CG Animated Films Are Dominating the 2013 Global Box Office

The Wall Street Journal published a story last weekend about Hollywood’s struggle to recoup its costs on big-budget tentpole films, but there’s one bright spot the WSJ (along with the rest of the mainstream media) always fail to recognize and that’s that animation is more successful than ever before.

Despite Turbo’ stumble at the box office and Henry Selick’s diss that American animated films are all the same, audiences around the world can’t get enough of big-budget CG animated features. Check this out:

Only six films have grossed $500 million dollars or more at the worldwide box office in 2013, and three of those films are animated. Let’s put this into perspective: animation studios have released just five animated features this year with a production cost of over $75 million and three of those films became half-billion grossers; on the other hand, live-action filmmakers have released over 20 films this year that cost $75 million or more, and only three of those films have achieved a similar mark. The evidence is clear: expensive animated tentpoles have a much better chance of being profitable than their live-action counterparts.

Leading the way amongst animated films at last week’s box office was the mega-hit Despicable Me which landed in 3rd place with $16.4 mil in its fourth U.S. weekend, boosting its domestic total to $306.8 mil. The film added $24.5 mil from foreign markets for an overseas total of $354.5 mil.

Monsters University continued a similarly strong run, earning $2.9 mil in its sixth U.S. weekend and $15.6 mil from overseas. The film’s totals are now $255.5 mil domestically and $321.6 foreign. The film has yet to open in markets like China and Italy, and by the time it’s all over, the film should become Pixar’s fourth highest-grossing movie ever.

The only animated clunker in theaters right now is DreamWorks’ Turbo, which had a sophomore frame gross of $13.7 mil, good enough for fourth place and a U.S. total of $56.2 mil. The film had a slim 35.5% decline, but it was slim only because the film couldn’t decline much further from its already meager opening weekend. Turbo managed to pick up $12.5 mil from 30 overseas markets pushing its foreign total to $41.9 mil. After two weekends, the film’s combined gross is $98.1 mil.

More animation is coming soon, too. Sony’s Smurfs 2 will be released this week, and Disney’s Planes next week.


  • AmidAmidi

    We covered Croods box office numbers back when it was in theaters. The other fims are covered because they are currently in theaters, hence a weekly box office report.

  • Rodan Thompson

    Ditto…. Probably won’t do anything about that either.

  • George Comerci

    I’m not seeing Smurfs 2, but I’m definately seeing Planes. :D

  • cetrata

    Already Turbo is suffering from bad timing.

    • Dana B

      Pretty sure it suffered from something obvious other than bad timing…
      Unless you meant if this film came out BEFORE Cars or Ratatouille, then yeah, it did suffer from bad timing!

      • minespatch

        Maybe he shouldn’t have game jumped. eue

  • Ben

    I wonder if the packed office means people go to family flicks to appease more the crew at once.

  • Dana B

    I’m happy to see animation taking up the top spots in the box office. However, that so thrilled that only one of them is an original concept which I kinda regret not seeing. Not sure if it’s the marketing or the presenting theme, but nothing is really making me want to drag myself to the movies nowadays. That, and I hate going by myself…to an animated film.
    I went to see Wreck-It Ralph with my dad to get our minds off the troubles we had with Sandy and realized it was the ONLY animated film I saw last year (If you count Life of Pi, I saw two). The only film I saw this year by far was Pacific Rim(with my bro) and the only animated film that interests me is Frozen to say the least.
    I know sequels are big cash-grabbers and people like them, but it’s just over killing entertainment for me now. Unless it’s a sequel from a film I actually like AND comes off with a strong premise, I’m not gonna waste my time and money.
    Like Ryan Frost said, I guess I’m part of the problem :/

    • Dana B

      However, that so thrilled…

      However, **NOT so thrilled…
      This is why I need to re-read my long posts before submitting them! Her-derp :P

  • http://www.rainestorm.com rainestorm

    That’s because they’re the only movies that are bothering to tell stories!

  • JD

    Pixar never really rules the box office, only the first Toy Story and Toy Story 3 absolutely “ruled”, they “lost” for Shreks, Ice Ages and many else before so no, the Pixar dominance isn’t “apparently over” because it’s never there box office-wise. Wait for The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory at least before stating that ;)

  • Matt Norcross

    Now all we need is for Disney’s Frozen and that Mickey Mouse short that’s attached to it to both be successes at the box office. The one thing I want to see is Hand-drawn animation and CGI to co-exist together.