With The Jungle Book now in theaters, it’s time to look at the all-time top 10 most successful live-action movies with talking animals. I’ll give you a hint, there’s quite a bit of Alvin and the Chipmunks in there.
To qualify for this top 10 a movie has to have at least one animal that can talk (voiced by an actual human, obviously) and not be an animated feature. There’s a grey area there, I mean most of the new The Jungle Book is CGI but because there’s that one real boy in there, we’re gonna call it live-action. So that’s basically it and without further ado let’s move to the top 10 highest grossing live-action movies featuring talking animals, worldwide, unadjusted for inflation.
At this time we already have estimates for The Jungle Book‘s worldwide opening weekend, so it will be taken into account. And yes, it did make the top 10, as you will see in a minute.
10. Babe (1995) – $254.1 million
This might come as a shock to some but the father of Mad Max, George Miller, wrote and directed Babe and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City ($69.1 million). It really is a fantastic family movie that I believe even to this day still holds up.
9. Scooby-Doo (2002) – $275.7 million
Look, it’s not Sccoby’s fault he has a speech impediment, but he does talk in this film so he absolutely should be included here. Yeah, the movie was pretty bad, but we did get one good thing out of it, Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn, who wrote Scooby-Doo. Oh and they made a sequel two years later, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, and it sucked even more, also made considerably less at the box office, $181.5 million (and James Gunn wrote that one too, but please don’t hold it against him).
8. The Jungle Book (2016) – $294.1 million
I’ve yet to see The Jungle Book (for now), so I can’t talk about how good it is (although that 95% on Rotten Tomatoes makes me pretty excited), but I can tell you it’s a proper monster at the box office. With already $291 million worldwide, The Jungle Book has a very good chance to finish north of $1 Billion. Either way it will top this list before the end of the month.
7. G-Force (2009) – $292.8 million
I remember Disney really pushing this Jerry Bruckheimer producer movie hard (with a video game and everything) back when it was coming out, and for good reasons, it was a very expensive project at $150 million. Obviously since there’s no G-Force 2, it didn’t exactly turn into the hit Disney were hoping for. I kind of liked G-Force, even with some of the really stupid things in it.
6. Doctor Dolittle (1998) – $294.5 million
Doctor Dolittle is pretty fuzzy in my mind, I mean I don’t remember hating it so that’s good. They also made a sequel in 2001, but that underperformed with $176.1 million.
5. Stuart Little (1999) – $300.1 million
Before he made The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shaymalan co-wrote the screenplay for Stuart Little. I would have said little film, but it’s really not since it cost a whooping $133 million, and that’s 1999 dollars. They released a sequel in 2002 and that only made $170 million on a $120 million budget, so that was to be the end for Stuart Little. I don’t know how well it holds up today, but I remember liking this one a lot back then.
4. 101 Dalmatians (1996) – $320.7 million
Were there any talking animals in this one? Box Office Mojo seems to think there were, I honestly can’t remember. I know they did in the original Disney animation. The alternative would be to remove this, so everything behind it would be bumped up a spot and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip then moves to 10th (and 3 out of the 10 on here is plenty enough, don’t need 4). So let’s just pretend 101 Dalmatians does indeed have talking animals, ok? Of course they made a sequel, 102 Dalmatians, which made $183.6 million in 2000.
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011) – $342.7 million
The Alvins start here and if it weren’t for The Jungle Book‘s crazy opening, we’d have four Alvin and the Chipmunks movies on here instead of “just” three. The one that barely missed the top 10 is last December’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip ($233.5 million). Since this series keeps going down at the box office, I don’t think the Alvin cinematic universe is long for this world. I smell a reboot in a couple of years.
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) – $361.3 million
And here’s the one that started it all, the OG live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks if you will, and arguably the least atrocious.
1. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009) – $443.1 million
That title alone shows you just how much thought they put into this sequel, so I’ll do the same here and stop right about now. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against movies made specifically for kids, I was one too at some point, but Alvin is not even trying.
What is your favorite live-action movie with talking animals?