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Top Animated Films That Broke Box-Office Records

Animated films experience success when created right. After all, they do have the potential to appeal to worldwide audiences including a rather large demographic consisting of children. In 2016 alone, animated movies Zootopia, Finding Dory, and The Angry Birds Movie experienced both box-office and critical success. The same can be said for newly released film The Secret Life of Pets, which earned over $100 million dollars during its opening weekend.

So with all these movies experiencing success in their own rights, ExploreTalent has put together a list of the top animated movies that broke box-office records and in the process cemented themselves as classics.

(Note: the numbers have been adjusted for inflation.)

5. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Box-office gross: $447.8 million


Toy Story 3 is one of those rare movies that blend comedy and adventure while unexpectedly bringing out tears. This animated feature from Pixar was a hit among both adults and children alike. The third installment of the beloved franchise sees the main character (and owner of the toys) Andy get ready to depart for college, leaving his loyal gang of toys in a daycare. But just as things seem to go their way, Woody (Tom Hanks) and the rest of the team are tormented by rival toys and untamed toddlers. This all leads to an epic escape plan and as well as an adventure that will bring out an adult’s inner child.

Naturally, Toy Story 3 was a critical hit, earning a 99 percent approval rate in the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Its success was closely followed by a great run in the box office, and a sequel is reportedly on the works.

4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Box-office gross: $935.2 million


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs marked the beginning of several other successful Disney movies. Its legacy is so great that it continues up to this day. To put it simply, this movie has reigned supreme.

It is adapted from the famous Grimm fairy tale about the princess Snow White who flees from her evil stepmother and finds refuge in the home of seven dwarfs, each equipped with their own distinct personality.

The plot is simple, and that simplicity may not be able to stand out in this new era of filmmaking. But no one can deny that Snow White marked a developmental milestone in the movie industry.

3. The Lion King (1994)

Box-office gross: $ 968.4 million


The Lion King has to be one of the most beloved Disney movies of all time. It comes with a musical score from the likes of Elton John, Tim Rice, and Hans Zimmer. The story was said to be inspired by Hamlet, and it does parallel the same kind of tragedy that the classic play has. In the movie, the lion prince Simba lived a rather sheltered life until his world is turned upside down following the murder of his father. Simba then embarks on a quest to reclaim his land after his evil uncle Scar takes over.

Aside from the nod to Shakespeare, The Lion King combines African folk legends and classic mythology to mold a timeless tale of friendship, family, and love. It was released to critical acclaim and garnered numerous awards including an Oscar for Best Original Score as well as winning the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture.

2. Minions (2015)

Box-office gross: $1,159,398,397


Ever since the release of the Despicable Me movies, the world has seemed to have fallen in love with the army of yellow, clumsy, and tablet-shaped Minions. The audiences loved the movie so much that Illumination Entertainment green-lit their stand-alone film.

Unlike the other animated features on this list, Minions failed to receive recognition from movie critics. Many complained that the movie lacked laughs and an actual plot for that matter. Nonetheless, it still rose to become the highest non-Disney animated film of all time.

1. Frozen (2013)

Box-office gross: $1,287,000,000


As soon as Disney released the catchy song “Let It Go,” they immediately knew that they had another hit in their hands. Frozen is quite possibly the biggest animated film of the new generation, and its legacy is sure to match that of Snow White and The Lion King. Like many Disney films, the plot was inspired by yet another classic, this time it was Hans Christian Andersen‘s Snow Queen. 

Frozen was released to largely positive reviews, and it quickly became a favorite among young children who comprised the biggest percentage of the audience demographic. Its visuals, themes, and notable musical numbers were more than enough to make it the highest-grossing animated film of all time.

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