Free Willy (1993)

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Free Willy is a 1993 American family drama film, directed by Simon Wincer, produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Jennie Lew Tugend, written by Keith A. Walker and Corey Blechman from a story by Walker and distributed by Warner Bros. under their Family Entertainment imprint. The film stars Jason James Richter, in his film debut, as Jesse, a foster boy who befriends a captive orca named Willy.

Shot between May and August 1992 and released on July 16, 1993, the film received positive attention from critics and was a commercial success, grossing $153.6 million from a $20 million budget. It grew into a small franchise, including a television series, two sequels and a direct-to-video reboot.