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.