What attracted Jim Carrey to this role more than anything else was the chance to dance with penguins like his hero Dick Van Dyke did in Mary Poppins (1964).
Ben Stiller was originally cast as Mr. Popper. Reportedly, Stiller withdrew from this movie after original director Noah Baumbach left. Jack Black and Owen Wilson were considered to replace him.
Real penguins were used for certain shots and most of the scenes took place in a refrigerated set.
Every sentence Pippi says in this movie consists of at least one word beginning with the letter "p", the first letter of her name. Later on, she meets a Police Officer Quint, who does the same thing, but with the letter "q", the first letter of his name.
In the source novel, Mr. Popper forms a vaudeville act called "Popper's Performing Penguins". This story element was considered as a movie plot, but ultimately not used.
There are six main penguins who feature in this movie, but in the source novel, there were twelve. Most were named after historical Navy Captains: Cook, Nelson, Columbus, et cetera.
Pittsburgh Penguins mascot Iceburgh attended the June 18 showing of this movie, Jim Carrey wore a Sidney Crosby jersey in one scene of the movie.
This movie was released 73 years after its source novel of the same name by Florence Atwater and Richard Atwater was published.
The penguin named Captain (with the heart-shaped black feathers on her frontage) was called Captain Cook in this movie's source book, named after the famous explorer. Captain is the head penguin. The penguin Lovey (with the black pockmark on the left side of his chest) is so called because he cuddles a lot. The penguin Bitey (with a white stripe down the middle of her head) is named such because she nips and bites. The penguin Stinky (with white tail feathers) is so called because of his flatulence. The penguin Loudy (with the jagged white patterns around her eyes) is so named as she is the noisiest of the birds. The penguin Nimrod was so named as he is the most accident-prone penguin of the pack.
WILHELM SCREAM: Heard in the Guggenheim when a man is knocked over by the penguins.
The "Mr. Popper's Penguins" book was retroactively named a 1939 Newbery Honor Book in 1971.
Vanilla Ice's 1990 hit "Ice Ice Baby" plays during the closing credits. Jim Carrey once spoofed the rapper and the song on an episode of In Living Color (1990).
Jim Carrey wore a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey with player Sidney Crosby's name and number on it in this movie. Carrey and Crosby are Canadian.
When the penguins are watching movies on television, they are watching Charles Chaplin movies. Mr. Popper tells the babysitter to keep Charlie Chaplin movies running to keep them busy.
Costume designer Ann Roth made her theatrical movie debut designing the costumes for The World of Henry Orient (1964), which also featured Dame Angela Lansbury.
When Mr. Popper mentions to his kids that the Penguins are at the Central Park Zoo, he says, "The whole thing will be narrated by Morgan Freeman", who narrated March of the Penguins (2005), and also appeared with Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty (2003).