hirty years ago this week, Pixar released its first computer-animated short film, and therewith started a new era. To honour the anniversary, we compare the success of the 17 animated feature films published by Pixar in the last three decades.
If you’ve ever seen a Pixar film, you will know the hopping desk lamp that stomps its way into the company’s logo. This little lamp was the star of Pixar’s first-ever short film, Luxo Jr, which was released on 17 August 1986.
The studio’s first feature film, Toy Story, followed in 1995. It was the world’s first feature-length computer-animated film, and also the highest grossing movie of that year, making $362m on a budget of $30m.
By way of comparison, The Lion King – which was produced by Disney, the old bull in the area of animated films, and which had been the highest grossing film of 1994 – made $968m on a budget of $45m.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the two companies might have become rivals, but that did not happen. Indeed, they were already co-operating as early as 1991; Toy Story was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. After several joint productions, Disney purchased Pixar in 2006.
Pixar has produced 17 feature films, with four more already scheduled. While budgets have increased steadily over the years, the films’ revenues have been very variable. The most successful was Toy Story 3, which earned more than $1bn – although, at a cost of $200m, it also had one of the biggest budgets of all Pixar films. Second is Finding Nemo, which earned about $900m (on a budget of $94m).
The film that may well top them all is the most recent, Finding Dory – it is already swimming along nicely, having earned $900m since its June 2016 release.