While it didn’t quite make it to the top, Inside Out opened on Friday to record numbers for Pixar and the industry, so I figure it’s a good time to take a look at the past hits of the studio and maybe predict where this new one might land.
Now a few years back we already looked at Pixar’s top films, you can click here to read it, but that was for worldwide numbers and this November Pixar celebrates 20 years since their first release, Toy Story, which means we kind of have to start looking at numbers that are adjusted for inflation. So this time I give you Pixar’s top 10 highest grossing movies in the US, adjusted for ticket price inflation. We’ll have a bit more about Inside Out at the end and later today, when the actual weekend numbers come in.
10. Monsters University (2013) – $269.6 million ($268.5M)
I was pretty reluctant when I first heard Pixar were making a Monsters, Inc. prequel. Then I saw Monsters University and it was good (what else can you expect from Pixar, a certain sequel I haven’t seen yet being excluded), not exactly up there with the best of the best from the studio, but still a lot of fun.
9. A Bug’s Life (1998) – $277.2 million ($162.8M)
After Toy Story in 1995, you would expect Pixar to up the scale a bit, instead they made everything even smaller. A Bug’s Life is the 2nd feature-length film from Pixar and while it’s not quite on the same level as the studio’s debut, both critically and at the box office, it’s still a wonderful little film about being yourself.
8. Cars (2006) – $302.6 million ($244.1M)
I can’t think of much on this one, it’s not as bad as bad as people think it is, and from what I hear definitely a lot better than the sequel (which I continue to refuse to watch), but it makes Disney a tone of money in merchandize. If more Cars means Pixar have money to make original animations in the future, then by all means continue to release them.
7. Up (2009) – $318.9 million ($293M)
If Up didn’t get to you in the first absolutely heart-breaking 10 minutes, you’re either lying or some kind of robot. Just when you thought it was only downhill after WALL-E, Pixar pulls out this wonderful thing called Up. But realistically speaking, if you made it this far then you must be a Pixar fan, so you probably already saw Up at least a couple of times, which means I’m preaching to the choir right now. Even so I have to say it again, Up is fantastic.
6. The Incredibles (2004) – $341.3 million ($261.4M)
Even more than a decade later, after countless top-notch Marvel and DC Comics superhero films, I still think The Incredibles ranks among the best of the best in the genre, definitely top 5, maybe even higher. So yes, I’m very much looking forward to that sequel they’re making. Despite still saying 2016 on IMDB, trust me when I say this, don’t expect The Incredibles 2 sooner than late 2017, just don’t, unless you want to be disappointed. The good news is this is Brad Bird’s next project, so there’s that, but at the same time he hasn’t finished writing it yet, which is why it won’t be out anytime soon.
5. Toy Story (1995) – $356.2 million ($191.8M)
I was in 2nd grade when this came out, 8, and it was a school trip to the cinema, and let me tell you, my tiny brain (at the time) could hardly comprehend what he was seeing on the big screen. Some parts looked like they were real, like I was watching a live-action movie, other weren’t. The toys looked like actual toys, and this was the first computer-animated feature-length film, so for me at the time there was nothing to compare it to. Going from my usual Saturday morning cartoons to that, boy, it was an experience I’ll never forget. Now I’m sure anyone around my age, who also saw Toy Story in a cinema back then, will probably tell you the same story, but for me that’s why Toy Story will always have a very special place in my heart.
4. Monsters, Inc. (2001) – $366.1 million ($255.9M)
Looking at the first few films released by Pixar, you can very much see how the technology they had at the time dictated the kind of animation they were making. With Monsters, Inc. they could finally put fur in, and I remember looking at videos of the tech and being pretty blown away at the time. But Monsters, Inc. wasn’t just a tech demo, none of Pixar’s films are, Monsters, Inc. was an imaginative and very well crafted story for people of all ages, like almost anything from Pixar is.
3. Toy Story 2 (1999) – $388.4 million ($245.9M)
Released only a year after A Bug’s Life at a time when Pixar were still getting their feet wet, the fact that Toy Story 2 turned out as well as it did, it’s nothing short of a miracle. Add to that the pressure of having to follow up Toy Story, and yeah, very well done Pixar. But it wasn’t just a great continuation, it also improved at the box office back when sequels didn’t really do a lot of that.
2. Toy Story 3 (2010) – $423.9 million ($415M)
Of course this series would have almost a third of the Pixar top 10, and somehow Toy Story 3 managed to live up to 11 years of very high expectations and finish the series on a very high note. But wait a minute, you didn’t really think it was over, right? Woody and Buzz will be back June 16th 2017 in Toy Story 4.
1. Finding Nemo (2003) – $457.5 million ($339.7M)
Yep, probably to the surprise of a few, it’s not Toy Story 3 that’s on top but Finding Nemo. Even if I personally liked Toy Story 3 a bit more, I’m glad it’s this way, cause for a studio like Pixar it means they can continue to innovate, to release original works. I’m excited to see Toy Story 4, The Incredibles 2 or Finding Dory (June 17th 2016), but I’m also equally, if not even more excited for new things. So bottom line, keep doing what you’re doing Pixar.
You know what all the Pixar animations above, as well as the 4 that didn’t make the top 10 (WALL-E, Ratatouille, Brave and Cars 2), have in common? Each one opened in 1st place domestically, something Inside Out couldn’t do this past weekend because Jurassic World just had to be the fastest grossing film ever. But even so, Inside Out posted the 2nd best debut ever for a Pixar feature, so I’d say there’s a very good chance it will ultimately land somewhere in the above top 10, probably around 7th or 8th place with $300+ million.
But Inside Out is not all the Pixar we’re getting in 2015, later in the year, November to be more exact, is the release of The Good Dinosaur, which I’m also very much looking forward to.
What is your favorite Pixar film? I’m sticking to my guns, it’s still Ratatouille, although I haven’t seen Inside Out yet.