‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ Launches with $50 Million

DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 opened in second place this weekend with an estimated $50 million. The film trailed the $60 million debut of another sequel, 22 Jump Street, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who also directed the animated feature The LEGO Movie, which opened with $69 million earlier this year.

Box Office Mojo writes that the Dean DeBlois-written-and-directed Dragons 2 failed to live up to industry expectations, especially after factoring in its release date and the original film’s reputation:

In second place, DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 opened to an estimated $50 million. That’s an improvement over the first movie’s $43.7 million, though it’s far from the type of gain expected given the fact that the first Dragon is only of the most beloved animated movies of the past decade. It’s also the first June animated release to fall short of $60 million since Ratatouille opened to $47 million back in 2007.

Dragons 2, however, is playing better overseas, breaking opening weekend records in Singapore ($1.7M) and Malaysia ($2.3M), as well as debuting with $12.8M in Russia. Overall, the film earned $24.8M internationally from 26 markets.

Disney’s live-action Maleficent, based on the animated feature Sleeping Beauty, also continued to perform well both in the United States and abroad. It earned an estimated $19M domestically in its third weekend, which was good enough for third place. Its U.S. total now stands at $163.5M. Overseas, it picked up $37.2M for an international total of $272.9M.


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  • Pedro Nakama

    I believe the original had a slow start also. There’s still time.

  • Angry Amid

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  • Sad Marketing.

    You can SOLELY place the blame on the Awful Marketing by Fox. Paramount’s marketing was bad, but this new collaboration with Fox seems like more of the same inept marketing.

    • Jayreen

      Disney can blow marketing as well, certainly didn’t do John Carter any good.

      • tt

        While they can’t market live action, they’re pro at animation.

        • http://pickledperfection.blogspot.com/ Andrea K Haid

          Disney pays an agency to do their marketing, no?

      • RCooke

        Except john carter was a dreadful thing no amount of marketing could have saved.

  • jonhanson

    I was hoping it would do bigger numbers. Oh well, should have decent legs, especially overseas.

    I loved it, one of the best animated sequels and one of the better animated movies I’ve seen in years. There’s a sequence in the middle that has some of the most beautiful animation I’ve ever seen, right up there with the first 10 minutes of Up and “When She Loved Me” in Toy Story 2 as far as making every movement count.

    This is how you make an animated blockbuster, the emotional stuff is great but it’s also got some of the best spectacle I’ve seen all year, with dragon fights that put anything in the latest Godzilla to shame.

    Dreamworks has always gotten crap, often being harshly and unfairly compared to Pixar, but here they’ve made a movie that’s right up there with the best of Pixar as far as I’m concerned.

    • Funkybat

      The Dragons movies and Kung-Fu Panda are the pinnacles of Dreamworks 3D animation. While I am still not quite as in love with them as I was with the lush 2D work of Price of Egypt and Road to El Dorado, the Panda and Dragon films have the best animation and most beautiful visuals of any of the Dreamworks 3D flicks, and this sequel is one of the first on a long time I am actually looking forward to. I am sure there will be a HTTYD 3 down the road, even if this one didn’t do amazeballs numbers for the Hollywood accountants this weekend.

  • brandon

    Not bad. Looks like we’re in for a story that’s similar to the first one: debuted a little soft, but ultimately soars. This time, it’s due to the fact that it has the family-friendly market all to itself (until Planes 2), as well as a shining critical reception (92% Certified Fresh on RT).

  • Fried

    What exactly is the deciding factor that something like this does not do extremely well in the first weekend but Despicable Me 2 and The Lorax get like, $80 million upon release? Of course this film will make a lot of money, but in terms of opening releases, it’s strange.

    People are hyped for this film, it’s gotten quite a bit of advertising, so is it just bad luck?

    • DangerMaus

      People in North America are always expecting comedies when it comes to animated films. People are less likely to go to an animated film if the trailer doesn’t make them laugh, because of the mindless idea that animation always has to be funny.

      • Fried

        But Dragon has a following, most audiences know what to expect from it at this point. So you’d think it would have opened with that fanbase rather than following the steps of the first film where it was an unknown gem at the time.

