(part 5 of 6) 2005 to 2015
Below is a checklist of every animated feature released theatrically in the United States, in order of release, from 2005 to 2015.
314. APPLESEED (1/14/05) Geneon. (Japan) 103 mins. (Rotoscope) D: Shinji Aramaki. From the ashes of a postapocalyptic wasteland, the city of Olympus wages war against rebels who wish to oppose their plans for mechanical clones known as Bioroids. This film follows the action from the point of view of a young girl, Deunan Knute, who’s past holds the key to resolving the current conflict. Box office gross (as of 1/23/05): $108,050.
315. POOH’S HEFFALUMP MOVIE (2/11/05) Disney. 67 mins. D: Frank Nissen. Fearful of a dreaded Heffalump, the Hundred Acre Wood crew sets forth to capture the creature — while separately, little Roo makes friends with one of them, a young one named Lumpy. Box office gross (as of 4/10/05): $18,098,433.
316. ROBOTS (3/11/05) 20th Century-Fox. 89 mins. (computer animation) D: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha. In a world populated by robots, a young inventor named Rodney Copperbottom teams up with a rag-tag group of outmoded mechanical men to take on a mega-corporation threatening their very existence. Box office gross (as of 7/28/05): $128,067,343.
317. STEAMBOY (3/18/05) Triumph Pictures. (Japan) 140 mins. D: Katsuhiro Otomo. In Victorian England, young Ray Steam is entrusted with a “steam ball”, an incredible invention at the heart of a feud between his power-mad father and eccentic reclusive grandfather. (English dub also released theatrically at 128 mins.) U.S. Box office gross (as of 4/17/05): $410,388.
318. MADAGASCAR (5/27/05) Dreamworks. (computer animation) 86 mins. D: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath. Four pampered city zoo animals are shipped back to their homeland by an animal rights organization that feels they belong in the wild. When their ship capsizes, the animals find themselves stranded in the strange jungles of Madagascar. U.S. Box office gross (as of 10/12/05): $193,187,569.
319. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (6/10/05) Disney. 119 mins. D: Hayao Miyazaki. A young girl named Sophie is transformed into an old woman by a witch with a sinister reputation. She seeks help from the mysterious Wizard Howl and joins his crew as caretaker on his inter-dimensional moving castle. U.S. Box office gross (as of 7/28/05): $4,711,096.
320. VALIANT (8/19/05) Disney. (computer animation) 76 mins. D: Gary Chapman. A pigeon named Valiant dreams of being a messenger homing pigeon for the Royal Air Force during WWII. U.S. Box office gross (as of 10/9/05): $19,229,436.
321. CORPSE BRIDE (9/23/05) Warner Bros. 78 mins. D: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson. Stop-motion puppets. A nervous young man is whisked away to the underworld and wed to a mysterious Corpse Bride, while his real bride waits bereft in the land of the living. Full on screen title is Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride U.S. Box office gross (as of 12/15/05): $53,359,111.
322. WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT (10/5/05) Dreamworks. Clay animation. 85 mins. D: Nick Park, Steve Box. With only days to go before the annual Giant Vegetable Competition, Wallace & Gromit, running a “humane” pest control business, have to deal with a home filled with captive rabbits – and a huge, mysterious “beast” that has begun attacking the town’s sacred vegetable gardens at night. Winner, Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box office gross (as of 12/31/05): $56,110.897.
323. CHICKEN LITTLE (11/4/05) Disney. (computer animation) 81 mins. D: Mark Dindal. A young chicken mistakes a falling acorn for a piece of the sky and causes a mass panic. Humiliated, he revives his reputation, becoming a little league baseball champ. When another piece of the sky lands on his head and he discovers it’s part of an alien invasion, Chicken Little knows he’s the only one who can stop an assault from outer space. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 1/19/06): $133,270,228.
324. HOODWINKED (12/16/05) The Weinstein Company. (computer animation) 80 mins D: Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech. The supposed true story of the details surrounding the fable of Red Riding Hood. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 2/20/06): $51,386,61.
NOTE #1: FOR THE RECORD: Pentamedia released GULLIVER’S TRAVEL (India, CGI, 70 mins. directed by Anita Udeep) in Los Angeles to qualify for an Academy Award.
NOTE #2: Begining in 2004, with Spookley The Square Pumpkin, Kidtoon Films (a division of SD Entertainment) began releasing direct-to-video animated features to theatres, digitally projected, in limited release weekend matinees. They usually released these films a few weeks before their video debut, taking ads in local papers. These films were never intended as theatrical releases, no 35mm film prints were struck, no trailers exist. None of these films recieved legitimate reviews in local papers or industry trade papers. Thus, I do not consider these films legitimate theatrical releases.
NOTE #3:For the record, in 2005 Kidtoon Films released CANDY LAND: THE GREAT LOLLIPOP ADVENTURE on February12th, THE GOLDEN BLAZE on April 2nd, TOM & JERRY: THE FAST AND THE FURRY on September 3rd, MY LITTLE PONY: A VERY MINTY CHRISTMAS on October 8th, SCOOBY DOO! IN WHERE’S MY MUMMY? on November 5th and NODDY SAVES CHRISTMAS on December 10th.
325. CURIOUS GEORGE (2/10/06) Universal. 86 mins. D: Matthew O’Callaghan. A bookish museum curator, on a failed jungle quest to find an African idol, instead brings home a mischievous monkey who wreaks havoc all over Manhattan. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 6/11/06): $58,360,760
326. DOOGAL (2/24/06) The Weinstein Company. (computer animation) 85 mins. D: Dave Borthwick, Jean Duval. A group of animal friends embark on a dangerous journey in an effort to imprison their oppressor, the evil wizard ZeeBadee. Based on a British TV children’s series, and originally released in England on February 11th 2005 with an all-star English voice cast (including Tom Baker, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley), under the title Sprung! The Magic Roundabout. The Weinstein Company’s U.S. version was re-dubbed in English with all-star American cast including Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Macy and Jon Stewart. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 6/11/06): $7,417,319
327. ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN (3/31/06) 20th Century-Fox. (computer animation) 90 mins. D: Carlos Saldahna. Manny the woolly mammoth, Sid the sloth and Diego the saber-toothed tiger learn that the warming climate will cause a huge glacial dam to break, threatening the entire valley. Their only chance of survival lies at the other end of the valley and thus they embark on a mission to cross the dangerous landscape and save their kind. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 7/24/06): $195,330,621
328. THE WILD (4/14/06) Disney. (computer animation) 94 mins. D: Steve Williams. An odd assortment of animals from the New York Zoo embark on a dangerous mission to rescue a friend who is mistakenly shipped to the jungle. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 7/24/06): $37,384,046
