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The Top Ten Money-Making Animated Movies of All Time

  To celebrate the release of Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which took an impressive $880m worldwide and went on to become the 2nd biggest animated movie of all time, we thought we’d take a look at the rest of the highest grossing animated movies at the worldwide box office.

The highest grossing animated film of all time is Shrek 2, the sequel to the hit film which cemented the trend for hiring star names to provide voices for your animated epic. The film grossed a staggering $919,838,758 on its release back in Summer 2004 beating tough competition from Spider-Man 2 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban.

The second highest grossing animated film is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. The film grossed $878,671,901. This series has proven to be exactly the type of mild and inoffensive CGI cartoon that audiences have been flocking to over the past decade. Ice Age 3 arrives in stores 23rd November.

The third highest grossing animated movie of all time is Finding Nemo. On its staggered worldwide release throughout 2003, it grossed an impressive $864,625,978 and went on to become Pixar’s highest grossing film to date. Director Andrew Stanton went on to direct last years WALL-E and for my money, this studio put the ambition into their movies that leave the others in the dust as far as artistry goes.

Artistry couldn’t be further from the minds of the film coming in fourth place, 2007’s Shrek the Third which grossed a pretty astounding $798,958,162. Next summer will see the release of Shrek Forever After, prolonging the lucrative but oddly self-satisfied and willfully fantasy-deflating franchise.

Roaring into fifth place is The Lion King, which grossed an astounding $783,841,776. Very impressive for a film which opened back in 1994 before the advent of CGI animated films. Yes, this is the only film on the list which was created with hand drawn animation, released when Disney were enjoying a renewed burst of success in the nineties. It’s also the oldest film in the list.

The sixth spot is filled by Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. This film grossed $655,388,158 when released back in Spring 2006 and spawned the 3rd instalment which opened this past summer.

Kung Fu Panda kicks its way into seventh place by grossing $631,736,484. The Dreamworks animated comedy followed in the footsteps of the company’s highly successful Shrek and Madagascar franchise with a sequel already in the works. Dreamworks does very well in its animation department, but relies on smartassed humour and obvious slapstick that lacks the wit, warmth and imaginative joy of Pixar.

Speaking of which, Pixar’s next entry into the list at number eight is The Incredibles which had a very incredible grossing of $631,442,092 when released during Christmas 2004. Here’s a film that many wish would become the start of a franchise, as their Toy Story had.

Pixar’s Ratatouille cooked up enough money, $623,707,397 to be exact, to land itself a position in the ninth spot on the list. The movie was released throughout 2007 and grossed more than the studio’s previous animated movie Cars, which is surprising in a way, because it did not feature the most conventional subject matter for a cartoon, as the vehicular effort had.

The tenth highest grossing animated film of all time is last year’s sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. The film grossed approx $603,900,344. Beating the total its predecessor made back in 2005, it proves that audiences are not necessarily drawn to the boundary pushing entertainments when it comes to this style, and will champion the reliable and safe over the more eccentric. The fact that Pixar does so well in this market is cause for much rejoicing, though. Maybe one day we’ll get a Coraline or Wallace and Gromit equivalent in the top ten – we can but hope. If this list proves anything it’s that in the twenty-first century you’re either a Pixar or a Dreamworks person – so which are you?
Author: Graeme Clark


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Last Updated: 18 March, 2006