Cloudy With a Chance of Billions: The 5 Most Lucrative Animated Films

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Post on 21-Aug-2014



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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is set to open next weekend, giving distributor Sony (NYSE: SNE) an opportunity to get back on track after an underwhelming year at the box office. The timing could hardly be better. Despicable Me 2, from Comcasts (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Universal Pictures, recently became the first animated film in three years to earn at least $300 million at the U.S. box office. Walt Disneys (NYSE: DIS) Monsters University also outperformed, earning more than any of 2012s biggest animated hits. The toons are back on top, it seems. The following slideshow reveals the top 5 grossing animated features of all time and reveals why Disney, still animations undisputed king, is seeing more competition than ever. We also name the two best opportunities for investors right now.


  • Cloudy With a Chance Of Billions: The 5 Most Lucrative Animated Films
  • Animated Features Are Winning Again Are animated blockbusters back? Despicable Me 2 became the first animated feature since 2010s Toy Story 3 to earn at least $300 million at the U.S. box office. Pixars Monsters University also outperformed each of last years biggest animated winners: Brave, Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted, and Dr. Seuss The Lorax. The average nationally-released animated feature grosses $87.7 million at the domestic gate, according to Box Office Mojo. Sources: Disney Pixar via Wikia.
  • An Evil Plot to Make More Money? Sources: Illumination Entertainment via Empire Magazine. Though big in scale, animated features tend towards reasonable or even small budgets. Universal partner Illumination Entertainment spent less than $80 million in producing each of the Despicable Me films. Toy Story 3 is a rare exception, costing Walt Disney and Pixar $200 million. No wonder Universal commissioned a sequel! A third installment, Minions, is planned for summer 2015.
  • Toy Story 3 Source: Wikimedia Foundation. THE BREAKDOWN Summary: The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home. (source: IMDb) Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack Directors: Lee Unkrich Worldwide Box Office: $1,063.2 million Production Budget: $200 million
  • The Lion King Source: Walt Disney. THE BREAKDOWN Summary: Tricked into thinking he killed his father, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King. (source: IMDb) Starring: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff Worldwide Box Office: $961.5 million Production Budget: $45 million
  • Finding Nemo Source: Pixar Animation. THE BREAKDOWN Summary: After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home. (source: IMDb) Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich Worldwide Box Office: $921.7 million Production Budget: $94 million
  • Shrek 2 Source: DreamWorks Animation. THE BREAKDOWN Summary: Princess Fiona's parents invite her and Shrek to dinner to celebrate her marriage. If only they knew the newlyweds were both ogres. (source: IMDb) Starring: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon Worldwide Box Office: $919.8 million Production Budget: $150 million
  • Despicable Me 2 Sources: Universal and Illumination Entertainment. THE BREAKDOWN Summary: Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. (source: IMDb) Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Worldwide Box Office: $840.6 million Production Budget: $76 million
  • What about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2? The first film earned Sony $243 million worldwide on a $100 million budget. The studio must be aiming higher this time. Tooning In to a Profit Disney isnt the only option for investors. Other inhabitants of Wall Streets Toontown include ... DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA). Home to the Shrek and Madagascar franchises. Will release Mr. Peabody & Sherman, based on the TV cartoon, in March. Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and studio subsidiary Universal Pictures. Distributor of the Despicable Me films and increasingly relevant producer of comic book adaptations. Toontown street from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Source: Walt Disney.
  • 3 Big Brands With Worldwide Appeal Movies -- especially animated movies -- are one of Americas great exports. But there are also opportunities outside the entertainment industry. Heres a closer look at three other U.S. stocks our analysts like right now ... One still dominates the fast food landscape here in the U.S., but which may be best known for inspiring a quip in an Oscar-winning film. Another is best known for outfitting some of the worlds biggest stars. Another has created a whole series of combo fast food joints that mash together different brands in a single store. This company is also slowly improving operations in China. Want to know more about these stocks? We tell you all you need to know in a just-released special report. Click here to claim your FREE copy now.