Animated movies have the unwavering ability to make you feel every emotion imaginable. It’s like a superpower. You could go from smiling and laughing, all giddy, to uncontrollably sobbing in a matter of minutes (insert mental image of Mufasa’s death scene). They really do have a way of emotionally grabbing you, no matter how old you may be.
Whether you’re 5, 13, 30, or even 60 years old, these animated adventures are always an enjoyable experience, minus the uncontrollable sobbing moments, but we won’t talk about those. When a new one hits our screens, there’s always a level of anticipation, but how well a film ultimately does relies on many aspects. In regards to being commercially successful, they must perform well at the box office, and with a total of $11.2 billion, they typically do pretty well.
10 ‘The Lion King’ (1994)
An iconic part of many childhoods throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, this classic part of 90s Disney continues to grip the hearts of millions even almost 30 years after its release. The film tells the somewhat emotional yet heartwarmingly inspiring story of a young lion cub as he learns and grows into the King of Pride Rock.
Catchy music, lovable characters, and an underlying message to live by make this a repetitive go-to for many. “Hakuna Matata.” The Lion King remains a commercial success, garnering a new generation of fans upon the 2019 release of the remake, which gained box office success in its own right. The 1994 original earned $986,193,783 on a budget of just $45 million.
9 ‘Zootopia’ (2016)
Released in 2016, this cute Disney tale tells the story of a young rabbit who moves to big city, Zootropolis, and joins the police department. Not taken seriously due to her size and species, she is intent on proving herself, and when predators start disappearing all over the city, she gets her chance to do just that.
With the help of a cheeky and cunning fox named Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman), Judy the rabbit (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) embarks on quite the journey to bring the missing animals home to their families. Zootopia was incredibly well received by those who watched it, earning a near-perfect Tomatometer score of 98% and becoming one of the best films of 2016. Not only that, but it excelled at the box office with a total of $1,002,462,578 on a budget of $150 million.
8 ‘Finding Dory (2016)
The long-awaited and highly-anticipated backstory we’d wanted for years finally came in 2016 when the successor to 2003s Finding Nemo released in theaters worldwide. Another film with these lovable underwater characters had previously been discussed, but nothing became official until it was revealed by Pixar in 2013.
The film follows Blue Tang, Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), as she embarks on finding her parents and discovering where she came from. As the first one did, Finding Dory did exceedingly well in the eyes of critics and audiences and was a commercial success, becoming the 8th highest-grossing animated movie of all time. On a budget of $200 million, the film grossed just over $1 billion at $1,025,006,125.
7 ‘Despicable Me 3’ (2017)
One of two from the Despicable Me franchise on this list comes with the third installment from the original trilogy. Despicable Me 3 centers on Gru and Lucy (voiced by Steve Carell and Kristen Wig), following a dismissal from their job and prison life for the Minions after they abandon Gru, who refuses to return to his supervillain ways.
With the highest budget of the trilogy at $80 million, the seventh highest-grossing animated movie brought in a worldwide total of $1,032,809,657, more than doubling the first’s intake and beating out its predecessor by a mere $57 million. While not as good as previous installments in the eyes of critics, it’s an entertaining watch, nonetheless.
6 ‘Toy Story 3’ (2010)
Pixar’s iconic Toy Story gang had our hearts from the moment they first appeared on the big screens almost thirty years ago in 1995. Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Slinky, Hamm, Rex, the Potato Heads, and more have been entertaining generations for decades, and they’ll likely continue to do so for many years to come.
This franchise of four, soon to be five, follows the toys through their many adventures, trials, and tribulations over multiple years. Arguably the saddest of the lot, Toy Story 3 centers on them finding their way back to Andy after they’re mistakenly donated to a daycare center, and we all know how that ends. Just beaten out by its successor, 2010s Toy Story 3 is currently the 6th highest-grossing animated movie, garnering $1,068,879,522 on a $200 million budget.
5 ‘Toy Story 4’ (2019)
The fourth installment in the Toy Story movie franchise followed the toys, now living and playing with young Bonnie (voiced by Madeleine McGraw), who was introduced in the previous film. After jumping out of a moving RV window to rescue Bonnie’s new favorite toy during a road trip, Woody and Forky must attempt to find their way home to their new-found family.
A bittersweet ending seemingly saw one last goodbye to a character many of us grew up with. Overall, Toy Story 4 was a popular success, becoming only the second film of the four to breach $1 billion at the box office. A total of $1,073,064,540 on a $200 million budget makes this the 5th highest-grossing animated movie to date.
4 ‘Minions’ (2015)
We’ve all heard of the minions before, right? Bright yellow interesting creatures with their own unique language and quite the fondness of bananas. “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-nana-” Okay, I’ll stop. These little guys made quite a lasting impression when they were introduced 13 years ago in the popular animated adventure from Universal Pictures, Despicable Me.
The first release at the beginning of the new decade sparked a trilogy for the Despicable Me franchise as well as numerous spin-offs, short films, and even commercial appearances, perhaps most notably, the 2015 film, Minions. It follows these adorable beings in their pre-Gru era as they search for a leader. Commercially, the film was ultimately a success, having grossed a whopping $1,157,271,759 on a budget of just $74 million.
3 ‘Incredibles 2’ (2018)
If there was ever an animated sequel we wanted on par with Finding Dory, it would be this. The superhero family of five was first introduced all the way back in 2004 with the release of The Incredibles, which remains a favorite for many even now. And as one of those movies you can watch on repeat without getting bored, we wanted the same from its long-awaited sequel.
And it did not disappoint by any means. An entertaining plot and even more superhero fun with all new characters added to the mix. It made for a highly enjoyable film that was well worth the 14-year wait. A financial success atop its critical acclaim, the family-fun movie brought in $1,242,805,359 on a budget of $200 million.
2 ‘Frozen’ (2013)
Can you believe it’s been an entire decade? Ten whole years since this little gem was released, and every kid on the planet started driving their parents crazy with that little earworm of a song? It’s back in your head now, isn’t it? “Let it go-” No.
When this movie released in 2013, there’s no denying that it did incredibly well, even overshadowing others released at similar times, perhaps most notably, the underrated gem, Big Hero 6. Frozen paved the way for a sequel six years later, but the original stands just as strong. Just missing out on the top spot, it grossed $1,257,909,889 on a budget of $150 million.
1 ‘Frozen 2’ (2019)
With the success of the first one looming in the shadows, there was an undeniable curiosity surrounding how well number two would stand against its predecessor. We wanted another earworm-inducing soundtrack to drive us crazy and another adventure with the ever-lovable Olaf and friends.
Frozen 2 was undoubtedly a good movie, but for many, it was always going to be a challenge to expand on what the first had accomplished and the good thing they already had. To kids around the world, both are as good as each other, but according to the box office, the second was a more financially successful film with a worldwide total of $1,437,862,795 on a $150 million budget. We’ll just have to wait and see how the third Frozen adventure holds up when it releases in the near future.
NEXT: From ‘Black Panther’ to ‘The Incredibles 2’: The 10 Highest Grossing Superhero Movies Of All Time