Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated superhero comedy film based on Dav Pilkey's children's novel series of the same name, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by David Soren from a screenplay by Nicholas Stoller, and stars the voices of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal. The plot follows two imaginative elementary school pranksters named George Beard and Harold Hutchins who hypnotize their mean-spirited principal, Mr. Krupp, into thinking he is Captain Underpants, a superhero who fights crime while wearing only underwear and a cape.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie premiered on May 21, 2017, at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles, and was released in the United States on June 2, 2017, in 3D and 2D. The film received generally positive reviews and grossed $125 million worldwide against a budget of $38 million, making it the lowest-budgeted computer-animated feature of DreamWorks Animation's history. This was the last DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by 20th Century Fox (rights to the entire DreamWorks Animation library, including this film, are now owned by Universal Pictures, following NBCUniversal's purchase of the company in 2016). With the film's release in Saudi Arabia paired with The Emoji Movie on January 13, 2018, both became the first films to be given official public screenings in the country in 35 years after the removal of Saudi Arabia's cinema ban. A Netflix television series, The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants was released in July 13th 2018.
In Piqua, Ohio, George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two fourth-grade friends and next-door neighbors who often bring joy to their school, Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, by excessively pranking the cruel school staff, including their mean-spirited principal Mr. Benjamin "Benny" Krupp, which puts the duo at odds with him. The duo also create comic books about a fictional superhero named Captain Underpants, a character who has superpowers yet merely wears underwear and a cape. They sell these to their schoolmates through a comic company called Treehouse Comix Inc., located in their treehouse. George and Harold's pranks come to an end when they are caught tampering with a toilet invention, the Turbo Toilet 2000, made by the school's local snitch, the intellectual Melvin Sneedly. This causes Krupp to put the boys in separate classes and annihilate their friendship.
To prevent this, George hypnotizes Mr. Krupp with a 3D Hypno Ring he received out of a cereal box; the boys see that Mr. Krupp bears a resemblance to Captain Underpants without his toupee and command him to be so. The boys soon learn the severity of this when Captain Underpants begins causing trouble around Piqua and thus take him to their treehouse. There, they discover that they can turn Captain Underpants back into Mr. Krupp by splashing water on him and back into Captain Underpants by snapping their fingers. Realizing that Mr. Krupp will continue trying to separate them, they decide to settle with Captain Underpants yet insist that he be dressed up as Krupp under the pretense of a "secret identity", to which Captain Underpants agrees. His sudden personality change even manages to attract the attention and affection of the school's shy lunch lady, Edith.
Just when George and Harold believe that their troubles have ended, Jerome Horwitz Elementary School is visited by an odd and German-accented scientist named Professor Pee-Pee Diarrheastein Poopypants Esq. (or as he calls himself Professor P.), whom Captain Underpants (still disguised as Krupp) hires to be the new science teacher, but George and Harold are suspicious due to his short-tempered and violent behavior. As it turns out, Poopypants is seeking to get rid of laughter altogether due to the fact that people never took him seriously for years due to his name.
With Captain Underpants as principal, the school is a more lively place with a funfair being set up in the yard. However, a rainstorm occurs and Captain Underpants turns back into Mr. Krupp, who finally finishes the paperwork to put George and Harold into separate classes. Meanwhile, Professor P. recruits Melvin into his plan, as he has no sense of humor and does not find his name funny. Soon, Professor Poopypants tries to take over the town with a giant version of the Turbo Toilet 2000, fueled by the school cafeteria's toxic leftovers left out by Edith, and uses Melvin's brain as the power source to a zombie-ray to turn the children into glum, humorless zombies. Captain Underpants tries to stop the two, but due to having no actual superpowers, is effortlessly defeated and thrown into the toxic pool. George and Harold are captured and turned into zombies, but are able to escape when their laughter from the joke that made them friends in kindergarten overloads the zombie-ray, which damages the Turbo Toilet 2000's computer and returns the kids to normal. Upon consuming the toxic leftovers, Captain Underpants acquires superpowers and, with George and Harold's help, defeats and shrinks Poopypants, who escapes on a bee shortly thereafter.
Knowing that they can't control Captain Underpants forever, George and Harold destroy the Hypno Ring in order to permanently change him back into Krupp. Feeling that Krupp would be a lot nicer if he had friends, the boys set him and Edith up on a date, making Krupp have a change of heart and return the comics he confiscated from George and Harold, while even admitting their comics to be funny. However, the toxic waste from the Turbo Toilet 2000 transforms all the toilets into an army of Talking Toilets, which attack the restaurant where Mr. Krupp and Edith are dining. Upon snapping his fingers accidentally, Krupp once again becomes Captain Underpants, carrying George and Harold away to help him fight them to Edith's surprise and admiration.
In a mid-credits scene, George and Harold realize that Krupp's secretary, whom they put on the phone by faking a competition for $1 billion, has been on the phone for the entire film, prompting them to shut off the call, make the secretary angry and make a new comic book based on her reaction.
Walt Disney Animation Studios (uncredited)