    • Tony

      A $50 million opening would be considered outstanding in most situations. It’s only because 22 Jump Street made $10 million more and because “analysts” predicted a bigger opening that anyone is calling it disappointing. Anyway, the marketing is never what makes a movie a hit, it’s the word of mouth.

  • Josh Moore

    Didn’t you learn anything from what happened to Kung Fu Panda 2 Dreamworks?

    • Jayreen

      You forget that Kung Fu Panda 2 finished it’s run with over 600 million dollars. There’s always the oversea money to consider. Think of it as a Movie’s backup plan, just in case the the domestic total blows a raspberry.

    • Fried

      What happened to KFP2? I thought that film was great as well.

      • Funkybat

        KFP2 was an OK film, great visuals, but nowhere near as strong story-wise as the original. From what everyone is saying, HTTYD 2 is a lot more in line with the first one. having just re-watched the first movie, I am now more excited than before to go see #2.

  • guest

    Everyone should go see this…. its amazing. It puts frozen to shame.

    • Jayreen

      Maybe. I haven’t watched Frozen yet, but from what I know is that the internet public went crazy for it. I mean you should have seen deviant art during the height.

      • bob

        The internet public going crazy over something doesn’t mean it’s good. They also go crazy over a little cat saying, “I can has cheeseburger?”

        It doesn’t even mean the movie is great if it makes a lot of money. I mean, the Transformers movies aren’t great films, but the franchise kills it at the box office. Mud, was a better movie, but many people didn’t see it.

        That’s a bit of an extreme example but…
        How to Train your Dragon 2 is a better quality film then Frozen, despite the numbers now or later. It’s just better.

        It’s also one of the best summer movies this year. I’d go see this again over x-men.

        You should see both before chiming in.

    • Steve

      But does it put Big Hero 6 to shame?

  • SarahJesness

    Hopefully it will do well in the upcoming weeks. The first movie didn’t do super well immediately, but word of mouth increase popularity. Plus, considering the competition, it could’ve been a lot worse.

  • Toonio

    Studios should stop the mean and rushed production work flows ways to get movies out for better planned and well thought productions. The go go go, don`t stop to think just go attitude is killing the industry. Sure, everybody is making a good buck now (doesn`t apply to artists of course), but what about the long run? Just think about how Snow White is a cash cow for Disney compared to The emperor`s new groove.

    Remember when a Pixar or Dreamworks movie took good four years to release and what came out of it. Or what about the Art of… books that they used to release back then. We are talking from compendiums back then to bathroom reading material nowadays (sans a very few exceptions). Seriously, look it up and you`ll know what I mean.

    And I`m not going to point out what was wrong with Dragon as anybody with a pulse and some common sense can figure it out. I’m just hoping that the box office numbers serve as a gauge to measure what went wrong and what needs to get done for future releases.

    Forget about the brainwashing and the out of control fanaticism. Put the elbow grease where is needed, give a reality check (or a pink slip) to those who are wrecking the industry and find the next Brad Bird, Henry Selick, John Musker or really accomplished animation artist asap to move onto the next big thing in animation,

    Tentpoles can be carried away by the wind, but classics will be there forever.

    • jonhanson

      If this movie is what happens when production is rushed then more productions should be rushed.

      • Fried

        Yeah, I have zero idea what Toonio is ranting on about. Dragons 2 is a great film and is just as worthy as any of the top tier Pixar films. I don’t even think he realizes what article he’s commenting on, he just read “Dreamworks” and “Disappointment’ and went to town on his soapbox.

    • Santiago Casares

      “And I`m not going to point out what was wrong with Dragon as anybody with a pulse and some common sense can figure it out. ”

      I have a pulse and what I consider common sense… and I loved the movie. Did you even go and see it?

  • iker

    The movie is very well told. The camera work is amazing. And the third act in the movie did keep me grabbing my chair. The movie is spectacular.

    Well done, Dreamworks!

  • DangerMaus

    It will be too bad if this film does not do as well as the first one. It was a worthy successor. I didn’t think much of it when I saw the trailers for it, but it turned out to be a pretty good film. I enjoyed the film a lot better than FROZEN.

  • Sam Logan

    I wonder sometimes if the performance of films like these are hurt at all by their spin-off TV shows. I mean, maybe revisiting these beloved characters doesn’t feel quite as urgent for audiences when they can already do that on TV every week?

