In 1937, The Walt Disney Company pushed the boundaries of animation by releasing the first full-length animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” to critical and commercial success. Since then, movies, animated and otherwise, targeted at younger audiences have become massive money-makers.
Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks are three of the biggest producers of kids’ movies in Hollywood and all have grown into colossal entities: Disney purchased Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion in a stock deal, and DreamWorks was acquired by NBCUniversal for $3.8 billion in 2016. (Here’s how every Pixar movie did at the box office.)
While kids’ movies are ostensibly only for the young, in reality many of them appeal to audiences of all ages. Some of the highest-grossing examples weave in humor that might go over the heads of younger audiences but keep grown-ups amused – and good kids’ films tell powerful stories that everyone can enjoy.
To identify the highest-grossing kids movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed both total and inflation-adjusted North American box office grosses for “kids fiction” [sic] movies from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. The site defines North America as the United States (including Puerto Rico and Guam) and Canada. Source material for each film also came from The Numbers. Top-billed actors for each film come from IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon.
While there are a few live-action movies like “Night at the Museum,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and Jim Carrey’s version of “The Grinch” on the list, the majority of these films are animated and tell fantasy tales filled with magical princesses, strange monsters, and anthropomorphic creatures. A lot of them are based on old fairy tales or classic children’s books from the likes of Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss. These films have succeeded massively at the box office and have garnered glowing reviews from critics and audiences alike. (These are the greatest animated movies of all time.)
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