There’s no doubt animated films are expensive to make. But how much do they actually cost?
As technology continues to advance, so does the way animated films are produced. Budgets continue to grow and animation becomes more refined.
So for films as incredible as the ones we will see below, it is to be expected that they have such high budgets. Let's see the 5 most expensive animated movies ever made:
Brave (2012): $185 million
Pixar’s Brave took things to the next level. The world’s fifth most expensive animated movie not just looked incredible, but it delivered on every level; Princess Merida’s adventure is deep, smartly written, and puts out the message that female characters don’t need a male counterpart.
A lot of the budget was spent on rewriting Pixar’s entire animation system in order to deliver the visual goods, and we’d imagine the remaining time and budget was spent on Merida’s hair.
Cars 2 (2011): $200 million
While the original Cars was a fairly solid addition to the Pixar canon, it was no Toy Story 3 or Monsters University despite all three films matching in production budget.
Although the story of Cars 2 was wafer-thin, it’s clear that a lot of the budget went into the visual effects given that the finished product is nothing short of eye candy. For all its failings, it’s did push the envelope of what’s achievable in special effect-laden, high octane animation.
Toy Story 3 (2010): $200 million
The third and final entry in the Toy Story franchise was well worth the wait from a critical perspective, and it didn’t do too terribly at the box office either. Toy Story 3 was the first animated movie to ever make over $1 billion in revenue, though this has since been surpassed by Frozen’s $1.26 billion in takings.
Tom Hanks stated in an interview that he heard that Pixar were planning a sequel, but all other sources deny that anything is confirmed. Given how satisfying the conclusion was at the end of Toy Story 3, we hope that Hanks heard incorrectly.
Monsters University (2013): $200 million
Also a member of the $200 million club, Monsters University, the first prequel film ever made by Pixar, came a good twelve years after the original Monsters Inc.
Apparently Disney wanted to do a sequel almost immediately after the Monsters Inc. brought in the big bucks, but Pixar wanted to bide their time and an entire script got discarded during the disagreement. We’re glad things transpired as they did, however, because once the wait was over we were treated to a great story on the origins of Mike and Sully’s friendship.
Tangled (2013): $260 million
Tangled snags the top spot and is the second most expensive movie of any kind, surpassed only by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (which overtook its budget by a wide margin at $300m).
While Tangled undeniably looks like a super expensive production, it was the languished six year production period that caused the incredible costs. It was worth it in the end, however, since it over doubled its money back at the box office and scored nearly unanimously positive reviews from critics. Curiously, the name was reportedly changed to Tangled from Rapunzel due to fears that a Disney princess movie wouldn’t appeal to younger males.