The addition of Pixar movies to the Disney animation family has led to amazing hits coming out one film after another. A perfect combination of charm, humor and intelligent storytelling made the movies stand out among the other animated films of the genre. The movies were the perfect animated films. Both children wanting to see a fun movie in the theater and adults hoping to see a compelling story were entertained with the results. Pixar started to release a new movie each year with success in just about every measure for the majority of their releases.
Both box office success and positive ratings have shown Pixar films thrive in every way. The annual Pixar film has frequently been among the highest anticipated movies of the year. There was a short stretch of movies from the brand that failed to deliver for quite a few years in a row. It appears to have ended with a few recent hits to end the negative streak. We will compare every movie made under the Pixar name and take a look at how they are ranked against each other. This is the comprehensive power rankings of all seventeen Pixar movies that have been released as of this date.
17 Cars 2
The one Pixar movie no one wanted to see a sequel to found its way to theaters. Cars 2 was released in 2011 with complete disappointment. Rotten Tomatoes only saw critics give it a 39% positive rating. The visual element of Cars 2 delivered like any other Pixar flick, but it lacked the depth in the storytelling. At least the first movie provided the charm of getting to know the characters in the movie. The sequel didn’t add anything to the story and quite frankly led to the worst movie in Pixar history.
For whatever reason, Pixar strongly believes they can make the Cars franchise work. They will try a third time with the release of Cars 3 coming in a few months. It is the one deep franchise under the Pixar umbrella that doesn’t provide strong excitement from the viewers. Cars 2 proved that by being the most disappointing movie to ever come out of the Pixar studios.
The first Cars movie wasn’t as bad as the sequel but was not anything special. It lacked the heartwarming story and characters that make fans of all ages fall in love with Pixar movies. That being said, Cars did deliver enough charm to make it an adequate film. The overall experience of the first Cars film was quite comparable to the other average animated movies that rely on lazy jokes and writing to deliver just enough to be average.
High expectations and love for the other Pixar films made the pressure higher for Cars to succeed, and it couldn’t live up to the others. The visual aspect of Cars is always incredible. Sadly, there’s not much depth to it beyond that and the Pixar name. Pixar actually postponed the release of Cars by a year proving they didn’t feel completely confident about the movie. It proved to be right with one of the rare mediocre films in their history.
15 The Good Dinosaur
Another lackluster film in the history of Pixar is the recently released The Good Dinosaur. It was a solid film with a 76% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The story featured a young Apatosaurus dinosaur befriended a young human both lost and separated from their respective families. A few emotional moments will make you believe in the story, but it isn’t as effective as the other top movies in Pixar history.
One negative mark with The Good Dinosaur was the $332 million worldwide grossing figure. As impressive as the number looks, it was the lowest grossing film in Pixar history. The Good Dinosaur made the least money, but it was released later in the year as opposed to the other Pixar films typically being released in the summer months making it more accessible. The mediocre film was significantly better than both Cars movies. It still is near the bottom of the rankings in Pixar.
14 Monsters University
The success of Monsters Inc. led to a highly anticipated sequel of Monsters University. Everyone’s favorite monsters Mike and Sulley’s origins were shown with their training in scaring school. The unique story for a prequel saw Monsters University feature both Mike and Sulley as rivals that end up on the same team in the Scare Games. Critics enjoyed Monsters University with the 78% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Monsters University was quite good, but it lacked the originality of the original Monsters Inc. movie. It is very difficult for animated movies to thrive with a sequel. Pixar did a solid job with Monsters University but just couldn’t replicate the success of the first one. Monsters University is one of the second tier Pixar movies despite being very good. The financial success came with a worldwide grossing total of $744.2 million showing people cared enough about the story to give it a try.
Brave was one of the very few original Pixar movies over the past seven years. The story of Brave featured a young girl that wanted to turn her back on family tradition and find her own path. A message of courage and bravery is showcased in the aptly titled movie. Brave received a 78% approval rating with positivity surrounding the release of the film. Most people to watch it were pleased with the movie, but it lacked the legacy the other Pixar films did.
The majority of Pixar movies stand the test of time and get better the more times you watch it to appreciate the subtle greatness. Brave didn’t have the similar lasting impact but remained a very good movie. It raked in f $540,437,063 worldwide as one of the most successful films of 2012. It also provided representation with one of the first Pixar films featuring the perspective of a young girl.
