Just like all businesses, Hollywood needs to release films that actually make money. One thing more important than Oscar nominations and Golden Globe Awards is profit. As such, the goal of all movie moguls is to deliver solid entertainment at the least cost possible. What follows is a list of 10 highest-grossing children’s movies of all time, based on worldwide box office receipts. These movies have become smashing successes for their respective companies, so much so that they make back their money over and over again. While there are some acknowledged blockbusters in the list, there are also a few films that come out of nowhere.
10. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted: $742 Million
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the third installment of the series is actually the highest-grossing Madagascar film and also DreamWorks Animation’s highest-grossing film in the foreign box office. It is packed with eye-candy visuals and an entertaining storyline that brings out the unique personality of each of the characters. The story follows the adventures of Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they still struggle to get home to New York. Only this time their journey takes them to Europe, where they purchased a failing traveling circus and met new lifelong friends.
9. Shrek Forever and After: $753 Million
As the fourth and final installment of the franchise, Shrek Forever and After did not perform as well as expected. However, despite this minor setback in expectations, the film remained as the #1 film in the United States and Canada for three consecutive weeks and has grossed a worldwide total of over $752 million.
8. Shrek the Third: $799 Million
When Shrek’s new father-in-law falls ill, he becomes the legal heir to the land of Far, Far Away. Not one to forget his humble beginnings, Shrek recruits his loyal band of friends to install Artie, a rebellious young fellow, as king, instead. On the other hand, Princess Fiona brings together her sassy, royal girlfriends to put an end to the coup d’etat started by Prince Charming. Shrek the Third was not as successful as the previous film, but it still grossed a good $798 million in the box office.
7. Despicable Me 2: $841 Million
Following the success of Despicable Me is a sequel to the franchise that proved to be more profitable than its predecessor. Produced for a budget of only $76 million, the animated hit has grossed more than $841 million worldwide. In this film, villain-turned-dad Gru is back with his daughters and his minions for even more outrageous missions. While the plot may not be as original and inspired as the first film of the series, it certainly stayed true to its slapstick tone and clever vibe. Also, just recently, Pixar announced a spin-off film featuring the small, yellow creatures also known as Minions.
6. Ice Age: Continental Drift: $877 Million
Ice Age 4’s storyline centers on the trio, as they embark upon their greatest adventure yet. They got separated from the herd, so they use an iceberg as a makeshift ship to brave new seas, encounter exotic creatures and battle ruthless pirates. While Ice Age 4 didn’t generate favorable reviews consistently, one thing is for sure, it is still making lots of money. In fact, during its release, the film became a box office success, with a worldwide gross of over $877 million, also making it the highest grossing animated film of 2012.
5. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: $887 Million
Ice Age 3 revolves around Sid who was kidnapped by a female Tyrannosaurus after stealing her eggs, leading the rest of the gang to save him in a tropical lost world inhabited by dinosaurs underneath all the ice. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, Dawn of the Dinoasaurs is the most successful Ice Age film in the franchise.
4. Shrek 2: $920 Million
Like its predecessor, Shrek 2 received positive reviews. The characters, which are voiced by popular names in the industry such as Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas, definitely did not disappoint. Plus, the storyline is also refreshingly witty and funny, proving to appeal to viewers of all groups. Due to its universality in terms of audience, it is DreamWorks’ most successful film to date, with sales and merchandise totaling to almost $920 million worldwide at a production budget of only $150 million.
3. Finding Nemo: $922 Million
Finding Nemo is not only one of Pixar’s most well-loved movies of all time, it’s easily also one of the most successful. Featuring the voices of Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres as Marlin and Dory who swim far and deep to find Marlin’s lost son, Nemo, this underwater film grossed over $921 million worldwide and, also, brought home the Best Animated Feature Oscar for Pixar.
2. The Lion King: $961 Million
Released in 1994, Lion King was the 32nd film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. It received positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised the film for its excellent musical score and story. Aside from winning numerous Academy and Golden Globe awards, it also ranked high in profitability. In fact, upon its release, the film grossed more than $783 million worldwide, which easily made it the most successful film released in that year. Following a 3D edition in 2011, with earnings of over $961 million worldwide as of 2011, the film is single-handedly the highest-grossing hand-drawn film in history.
1. Toy Story 3: $1 Billion
The third film of the franchise definitely proved that the third time is a charm, as Toy Story 3 went on to become the first Pixar movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide. Basically, Andy is leaving for college and he finally decides to part with his toys, for good. Instead of stowing his box of toys away in the attic, he donated it to a daycare center, leading to a series of events that are unapologetically too good to spoil. Aside from raking in the profits, Toy Story 3 also earned five Oscar nominations, winning Best Animated Feature.
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