The 10 most successful animated movies of all time

The 10 most successful animated movies of all time

Today marks 20 years since The Lion King first Hakuna-Matata’d its way into the multiplex. The film wowed audiences and critics alike when it first hit theatres in June 1994, landing two Oscars, a Golden Globe and the lion’s share (get it?) of a billion dollars on its way to becoming the most successful animated adventure of all time.

But almost two decades on from its original release where does Simba’s story rank amongst Hollywood’s highest grossing animated adventures? Find out as we run down the most successful animated movies of all time below.

1. Frozen (2013)

Worldwide gross: $1,245,054,230

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Snow Queen, no one expected Frozen to be quite such a success when it was released in 2013. But a stunning story, an excellent voice-cast and an Oscar-winning song proved to be the recipe for success for this icy Disney adventure. A film that isn’t just the highest grossing animated movie of all time, but the fifth highest grossing movie in Hollywood history full stop.

2. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Worldwide gross: $1,063,171,911

Woody, Buzz and Co. had held the highest grossing crown for three years before they were toppled by Frozen’s incredible run at the box office. It’s easy to see why. After all audiences have long enjoyed a love affair with Pixar’s primary-coloured playthings, which perhaps explains why this long-awaited threequel became the first animated flick to break $1 billion barrier at the box office.

3. The Lion King (1994)

Worldwide gross: $987,483,777 

It may have slipped a little since it first broke records back in 1994, but The Lion King sits a respectable third on the rundown of high grossers and still tops the list of Hollywood’s biggest hand-drawn hits. It’s success doesn’t stop there however as Simba’s story has also inspired a string of sequels, a hit Broadway musical and an upcoming animated series; proving that audiences’ love affair with The Lion King shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

4. Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Worldwide gross: $970,761,885

It might only be number four on the rundown of cinema’s highest grossing animated movies, but did you know that Despicable Me is number one when it comes to totting up the most profitable films in Universal’s 100-yar-long history? Not bad for a studio that counts hits like Jurassic Park, E.T: The Extra Terrestrial and Jaws amongst its catalogue of hits.

5. Finding Nemo (2003)

Worldwide gross: $936,743,261

Audiences loved the adventures of cinema’s most famous clown fish, so it’s no surprise that Pixar’s aquatic adventure busted some serious blocks at the box office; nor that the studio are planning a sequel, Finding Dory, which is set to swim on-screen in 2015.

6. Shrek 2 (2004)

Worldwide gross: $919,838,758

There’s a surprising number of sequels amongst cinema’s 10 top cartoon cash cows, which proves that audiences like nothing more than following the continuing adventures of their favourite animated heroes. And who can blame them when those heroes are as fun to watch as Mike Myers’ Shrek? The addition of Antonio Banderas' fantastically characterized Puss in Boots didn't hurt matters either.

7. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

Worldwide gross: $886,686,817

Often lost amongst the ogres, clown fish and plastic playthings that populate cinema’s animated adventures; it’s easy to forget about Ice Age’s movie mammals who’ve quietly set about breaking all manner of box office records since they first hit the silver screen in 2002.

8. Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)

Worldwide gross: $877,244,782

Here’s those sub zero heroes again with another runaway hit. It seems cinemagoers can’t get enough of Scrat and his ever-elusive nut, and with a fifth installment set for our screens in 2016 the series shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

9. Shrek the Third (2007)

Worldwide gross: $798,958,162

Critics were less than generous with their praise for this Shrek threequel, but audiences voted with their feet helping to make Shrek the Third an unquestionable success at the box office.

10. Shrek Forever After (2010)

Worldwide gross: $752,600,867

Yes, more Shrek. It’s the green meanie’s third entry on the highest grossing hit list which goes some way to explaining why Dreamworks’ series is the most successful animated franchise in film history. And that’s even before you start to take spinoffs like 2011’s Puss in Boots into account.

Any surprises on the list? What's your fave animated flick and did it make it?

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