Cartoon Brew: 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.



Whichever way you look at it… It basically means quite a few people in THIS forum hold sway over many billions of dollars worth of value.

Long may our kind conquer! :beer:


Hotel Transylvania was on the list? From what I heard people complained because of Adam Sandler. I guess people DO watch the movie after all.


I’ve seen write ups that made it sound like Wreck-It Ralph was a failure too, but I guess these days films have to make one billion for the studio to be happy. Also we can’t forget how much these films cost. Without the international take, I am sure there would be some heads rolling.


Uh… are you replying to me? Anyway, from the internet it was bad enough that I didn’t bother to go and watch it.

And personally, the trailer didn’t make me feel like to go and watch it (unlike Wreck and Guardian). Maybe the critic still hate Adam for his recent movie, probably…

Anyway, it just that the net backlash back then like the movie is not something you want to go and watch…

but good to know from wiki it seems that the budget is 85m and take globally is 316m. That’s good (more than double).

But, yeah. Maybe there is a graph or something - but the more you spend, and spend it wisely, you are reaching the billion amount. If double means return on investment, and triple is good, you want a triple on 85m or a triple on 200m?

Anyway, Avengers = 220m/1.5 billion.
Skyfall (150m to 200m)/1.0 billion.

I guess this is risk and reward go hand in hand. There is a saying, the bigger the pot, the bigger is the dry rice?

And now I notice that Hotel Trans budget is around 85m. I though these days serious animated is above 100m already?

Toy Story 3 = 200m / 1.0 billion.

Sigh… maybe I’ll go rent Hotel Trans dvd on of these days.


Two things:

  1. Spending habits at Sony Pictures Animation may be different or certain assets/costs are availed differently due to much equipment or resources being at other Sony-owned subsidiaries.
    (read: discounted or No-need-to-own-ourselves)

  2. Budgets declared to the public are sometimes part of the Marketing game. Many of the main tentpoles use the term “100 Million Dollars” as part of their hype. It may have little to do with any real costs these days - so take numbers with a grain of salt.

At the end of the day, if a series continues or no major issue or firing has taken place, the film in question was probably successful (or has been deemed good enough to make its profit in home video sales).


Can’t say much about point 1, but anyway:

  1. I just pick the number off wikipedia.

As for the last point, there is operating fiscal and profit. While spending 85m per animation and received 3xx is good, that’s is all you made per year (for that film, that is). But if you are willing to spend, let say, 200 million, then you might made around 1 billion. For that year. But again, it is risk and reward thing.

Rise of the Guardian, 145m/286m.

Whoa… Castle made more return for money than Rise,
or even Wreck 165m /336m.

Maybe I really need to go rent some dvd one of these days, need to re-watch Paranorman too.


Well, I must admit that I never had a desire to see ANY of them. The trailers just aren’t convincing me these days. I might have a slight interest in “Hotel…” simply because I read something about how this traditional 2D director really pushed the artists to stretch what they normally do, even drawing linework over their scene to show what he wanted. That intrigued me to some degree, but I was never a huge fan of this director’s work, 2D or otherwise.


I am huge fan of the director, and I hated Hotel Transylvania
Hell I will call it one of the worst films of last year ( and I am sorry for al lthe animators who worked so hard on this film.).


Transylvania was pretty bad.
it even hits all the cliches of terrible animated features including the big pointless dance number before the end credits.

Watch Pirates for a great cartoon or Paranorman for mind blowing stop motion animation.


From the internet I heard basic rule of thumb is that to make a film/animation break even is to double the cost. So if it took 100 million to make, to break even it has to get 200 million in sales. Which mean you as a company just coasting around the fiscal year.

Which means Wreck, having to cost 165m to make+market, and getting 335m in sales, that means its only 5 million after break even. Considering that Skyfall manages to earn in a billion of ticket sales for a movie that cost 150m to make (as usual, all my info is from wikipedia), yeah, Wreck doesn’t sound good on financial paper. Neither is Rise of Guardian (only 6 million after break even).

Which lead to Hotel Trans, despite costing 85m, earning triple (85m in profit after break even), in financial sense, is a good thing.

Maybe accountant will start taking films that making billions and see how much it cost to make. And use the average as a yard stick. And if people complain Wreck as a bad investment or a failure, yeah, I think they already follow the yard stick. Wreck should make around 500m or more. I mean, it cost more than Skyfall and earn 1/3?

Maybe there is a value in using well known IP (securing fan base). Maybe that is why currently we saw a lot of reboot, or using established IP (truly following the IP or just in name is another matter).

Just my 2 cent :shrug:


In retrorespect, reading Paranorman wiki page, I realize that it make only 100m with 60m cost to make. Which means the film is a loss, at least following usual rule of thumb. The critism is of course, the ending. There is a lot of parental site, movie guide site, and religious site speaks of this. So that could be a reason.

I wonder how this would effect future animated feature. As for live action, we already know what happened to ‘Martian Child’.

And to some critic, the scene with the dead uncle is too long and too gross. And I agree. It was funny. But overstay the invitation, and make bad joke at the dinner table. :smiley:


Well the thing with Laika films is that they tend to have

a long tailon the home video market. (I call that the HBO TV show strategy)

If Paranorman were to win the Oscar, it would garanthee a great after life in the home video market.

And yes the ending was controversial, that is why it has a chance to win the Oscar.
If the academy goes safe this year they will give it to Brave.


Yeah, I understand what a long tail is. But the problem is that you cannot survive on long tail alone. Unless its a very large tail. If you made too much flop hoping to survive on long tail, the body will die, butt portion will be sold to anyone willing to bid high enough, and whatever tail left will belong to them.

Which remind me when Michael Jackson purchase the copyright to the Beatles music.



Don’t Transporter films live off the long tail. I thought I read before that they gross like $30 mil at the box office and then rake in $90mil on home video.


Paranorman is not winning the Oscar. Half the time I don’t think the Academy even watches these movies, they see Pixar and they just give them the award. I was completely surprised that Brave won the Golden Globes last night as I thought it didn’t deserve it. It was a good movie but it wasn’t great and some of the other movies were much better imo.


I know…
And I thought exactly that last night when I saw the Golden Globes.
But if there is any justice on this World, I would give it to Paranorman.
Hell I will settle with Wreck it Ralph.


I’d give it to Paranorman. But if I can’t, I’d give it to Rise of the Guardian. It talk about death, loneliness, teamwork, faith, etc, and do have some sad scenes. For me, it have a lot of great moment.

While when it come to Wreck, the only great moment for me is the punch down. And that’s it.


You really need to check on the studio. It’s Luc Besson studio. And it past the break even straight at the box office. 21m/43m. So there is no loss, and any tail is a good bonus.

Paranorman isn’t. They are short.

My point with the beatles copyright is that the original copyright owner (the studio side) was bid and sold. Whoever bid and win, get the tail (in this case, michael jackson).

So if Laika kept making losses (box office is less than double production cost + marketing), someday the copyright to their asset will be sold. And if there any long tail, who own it gets it. Hence, George Harrison(?)/Yoko Ono, if the rumor is true, was pissed off at MJ at a time. :shrug:


Yes, some films do this by design.

It’s an interesting concept… where films can make their money back.