Top 10 Animated Blockbusters Crossing the $1 Billion Box Office Mark

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By Wanda

The Super Mario Bros Movie recently joined the exclusive group of animated blockbusters grossing over $1 billion at the box office. Achieving this milestone is challenging for animated films, which typically target a younger audience and have a smaller potential viewer base compared to movies from Marvel or renowned directors like Steven Spielberg. However, recent years have shown that animated films can indeed reach this impressive milestone.

Disney, Pixar, and Illumination Studios have demonstrated their expertise in crafting animated films that achieve significant box-office success. The Super Mario Bros Movie is the latest addition to the prestigious club of films grossing over $1 billion worldwide. While it’s unlikely to be the last, considering the potential for a successful Super Mario Bros. 2. We’ve come up with a list of ten movies that have been reported to proudly claim a spot on the coveted $1 billion and beyond list.

1. Frozen 2 – $1.454 billion

Disney faced a daunting challenge in surpassing the success of its hit film Frozen. Sequels often carry the risk of diminishing the reputation of the original, especially when released relatively soon after, as was the case with Frozen 2, coming just six years after the first installment of Anna and Elsa’s tale. The intricate storyline and visually captivating musical sequences of the original Frozen set a high bar, but Frozen 2 managed to exceed expectations. This Disney production was not only impeccably crafted but also featured a compelling narrative that resonated with audiences of all ages. Thus, Frozen 2 earned the prestigious title of the highest-grossing animated film of all time, at least for the time being.

2. The Super Mario Bros. Movie – $1.36 billion

Illumination achieved remarkable success with the Despicable Me franchise, but none of their other projects had come close to the $1 billion mark at the box office. However, after striking a deal with Nintendo, the prospect of another blockbuster was on the horizon. The enduring popularity of the Super Mario video game franchise, which has captivated both children and adults for four decades, created a receptive audience for a well-executed film adaptation. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in breaking into the Billion Dollar Club, The Super Mario Bros Movie defied the odds. It seems only a matter of time before a sequel surpasses this achievement.

3. Frozen – $1.285 billion

While Disney‘s princess films were traditionally considered classics upon release, Frozen redefined this status in a truly exceptional way. In a departure from the decades-old princess movie formula, Anna and Elsa burst onto the scene and brought a fresh perspective. The film subverted expectations by revealing the initial love interest as the villain without heavy foreshadowing, and it emphasized that “true love” could be the bond between two sisters rather than a romantic relationship. This transformative approach marked precisely the kind of change Disney needed. Frozen not only became Disney’s first billion-dollar hit but also gave rise to a new franchise, paving the way for Frozen 2 and even Frozen 3.

4. Incredibles 2 – $1.243 billion

In 2004, The Incredibles made its debut and achieved an impressive global box office gross of $631 million. However, it took Disney Pixar 15 years to release a sequel. Surprisingly, this delay may have worked in the studio’s favor, as many of the original viewers had grown up and held a deep sense of nostalgia for the film. When Incredibles 2 finally hit theaters in 2018, it drew in multiple generations of eager viewers eager to follow the Parr family’s ongoing adventures. As a result, Pixar enjoyed its highest box office numbers to date.

5. Minions – $1.159 billion

Illumination had a strong hunch that Despicable Me 3 had the potential to reach the $1 billion mark, especially considering the success of Minions a few years prior in 2015. The film primarily centered around the beloved yellow minions, who had already left a significant imprint on popular culture by that point. These endearing characters had wide-ranging appeal among both adults and children, making an entire adventure centered on their antics highly promising. As expected, Illumination delivered, and Despicable Me 3 became the studio’s first project to cross the $1 billion threshold, becoming the third animated film overall to achieve this milestone.

6. Toy Story 4 – $1.074 billion

Pixar faced a daunting challenge in trying to replicate the success of Toy Story 3, but they managed to do just that with Toy Story 4, released in 2019. Surprisingly, it outperformed its predecessor by a slight margin, setting an impressive trend for the franchise. The film’s storyline was neatly wrapped up, perhaps as a precaution in case its performance suggested it was time to bid farewell to Woody and Buzz’s adventures. However, with the remarkable success of Toy Story 4, Pixar officially announced the development of Toy Story 5. Only time will tell if it can maintain the billion-dollar success of the franchise.

7. Toy Story 3 – $1.067 billion

The original Toy Story film debuted in 1995, a time when Pixar seldom ventured into creating sequels. Disney, if it did produce follow-up films to its major hits, often released them straight to video and didn’t anticipate significant additional earnings. However, Toy Story 2 demonstrated the potential for blockbuster sequels, though it was still overshadowed by the monumental success of Toy Story 3. This third installment made cinematic history by becoming the very first animated film to surpass the $1 billion mark at the box office. Consequently, while it may sit somewhere in the middle of the list, Toy Story 3‘s place will forever hold a position of honor.

8. Despicable Me 3 – $1.035 billion

Typically, animated film sequels don’t manage to surpass the success of their predecessors. However, Illumination’s Despicable Me franchise defied this trend as each installment performed increasingly well. The first film, while considered a success, fell far short of the Billion Dollar Club with its $500 million global gross. Despicable Me 2 set a significantly higher benchmark, grossing around $900 million. It seemed like this might be the peak for the franchise. Yet, with beloved characters, including the adorable Minions, captivating audiences of all ages, Despicable Me 3 proved that the franchise knew no bounds in terms of its potential for success.

9. Finding Dory – $1.029 billion

Dory was a beloved character from Pixar’s 2003 film Finding Nemo, making the release of Finding Dory in 2016 almost guaranteed to be a success. However, the film’s global box office earnings of $1.03 billion were pleasantly surprising. Dory’s story was somewhat more extravagant than Nemo’s, which was fitting for her larger-than-life character. Ultimately, it was the perfect blend of nostalgia and a heartwarming plot that propelled Finding Dory to become the remarkable success that it was.

10. Zootopia – $1.026 billion

In 2016, Disney achieved its second billion-dollar hit at the box office with Zootopia. The movie pleasantly surprised audiences by incorporating compelling social commentary, addressing significant issues such as xenophobia and unconscious bias, all while maintaining a fun and lively atmosphere for younger viewers. Given the film’s immense success, it’s hardly shocking that Disney has Zootopia 2 in development. The only peculiar aspect is that the studio didn’t embark on this sequel project sooner.