VHS or DVD copy (for obvious reasons).

2. The studio bosses hated the movie

The original pitch for Mousehunt was much closer to a Home Alone ripoff, which was just what the studio wanted. The dark and weird script turned them off, and things got frosty between the studio and the film's producers.

Mousehunt producer Tony Ludwig remembers former Dreamworks president Walter Parkes had this to say at a special party for the project:

You think I'm going to wish you well and hope that everything goes well. I'm not. I don't think you're ready to make this movie. I don't think this movie is any good. I think this was a big waste of money, and I think that all of you are going off on an adventure of folly.

3. Things weren't so gloomy on set

While it's raining, snowing, or overcast throughout the movie, things were much brighter away from the film's set. As Reddit user CaptainChewbacca reveals, "This was actually filmed in my hometown in late summer, my bus went past the house every day and we could see the fake snow on the lawn.”

4. The project used 60 trained mice

While close-ups used an animatronic rodent, and some scenes involved CGI, most shots were made using a team of 60 field mice trained by animal trainer Boone Narr. The mice were trained for everything from running and climbing to sleeping in a sardine can underneath a tissue paper blanket.

"Mice are very intelligent," Narr said. "There are scenes where they come out and grab an olive and take off with it, or retrieve a Cheerio, or jump from one object to another... multiple things in one take with no cuts. Most people think mice can't do that, but they can."

In fact the cast and crew were so impressed with the mice that they even took a few home as pets.

5. But the mice weren't ready for their close-ups

A brown mouse (left) compared to a brown rat.

Certain shots just didn't look "right" with mice in front of the camera, so rats were used a "body doubles" for the rodents instead.

6. It wasn't a hit with audiences

The dark and violent Mousehunt was already a hard sell for families looking to enjoy themselves at the theater, but it didn't help that it premiered the same week as Titanic.

Movie Info

Even movie buffs like Roger Ebert didn't seem to "get" the movie. “Mousehunt is not very funny," he wrote, "and maybe couldn't have been very funny no matter what, because the pieces for comedy are not in place.“ Still, it wasn't a total bomb, and made more than $120 million at the box office.

7. The mousetraps in the infamous scene were 100% real

More than 800 traps were set up for the scene, and each was rigged individually using wires underneath the floor. Of course, it took several takes to get everything right, and every trap had to be reset, baited, and wired by hand multiple times.

Still, we say all that work definitely paid off.

8. The theme music was more popular than the movie itself

Alan Silvestri's theme song for the movie turned out to be perfect for playful but kind of serious comedy movies, and it was played to death in trailers during the early 2000s. Many songs from the movie's score were even recycled and used in other comedies. See if you can recognize them.

9. The film was Gore Verbinski's debut

Verbinski on the movie's set.Dreamworks

The director went on to make other strange but funny family movies including Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango, so it's no wonder the movie was such a gem.

10. Timon and Pumba reunited on set

Of course Nathan Lane (Timon) plays Ernie Smuntz, one of the main characters. But the pound owner Maury is also played by Ernie Sabella, the voice of Pumba.

Listen close during the auction scene, too. Ernie greets one of the buyers by bowing and saying "Hakuna Matata." Pretty sneaky!

11. William Hickey was as sick as he looked

The actor played string factory owner Rudolf Smunthz in a few flashback scenes, and this was Hickey's final role before he died from emphysema. The movie was still filming when he passed away, but he had already recorded all his scenes. The film is also dedicated to Hickey.

Share this list if you remember Mousehunt!

More Throwbacks


The Cast Of 'Scarface' Reunited For The 35th Anniversary To Reveal Secrets From The Set

Scarface was one of those movies that defined a generation. It seemed like every single guy had the iconic poster on their walls, and each and every one of us has said the words "Say hello to my little friend" at least ten times in our lives.The movie came out in 1983, which means that this year marks the 35th anniversary of its release. Three of the main cast members, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, and Steven Bauer, joined the director of the film, Brian De Palma, to discuss and reminisce about the movie that so many people still


Shelley Duval Says That Robin Williams Is Alive And She Knows Where He Is

Robin Williams was one of our generations finest actors. He was a comedic genius with a mind that was constantly running a mile a minute. He was more clever than any of us could ever hope to be, and we were lucky to have had him for the short time we did. While he passed away too young, Williams made a lot of amazing hit movies. Movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, and Good Will Hunting all proved he was capable at making entertaining content that we all loved. But his first big staring role in a motion picture was actually


It's Been Over 20 Years Since 'Space Jam' Came Out, But What Ever Happened To The Monstars?

Since the Looney Tunes started, they have been able to bring together the entire world with their hilarious cartoons. Whether we were watching Bugs give a haircut, Wile E. Coyote chase the Roadrunner, or Sylvester go after Tweety, there were infinite possibilities and all were entertaining. But one story really beat out the rest as the most memorable, and that was Space Jam. You might not think that a silly 90s movie about basketball could top decades of cartoons, but guess what, it was pretty freakin' awesome if you ask me. Warner BrosSpace Jam came out in 1996 and it

Pop Culture

20 Movies From The 90s That Still Make You Sob Uncontrollably

Watching movies was the ultimate treat on a weekend. Our parents would let us help them pick out the best movies possible at Blockbuster and we would watch it all together. But as we got older, we didn't want to just rent whatever cartoon had come out that week. We wanted to watch something new and exciting. We wanted our parents to think of us as young adults now. We weren't children, we were capable of understanding complicated emotions. The problem was, we were not ready for the levels of emotion these movies gave us. I remember the first movie