12 A Bug's Life
The second movie released from Pixar happens to be one of the most forgotten ones in their history. A Bug's Life found success in every stretch imaginable. It received a great rating of 92% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie delivered in the box office all the way back in 1998 grossing a total of $363.3 million before the Pixar brand was a huge asset in movies making money.
The story focused on an ant trying to find tough insects to save his colony from grasshoppers. As always, the hijinks occur with lots of comedy, charm and a heartwarming message in the middle of it. A Bug’s Life doesn’t get the respect it deserves when thinking about the history of Pixar, because Pixar wasn’t an important name when it was out. Hopefully fans watching back today realize how good of a movie it was, despite being below some of the classics.
Pixar is at its best when going the creative route taking risks with their story. No one could have predicted a movie about a talking rat with the passion of wanting to become a chef. Ratatouille features the rat befriending a young man and them quietly working together to deliver the best cooking around. The charm and imagination of the movie made it an instant hit with the story of friendship and acceptance winning out at the end.
Ratatouille received 96% approval rating from reviews via Rotten Tomatoes. The worldwide grossing figure of $620,702,951 showed just how much interest it brought in to become one of Pixar’s biggest hits. Ratatouille is clearly one of the top films in Pixar history but isn’t one of the true top heavy hitters. We will likely never see Ratatouille have a sequel. However, it stands alone as a classic that could only be created from the minds at Pixar.
10 Finding Dory
The immense popularity of Finding Nemo influenced Pixar to release the sequel of Finding Dory. Instead of the gang searching for a lost Nemo, they are now on the move to find Dory’s parents after losing them many years prior thanks in part to her short term memory lost. Finding Dory found success in every aspect possible. The Rotten Tomatoes rating of 94% positive proved that even critics found endearment in the film. It made huge money bringing in an astounding $1 billion worldwide as the second most financial successful Pixar film.
Movies today have the potential to make more money than years prior giving Finding Dory the benefit, but it still hit a home run. The move was great but still finds its way below nine other movies in Pixar history. That shows just how deep the greatness of Pixar has been through the years. A feel good moment at the end to payoff of two movies is all you can ask for.
9 Monsters, Inc.
The fourth release by Pixar that started the trend of yearly hit movies was Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley’s life as monsters scaring children is shaken up when one of the brave kids comes back with them into their world. Friendships are formed and the emotion of good storytelling is on display. The colorful world and unique story of Monsters, Inc. stood out as why Pixar worked in the early years and started to become a force in the entertainment world.
Monsters, Inc. grossed $577,425,734 worldwide and received 96% positive ratings from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie stands out as a classic from the time that still stands strong today. Both Mike and Sulley were established as great characters on their own and as a unit. The depth of the characters and the story succeeded enough for Pixar to squeeze out a sequel. Aside from Cars, Pixar will only create sequels for the heavy hitters.
8 Inside Out
The best Pixar film in recent years would have to be Inside Out. Pixar has gone deep into the sequel projects over the past seven years, but Inside Out stood out as an original film with a great story. The story featured the emotions in the mind of a young girl moving to a new place. Pixar took the creative risk once again with the main characters being Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust.
Huge stars like Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader signed on as voice actors. Inside Out told a beautiful story about the life for a youngster and the balance of life. Sadness being needed at the end of the day reminded us of how our emotions are important and necessary. Rotten Tomatoes have it with a 98% approval rating and it grossed $857.6 million worldwide. Inside Out was a reminder that original stories are needed just as much, if not more than the strong sequels.
Another huge risk by Pixar saw the story of WALL-E. The feature of minimal speaking between the characters was exchanged with movements and robotic sounds. That perhaps was the magic of WALL-E as a classic movie. The story of WALL-E featured the last robot on Earth cleaning the abandoned planet in a life of loneliness until finding a probe sent back to the planet on a scanning mission. An emotional story is shown with minimal speaking to show the power of storytelling in the world of Pixar.
The movie took aim at serious issues like pollution and consumerism to set the surroundings of the story. WALL-E received an impressive 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and raked in $533,281,433. Pixar is the best when they show their creativity by taking aim at a story that has never been told before on the big screen. WALL-E shows it with the success of being one of the most heartwarming stories.