    • LoooongFellow

      That’s a solid point to consider. I’d love to see some research along these lines.

  • Max C.

    At least 22 Jump Street was funny this time. The UK held special 2D previews of Dragon yesterday (it opens officially on 4th July) and I thought it was the best non-Pixar sequel since Kung Fu Panda 2.

    I’m one of the only people who hasn’t seen Maleficent, mainly because it’s another attempt to cash in on the success of Alice in Middle Earth.

    • Funkybat

      Maleficent was a lot more entertaining than “Alice in Middle Earth” (I like that!) but yeah, I share your disdain for these “dark live-action fairy tale retellings.” the most preposterous one to me was the one that took Hansel & Gretel and made them adult badass witch hunters. I mean, that one I might actually see if they do a Rifftrax of it.

      After sitting through that dreadful Alice movie and that “meh” Wizard of Oz movie, I think Malificent is where I will leave off, since it was the best of those, and I doubt any future ones in the genre will surpass it.

  • Jayreen

    Why? Why is it people have invested time in a live action remake film that we didn’t exactly need to begin with? And why should Disney see this as their all clear for more live action films that might do well but probably won’t be as admired as the animated classics. I might do well now, but in the long run it’ll probably drop off humanity’s interest chart in the near future.

    Also all this pessimism about HTTYD2 soft opening has been greatly exaggerated in my opinion. After all, the first one opened quietly and that went on to create the cash need for this follow-up to exist.

    • Rocketberry

      I agree with you but on the other hand we didn’t exactly need another HttyD either.

  • Derik

    I think what is killing the numbers for this movie is a few things:

    1. World Cup
    2. terrible trailers. with a bunch of spoilers nobody asked for.
    3. terrible commercials and posters

    I DID NOT want to see HTTYD2 after seeing their trailers and the only reason I’m seeing it now is because it’s getting good ratings and critics like it. If I was a parent or kid, the movie just doesn’t seem all that interesting from what the posters or commercials give me.

    The advertising just makes the movie seem so cliche and pointless that it makes people think, “oh, it’s this kind of story again…” or “oh I’ve seen this sort of stuff a thousand times, why watch a second one?”

  • RickyB

    Soo…. did they use some mocap in places on this movie? Or just hyper used video reference? Can’t put my finger on it.

  • Myst AnimatorX

    The fact 22 Jump Street made more money than this makes me sad.

    • Funkybat

      22 Jump Street might just seem like stupid frat boy nonsense, but if it’s anything like the first one, it is an exception to the rule. The writing/directing team on those films knows how to subvert conventions and cliches and deliver solid belly laughs, which is hard to find in most of the crappy “comedies” released these days. I am always disappointed when a major animated release fails to capture #1 opening weekend, but in this case, it was kind of like going up against Godzilla or Transformers 4, it just wasn’t gonna happen no matter how good Dragons 2 was.

  • http://pickledperfection.blogspot.com/ Andrea K Haid

    People only compare them since they’re both big animated films.

  • Delta

    Am I the only one who didn’t like this movie? I mean, I loved the original, but the sequel just didn’t give me the dry humor and pacing of the first one. I thought Hiccup was a bit annoying, due to the fact that when he tried to tell his father something important, Stoick didn’t listen for about 5 seconds, while Hiccup kept stalling the information after that. (“This isn’t exactly the kind of thing to tell you on the ride home. It’s more of a life-changing……” and he rambles on…)

    And while his mother was a cool character, she didn’t really have a large role in the film’s overall conflict. Hiccup’s trying to find himself and who he truly is, and she certainly does help in that, but I think a journey within oneself should be a bit more…personal and grand. And I know he goes through it with the conflict, but his mother didn’t do anything much.

    Speaking of the conflict, there was so much new information being thrown at us. The whole Alpha Dragon scenario, the revelation of Hiccup’s mother being alive, why she left, the main villain, what the villain did, the dragon trapper’s whole transformation, the really pitiable love triangle in the background, etc.. etc… etc… The first movie had many points, but they all tied together: Hiccup wants to fit in, so he shoots down dragon. He becomes friends with that dragon and learns more about them. By learning more about them and sneaking off into the woods, he becomes a really good “fighter” and Astrid grows jealous and suspicious. The father isn’t proud of him from the beginning, and doesn’t listen to him, which is the real reason the conflict in the end comes about anyways. Climax: Hiccup saves his people, defeats the big dragon, his father realizes his mistake, the end.

