In 3 Decades, CalArts Animation Alumni Have Generated $30 Billion For Hollywood Studios

Directors who have graduated from CalArts’ character and experimental animation programs have generated over $30 billion in box office grosses since 1985. However you slice it, that’s a remarkable amount. The school has created a couple interactive charts to document the amounts, and even though the charts were ostensibly made to promote the school, they’re useful infographics in their own right that show the ballooning influence of CalArts in Hollywood, and particularly theatrical animation.


  • Rufus

    And they still have student loans.

  • Strong Enough

    with an average income of 50,000 a year.

  • CaJd554

    The Character Animation Program generates over 50% of CalArts finances and yet gets so little direct financing from the school. And the animation department is in need of strong leadership. It hasn’t had any for nearly 20 years, save the late Frank Terry.

    • Sugarloafer

      Frank was a great leader of the program, but he served for over 10 years within those 20 years you mentioned. I don’t know about the new leadership, but the recent graduates and current students seem to be doing great work and finding lots of success.

    • A113ager

      I was there during the program’s heyday in the early 80′s. We complained about the faculty then, too.

  • Bruce

    Frank Terry had to fight for every scrap of new equipment and needed space the whole time he was there. Constantly in meetings to plead his cause.The school seems to use the Animation Departments, noticeably absent in the title “School of Film & Video” and fit into the basement. The gifted student animators that attend, after making it through a grueling selection process of up to 600 portfolio submissions for 40 – 45 first year slots are not treated well by the Fine Arts Department as colleagues and fellow artists and in many cases made to feel that they are lesser in their art abilities and choices of media. The industry uses it as a farm team to their benefit. Many end up with student loan debts that can disallow them from the lives and business they help to generate.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Thanks for giving me a reason I didn’t go that route.

      • Bruce

        Like Harvard, having gone through the program and graduated from Cal Arts is a significant introduction to an established network of friends and colleagues that talent alone can not provide. I would wish that the industry that profits so well from this talent pool would provide more funding to enable to help with scholarships and grants to relieve the student/parent burden of supporting their own talents initially.

  • TStevens

    CalArts has been a major force in the industry as far back as the thirties when it was still Chouinard’s.
    I remember calling a recruiter at the Disney TV department back in the 90′s and asking him how many CalArts grads they had working in the department – he couldn’t think of a single person who wasn’t from CalArts. Around that same time I heard that many of the students got job offers after their second or third year since the demand for talent was so high at that point.
    They are as dominant in animation as Harvard is in business.

  • Myst AnimatorX

    And yet, John K still hates all of us.