6 Toy Story 2
The Toy Story franchise is the backbone of the Pixar brand. Toy Story 2 was only the third movie under the Pixar brand and did the name proud. The story of Woody and Buzz Lightyear continue with a toy collector stealing Woody away from Andy. Woody ends up in a museum with Buzz and the other toys planning a rescue mission. The characters in Toy Story have made it such a classic trilogy in cinema history.
Toy Story 2 did outstanding in both public perception and finances. The movie received a shocking 100% positive approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes showing there was nothing negative you can say about it. A total of $497,366,869 worldwide made it a huge success and helped take the Pixar brand to the next level as they realized how popular it was getting. Toy Story 2 wasn’t as good of a movie as the other two in their franchise, but it was still an instant classic.
5 The Incredibles
What could be better than a unique new idea from Pixar? Of course, one about superheroes. The Incredibles told the story about a family of superheroes hiding their powers and trying to live a normal life in the suburbs. A desire to use their powers to help others and a former fan turned enemy plotting against them opens up a brilliant story from start to finish. Many would rank The Incredibles up there with any other superhero film despite being animated.
The Incredibles grossed $631,442,092 worldwide as the fifth most financially successful Pixar movie at the time. Critics loved it giving a 97% positive rating for the film at the time of the release. The legacy of The Incredibles has just improved through the years with it deservedly being ranked up there with the best Pixar films. A sequel was announced to be released in 2018 as one of the most heavily anticipated Pixar movies yet.
4 Finding Nemo
The beautiful story of a clownfish searching for his lost son added the emotional element to the visually gorgeous scenery in Finding Nemo. Pixar started to see its best days with movies like Finding Nemo showing just how brilliant the minds making their movies truly are. Animated movies typically get criticized for treating the younger audience as mindless with lazy storytelling, but Finding Nemo went the opposite direction with a wonderful plot that anyone could resonate with.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a tremendous 99% rating with only a few jerks breaking up the perfect rating. Finding Nemo also found box office success grossing a total of $871 million worldwide. It was one of the more touching stories told in Pixar with the power of parenthood and family being examined here. We have already discussed the sequel that came from the powerful brand of Finding Nemo becoming a powerhouse in the movie industry.
3 Toy Story
Pixar’s success all started with its first movie release of the legendary Toy Story. The unique story revolving around the toys of a young boy created the entire brand that would become a household name. Andy’s favorite toy Woody becomes jealous of new toy Buzz Lightyear leading to the two getting lost and bonding on the way to get back to their owner. The movie was so great that Pixar realized it had to make multiple sequels to get all of the potential out of the brand.
Toy Story helped shape the future of Pixar with its outstanding success. The box office success saw it make $373,554,033 worldwide, which was the 21st highest grossing in movie history at the time of release. A Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 100% saw it have a flawless record. Toy Story could have easily been a failure under any other studio, but Pixar did it right to set up a future no one could have imagined.
The perfect mix of comedy and heartfelt emotion was shown in the hit film Up. Viewers were crying early at the story of Carl Fredricksen losing his wife and setting up the movie plot of him attempting to see their dream through by moving to Paradise Falls. Carl uses balloons to fly his home away to make the dream a reality before the house could be torn down. The local Boy Scout Russell happens to be in the house as it flies off and the odd couple sets out on a journey.
Both characters lacked having someone to count on in life and found that with each other on the epic journey through the beautiful story along the way. Up takes you through all of the emotions before getting to the heartwarming ending. Rotten Tomatoes gave Up a tremendous 98% positive rating and it grossed a little over $735 million worldwide to deliver huge success for the Pixar brand. Up was actually the first Pixar movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
1 Toy Story 3
It is nearly impossible for a movie franchise to follow up two classics with an improved movie, but Toy Story 3 did it. The toys found a new story of trying to adjust to life with owner Andy heading to college and having to give them away. They get lost on the way and have to get back in a thrilling story. Toy Story 3 truly delivered a new level of emotions for the Toy Story franchise as they say goodbye to Andy and meet a new child as the ultimate payoff to a three-film story.
The 98% positive rating of Toy Story 3 was impressive but still undersold just how great the movie was. Toy Story 3 set history making well over $1 billion in the box office as Pixar’s most financially successful film. It also earned the honor of being nominated for the Best Picture in the 2011 Academy Awards as just the third animated film to earn that nod after Beauty & the Beast and Up. Toy Story 3 had the perfect ending, but Toy Story 4 will continue the franchise in 2019.
Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo.
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