    I know many of you will probably pick at this analysis and say it’s terribly flawed, but I was in a rush. I can’t get down all the nuances that drove me nuts, but I guess what I’m trying to say is: Things just didn’t tie together very well.

  • Funkybat

    I am surprised that Dragons 2 didn’t do better. I have been looking forward to the film, and the only reason I have not seen it yet is I have given up on “opening weekends” unless it’s like a 10am matinee, since I want choice seats when I pay $20 to go to a movie. I’ve heard nothing but good buzz, so hopefully Dragons 2 will win the marathon, if not the sprint.

  • Funkybat

    What are “modern-musical styled songs?” What was “modern” about songs that felt like warmed-over songs from parodies of Disney films? Frozen’s mega-hit status is completely baffling to me. Wreck-It Ralph and even Tangled were far better films, both entertainment-wise in general and story structure in particular. To me, Frozen was the most disappointing Disney film since Home on the Range. Olaf and Kristoff were the only characters to hold my interest in any real way.

  • Funkybat

    It’s because a lot of people, especially animators and animation fans, resent the seemingly disproportionate success of Frozen compared to other animated films of the last few years. Both other studios such as Laika and even Disney themselves have done better films that were less popular and made less money. Hell, I’d even venture to say “Brave” was a better movie.

    • Rureen

      Well, SORRY! I sometimes visit another animation fan site and most of the writers and commenters there LOVE Frozen. So your point is…?

      Anyway, what I was saying was that whenever the next “hit” comes, people ditch the one before. For instance, when The LEGO Movie came out, people thought that it would blow Frozen away. However, it didn’t come CLOSE to Frozen’s success. What I didn’t like about the previous poster was that they brought Frozen into their comment, which I find ridiculous. They’re just comparing the two because they’re popular. It could have been”It puts the original How to Train Your Dragon to shame” instead. I’m with Andrea (the previous commenter) on this.

    • Lithia

      Frozen won half of the Annie Awards it was nominated for including Best Animated Feature (even over Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises). May I remind you that the voters are part of ASIFA, an animation association. So, your point of a lot of animation fans and animators not appreciating Frozen comes from where again?

  • Funkybat

    Huh, as I read your complaint about the use of “coming out” viking, I expected that you were taking exception to the trivialization of gay and lesbian people’s difficult life decisions in regard to revealing their true selves to the world at large. Then it turned out to be a complaint about the “gay agenda infiltrating children’s entertainment.”

    Huh….I would have thought a site mainly populated by animators and other creative people would be above that kind of discourse….

  • Funkybat

    Laika did it first (along the lines of “Simpsons did it first.”)

  • Funkybat

    I think it’s alright for Dreamworks to have more varied art styles and storytelling approaches than Pixar, and in fact I think Pixar is trying to break that mold themselves with the “Cars” franchise. The second film gave up trying to have the kind of gravitas most Pixar films have, and it was better that the first one for it. They just had a fun, wacky adventure in the car world, with just enough heart and “message” to keep it from being too “Saturday morning.”

    Most of Dreamworks films are some mix of comedy and adventure. Some of the more adventure/drama heavy films like Rise of the Guardians have not done as well, while others like Dragons and The Croods have succeeded both financially and artistically. The pure comedy ones like the Madagascar films or Turbo have had varying results, though I liked that Madagascar has a distinct visual style compared to all the other films. I think that after The Croods, it is good that Dreamworks has shown it can do several visual styles successfully and not rely on looking a certain way. However, it does present a marketing challenge, as familiarity of look and feel helps studios big (Pixar) and small (Laika.)

    The “known quantity” aspect (even if the storytelling varies quite a bit from film to film) is indeed a selling point for mass audiences, especially ones trying to choose where to take their kids for a couple of hours. I admire Dreamworks’ variety, but they also need to make sure the storytelling and characters are strong enough to generate good word-of-mouth, which is even more valuable than a “consistent” visual style.

