In 2010, animated films accounted for nearly half of all successful movies, with revenues of more than 1.3 billion dollars. [Source – Box Office Mojo]
It wasn’t always this great for animated films.
The genre had dropped off considerably during the 70’s due to high media production costs. The main animation studio, Disney, didn’t have a big box office hit until the release of, The Little Mermaid in 1989.
From there, animated films began a renaissance of back to back hits, from Beauty and the Beast, to Aladdin, to The Lion King and to Pocahontas. Each would win Academy Awards for Best Original Score. In addition, Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film ever nominated for Best Picture.
But it would be Disney’s association with Pixar, a small computer animation video production company based out of Emeryville, California, that animated films really took off. The studio used a revolutionary formula. Unlike traditional hand-made storyboards, Pixar animators created rich computer animation, or CGI. Combined with an entertaining storyline and high-quality voice acting, the new technology turned into a money making machine for both Disney and Pixar.
All films produced by Pixar are among the fifty highest grossing animated films of all time. They include A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3, which in 2010 became the highest-grossing animated film of all-time, grossing over $1 billion dollars worldwide.
Pixar’s success, both financially and critically, would spark an explosion of production companies that would try to take advantage of the new computer animation. Dreamworks, Warner Brothers and Paramount are just a few studios that would benefit from the new technology.
With Toy Story 3’s success, animated films can only continue to be successful.