“Cars 2” is the biggest of the year – so far “Cars 2” is the biggest of the year – so far

“Cars 2” is the biggest of the year – so far

It may or may not win any Oscars, but the Disney Company has announced that Pixar’s Cars 2 is the highest earning animated feature of the year.

Cars 2 opened in June 24th and earned $189 million domestically. It’s made $548 million total to date when combined with all international box office figures. Disney claims the film is now the 16th highest-grossing animated film in “global cinematic history”.

This is, of course, before the release of some heavy hitters from Dreamworks, Aardman and Spielberg to come, not to mention Happy Feet 2. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out and who’ll come out on top at years end.

  • Clint H

    WHAT? Not Rango? That movie is so far the best damn movie of year for me!

    Anyways, CARS 2, in my opinion, wasn’t as bad as what people are saying. It’s not Pixar’s BEST film, but I didn’t hate it. Perhaps they’ll do better with next year’s BRAVE.

    • Bud

      WHAT? Not Rango? ”

      Rango didn’t make money. It lost money–a lot. It got good reviews for a kids cartoon, although I personally found it one of the worst cartoons I’ve ever seen.

      • Martyn

        It’s a shame you feel that way Bud, but if we all felt the same about everything the world would be a boring place, right?

        I thought Rango was an absolute joy, one of the most invigorating and enjoyable movie experiences I’ve had in years.

        On a side note, I keep hearing this point that Rango lost money, but I can’t seem to find any writing on the subject, I’d like to see a story relating to this if you don’t mind.

      • Frank

        I agree that rango was pretty juvenile–and badly designed–but it is a simple fact that it lost money. A budget of $180 million, plus $100 million for marketing. It made $242 million WW. Most films–especially films budgeted over $50 million–have to make 3x gross return to turn a profit.

      • Martyn

        Thanks Frank, sorry to be a pain but i’m a little confused. For starters Wiki says the budget was $135million not 180, and why would marketing not be included in that budget, surely that’s part of the process of making and releasing a film?

        I’m not disagreeing with you here, just don’t understand the process myself and would like to know more. Also, what is different about films over 50million vs those under?

      • Martyn, you need to read up on Hollywood Accounting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Accounting

        Marketing is not considered part of the cost of making a film because it is typically borne by the distributor and in most respects is irrelevant to the production of the film itself. Typically a film will have about the same amount of marketing behind it as it cost to make.

        Considering how much the films actually DO cost to make, it makes sense from a studio’s point of view to keep those costs off the books as much as possible so shareholders don’t get nosey if the film flops.

        Steve Hulett of the Animation Guild also posted this good explanation of the whole rigmarole a while back that is worth your while reading: http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/cartoon-costs.html

      • Martyn

        Excellent, thank you Charles, confusion averted.

  • JKR

    In other news, kids like kids movies. More at 11.


  • fish

    According to http://www.boxofficeguru.com/intl.htm
    Kung Fu Panda 2 has earned almost 110 million more worldwide.
    Cars 2 has only earned 24 million more than Kung Fu Panda 2 domestically.
    In my opinion it was as bad as everyone was saying.
    BUT, I too very much so look forward to seeing Brave next summer – it looks smashing!

  • snip2364

    Rango was sure not to become the highest-grossing animated film of the year. It looks way too obscure for kids, and Cars 2 has the distinction of having multi-billion dollars in sales from merchandise, which gained even ”more” than the film! In fact, I’m almost wondering how this is news.

    As you said, some of the films in the coming months could beat Cars 2, but I question your example of Happy Feet 2 as plausible.

  • Jason H

    Disney’s marketing department did a wonderful job.

    • Deanaic

      Sad they couldn’t do the same with Pooh – I ended up liking that MUCH more than Cars 2.

      • JKR

        Super 100% agreed. Pooh was simply fantastic.

  • Ju-osh

    The Cars flicks made money in the 00s for same reason that all of those ‘Blue Rasberry’-flavored candies made money in the 90s:
    By and large, kids’ tastes are f*cked.