329. OVER THE HEDGE (5/19/06) Dreamworks. (computer animation) 87 mins. D: Tim Johnson. When a mischievous con-artist raccoon named R.J. and a sensitive turtle named Verne find a suburban housing development encroaching on their forest home, they form an unlikely friendship as they learn to co-exist with — and even exploit — this strange new world called suburbia. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 7/24/06): $155,019,340
330. CARS (6/9/06) Disney-Pixar. (computer animation) 116 mins. D: John Lasseter. Co-Director: Joe Ranft. On route across the country, Lightning McQueen, a hotshot rookie race car finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy Route 66 town of Radiator Springs. McQueen gets to know the town’s offbeat characters – including Sally, Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman), and Mater who help him realize that there are more important things than trophies, fame and sponsorship. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 10/01/06): $243,786,632
331. A SCANNER DARKLY (7/7/06) Warner Independent. 100 mins. D: Richard Linklater & Bob Sabiston. (Computer enhanced rotoscope) Set in a future world where America has lost the war on drugs, an undercover cop, Fred, is one of many agents hooked on the popular drug Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 10/06/06): $5,480,136
332. MONSTER HOUSE (7/21/06) Columbia. (motion capture/computer animation) 91 mins. D: Gil Kenan. Three children realize an abandoned home is really possesed by an evil spirit. They must find a way to stop the house and save the neighborhood. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 10/06/06): $72,595,621
333. THE ANT BULLY (7/28/06) Warner Bros. (computer animation) 82 mins. D: John A. Davis. A young boy, fed up with being bullied, takes out his frustration on ants in his backyard. Zoc the ant wizard uses a potion to shrink him down to ant size and the boy is sentenced to hard labor. He ultimately becomes an ant hero when he defies the local pest exterminator determined to wipe out the entire colony. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 10/06/06): $27,594,989
334. BARNYARD (8/4/06) Paramount. (computer animation) 83 mins. D: Steve Oedekerk. As soon as the Farmer hits lights out, the barn is transformed into Party Central. But it isn’t long before the farmer begins to get to the bottom of the animals’ secret… and scheming coyotes begin to think that the farm could be theirs for the taking. Domestic U.S. Box office gross (as of 10/06/06): $71,355,723
335. EVERYONE’S HERO (9/15/06) 20th Century-Fox. (computer animation) 88 mins. D: Christopher Reeve, Colin Brady, Dan St. Pierre. A young boy teams up with a girl, and some off-the-wall sidekicks, and embarks on a perilous quest to recover Babe Ruth’s stolen bat and restore his father’s good name. Originally titled Yankee Irving Box office gross (as of 10/06/06): $13,589,497
336. RENAISSANCE (9/22/06) Miramax. (Computer animation and MoCap) 105 mins. D: Christian Volckman. Live action motion capture. In the year 2054, a high-profile scientist named Ilona is kidnapped, and a policeman named Karas is assigned the task of solving the case – which leads to the investigation of the massive, mysterious the Avalon Corporation. Box office gross (as of 10/06/06): $36,801
337. CAPTAIN SABERTOOTH (9/22/06) Indican Pictures. (Norwegian) 75 mins. D: Stig Bergqvist. Tiny, the world’s youngest pirate, works in the ship’s galley but hopes impress Captain Sabertooth with his bravery. But only one thing is on the Captain’s mind – to discover the long lost treasure of Gory Gabriel, and it’s up to Tiny to prove he’s a hero. Released in Los Angeles (3 theatres) for Academy consideration. Box office gross (as of 10/06/06): $46.0541
338. OPEN SEASON (9/29/06) Columbia. (computer animation) 100 mins. D: Roger Allers, Jill Culton, Anthony Stacchi. A deer buddies up with a domesticated grizzly bear when the two animals are alone in the woods during hunting season. Meanwhile, Beth, a forest ranger who raised the bear, embarks on a desperate search to find her friend. Box office gross (as of 10/15/06): $59,154,000
339. BLOOD TEA AND RED STRING (10/4/06) Cinema Epoch. (Stop-Motion puppets) 77 mins. D: Christiane Cegavske. Surreal tale of Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak, who have fashioned a female doll for a trio haughty white mice. When the creatures begin to idolize their creation, the Mice steal it, with the creatures in hot pursuit. (New York release date)
340. HAIR HIGH (10/18/06) Plymptoons Releasing. 75 mins. D: Bill Plympton. A gothic ’50s high-school comedy about a love-triangle that goes terribly bad, as two young, murdered teens returning to their prom to get revenge. Date listed is official New York release date (film was screened at festivals throughout 2004 & 2005 – West Coast premiere 2/14/05 at San Francisco Independent Film Festival. East Coast premiere 3/5/05 at the Florida Film Festival in Maitland FL).
341. ROMEO AND JULIET: SEALED WITH A KISS (10/27/06) Indican Pictures. 77 mins. D: Phil Nibbelink. Two seals from warring families fall in love against their parents’ wishes. Box office gross (as of 12/10/06): $173,097.
342. FLUSHED AWAY (11/03/06) Dreamworks (Aardman). (computer animation) 84 mins. D: Sam Fell, Henry F Anderson, III, David Bowers. A pampered British rat accidentally gets flushed from his posh penthouse flat into the slimy London sewers. Box office gross (as of 12/12/06): $61,285,173.
343. HAPPY FEET (11/17/06) Warner Bros. (computer animation) 108 mins. D: George Miller. A penguin named Mumble needs his own special song to attract a soul mate. However, he is the worst singer in the world… but he can tap-dance something fierce! Winner, Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. Box office gross (as of 12/12/06): $139,344,614.
344. PAPRIKA (11/20/06) Sony Pictures Classics. (Japan) 91 mins. D: Satoshi Kon. A group of scientists develop a new psychiatric tool known as the DC Mini, a device which allows doctors to enter directly into their patient’s dreams, interacting with them to diagnose and treat any issues the dream may suggest. Release date listed is for Oscar qualifying Los Angeles thearical engagement (at Laemmle Grand 4 Theatre). General release date is May 25, 2007.
345. ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES (12/15/06) MGM. (computer animation) 103 mins. D: Luc Besson. A boy (Arthur) sets out to save his family by enlisting the help of a tribe of mysterious little people, so tiny they are considered invisible. Once in their magical land, Arthur must join swords with a beautiful princess and an army of defenders to help save their land from the evil wizard. NOTE: Partial live action.
NOTES: FOR THE RECORD: In 2006 Kidtoon Films has released: MY LITTLE PONY: THE PRINCESS PROMENADE (1/14/06) and PINOCCHIO 3000 (4/8/06). ARTHUR AND HIS MISSING PAL opened in July, MY LITTLE PONY: RUNAWAY RAINBOW was released August 26th and STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: THE SWEET DREAMS MOVIE played in October.
In 2006, Funimation Film teaming with Kidtoon Films released anime features, under the BIGGER FILMS banner, via digital projection, to U.S. art theatres starting with DRAGONBALL Z: FUSION REBORN on 3/16/06. This direct-to-video movie was originally released in Japan in 1995. This title was featured in ads & posters, but was paired theatrically with DRAGONBALL Z MOVIE 06: THE RETURN OF COOLER (2002). FUNIMATION also released BASILISK THE BEGINING on 4/7/06, and TRINITY BLOOD: GENESIS on 5/6/06. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST THE MOVIE: CONQUEROR OF SHAMBALLA was released to one theatre (The Bridge in Los Angeles) on August 25th.
346. HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER (1/05/07) Lions Gate Films. (computer animation) D: Paul J. Bolger. An alliance of evil-doers plot to take over Fairy Tale Land. But when Ella realizes her stepmother is out to ruin her storybook existence, she takes a dramatic turn and blossoms into the leader of the resistance effort. Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $15,849,03
347. TMNT (3/23/07) Warner Bros. (computer animation) A CG version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. D: Kevin Munroe. Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $54,132,596
348. MEET THE ROBINSONS (3/30/07) Disney. (computer animation) D: Steve Anderson. A lonely orphan travels to the future where he meets the odd Robinson family, who need his help to survive. (also released in 3-D) Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $97,821,064
349. AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE (COLON) MOVIE FILM FOR THEATERS (4/13/07) First Look Pictures. (computer animation) 86 mins. D: Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis. The origins of TV’s “Hunger Force” characters Meatwad, Frylock and Master Shake and how they tackle an immortal piece of exercise equipment threatening the balance of galactic peace. Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $5,518,918
350. SHREK THE THIRD (5/18/07) Dreamworks. (computer animation) D: Raman Hui, Chris Miller. Shrek recruits his friends Donkey and Puss in Boots to install the rebellious Artie as the new king. Princess Fiona, however, rallies a band of royal girlfriends to fend off a coup d’etat by the jilted Prince Charming. Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $321,012,359
351. SURF’S UP (6/8/07) Columbia. (computer animation) D: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck. In the style of a mockumentary, this feature reveals that surfing was actually invented by penguins! Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $58,867,694
352. RATATOUILLE (6/29/07) Pixar-Disney. (computer animation) D: Brad Bird. Remy, a food-loving young rat, arrives in Paris and makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant’s new garbage boy. Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Feature. Box office gross (as of 11/15/07): $205,978,785
353. TEKKONKINKREET (7/13/07) Sony Pictures Classics. (Japanese anime) 100 mins. D: Michael Arias. A pair of feisty young street urchins, named Black and White, attempt to protect an unnamed metropolis from a diabolical villain, whose plans to raze the urban landscape on the behalf of malevolent real-estate developers threatens to destroy the very soul of the city. Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $6,000
354. THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (7/27/07) 20th Century-Fox. D: David Silverman. After Homer accidentally pollutes the town’s water supply, Springfield is encased in a gigantic dome by the EPA and the Simpsons family are declared fugitives. Box office gross (as of 10/08/07): $183,017,628
355. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (10/19/07) Promenade Pictures. (computer animation) D: John Stronach and Bill Boyce. Moses is touched by God and told that he will lead his enslaved Chosen People to the Promised Land. With the hand of God firmly on his shoulder, and with faith as his only weapon, Moses performs miracles, casts down plagues, evades a pursuing Egyptian army and parts the Red Sea. Ben Kingsley, Elliot Gould, Christian Slater, Alfred Molina are voices. Box office gross (as of 11/19/07): $952,820.
356. BEE MOVIE (11/2/07) Dreamworks/Paramount. (computer animation) D: Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith. Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. His life is saved by a florist and, as their relationship blossoms, he discovers people actually eat honey, and subsequently decides to sue the human race. Box office gross (as of 12/20/07): $122,651,629.
357. BEOWULF (11/16/07) Paramount. (motion capture/computer animation) D: Robert Zemeckis. The mighty warrior Beowulf comes to Heorot, to battle the demon Grendel, a monstrosity who terrorizes the hall. What he does not expect is the hellish wrath of the beast’s ruthlessly seductive mother. (initial release in both 3-D and flat) Box office gross (as of 12/20/07): $80,046,402.
358. PERSEPOLIS (12/25/07) Sony Pictures Classics. D: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi. Poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution. 2-D in black & white. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Box office gross (as of 03/23/08): $4,096,000.
NOTES: Though a significant box office hit, I do not consider ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS a purely animated film (it’s 50% live action). It’s a hybrid, following in the footsteps of the SCOOBY DOO, CASPER and GARFIELD live action movies.
In 2007, Funimation Films (teamed with Kidtoon Films) released the anime feature Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles on January 5th in Portland OR, Indianapolis IN, and February 3rd in LA.
KidToon Films also released Little Robots in The Big Show on Feb. 3rd, and Strawberry Shortcake Berry Blossom Festival on March 3rd. For a complete list of KidToon releases go here.
Viz Media (through NCM Fathom) released Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow on June 6th as a one night only event.
359. THE PIRATES THAT DON’T DO ANYTHING (01/11/08) Universal. (computer animation) D: Mike Nawrocki. A VeggieTales Movie. Elliot (Larry the Cucumber), Sedgewick (Mr. Lunt) and George (Pa Grape) dream of the day of putting on a show about pirates. They soon find themselves traveling back in time into the 17th century and learn about being pirates first hand, beginning a quest to rescue a royal family from an evil tyrant. Box office gross (as of 03/06/08): $12,727,025.
360. HORTON HEARS A WHO (03/14/08) 20th Century-Fox. (computer animation) D: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino. Based on the Dr. Seuss story, Horton the Elephant struggles to protect a microscopic community from his neighbors who refuse to believe it exists. Box office gross (as of 08/05/08): $154,444,322.
361. KUNG FU PANDA (05/23/08) Dreamworks/Paramount. (computer animation) D: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson. A lazy, irreverent slacker panda, Po, must somehow become a Kung Fu Master in order to save the Valley of Peace from a villainous snow leopard, Tai Lung. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. Box office gross (as of 10/10/08): $215,422,559.
362. WALL-E (06/27/08) Pixar/Disney. (computer animation) D: Andrew Stanton. In the year 2700, WALL-E, a waste disposal robot, spends every day doing what he was made for. But one day he meets a new robot and falls in love. Winner of Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. Box office gross (as of 10/10/08): $221,127,808.
363. SPACE CHIMPS (07/18/08) 20th Century-Fox. (computer animation) D: Kirk De Micco. Ham III, the grandson of the first chimp astronaut, is blasted off into space with the mission to rid a far-away planet of their nefarious leader. Box office gross (as of 10/10/08): $29,961,096.
364. SWORD OF THE STRANGER (7/18/08) Bandai. (Japanese anime) 102 mins. D: Masahiro Ando. A young boy and his dog meet a nameless samurai who is constantly being haunted by dreams of the past which lead him to seal his sword. (L.A. release date)
365. FLY ME TO THE MOON (8/15/08) Summit. (computer animation) 85 mins. D: Ben Stassen. Three young houseflies stow away aboard the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Box office gross (as of 10/10/08): $12,423,424
366. STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (08/15/08) Warner Bros. (computer animation) 100 mins. D: Dave Filoni. Anakin and Obi Wan fight to rescue Jabba The Hut’s infant son from a kidnapping plot. Box office gross (as of 10/10/08): $35,161,554
367. IGOR (09/19/08) MGM (computer animation) D: Anthony Leondis. An evil scientist’s hunch-backed lab assistant has big dreams of becoming a Mad Scientist himself and winning the annual Evil Science Fair. Box office gross (as of 10/10/08): $19,444,296
368. AZUR AND AZMAR (10/17/08) The Weinstein Company. 99 mins. D: Michel Ocelot. Blonde, blue-eyed, white skinned Azur and black-haired, brown-eyed, dark-skinned Asmar are raised together. Years later as young adults Azur sets sail across the high seas to find the country of his dreams. Asmar has grown into a dashing horseman. They reunite and set off on a dangerous quest to find and free the Fairy of the Djinns. (N.Y. release date)
369. ROADSIDE ROMEO (10/24/08) Walt Disney Pictures/Yash Raj Films. 93 mins. D: Jugal Hansraj. Romeo is a dog who once lived a life of luxury. When his owners decide to move to London and he is left at the mercy of the streets where he soon finds new friends, new enemies and a new love. (L.A. release date)
370. FEAR(S) OF THE DARK (10/31/08) IFC Films. 86 mins. D: Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire. Several scary black-and-white animated segments in different styles appeal to our fear of the dark. (L.A. release date) Box office gross (as of 01/01/09): $77,876
371. MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA (11/7/08) Dreamworks/Paramount. (computer animation) D: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath. After being stranded on Madagascar, the New York Zoo Animals land in the wilderness of Africa. There, Alex soon meet the rest of his family and has trouble communicating with them after much of his time at the Central Park Zoo. Box office gross (as of 03/01/09): $180,010,950
372. BOLT (11/21/08) Walt Disney. (computer animation) D: Chris Williams. Bolt, a German Shepherd, has lived his whole life on the set of his action TV show, where he believes he has superpowers. When separated from the studio by accident, he learns that dealing with the real world is not quite as simple as he thought. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. Box office gross (as of 03/01/09): $114,053,579
