Friday, August 18, 2017

Animated Films at the U.S. Box Office, 1980-2016: The Stats

Considering the stats on the action film (such films now typically six of the ten top-grossing films in a given year), I naturally found myself wondering--what about the other four? Naturally I thought of animated films--and again noticed a trend that exploded a little later. In the '80s there was not a single animated feature in the top ten of any year, apart from the partial exception of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). (Even the celebrated The Little Mermaid only made the #13 spot.) However, starting with 1991's Beauty and the Beast it became common in the '90s for there to be at least one such film in the top ten (six years had at least one, for an average of 0.8), much more standard in the 2000s (1.7 films a year, with 2008 having four such movies), and yet again in the 2010s. Every single year from 2010 on has had at least one, every year but 2011 at least two, and 2010 an amazing five of the top ten--clearly, at the expense of the action movies which had an especially poor showing that year.

In the 2010s that means that between the action movies, and the animated films, together accounting for eight to nine of the top ten movies in any given year, they pretty much have the uppermost reaches of the box office monopolized in a way that no two genres have ever had before, so far as I can tell. That one to two spots at most? One is often taken up by something similar--like a live-action version of an animated hit of yesteryear's (like 2014's Maleficent or 2015's Cinderella), leaving at most one other for any and everything else, from adult-oriented comedies (like 2012's Ted) to the occasional mainstream drama (like 2014's American Sniper).

Feel free to check my data (and my math) for yourself.

The Data Set
1980-1989: 0.
1990-1999: 8. (0.8 a year.)
1991-1: Beauty and the Beast.
1992-1: Aladdin.
1994-1: The Lion King.
1995-2: Toy Story, Pocahontas.
1998-1: A Bug's Life.
1999-2: Toy Story 2, Tarzan.
2000-2009: 17 films (1.7 a year).
2000-0
2001-2: Shrek, Monsters Inc.
2002-1: Ice Age.
2003-1: Finding Nemo.
2004-3: Shrek 2, The Incredibles, Polar Express.
2005-1: Madagascar.
2006-3: Cars, Happy Feet, Ice Age 2.
2007-1: Shrek 3.
2008-4: Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Dr. Suess' Horton Hears a Who.
2009-1: Up.
2010-2016: 19 films (2.7 a year).
2010-5: Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, Shrek 4, How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled.
2011-1: Cars 2.
2012-2: Brave, Madagascar 3.
2013-3: Frozen, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University.
2014-2: The LEGO Movie, Big Hero 6.
2015-2: Inside Out, Minions.
2016-4: Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia, Sing.

The Action Film Becomes King of the Box Office: Actual Numbers
7/5/17

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