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Top performers: 10 animated movies that dominated the box office

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 11, 2020

In this image released by Universal Pictures, various minion characters appear in a scene from the animated feature "Minions."  (Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures)
In this image released by Universal Pictures, various minion characters appear in a scene from the animated feature "Minions." (Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures)

All movies provide a bit of an escape, but animated films especially add a touch of fantasy to the theater-going experience. The adventure is often just as intense in animated films, but the images are typically brighter than their live-action counterparts, plus there’s usually a catchy song or two to boot.

Speaking of music, is there an animated film that uses music quite like “Fantasia”? The film, which this week is celebrating its 80th anniversary, set each of it eight animated segments to pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and more.

Adjusted for inflation, “Fantasia” is the 24th highest-grossing film of all time, sandwiched between “The Graduate” and “The Godfather,” according to data compiled by Box Office Mojo. Learn more about “Fantasia” in Further Review on the next page.

In terms of the highest-grossing animated films of all time, these 10 take the cake, according to a list by entertainment website the Wrap published in May.

1. “The Lion King” (2019)

The computer-animated remake of the Disney classic, which featured the voices of Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, John Oliver and many others, grossed $1,631,724,000 after playing in 4,802 theaters. King of the jungle, indeed.

2. “Frozen II” (2019)

The sequel to 2013’s “Frozen” brought in $1,450,026,933 after playing in 4,440 theaters. The movie brings back the voice actors from the first movie, including Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff. The song “Into the Unknown” was nominated for an Oscar for best original song at the 92nd Academy Awards but lost to “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman.”

3. “Frozen” (2013)

Speaking of “Frozen,” the first film to feature Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff ranks third, with $1,276,480,335 grossed after screening in 3,742 theaters. “Let It Go,” which is probably still stuck in your head, won the Oscar for best original song, and the film took home the trophy for best animated feature. The film and the song received Golden Globes in 2014, too.

4. “The Incredibles 2” (2018)

In another case of a sequel surpassing the original, “The Incredibles 2” takes the fourth spot, having grossed $1,242,805,359 from screenings at 4,410 theaters. The original “Incredibles” is ranked #30 on the Wrap’s list, grossing $633,019,734 after playing at 3,933 theaters. Both films follow the superhero Parr family who initially try to hide their powers but then must work to restore the public’s faith in superheroes.

5. “Minions” (2015)

Audiences were introduced to these little yellow helpers in the “Despicable Me” series, but the minions got their time in the spotlight in “Minions,” which grossed $1,159,398,397 from screenings at 4,311 theaters. “Despicable Me” fans were apparently craving more from the minions, as “Minions” brought in more than the films in the “Despicable Me” series.

6. “Toy Story 4” (2019)

Following “Frozen,” “Toy Story” is the second franchise to have not one but two films in the top 10. We’ll get to the second one in a minute, but the fourth and final “Toy Story” film, which, of course, features the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as beloved toys Woody and Buzz Lightyear, takes the sixth spot, having grossed $1,073,394,593 from screenings at 4,575 theaters.

7. “Toy Story 3” (2010)

In the third installment in the “Toy Story” franchise, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Rex, Slinky, Hamm, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Bullseye and the rest of the toys must find their way back home from the daycare to which they were donated before their owner Andy leaves for college. The film brought in $1,066,969,703 from screenings at 4,028 theaters.

8. “Despicable Me 3” (2017)

Steve Carrell’s Gru is back in “Despicable Me 3,” which grossed $1,034,799,409 from screenings at 4,535 theaters. This time, Gru has teamed up with Dru, his long-lost twin brother, to defeat his latest enemy Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker). Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Julie Andrews, Kristen Wiig and Steve Coogan reprised their voice roles from “Despicable Me” and/or “Despicable Me 2.”

9. “Finding Dory” (2016)

After “Finding Nemo,” audiences swam right back to theaters to learn more about their favorite forgetful regal blue tang. The film brought in $1,028,570,889 from screenings at 4,305 theaters. In “Finding Dory,” the gang, including Marlin, Nemo and Crush, help Dory find her parents. After she is captured by researchers, Dory makes friends with some of the other creatures while Marlin and Nemo attempt to rescue her.

10. “Zootopia” (2016)

Who would’ve thought a rabbit and fox would make such a great pair? Well, Disney, for one. “Zootopia” grossed $1,023,784,195 from screenings at 3,959 theaters. The film follows Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a new police officer, and Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a con artist, who must team up to solve a disappearance.

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