373. DELGO (12/12/08) Freestyle Releasing. (computer animation) 90 mins. D: Marc F. Adler, Jason Maurer. Delgo, an alien teenager, must rally his group of friends to protect their world from conflict between the Lockni and Nohrin people. Box office gross (as of 01/01/09): $694,782
374. DRAGON HUNTERS (12/12/08) Futurikon. (French, computer animation) 82 mins. D: Guillaume Ivernel, Arthur Qwak. Two hunters-for-hire travel through a futuristic, medieval world that is terrorized by a wide variety of monsters — known collectively as “dragons”. (Oscar qualifying L.A. release date)
375. $9.99 (12/12/08) Regent Releasing. (clay animation) 78 mins. D: Tatia Rosenthal. A stop-motion animated story about people living in a Syndey apartment complex looking for meaning in their lives. (Oscar qualifying L.A. release date)
376. THE SKY CRAWLERS (12/12/08) Sony. (Japanese anime) 121 mins. D: Mamoru Oshii. A fighter pilot searches through his mysterious past. When he meets the beautiful girl in command at the base, a disturbing awareness of how meaningless his life has been starts creeping into his soul. (New York release date)
377. THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX (12/19/08) Universal. (computer animation) D: Sam Fell, Gary Ross and Robert Stevenhagen. The tale of three unlikely heroes – a misfit mouse, an unhappy rat, and a bumbling servant girl with cauliflower ears – whose fates are intertwined with that of the castle’s princess. Box office gross (as of 03/01/09): $50,809,000
378. WALTZ WITH BASHIR (12/26/08) Sony Pictures Classics. (flash animation) 87 mins. D: Ari Folman. A former soldier in the Israeli Army has a hard time remembering his experiences and reunites with his former troops to recall his role in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Box office gross (as of 03/01/09): $1,829,000
NOTES: Nina Paley self distributed SITA SINGS THE BLUES to film festivals around the world – its first US screening was at the Tribeca Festival in New York on 4/25/08. Disney released TINKER BELL, a made-for-video movie, on September 19th at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, as a two week promotion for the film’s DVD release. NCM FATHOM, the entertainment division of National CineMedia, released the Japanese anime film BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY in more than 300 theatres across the country on June 11th and 12th.
2009 – (Note: all films from here on are CGI unless otherwise noted.)
379. CORALINE (2/6/09) Focus Features. (stop-motion puppets) D: Henry Selick. A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. Box office gross (as of 07/05/09): $75,286,229. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature.
380. MONSTERS VS. ALIENS (3/27/09) Dreamworks (Paramount). D: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon. When a meteorite from outer space hits a young girl and turns her into a giant monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years. U.S. Box Office Gross as of September 24th: $198,351,526
381. BATTLE FOR TERRA (5/1/09) Lionsgate. D: Aristomenis Tsirbas. A peaceful alien planet faces annihilation, as the homeless remainder of the human race sets its eyes on Terra. Mala, a rebellious Terrian teenager, will do everything she can to stop it. U.S. Box Office Gross as of July 5th: $1,620,444
382. UP (5/29/09) Disney/Pixar. D: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson. By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. He soon learns he isn’t alone on his journey. U.S. Box Office Gross as of September 24th: $291,899,682. Nominated for several Academy Awards – including Best Picture and Best Animated Feature.
383. ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (7/1/09) 20th Century Fox. D: Carlos Saldanha, Mike Thurmeier. When Sid’s attempt to adopt three dinosaur eggs gets him abducted, by their real mother to an underground lost world, his friends attempt to rescue him. U.S. Box Office Gross as of September 24th: $195,105,433
384. PONYO (8/14/09) Walt Disney Pictures. D: Hayao Miyazaki. (hand drawn animation) A goldfish runs away from her home in the sea and befriends a five year old boy who lives on a cliff. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $15,090,399
385. 9 (9/9/09) Focus Features. D: Shane Acker. A post-apocalyptic nightmare in which all of humanity is threatened. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $31,749,894
386. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (9/18/09) Columbia. D: Phil Lord, Chris Miller. A scientist trying to solve world hunger encounters a problem of global proportions, as food begins to fall from the sky. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $124,185,372
387. EVANGELION: 1.0 – YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE (9/25/09) Funamation. (Japanese anime) D: Hideaki Anno. Fourteen year old Shinji Ikari is called to Tokyo-3 to reunite with his father, and to take command of gigantic humanoid weapons to repel an invasion by creatures known as “Angels”. (Los Angeles Oscar qualifying one week run)
388. MARY AND MAX (9/25/09) Sundance Selects/IFC. (Clay animated stop motion) D: Adam Elliot. A pen-friendship between two very different people; Mary, a chubby lonely eight year old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a 44 year old, severely obese, Jewish man with Aspergers Syndrome living in New York. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run)
389. TINKER BELL AND THE LOST TREASURE (10/16/09) Disney. D: Klay Hall. Tinker Bell travels far North of Never Land to patch things up with her friend Terence and restore a Pixie Dust Tree. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run)
390. ASTRO BOY (10/23/09) Summit Entertainment. D: David Bowers. Based on Osamu Tezuka’s famous character about a super-powered robot created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he has lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving man’s expectations, Astro Boy embarks on a journey in search of acceptance. U.S. Box Office Gross: $19,452,359
391. THE MISSING LYNX (10/30/09) Aurum Productions. D: Raul Garcia, Manuel Sicilia. Felix, a clumsy and unlucky Iberian lynx, is hunted by Newmann, the self-titled “greatest hunter in the world”, hired by an eccentric millionaire, Noah, who intends to create a sort of Noah’s Ark for threatened species. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run)
392. DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL (11/6/09) Disney. (Motion Capture) D: Robert Zemeckis. Jim Carrey stars in this motion capture retelling of the Dickens classic. U.S. Box Office Gross: $137,443,917
393. FANTASTIC MR. FOX (11/13/09) 20th Century Fox. D: Wes Anderson. (stop motion puppets) Angry farmers, tired of sharing their chickens with a sly fox, look to get rid of their opponent and his family. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross (as of January 11, 2010): $19,123,189
394. PLANET 51 (11/20/09) Tri-Star. D: Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad. The inhabitants of Planet 51 live in fear of alien invasion. Their paranoia is realized when an astronaut arrives from Earth. Befriended by a young resident, he has to avoid capture in order to recover his spaceship and try to return home. U.S. Box Office Gross (as of January 11, 2010): $39,570,569
395. THE DOLPHIN: STORY OF A DREAMER (12/11/09) 20th Century Fox. D: Eduardo Schuldt. The story of Daniel, a dolphin who abandons the safety of his pod to explore the ocean and discover the true purpose of his life. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run)
396. THE SECRET OF KELLS (12/04/09) GKids Films. (Ireland) D: Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey. (hand drawn) The animated story of the boy behind the famed Book of Kells. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run) Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Total as of May. 23, 2010: $496,712
397. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (12/11/09) Disney. (hand drawn animation) D: Ron Clements, John Musker. A fairy tale centered on a young girl named Princess Tiana who lives in New Orleans’ French Quarter during the Jazz Age. (national release date listed – film opened Nov. 25th in special exclusive engagements in NYC and Los Angeles) Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. Domestic Total Gross: $104,400,899
398. A TOWN CALLED PANIC (12/11/09) Zeitgeist Films. D: Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar. (stop motion puppets) Cowboy and Indian’s plan to surprise Horse with a homemade birthday gift backfires when they destroy his house instead. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run)
399. SITA SINGS THE BLUES (12/25/09) GKids Films. (hand drawn flash animation) D: Nina Paley. The story of a broken relationship mixes the Indian legend of Ramayana with the music of Annette Hanshaw. (New York theatrical release date)
NOTES: SITA SINGS THE BLUES played Ebertfest in Chicago (4/09) and Nina Paley self-released the film on DVD on July 28th. SITA SINGS THE BLUES was officially released theatrically in New York on December 25th. Family 1 Films released THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, a live action/2D animation combination movie, on February 20th in selected cities, as a two week promotion for the film’s DVD release. Hybrid films (live action/CGI) released this year include G-FORCE (7/24 from Disney), ALIENS IN THE ATTIC (7/31 from Fox) and ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKUEL (12/25 from Fox). Film Roman/Starz Media’s direct-to-video Rob Zombie cartoon feature, THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO, played theatrical midnight shows around the country on September 12th. Disney theatrically re-released TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2 in 3D on October 2nd. To qualify for an Oscar, Disney played the direct-to-video feature TINKER BELL AND THE LOST TREASURE for one week at El Capitan in Hollywood, CA, October 16-22.
400. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (3/26/10) Dreamworks. D: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. An awkward young boy, raised in a Viking village where slaying Dragons is a daily task, secretly befriends a winged serpent — and becomes a hero. U.S. Box Office Total as of May. 23, 2010: $210,990,918
401. SHREK FOREVER AFTER (5/31/10) Dreamworks. D: Mike Mitchell. Frustrated with the daily routine of family life, Shrek makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin transporting him to a world where the events of the first three films never happened – and where he was never born. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $238,736,787
402. TOY STORY 3 (6/18/10) Pixar. D: Lee Unkrich. Woody, Buzz, and the rest of their toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, departs for college. Total Box Office Gross: $415,004,880
403. METROPIA (6/25/10) Tribeca Film. 81 mins. D: Tarik Saleh. Sci-fi animated thriller set in a not-so-distant future. Whenever Roger from Stockholm enters the subway system he hears a stranger’s voice in his head. He looks to the mysterious Nina to help him escape the disturbing web of the Metro, but the further they travel, the deeper he’s involved in a dark conspiracy. (L.A. release date)
404. DESPICABLE ME (7/09/10) Universal. D: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. A trio of orphan girls cause the normally deplorable Gru to rethink his plan to steal the moon. Total Box Office Gross: $251,513,985
405. TALES FROM EARTHSEA (8/13/10) Touchstone. D: Goro Miyazaki. (Hand drawn – anime) A prince sets out on a magical journey and discovers wizards, witches, dragons and self-knowledge. Total Box Office Gross: $48,461
406. MY DOG TULIP (9/10/10) New Yorker Films. D: Paul Fierlinger. (Hand drawn animation) The story of a man’s relationship with his German shepherd. Total Box Office Gross: $246,574
407. ALPHA AND OMEGA (9/17/10) Lionsgate. D: Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck. Two mismatched wolves who must band together if they want to survive. Total Box Office Gross: $25,107,267
408. LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS (9/24/10) Warner Bros. D: Zack Snyder. Soren, a young barn owl, is kidnapped by owls of St. Aggie’s, ostensibly an orphanage, where owlets are brainwashed into becoming soldiers. Total Box Office Gross: $55,675,313
409. IDIOTS AND ANGELS (8/06/10) Plymptoons. D: Bill Plympton. Angel, a selfish and morally bankrupt man, wakes up one morning with wings on his back.
410. MEGAMIND (11/05/10) Dreamworks. D: Tom McGrath. A satirical take on superhero movies, in which a notorious villain loses his oomph after he accidentally kills his nemesis. Total Box Office Gross: $148,415,853
411. THE DREAMS OF JINSHA (12/03/10) Abramarama. 85 mins. (Hand drawn – Chinese) D: Chen Deming. One mysterious night, a secondary-school student Xiao Long is taken through a time warp to the Kingdom of Jinsha, where a powerful evil force intends to put under everyone under its spell. Xiao Long meets Princess Hua’er and Elephant the Forest God and, along with the people of Jinsha, fight side-by-side to try and save their civilization. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run)
412. TANGLED (12/10/10) Walt Disney Pictures. D: Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Princess Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but when she falls in love with a bandit she must venture into the outside world for the first time to find him. Total Box Office Gross: $200,821,936
413. THE ILLUSIONIST (12/24/10) Sony Pictures Classics. (hand drawn) D: Sylvain Chomet. A stage entertainer, forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties and bars, meets a young fan who changes his life forever.Total Box Office Gross: $2,231,474
414. SUMMER WARS (12/30/10) GKids/FUNimation. (Hand drawn – anime) D: Mamoru Hosoda. Kenji, a timid eleventh-grade math genius, has been falsely implicated in the hacking of a virtual world and, with the aid of an upper-classman’s extensive family, must prevent the real and computer-simulated worlds from colliding. (Los Angeles release date – Oscar qualifying one week run)
NOTES: To qualify for an Oscar, Disney played the direct-to-video feature TINKER BELL AND THE GREAT FAIRY RESCUE for ten days at El Capitan in Hollywood, CA, September 3rd thru September 19th. The Weinsten Company did not release HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL in 2010, despite Kiddie Meal toys offered at Burger King. The fate of this film is still being decided. The Academy qualified “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” as an animated feature. It was a hybrid production of live action and CG animation and is not listed here. YOGI BEAR – a hybrid of CG and live action, was released 12/17. Significant cartoon-hybrid films released each year will be listed along with pure animated films from this point on.
415. EVANGELION 2.0: YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE (1/21/11) 108 mins. Eleven Arts (hand drawn – anime) D: Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno. The second installment in a film series known as the Rebuild of Evangelion that reinterprets the story first told in the critically acclaimed anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $133,640
416. GNOMEO AND JULIET (2/11/11) Touchstone (Disney) – Starz Animation. D: Kelly Asbury. Shakespeare’s classic as told by garden gnomes. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $99,821,687
417. RANGO (3/4/11) Paramount. D: Gore Verbinski. ILM – Nickelodeon Movies. A chameleon that aspires to be a swashbuckling hero finds himself in a Western town plagued by bandits and is forced to literally play the role in order to protect it. Winner, Academy Award – Best Animated Feature.U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $123,257,581
418. MARS NEEDS MOMS (3/11/11) Disney. (Motion Capture) D: Simon Wells. Image Movers Digital. A young boy named Milo gains a deeper appreciation for his mom after Martians come to Earth to take her away. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $21,392,758
419. HOP (4/1/11) Universal. D: Tim Hill. The Easter Bunny is accidentally hit by a car, and it’s up to the offending driver to save Easter. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $108,085,305
420. RIO (4/08/11) 20th Century-Fox. D:Carlos Saldanha. When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams. U.S. Box Office Gross: $143,619,809
421. HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL (04/29/11) The Weinstein Company. D: Mike Disa. Red Riding Hood is training in the group of Sister Hoods, when she and the Wolf are called to examine the sudden mysterious disappearance of Hansel and Gretel. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $10,143,779
422. MIA AND THE MIGOO (05/06/11) GKids. D: Jacques-Remy Girerd. (French – Hand Drawn Animation) On her quest to find her father, Mia befriends the mysterious Migoo and together they save planet earth from ecological disaster.
423. KUNG FU PANDA 2: THE KABOOM OF DOOM (5/27/11) Dreamworks-Paramount. D: Jennifer Yuh. Po joins forces with a group of new kung-fu masters to take on an old enemy with a deadly new weapon. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $165,249,063
424. THE LION OF JUDAH (6/3/11) 87 mins. Rocky Mountain Pictures. D: Deryck Broom. A spunky lamb, who thinks himself a lion, is destined for slaughter during Passover services in Jerusalem. When he’s shipped off to the city, his barnyard friends set off to rescue him.
