Sometime yesterday Finding Dory climbed past the $441.2 million 12-year-old record of Shrek 2 and became the all-time highest grossing animation domestically, unadjusted for ticket price inflation.
As we speak no less than 4 of the year’s top grossing movies are animations, so we could say that 2016 has been pretty damn good to the genre. Now here’s a very interesting coincidence, as you might know back in 2009 Avatar bested Titanic to become the most successful film of all time in the US. Titanic held that record for 12 years (Avatar only 6, until The Force Awakens nabbed it last December), which is exactly how long it took for another animation to move Shrek 2 from the top. Before the green ogre’s sequel, The Lion King was the highest grossing animation for a decade.
Truth be told it’s not as impressive as it might seem, Finding Dory finally beating Shrek 2 I mean. Like I said, 12 years passed, that’s 12 years of inflation, not to mention overpriced 3d tickets. I’m actually really impressed it took this long, that neither Toy Story 3 nor Frozen got here earlier. To give you an idea just how gigantic Shrek 2 was in 2004, adjusted for today’s ticket prices that film would have about $609 million. Now The Lion King is obviously even bigger, think $764 million big. Actually what’s really crazy is up until Finding Dory, The Lion King came the closest to besting Shrek 2 thanks to its 2011 3D re-release. Now that would have been something, lose the record after a decade, then get it back 7 years later. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
But enough about inflation, let’s take a look at the all-time top 10 highest grossing animated features in the US, no pesky adjustments or anything, and yes, I’m gonna include multiple re-releases. To give you an idea of what you can expect, Disney released 7 of these 10 movies, and if it wasn’t for DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek and Illumination Entertainment, they’d absolutely have all 10.
10. Minions (2015) – $336 million
This Despicable Me spin-off could potentially be pushed out of the top 10 very soon by The Secret Life of Pets, another Illumination Entertainment feature.
9. Zootopia (2016) – $341.9 million
Came out earlier this year and managed to bring in more at the box office than Batman v Superman (released 3 weeks later), I mean what more can I say about this fantastic surprise from Walt Disney Animation Studios.
8. Inside Out (2015) – $356.5 million
Pixar’s return to form both critically and at the box office, which was then sadly followed by The Good Dinosaur, a commercial flop with lukewarm reception (by Pixar standards).
7. Despicable Me 2 (2013) – $368.1 million
I really did not see this one coming, that Despicable Me would break out in such a huge way, both with this sequel and spin-off Minions. Now I know to never underestimated Illumination Entertainment. Case in point The Secret Life of Pets, already past $200 million after only 10 days.
6. Finding Nemo (2003) – $380.8 million
Of course the follow-up to Finding Nemo would finally take Shrek 2 down. For a good 7 years this was by far Pixar’s most popular release, and for good reasons, to date it’s arguably one of their best work. Nemo made $339.7 million during its initial run and another $41.1 million in 2012, when Disney put out a 3d version in theaters.
5. Frozen (2013) – $400.7 million
Big surprise, right? I mean Frozen is only the biggest animated musical of all time, unadjusted for ticket price inflation and including only a film’s first run (since The Lion King is also a musical and ranks higher after its 2nd release). Yeah, Frozen was and still is very popular.
4. Toy Story 3 (2010) – $415 million
If this came out today I’m sure it would have done as well as Finding Dory has, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the sort of business Toy Story 4 can pull in 2018. That film is probably the prime candidate to overtake Finding Dory.
3. The Lion King (1994) – $422.8 million
The Lion King is the only animation in the top 10 that’s not computer generated, although that’s only partially true. You see The Lion King does have a few CG enhanced scenes, same as Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin before it. Also I can’t believe it’s been 22 years since this first came out and that it’s still so high on here.
2. Shrek 2 (2004) – $441.2 million
Like I said in the first part of this post, Shrek 2 held on to the top spot for 12 years, which is not something we see often these days, when records fall every other Friday.
1. Finding Dory (2016) – $445.5* million (estimate including Sunday numbers)
It only took Pixar 13 years to get a sequel to Finding Nemo out and in my opinion Finding Dory was worth the wait, even if it doesn’t quite hit the same high the original did.
Any favorites on here? I personally couldn’t really chose just one out of these 10.