The film was released on November 17, 2017 by Columbia Pictures.
In "9 months B.C.", Mary is visited by an angel telling her she will bear the messiah. A mouse named Abby overhears and tells the other animals as a star begins glowing brightly in the night. 3 months later, a donkey is tired of milling wheat and wishes to join a traveling caravan so that he may feel important. An older donkey helps him escape the mean miller and he ends up with an injured ankle at the house of Mary and Joseph who just had their wedding dinner. Mary takes the donkey in and names him Boaz, Bo for short, and reveals to Joseph that she is pregnant causing him some concern. After praying to God, Joseph calms down and accepts Mary's situation. During this time, Bo and his dove friend Dave, plot to escape despite Mary's kindness, but end up staying six more months. Meanwhile, the three wise men and their camels, Felix, Cyrus and Deborah, arrive at the home of King Herod. The wise men reveal their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but when they reveal that it is for the "new king", he sends them on their way to meet him, but secretly sends his head soldier and his two dogs, Thaddeus and Rufus, to find and kill the new king.
As Mary and Joseph leave Nazareth, Bo and Dave try another escape, but are confronted by Thaddeus and Rufus, who knew of the home by interrogating Abby. After learning that Mary and Joseph are not home, the soldier and his dogs leave to look for them. Feeling guilty, Bo decides to leave to warn them with Dave joining him. Along the way they meet a friendly sheep named Ruth who left her flock when she saw the star. She tried to get them to follow her, but they refused. They catch up to Mary and Joseph in time to warn them, but due to them being animals are unable to communicate properly. Using some quick thinking, they hide them in a market place where the soldier ties up his dogs. Bo releases the cart Mary and Joseph were using to role down and cause a chain reaction knocking the soldier down a well. However, the damage to the market is severe and Joseph instead berates Bo as he was unaware of the danger. Upset with the current outcome, Bo leaves and Dave follows until they arrive at the caravan. While happy to have found it, Bo realizes that he liked being with Mary and tells Dave that he wants to go back. Dave admits that he isn't upset and that he just wants Bo to happy with his decision, reminding him that he is a bird and can fly anywhere he wants. The two return and make up with Ruth and convince a frustrated Joseph to talk to Mary. Mary admits that it has been difficult for her and that she is scared of the importance of the baby. Joseph and Mary make up when the latter begins having contractions. They arrive at Bethlehem where Joseph can't find an inn for Mary. The miller, who just so happened to be there too, kidnaps Bo with Dave and Ruth leaving to rescue him. The wise men arrive as well, but the camels, who are aware of Herod's plot, are left tied to a post.
Bo ends up in a barn where he meets a horse, a cow and a goat named Leah, Edith and Zach, respectively. They reveal that they haven't been able to sleep because the star's bright light has been shining through on their manger. Realizing that this is where the baby is supposed to be, the animals help Bo escape and he catches up with Dave and Ruth while spotting the soldier and his dogs. Bo finds Mary and Joseph and gets them back to the manger while Dave runs into Cyrus, Felix and Deborah and helps them escape. Ruth finds her flock and tries to convince them to follow her, but gets unexpected help from the angel who informs the shepherds that the savior is coming. Bo manages to fight off Thaddeus and Rufus, but is outdone by the soldier. Suddenly Ruth and her flock, the camels and Dave arrive and dispatch with them by having them hang from a cliff. The soldier lets his dogs fall, but they are saved by Bo and the soldier himself falls to his death.
The animals, shepherds and wise men arrive to see baby Jesus with Bo realizing that he has been carrying the new king this whole time. Abby arrives to warn them of the danger, but realizes the danger has passed and Thaddeus and Rufus change their ways. Deborah predicts that this event will be remembered for years to come, but Cyrus and Felix laugh it off.
During the credits, it is shown that Joseph buys Bo from the miller and helps him and Mary raise Jesus together. Their flight into Egypt is also shown. It is also revealed that Bo's father has escaped from the miller and is possibly looking for Bo.
- Steven Yeun as Bo
- Gina Rodriguez as Mary
- Zachary Levi as Joseph
- Keegan-Michael Key as Dave
- Kelly Clarkson as Leah
- Patricia Heaton as Edith
- Kristin Chenoweth as Abby
- Tracy Morgan as Felix
- Tyler Perry as Cyrus
- Oprah Winfrey as Deborah
- Kris Kristofferson as Old Donkey
- Christopher Plummer as Herod the Great
- Anthony Anderson as Zach
- Aidy Bryant as Ruth
- Ving Rhames as Thaddeus
- Gabriel Iglesias as Rufus
- Mariah Carey as Rebecca
- Delilah as Elizabeth
- Joel McCrary as Zechariah, Angel
- Joel Osteen as Caspar
- Phil Morris as Balthazar, Miller
- Fred Tatasciore as Melchior, Pottery Vendor, Inn keeper #1
- Lex Lang as Hunter
- Roger Craig Smith as Chamberlain, Inn Keeper #5
- Joe Whyte as Scribe, Inn Keeper #2
- William Townsend as Horse, Goat
- Gregg Berger as Inn Keeper #3
- Melissa Sturm as Inn Keeper #4
In September 2014, it was reported that DeVon Franklin would produce a faith-based film inspired by the Nativity story under his production company, Franklin Entertainment, in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation. In April 2015, Variety reported that Timothy Reckart would direct the film in his directing debut. On August 5, 2015, it was announced that the film, then titled The Lamb, was given an official release date of December 8, 2017. On June 20, 2016, it was announced that Brian Henson and Lisa Henson from The Jim Henson Company would be executive producers for the film, now titled The Star. The animation was produced by Cinesite Studios.
In July 2016, the release date was set for November 10, 2017, but it was later pushed back to November 17, 2017.
The first trailer was released on July 26, 2017. On November 16, 2017, the official video for the song The Star, performed by Mariah Carey, was made available on her YouTube channel.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an average rating of 59% based on 28 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Star may not leave audiences singing 'Hallelujah', but its offbeat yet sincere approach to the nativity story makes for acceptably diverting holiday viewing." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky criticized The Star as a "rote cartoon feature" existing for purely commercial reasons: "...even the kid-friendliest, Sunday-school-iest kind of religious art can't spring from religion alone; it needs artistry, too. Otherwise, you end up with a generic product aimed at a market segment who'll buy anything as long as it seems sufficiently churchy.
- The second Sony Pictures Animation Christmas film, after Arthur Christmas.
- This is the first Sony Pictures Animation film not to be converted to 3-D since Surf's Up.
- This is the first Sony Pictures Animation film to have a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack since Open Season: Scared Silly.
- This is the first of three Sony Pictures Animation films not to include the Columbia Pictures logo at the beginning, despite the company distributing it possibly due to only distributing the film and not involved in the production with the other two being Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation & The Angry Birds Movie 2. This is unusual for a theatrical Sony Pictures Animation film.
- This is the first animated film produced by Walden Media.
- This is the only animated film produced by Affirm Films.
- This is the 9th Sony Pictures Animation film to be produced in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, after Smurfs: The Lost Village, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Smurfs 2, Hotel Transylvania, Arthur Christmas, The Smurfs, Surf's Up, and Open Season.
- The Star - official website