    • Gobo

      I disagree that the only reason Cars, and Cars merchandise is successful, is that “kids’ tastes are f*cked”. The Cars movies aren’t my cup of tea, but a massive chunk of America loves its Nascar and loves its Larry the Cable Guy — and whatever you think of his shtick, you can’t deny that he does a fine job of voicing an inbred hick tow truck. I’m guessing that if someone on a Nascar message board asked why WALL-E did well, there’d be people saying “by and large, liberals’ tastes are f*cked”. It’s all perspective.

      • Bud

        What does liberal/conservative have to do with anything? If they were nascar fans who liked Cars, that’d be like saying “”by and large, ignoramuses’ tastes are f*cked.”

    • …what’s wrong with blue raspberry? :(

    • tatiana

      im sorry that kids dont have your adult taste…in cartoons.

      theres nothing that wrong with cars two, im actually shocked that people are getting pissy over what children choose to watch. this movie was tailor made for them.

  • Justin M. Durden

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion. Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

  • If Mars Needs Bombs, Christmas Carol and Beowulf is any indication, i guess Spielberg’s movie is going to bomb at the box office.

  • Toonio

    From Disney’s marketing and BS (business strategies) dept. to Dreamworks:

    Squeeeeeeal like a pig!!!!

  • Money isn’t everything. I avoided that film like the plague because the reviews were so, SO bad. I’ll take A.O. Scott over I.M. Hick any day of the week. The “character” and “story”, as Pixar preaches its gospel, were awful. And just who was the director?? Who?? Hmmm, guess he’s not a god after all. Hey folks, it is not sacrilegious to criticize Pixar when it creates a dud. Or ever. They are not a church, are they? Even if they were, many act as if they are getting paid commissions to praise, on thier knees, every single thing that Pixar ever does, no matter how formulaic, commercial, or, heaven forbid, ordinary!! yikes!!

  • SO glad I missed it, on purpose.

  • Of course, Cars 2 would do well. It’s a Pixar release. The name “Pixar” alone can sell a movie these days.

  • Russell H

    The problem with box-office figures as a measure of success is,they may indicate that great numbers of people went to see a film, but not whether they actually liked it once they got there.

    A friend of mine told me about taking his 5-year-old to CARS 2. This kid has practically every CARS merchandise item sold, has seen the first movie a dozen times or more, but, according to my friend, about halfway through CARS 2, the kid was saying, “Daddy, can we go home now?”

    My friend said that this was what he’d heard from other parents as well–kids were eager to see it, insisted on going, but too often ended up bored and disappointed. In his view, the film was too “adult” for kids, in terms of storyline and references, but too “juvenile” for adults to really enjoy either.

  • OtherDan
  • Jorgen Klubien

    My kids love the film. Perhaps that explains the success, and what is wrong with that by the way?

  • Ethan

    Kung Fu Panda made 660M$. It’s the number one so far. You have to shovel this under the rug again.

    You can’t talk about Cars 2 reviews, it’s the worst animated film of the year. Can’t talk about the box office it was beaten by Kung Fu Panda 2. Can’t talk about Lasseter’s position about 3D, you need to attack only Katzenberg. Hey let’s say Cars 2 is number one and misdirect people into thinking it’s true! And let’s attack DW with misdirections about it’s box office, it stumbled, it’s weak, will make less than KFP1. And let’s talk about Pixar in only positive words. It’s number one! Will make money whether you like it or not!

    WTF is wrong with CB? For the whole year the box office headlines have been consistent bullshit. I really want to know what you got in your press kit from Pixar.

  • James Ciambor

    Pixar’s greatest embarrassment of all time reducing the industry to rubble. Sorry for the harsh words, keeping my fingers crossed that Brave will bring back their streak of exceptional films.

    By the way Bud, Rango wasn’t as banal as Cars 2. It had a unique sense of appeal, great characterizations and as far as most of us are concerned probably the industries best feature effort of 2011. Though it would be a boring place if everyone agreed with that talking point which is why I agree with Martyn.