  • Funkybat

    “Expectations” in Hollywoodland are about as grounded in reality as plans for a Mars colony by 2030. No one with any sense pays any attention to them, but of course, that excludes the money men and wheeler-dealers down south.

  • Joseph William Allen

    It’s okay, because from how many other are reacting, if it makes a ton of money, people are going to treat it as though it represents everything wrong with the industry.

  • RickyB

    Obviously they have stellar animators there. No knock in that department at all. It’s just a question, hoping someone could chime in.

    I assumed it’s keyframed and just more of the trend of getting crazy detailed performances from video reference, but at times it felt a little bobble-headed or mocapped because of its amazing detail. Maybe there’s some new uncanny valley we’re starting to see where the performance is so “realistic” that it takes a viewer out of it. Maybe it’s just me.

  • bob

    i didn’t know he was supposed to be gay until I heard about it after.

    And… I don’t care at all I think it’s cool. I’d rather them risk offending people who call being gay an “inconvenient truth” than not. How does that change the overall story in any way?

  • RickyB

    So.. we shouldn’t ask how things were done? It’s quite remarkable, the nuance in the performance. Almost unbelievable in places because of it’s detail.

  • Rocketberry

    No, I loved the first film. It’s just that it felt like the story was over. That’s why the sequel needs to spend so much time inventing new characters and new conflicts. The first movie just resolved itself so nicely that it never cried out for a sequel to answer any remaining threads.

    It’s kind of the same problem with KFP2. There was no need for it other than to turn the intellectual property into a long running franchise.

  • bob

    If you don’t want to discuss it, then don’t bring it up.

    I think it’s important for big studios to push open minded ideas. Art and media has and always will be influential. Artists can choose to try and influence things in a positive way, in this case encouraging the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality, or they can be commanded by the fear of unpopularity and never say anything with an opinion.

    Aside from that, it’s still very early in the game for this movie and we have yet to see how well it does.

    • Dave

      We are discussing why a fabulous film mysteriously did not do well. I believe I have every right to point out marketing strategy flaws. Perhaps you don’t understand what is at stake here for Dreamworks and its artists, and perhaps you are living in an enlightened bubble where you don’t get a daily dose of how the bulk of the country sees things. Fer christ sake – test audiences demanded the word “dam” and “dik dik” be removed from one of the Mad films. I have a ton of respect for DuBois, and I am thrilled to see whatever he creates. As for selling it – you don’t showcase the areas that could disenchant your potential audience.

      • bob

        sure you have the right to discuss your opinions, but others have the right to respond. I am indeed quite familiar with the round about nature of marketing films. Especially those associated with fox. I understand your point, but I don’t know how accurate your fear is. Also, just from a mathematical standpoint, there are many different variables to consider about opening weekend numbers- too many to assume a gay background character turned a large portion of the audience away.

        Aside form a few alarmist blogs, I haven’t seen much to support your hasty conclusion.

        The crowd you’re thinking of is similar to the same crowd that would bash Harry Potter for it’s inclusion of witches and wizardry, but despite such fanatics that franchise went on to do fairly okay. Oh wow, Dumbledore was gay too. Hmmm actually you know what? There are some other fairly successful franchises that even have an openly gay actor in them, maybe you’ve heard of Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, and X-men? X-men not only has Ian McKellen, but also Ellen Page. Now, that we’re on to speaking about Ellen’s- Ellen Degeneres’s sexuality sure ended her success in the entertainment biz, only for her to come back stronger than ever. Oh another popular franchise, The Avengers has an openly bisexual side character, who also stars in the more recent Bourne movies- Jeremy Renner. Just keep in mind, all these people are REAL gay people, not a pretend character. Like seriously man… WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
        Maybe how to train your dragon had crappy trailers. It’s important for kids today to be confronted with different sexual preferences early on, or would you rather the people with power perpetuate bigotry?

  • Steven Bowser

    I see what you’re saying, and I do agree that it has flaws (especially the twist that had no clues).
    But I think it didn’t strictly follow the formula like you made it sound. In the end, it wasn’t true love’s kiss that saved everything, it was a SISTERLY love that changed evertyhing and it didn’t have to do with boys at all.
    Also, I like that Elsa actually becomes a legitimate Queen in the movie, instead of forever being called “princess Elsa” for the sake of toy marketing and stuff. She’s actually a Queen and rules the nation. That’s badass.
    So it isn’t perfect, but it has some good things going for it and at least attempts to poke fun at the “Disney Princess” formula.

