We Bought a Zoo
Source: 20th Century Fox | Twitter/@zachsilberberg

‘We Bought a Zoo’ Contains a Continuity Error That Made One Twitter User Very Upset

Mustafa Gatollari - Author
By

Mar. 30 2022, Published 5:20 p.m. ET

Films have continuity errors. Even the most celebrated and lauded of movies. And that's because they're created by human beings. Now unless you're a completely pedantic nerd who mainly derives pleasure from pointing out flaws in others and the work that they do, or the continuity error really itself really isn't that massive, you probably just go ahead and enjoy the movie.

Or you use it for a bit of Twitter comedy, like this one user did after watching the 2011 film We Bought a Zoo.

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What is the continuity error in 'We Bought a Zoo' that was broken down in a Twitter thread?

If you aren't familiar with the film, it stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning, and Colin Ford and is based on the 2008 memoir of Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken-Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Changed Their Lives Forever.

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While there are some big differences between the film and memoir — namely that Benjamin's wife passed away after they bought the zoo (in the movie Damon's character decides to buy the property after his wife's death) and that the real-life zoo was in Devon, England, as opposed to the flick's California location — that's not what Twitter user Zach Silberberg is concerned with.

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He carefully establishes the timeline that the movie is set in, and points out some other little errors along the way that (for him) pale in comparison to a single glaring reference that Matt Damon's character makes that is so out of place in the Cameron Crowe movie.

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First, he points out that the movie begins in February of 2010 as depicted by on-screen evidence showing a memorial plaque for a tiger that's passed away and a conversation over a meal between Damon's character and his brother (Haden Church) in the film.

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Zach then goes on to further delineate the movie's five-month-period timeline, showing the zoo opening date on the "cute calendar" to be July 7, 2010. Here's where the first continuity error pops up: July 7, 2010 takes place on a Wednesday (not a Saturday that the movie indicates), but this isn't what upsets Zach the most.

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Zach's ire has everything to do with the Chilean mining accident that occurred on Aug. 5, 2010, when 33 individuals were holed up underground for a whopping 69 days. Thankfully, every single one of the miners was rescued which is wonderful news, but there's still the business of a particular date peculiarity to be dealt with.

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Namely the fact that Matt Damon's character calls his daughter a Chilean miner, a clear reference to the mining accident, some 45 minutes into the movie.

Seeing as the film ends with the July 7, 2010 opening of the zoo, nearly a month before the mining accident, this means that in the We Bought a Zoo universe, there is really no reason why Matt Damon's character should be making that allusion.

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For Zach, this reference completely takes him out of the film and he wants to know: Was it a scripted line or an instance of Damon riffing? But he did do some digging to find out what could've influenced the reference: that particular scene was most likely filmed in September of 2010, and the Chilean miner story was the height of the global news cycle.

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Zach's clearly perturbed by the incident and riffs on it throughout a series of tweets. He eventually discovers that the correct term he is looking for is an "anachronism" and not a continuity error, but the fact remains that Matt Damon's character referenced the Chilean mining accident well before it happened.

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You can check out more of Zach wrestling with this "anachronism," which even includes a call-out to director Cameron Crowe in a series of tweets below:

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We Bought a Zoo is currently streaming on Disney Plus; if you wanted to see the continuity error for yourself, click here.

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