425. CARS 2 (6/24/11) Disney. D: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis. Racing star Lightning McQueen teams up with his best friend Mater for an international adventure as they go up against the world’s fastest cars. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $191,452,396
426. WINNIE THE POOH (7/15/11) Disney. (Hand drawn animation) D: Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall. Eyeore has lost his tail, and Winnie the Pooh and his friends hold a contest to get him a new one. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $26,692,846
427. THE SMURFS (8/5/11) Columbia. D: Raja Gosnell. (Hybrid live action/animation) When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours. U.S. Box Office Gross as of December 31st: $142,614,355
428. A CAT IN PARIS (9/16/11) GKids. D: Jean-Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol. (France – Hand Drawn animation) Dino is a pet cat that leads a double life. By day he lives with Zoe, a little mute girl whose mother, Jeanne, is a detective in the Parisian police force. But at night he sneaks out the window to work with Nico – a slinky cat burglar. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $288,505
429. PUSS IN BOOTS (10/28/11) Dreamworks-Paramount. D: Chris Miller. A story about the events leading up to the sword fighting cat’s meeting with Shrek and his friends. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $149,260,504
430. HAPPY FEET 2 (11/18/11) Warner Bros. D: George Miller. Mumble’s son, Erik, is struggling to realize his talents in the Emperor Penguin world. Meanwhile, Mumble and his family and friends discover a new threat their home — one that will take everyone working together to save them. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $64,006,466
431. ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (11/23/11) Columbia. D: Sarah Smith, Barry Cook. Aardman-Sony. On Christmas night at the North Pole, Santa’s youngest son looks to use his father’s high-tech operation for an urgent mission. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $46,462,469
432. REDLINE (12/2/11) Manga. D: Takeshi Koike. (hand drawn anime). An action drama centered on a deadly racing tournament held every five years and the reckless dare-devil driver who wants to win it.
433. WRINKLES (12/9/11) Perro Verde Films. D: Ignacio Ferreras. (hand drawn). Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimer, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor of the care home, also known as the lost causes or “assisted” floor.
434. ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED (12/16/11) 20th Century Fox. D: Mike Mitchell. (Hybrid live action-animation) Playing around while aboard a cruise ship, the Chipmunks and Chipettes accidentally go overboard and end up marooned in a tropical paradise. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $133,110.742
435. CHICO AND RITA (12/16/11) GKids. D: Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba. (Rotoscoped) Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey brings heartache and torment. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $350,524
436. THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (12/23/11) Paramount. D: Steven Spielberg. (Motion Capture) Tintin and his friends discover directions to a sunken ship commanded by Capt. Haddock’s ancestor and go off on a treasure hunt. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $77,591,8312012
437. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: THE SACRED STAR OF MILOS (1/20/12) Aniplex – Funimation. (Japanese anime) 110 mins. D: Kazuya Murata. A fugitive alchemist with mysterious abilities leads the Elric brothers to a distant valley of slums inhabited by the Milos, a proud people struggling against bureaucratic exploitation. (L.A. release date – played Downtown Independent) U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $177,802
438. THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETY (2/17/12) Disney. D: Hiromasa Yonebayashi. (Japanese anime) The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $19,202,743
439. DR. SUESS’ THE LORAX (3/2/12) Universal. D: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda. A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $214,030,500
440. THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS (4/27/12) Columbia. (stop-mo clay animation) D: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt. Pirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $31,051,126
441. ARJUN: THE WARRIOR PRINCE (5/25/12) Disney-UTV. (hand drawn animation) D: Arnab Chaudhuri. Based on a story from the Mahabharata epic, Indian prince Arjun grows into the warrior that the world knows him as. It explores his life with his brothers in Hastinapur, his training and education and his ultimate discovery of the warrior within himself. (Limited Release) U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $10,017
442. MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED (6/8/12) Dreamworks-Paramount. D: Eric Darnell. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo join a traveling circus in an effort to get back home to New York. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $213,689,062
443. BRAVE (6/22/12) Disney-Pixar. D: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman. Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse. Winner, Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $230, 089,038
444. ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT (7/13/12) 20th Century Fox. D: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier. Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world. U.S. Box Office Gross as of August 26th 2012: $153,500,076
445. PARANORMAN (8/17/12) Focus Features. (Stop-Motion) D: Chris Butler, Sam Fell. A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross: $56,003,051
446. SECRET OF THE WINGS (8/31/12) Disney. D: Peggy Holmes, Bobs Gannaway. Tinkerbell meets Periwinkle when she ventures into the winter woods to find the secret of fairy wings. Los Angeles release date – exclusive El Capitan Theatre engagement
447. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (9/21/12) Columbia. D: Genndy Tartakovsky. Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter. U.S. Box Office Gross: $148,313,048
448. FRANKENWEENIE (10/5/12) Disney. (Stop-Motion) D: Tim Burton. Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross: $35,291,068
449. WRECK-IT RALPH! (11/2/12) Disney. D: Rich Moore. The bad-guy character in a classic game who longs to be a hero brings trouble to his entire arcade after sneaking into a new first-person shooter game and unleashing a deadly enemy. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. U.S. Box Office Gross: $189,422,889
450. RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (11/21/12) Dreamworks-Paramount. D: Peter Ramsey. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Sandman band together to form a united front against the Bogeyman. U.S. Box Office Gross: $103,412,758
451. CONSUMING SPIRITS (12/11/12) (hand-drawn and stop-mo cut-outs and miniatures) Self-Distributed. D: Chris Sullivan. The lives of three characters intertwine in a rustbelt town called Maggguson. (New York release date)
NOTES: FOR THE RECORD: In 2012 GKids Films released: ZARAFA, A LETTER TO MOMO, THE RABBI’S CAT and THE PAINTING. Other foreign releases opening in LA to qualify for Oscar consideration include ADVENTURES IN ZAMBEZIA, THE MYSTICAL LAWS, A LAIR’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, HEY KRISHNA, DEHLI SAFARI and WALTER AND TANDOORI’S CHRISTMAS.
452. ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (2/14/13) The Weinstein Company. D: Cal Brunker. An astronaut finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet. U.S. Box Office Gross: $57,012,977
453. THE CROODS (3/22/13) Dreamworks. D: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders. The world’s very first prehistoric family goes on a road trip to an uncharted and fantastical world. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $187,168,425
454. SILVER CIRCLE (4/5/13) Lineplot Productions. (CGI/Mo-Cap) D: Pasha Roberts. A group of underground rebels, led by the charismatic Zoe, outmaneuver the oppressive Federal Reserve while creating a guerilla currency based on silver. (L.A. release date)
455. EPIC (5/24/13) 20th Century Fox (Blue Sky). D: Chris Wedge. A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $107,518,682
456. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (6/21/13) Disney-Pixar. D: Dan Scanlon. A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at the University of Fear — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $268,492,764
457. DESPICABLE ME 2 (7/3/13) Universal. D: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud. Gru, the girls, the unpredictably hilarious minions and a host of new characters return. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $368,061,265
458. TURBO (7/19/13) Dreamworks. D: David Soren. A garden snail with dreams of becoming the fastest snail in the world experiences a freak accident that might just allow him to realize his goal. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $83,028,128
459. SMURFS 2 (7/31/13) Sony. (combination live action/animation) D: Raja Gosnell. The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer’s newest creation – creatures called the Naughties – into real Smurfs. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $71,017,784
460. PLANES (8/9/13) Disney. D: Klay Hall. Dusty is a cropdusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $90,288,712
461. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (9/27/13) Sony Animation. D: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn. Flint Lockwood is forced to leave his post at The Live Corp Company when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $119,793,567
462. WOLF CHILDREN (9/27/13) GKids. (anime) D: Mamouru Hosada. Hana falls in love with a Wolf Man. After the Wolf Man’s death, Hana decides to move to a rural town to continue raising her two wolf children, Ame and Yuki. (L.A. release date)
463. THE LEGEND OF SARLIA (11/1/13) 82 mins. Phase 4 Films. D: Nancy Florence Savard. Three of an Inuit clan’s young people agree to go in search of the legendary hidden land of Sarila in order to save their tribe. (L.A. release date)
464. FREE BIRDS (11/1/13) Relativity. D: Jimmy Hayward. Two turkeys discover a time machine in a secret government lab and decide to go back to the first Thanksgiving in order to get turkeys off the menu. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $55,750,480
465. THE WIND RISES (11/8/13) Touchstone Pictures. (anime) D: Hayao Miyazaki. The story of Jiro Horikoshi – inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni – dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. (Oscar qualifying NY and LA release date; full US national release in February 2014) Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $5,209,580
466. FROZEN (11/22/13) Disney. D: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee. A mountain climber and a young girl named Anna journey through snowy peaks and dangerous cliffs to find the legendary Snow Queen and end the perpetual winter prophecy that has fallen over their kingdom. Winner, Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. (LA release date; US national release date is November 27th, 2013) Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $400,664,674
467. RIO 2096: A STORY OF LOVE AND FURY (12/22/13) Europa Filmes. (Brazil; hand-drawn) D: Luiz Bolognesi. The sci-fi love story between an immortal hero and Janaína, a woman he has been in love with for 600 years.(L.A. Release date for Academy consideration)
468. ERNEST AND CELESTINE (11/15/13) Gkids. (hand-drawn) D: Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner. The story of an unlikely friendship between a bear, Ernest, and a young mouse named Celestine. Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Animated Feature. (LA release date of sub-titled version for Academy qualification; English-dubbed US release commenced on March 14th 2014)
469. A LETTER TO MOMO (11/15/13) Gkids. (anime) D: Hiroyuki Okiura. Clinging to an unfinished letter written by her recently deceased father, young Momo moves with her mother from bustling Tokyo to the remote Japanese island of Shio. (L.A. Release Date for Oscar consideration; Official U.S. Release date 7/23/14, standard L.A. engagement 8/29/14)
470. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS 3D (12/20/13) 20th Century-Fox. D: Barry Cook, Neil Nightengale. What it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $36,076,121
471. THE CONGRESS (12/27/13) Drafthouse Films. (combination live action/animation) D: Ari Folman. An aging, out-of-work actress accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn’t consider. (THE CONGRESS opened theatrically in Los Angeles on August 29th 2014)
NOTES: IS THE MAN WHO IS TALL HAPPY? (Sundance Selects) an animated documentary about Noam Chomsky, directed by Michel Gondry and APPROVED FOR ADOPTION (GKids) an animated documentary about a Korean orphan, directed by Laurent Boileau opened in Los Angeles on November 22nd. PULLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA THE MOVIE: REBELLION opened in LA on December 6th for a one-week Oscar qualifying engagement.
472. EVANGELION 3.0 YOU CAN (NOT) REDO (1/10/14) Funimation. D: Hideaki Anno. Shinji Ikari awakens after 14 years in suspended animation in deep space and becomes a pawn in the conflict between two factions in the anti-alien defense forces. (Los Angeles release date)
473. THE NUT JOB (1/17/14) Open Road. D: Peter Lepeniotis. A curmudgeonly squirrel is banished from his park and forced to survive in the city. Lucky for him, he stumbles on the one thing that may be able to save his life, and the rest of park community, as they gear up for winter – Maury’s Nut Store. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $64,251,541
474. THE LEGO MOVIE (2/7/14) Warner Bros. D: Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Chris McCay. An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $257,740,531
475. MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN (3/7/14) 20th Century Fox (Dreamworks). D: Rob Minkoff. When Sherman mis-uses the WABAC machine to impress his classmate Penny, his adopted father Mr. Peabody (a genius talking dog) comes to their rescue. However, their route home unexpectedly causes a rip in the space-time continuum, threatening to destroy contemporary New York. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $111,453,785
476. RIO 2 (4/11/14) 20th Century Fox (Blue Sky). D: Carlos Saldanha. Blu, Jewel and their three kids are hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon, where Blu tries to fit in, going beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and his most fearsome adversary: his new father-in-law. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $126,251,042
477. SHORT PEACE (4/18/14) Eleven Arts. D: Katsuhiro Otomo, Shuhei Morita, Hiroaki Ando, Hajime Katoki. An anime anthology of four films including the Oscar nominated Possessions and Otomo’s Combustible.
478. LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN (5/9/14) Clarius Entertainment (Prana Studios/Summertime Entertainment). D: Will Finn, Dan St. Pierre. Dorothy is whisked back to Oz to try to save her old friends the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Glinda from a devious new villain, the Jester. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $8,462,027
479. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (6/13/14) 20th Century Fox (Dreamworks). D: Dean DeBlois. When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $170,662,593
480. POSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE (6/27/14) Timeless Films (Classic Media/Shout Factory). D: Mike Disa. In this film, based on a popular pre-school TV character, a veteran postman finds his beliefs challenged after he enters a TV talent show competition.
481. PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE (7/18/14) Disney. D: Roberts Gannaway. When Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he joins forces with fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his team, The Smokejumpers, to battle a massive wildfire. Total U.S. Box Office Gross: $54,695,759
482. CHEATIN’ (8/15/14) Plymptoons. (hand drawn animation) D: Bill Plympton. In a fateful bumper-car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of romance. But when a scheming “other” woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity and hatred spell out an untimely fate. (L.A. Release date for Oscar consideration – opened in New York April 3rd 2015)
483. ROCKS IN MY POCKETS (9/12/14) Zeitgeist. (hand drawn animation) D: Signe Baumane. A tale based on true events, about five women of Signe Baumane’s family, including herself, and their battles with depression and madness. (L.A. Release for Oscar consideration)
484. THE BOXTROLLS (9/26/14) Focus Features (Laika). D: Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi. A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow. (stop-motion animation)
485. THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA (10/17/14) GKids (Studio Ghibli). D: Isao Takahata. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl grows into an exquisite young lady, raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. Ultimately she must face her secret fate.
486. BOOK OF LIFE (10/17/14) 20th Century Fox. D: Jorge R. Gutierrez. Manolo is a young man torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears.
487. BIG HERO 6 (11/7/14) Disney (Marvel). D: Don Hall and Chris Williams. With the help of enhanced outfits, a teenage robotics expert named Hiro, along with a healthcare robot (Beymax) and four scientific geniuses become super heroes and go after a mysterious villain who may have killed his brother.
488. GIOVANNI’S ISLAND (11/7/14) Production I.G. D: Mizuho Nishikubo. (anime) Two children from opposite sides of the border develop a friendship in the aftermath of a devastating conflict.
489. THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR (11/26/14) 20th Century Fox (Dreamworks). D: Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith. Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private join forces with undercover organization The North Wind to stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine from destroying the world as we know it.
490. SONG OF THE SEA (12/16/14) GKids. D: Tomm Moore. An Irish youth discovers that his mute sister is a selkie who must find her voice and free supernatural creatures from the spell of a Celtic goddess.
