Animation Dominates the Top 20 Highest Grossing Features of 2012

Variety printed (sorry, it’s not online) it’s annual list of the Domestic Top 250 Films (of 2012) and animated features were very well represented. Of the top 20 films, six were completely animated pictures. Only three films (#17 Taken 2, #18 21 Jump Street (directed by animators Phil Lord and Chris Miller) and #19 Lincoln) had little or no animation.

The six purely animated features were #7 Brave, 10 Madagascar 3, 11. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, 13. Wreck-it Ralph, 14. Ice Age Condinental Drift and 16. Hotel Transylvania – all grossing over $145 million apiece. The remaining films all made ample use of special effects CGI. The list of the Top 20 with U.S. grosses is listed below.

1. The Avengers $623,357,910
2. The Dark Knight Rises $448,139,099
3. The Hunger Games $408,010,692
4. Skyfall $290,904,271
5. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 $286,422,893
6. The Amazing Spider-Man $262,030,663
7. Brave $237,262,307
8. The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey $228,546,604
9. Ted $218,665,740
10. Madagasgar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted $216,391,482
11. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax $214,030,500

12. Men In Black 3 $179,020,854
13. Wreck-It Ralph $175, 990,019
14. Ice Age: Continental Drift $161,990,019

15. Snow White and the Huntsman $155,136,755
16. Hotel Transylvannia $145,321,690
17. Taken 2 $138,936,379
18. 21 Jump Street $138,447,667
19. Lincoln $134,189,097
20. Promethus $126,477,084

Just the animated films alone in the Top 20 contributed over $1 billion dollars gross – $1,150,135,597 – to the major studios involved. All told, it was an incredible year at the box office for animation. May it continue into the new year.


P.S. It may have been a financial disappointment, but Rise Of The Guardians will gross over $100 million at the US box office sometime next week. I wish more “failures” did this sort of business.


  • Hank

    It’s less about ” box office” than PROFITABILITY, which guardians won’t be. Out of all the strictly animated films, Ice Age is–by a wide margin, the most profitable.? And it’s likely in the top 3 on the entire list in that regard, as well.

    • Tyler K.

      Domestically, the Lorax was more profitable with a $70 million budget and $214 million in revenue.

      But internally Ice Age 4 was by far the most profitable, being budgeted at $95 million and making $875 million.

      Source: Wikipedia

  • Tom

    Also, notice how out of those 20 films, only four of them are original ideas i.e. not a sequel or adaptation. Three of those four are fully animated films: Brave, Wreck-It Ralph and Hotel Transylvania. The fourth one is Ted. I suppose I could count Prometheus as a fifth but it’s still loosely connected to the Alien franchise.

  • one more thing

    they don’t bring up that ice age 4 made 875 million world-wide. about 80% of gross from foreign tickets. don’t ask me what that means–just sayin.

  • akira

    and don’t forget, without the animated hulk, teddy bear, wolves and other characters, avengers, twilight, prometheus, ted, men in black, snow white, and hobbit wouldn’t have been so huge!!!!

  • Chris Mais

    Since when is having 2 out of the top ten (#7 and #10) considered dominating the box office?

    • Hank

      All top 10 pics had significant amounts of animated content. Not that it’s why any of them were necessarily successful.

      Guardians is a major write off for DW, and is considered a bomb.

      • http://www.cartoonbrew.com/author/jerry Jerry Beck

        Ahhh, if all “bombs” grossed $100 Million, what a great world it would be…

        • IJK

          Well when your film cost $145 million….

          • Glen

            And that’s only the “admitted” cost. And doesn’t include distribution and marketing. It’s a $100 million write off–according to DW. A bomb.

            Artistically it’s pretty unappealing. And as a motion picture, it’s a confused mess.

  • Lock

    How is this dominating exactly? When the first two alone made over 1 Bil…

  • Kevin Martinez

    Most bombs cost less than 150 million dollars.

    Animation is so expensive that even good grosses for live-action constitute a bomb.

  • Sarah J

    Eh, considering that animation takes up a good portion of family films, it’s not too surprising.

  • Zac

    READ: “Top 20 Most Marketed Features of 2012″

    ..Prometheus being the fluke. No amount of marketing could offset those numbers..