    • bob

      Yes sisterly love was the random magical key to solving all the issues, but it still had this heavy handed fixation on “the boyfriend.” It was as if Disney thought they were making a huge twist in the name of strong female characters, while Anna still fell for Kristoff in the same amount of time she fell for Hans.. sure she didn’t get engaged to Hans immediately (congratulations to all you girls who wait till the second or even THIRD day to get engaged… sarcasm definitely intended). I’m just saying, why does it even have to be about that? Does that truly represent some sort of feminine strength? Are we okay with continuing to teach our very young ladies that the most important day of their lives is their wedding and they should always strive to be with a a man above all else? Life has so much more to offer, regardless of sex.

      At least… that’s what I take from these movies sometimes, albeit perhaps a tad sensationalist.

      In films where love is the magical answer, I often find myself feeling that it was too convenient a solution to the problem- whether it be the matrix , or frozen. It’s just so easy to pull it out of nowhere and sweep the unresolved issues under the rug. As a story technique, it doesn’t have to even be love. The ending of Lost, or Battlestar Galactica pulled the same type of maneuver just using a variable other than love.

    • Fred

      “especially the twist that had no clues”

      Uh….HELLO??? It was all an ACT on Hans’ part. He even explained his plan when the revelation came. Since when does a movie *need* to drop clues about a plot twist?
      Plus, that was NOT the only twist. How about the whole “true love’s kiss” expectation? In the end, it was not true love’s kiss that saved Anna.

      I don’t give a crap what anyone says. Frozen was a fantastic film. Audiences loved it because of the music, the characters, and the STORY. It played on audience’s expectations.

      If anyone claims that Dragon 2 is a better movie than Frozen, it is just sour grapes.

      How typical, a film like Frozen is released, becomes an unexpected success, (partly because not too much was known about it before it’s release), it breaks box office records, wins awards, and then all of a sudden, people start to hate on it and claim that it was over-hyped. because on the Internet, it is “cool” to hate on something just because it is popular and successful.

      • Steven Bowser

        I don’t think you get me at all. I like Frozen a lot more than Dragons 2. I just think it has a lot of flaws, like any film does. It’s got some issues.

  • Rureen

    Good point. Thank you for a (polite) response.

  • GS

    There seemed to be some superficial fixation of one or two of the girls on the physical attributes of the boys in HTTYD2.

  • GS

    Jay Baruchel’s voice was too low to play the character in the first film, and now he just sounds like a poor-man’s Matthew Broderick. In other words, an eternal man-child.

    • DangerMaus

      Wow, now a guy is being criticized for genetic factors that he has no control over. He’s an eternal man-child because his voice pitch didn’t drop to a level that you find aurally pleasing. Jesus.

  • Tenaya

    I was very disappointed with HTTYD2. I’m an animation student and I and all of my classmates who have seen it have felt the same way. While the animation and visuals were phenomenal and moments were really touching, the story fundamentally did not understand what its focus was. For a movie whose finale was about the unbreakable bond between a boy and his pet (as it should be, and like it was in the first) the film spent way too much time on Hiccup’s reunion with his Mom while sub plots with Astrid and Erit detracted from the main storyline without going anywhere. The beginning set up seemed to create the central conflict the same with, with Hiccup on the outside while the others don’t quite understand him, but instead of being admirable his obsession with making peace resulted in his father’s death, undermining his “heroism.” Hiccup’s crowning moment in the film, and the most emotional one, is when he forgives Toothless and Toothless subsequently becomes an alpha to save his own best friend; however, there was absolutely no actual conflict or development in their relationship up until that point. I realize other love this movie and I wish I could have too, (although I’m certainly still in love with Toothless–some of his character animation was breathtaking) in no way do I think this compares in quality with the first HTTYD.

  • DangerMaus

    I never said that FROZEN was inferior to HTTYD2. I said I enjoyed HTTYD2 more than I did FROZEN. Regarding comparing the two films. Of course I’m going to compare the two in terms of which I liked more. They were the two most recent blockbuster animated films that I have seen. Films don’t have to come from the same studio in order for a comparison to be valid.