NOTES: This year there was an explosion of limited release animated features – billboarding their DVD, VOD or Digital release. THE PIRATE FAIRY, a “Tinkerbell” direct-to-video feature directed by Peggy Holmes, was theatrically released by Disney on February 28th. It played the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood California for a three-week engagement. WAR OF THE WORLDS: GOLIATH (Anderson Digital), directed by Joe Pearson, opened March 7th in New York and Los Angeles, day and date with VOD and iTunes. Anime feature TIGER AND BUNNY THE MOVIE: THE RISING (Eleven Arts/Viz) opened theatrically in 21 cities on March 14th. Eleven Arts opened the anime feature K MISSING KINGS in 52 theaters on July 18th. Shout! Factory and Screenvision released SLUGTERRA: RERTURN OF THE ELEMENTALS across the U.S beginning August 2nd. Funimation released DRAGON BALL Z: BATTLE OF THE GODS to theaters for four days (August 5, 6, 7 and 9). Paramount released the hybrid live action/animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES on August 8th. Reveal 42 Animation Studios released the 67-minute hand-drawn baseball-themed animated feature HENRY AND ME, directed by Barrett Esposito, to theaters in New York City on August 18th and in L.A. on September 5th (preceding its September 9th DVD release date). Eleven Arts put ROAD TO NINJA – NARUTO THE MOVIE in theaters on August 29th. Shout! Factory theatrically released French-made THUNDER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC, directed by Ben Stassen and Jeremie Degruson, on September 5th, 2014. French CG animated feature JACK AND THE CUCKOO-CLOCK HEART, directed by Mathias Malzieu and Stéphane Berla, was released theatrically by Shout Factory on September 24th. Shout! Factory and Screenvision also released MY LITTLE PONY EQUESTRIA GIRLS in 300 theaters on September 27th. Magnolia Pictures theatrically released THE HERO OF COLOR CITY (directed by Frank Gladstone) day and date with VOD release on October 3rd. Wreckin Hill Entertainment opened YELLOWBIRD (directed by Christian De Vita) in several U.S. cities (including Detroit) on December 5th.
491. PADDINGTON (1/16/15) The Weinstein Company. D: Paul King. After a deadly earthquake destroys his home in Peruvian rainforest, a young bear makes his way to England in search of a new home. The bear finds shelter with the family of Henry and Mary Brown, though a wicked taxidermist who has designs on his hide.
492. STRANGE MAGIC (1/23/15) Touchstone. (Lucasfilm) D: Gary Rydstrom. Bog King, leader of the Dark Forest, hates the notion of love and has ordered the destruction of all primroses, which are an essential ingredient of love potions. However, when he meets a pixie named Marianne he begins to change his mind.
493. SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE 2: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (2/13/15) Paramount (Nickelodeon). D: Paul Tibbitt, Mike Mitchell. When a diabolical pirate above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back.
494. HOME (3/27/15) 20th Century Fox (Dreamworks). D: Tim Johnson. An alien on the run from his own people makes friends with a girl. He tries to help her on her quest, but can be an interference.
495. WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (5/22/15) GKids (Studio Ghibli). D: Hiromasa Yonebayashi. (anime) A girl is sent to the country for health reasons, where she meets an mysterious new friend in the form of Marnie, a young girl with flowing blonde hair.
496. INSIDE OUT (6/19/15) Disney (Pixar). D: Peter Docter. After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.
497. MINIONS (7/10/15) Universal (Illumination). D: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda. Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlett Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.
498. SHAUN THE SHEEP (8/7/15) Lionsgate. D: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak. Shaun and the flock travel to the Big City to retrieve the Farmer, who has lost his memory and has become a famous hairdresser.
499. KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET (8/7/15) Gkids. D: Roger Allers (with vignettes directed by Tomm Moore, Bill Plympton, Joan Gratz, Nina Paley, Joann Sfar, Paul and Gaetan Brizzi, Michael Socha and Mohammed Harib). A dissident being kept under house arrest recounts valuable lessons in a series of vignettes while a mischievous young woman causes trouble in her town.
500. HUEVOS LITTLE ROOSTER’S EGG-CELLENT ADVENTURE (9/4/15) Pantelion Films (via Lionsgate) D: Gabriel Riva Palacio Alatriste. Toto, a young chick born the run of the litter, rises to the occasion when a rancher threatens his home and his family. (Released theatrically, in Spanish, in the U.S. as UN GALLO CON MUCHOS HUEVOS).
501. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (9/25/15) Sony. D: Genndy Tartakovsky. Drac is secretly worried that his half-human grandson isn’t showing his vampire side, so he enlists his friends to help him put the boy through a “monster-in-training” boot camp.
502. HELL AND BACK (9/25/15) Freestyle Releasing. (stop-motion) D: Tom Gianas and Ross Shuman. Two best friends set out to rescue their pal after he’s accidentally dragged to hell.
503. THE PEANUTS MOVIE (11/6/15) 20th Century Fox (Blue Sky). D: Steve Martino. Life for Charlie Brown gets complicated as he hopes to impress his new neighbor, the Little Red-Haired Girl. Meanwhile, Snoopy woos a female beagle, Fifi, while on patrol against The Red Baron.
504. THE GOOD DINOSAUR (11/25/15) Disney (Pixar). D; Peter Sohn. An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.
505. CAPTURE THE FLAG (12/04/15) Paramount. D: Enrique Gato. A young surfer rallies his friends to stop a billionaire from rewriting history as a way to horde Helium 3, the clean energy of the future. (L.A. Release date)
506. MOOMINS ON THE RIVIERA (12/04/15) Handle Productions. (hand drawn) D: Xavier Picard and Hanna Hamilä.
507. BOY AND HIS WORLD (12/11/15) GKids. (hand drawn) D: Alê Abreu.
508. ANOMALISA (12/30/15) Paramount. (stop motion) D: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman. A disillusioned author, during a speaking engagement in Cincinnati, meets a girl at his hotel whom he thinks is different from everyone else in his life.
NOTES: Limited-release Direct-to-Video (DVD, VOD) animated features began this year with the distribution by Disney of TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST, directed by Steve Loter, which played 13 days at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California beginning January 30th. Eleven Arts released the anime feature THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE to theaters in 20 cities including the Downtown Independent in L.A. and the Village East in NYC on February 20th. Shout Factory theatrically released MAYA THE BEE MOVIE, directed by Alexs Stadermann, in New York and L.A on May 1st. CJ Entertainment released BACK TO THE JURASSIC (directed by Yoon-suk Choi and John Kafka) in select theaters on June 12th. E1 released ALL CREATURES BIG AND SMALL in Los Angeles on one AMC Burbank screen on July 17th. Shout Factory opened THE SEVENTH DWARF, directed by Boris Aljinovic and Harald Siepermann on July 31st. Funimation played the anime DRAGONBALL Z: RESURRECTION F theatrically for seven days August 4th through 12th. Eleven Arts released the quasi-religious anime feature THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE: PART 0, directed by Isamu Imakake, on October 9th. GKids theatrically released EXTRAORDINARY TALES, directed by Raul Garcia, on October 30th the same day it is available VOD. Funimation put GHOST IN THE SHELL: THE NEW MOVIE to theaters on November 10th. And finally, it should be noted 20th Century Fox opened the hybrid live action/animation ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP in 3,705 theaters on Dec. 18th.
Continue this list into 2016 (and beyond) CLICK HERE.
Written, compiled and copyright (c) 2017 Jerry Beck (From a forthcoming book)
Go to Jerry Beck’s CARTOON RESEARCH home page.