When Pixar’s “Toy Story” first arrived in theaters, the animation studio didn’t know what to expect. To quote executive producer Steve Jobs, “If ‘Toy Story’ is a modest hit — say $75 million at the box office — we’ll both break even.” Suffice it to say, the film was far more than a “modest hit,” earning over $365 million worldwide (unadjusted for inflation), spawning three sequels, and revolutionizing an entire industry of computer animation.
The film also established Pixar as a predominant provider — perhaps the predominant provider — of family entertainment for the modern era. (For proof, look no further than this list of the best G-rated movies ever made).
Here we are 26 years and 24 feature films later, and Pixar’s standards of quality remain conspicuously high. From the vivid animation to the emotive characters to the complex themes, the majority of their output continues to excel on multiple fronts. It’s then no surprise that these films have collectively earned over $14.5 billion at the global box office — and that’s before adjustments for inflation.
Adding critical clout to the commercial success are 16 Academy Awards and a seemingly endless stream of positive reviews. (Here are the biggest box office hits since 2000).
Of course, it’s not always smooth sailing for Pixar. The studio has yielded an occasional box office disappointment or outright bomb over the years. In fact, there was a brief run from 2011 to 2015 where they churned out a number of second-rate efforts, including paltry sequels like “Cars 2” or the commercial failure “The Good Dinosaur.” The recent pandemic didn’t exactly help movies like “Onward” in terms of box office performance, either.
To identify which Pixar movies have done best (and worst) at the box office, 24/7 Tempo reviewed domestic box office and production budgets for all 24 Pixar features from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. Data was collected from March 2021 to June 2021. Dollar amounts have been adjusted for inflation. “Soul” and “Luca” were excluded as they were not released in theaters in U.S. due to the pandemic.