Best Animated Blockbusters of All Time to Watch with Your Kids

Explore the evolution of animated films from early Disney classics to modern CGI marvels in Stacker's ranking of top animated blockbusters.

Animated movies have evolved significantly over the years, transcending their initial reputation as mere children’s entertainment to become powerful storytelling vehicles with wide-reaching impact. From the hand-drawn classics of Disney’s golden age to the cutting-edge CGI of today, animated films have continually pushed the boundaries of creativity, technology, and emotional resonance.

Read more: Best New Family Movies We Can’t Wait to See This Year

To explore the best animated blockbuster films of all time, Stacker collected data on all animated feature films and ranked the top 20, according to IMDb user rating. Ties were broken by IMDb user votes. To qualify as a blockbuster for the list, the film had to collect at least nine figures at the worldwide box office, according to The Numbers. Metascores are provided for critical context.

20. Shrek (2001)

  • Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
  • IMDb user rating: 7.9
  • Metascore: 84
  • Worldwide box office: $492.2 million
  • Runtime: 90 minutes

This wildly successful CGI comedy follows the titular ogre as he embarks on a quest with his wisecracking donkey to rescue Princess Fiona, blending humor, adventure, and heartwarming moments. “Shrek” became a cultural phenomenon upon its release for its irreverent take on fairy tale tropes, spawning multiple sequels and spinoffs.

19. Aladdin (1992)

  • Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • IMDb user rating: 8
  • Metascore: 86
  • Worldwide box office: $504.1 million
  • Runtime: 90 minutes

“Aladdin” tells the story of a young, streetwise urchin who comes upon a magical lamp containing a genie who grants him three wishes. The vibrant animation remains a beloved classic for its memorable music and Robin Williams’ iconic performance as the shapeshifting Genie.

18. Zootopia (2016)

  • Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
  • IMDb user rating: 8
  • Metascore: 78
  • Worldwide box office: $1 billion
  • Runtime: 108 minutes

In “Zootopia,” a determined bunny cop teams up with a sly fox to solve a mysterious case involving missing predators in a bustling metropolis inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. The film’s timely themes of humanity, tolerance, inclusion, and overcoming prejudices won “Zootopia” the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, solidifying its impact on both audiences and the animation industry.

17. The Incredibles (2004)

  • Director: Brad Bird
  • IMDb user rating: 8
  • Metascore: 90
  • Worldwide box office: $631.4 million
  • Runtime: 115 minutes

“The Incredibles” follows a family of superheroes who must come out of retirement to save the world from a villainous threat. Earning praise for its unique take on the superhero genre, “The Incredibles” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

16. Inside Out (2015)

  • Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
  • IMDb user rating: 8.1
  • Metascore: 94
  • Worldwide box office: $850.5 million
  • Runtime: 95 minutes

“Inside Out” delves into the inner workings of a young girl’s mind as her emotions —Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust—navigate the challenges of growing up. The Pixar film resonated with audiences of all ages and received acclaim for its poignant exploration of mental health and emotional well-being.

15. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

  • Directors: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
  • IMDb user rating: 8.1
  • Metascore: 75
  • Worldwide box office: $494.9 million
  • Runtime: 98 minutes

“How to Train Your Dragon” centers around a young Viking named Hiccup who befriends a dragon and embarks on a journey to change his village’s perception of the creatures. The film captivated audiences and spawned a successful franchise, inspiring viewers with its themes of courage and understanding.

14. Ratatouille (2007)

  • Directors: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
  • IMDb user rating: 8.1
  • Metascore: 96
  • Worldwide box office: $626.5 million
  • Runtime: 111 minutes

“Ratatouille” serves up a delightful tale about a rat named Remy who hopes to become a chef and follows his culinary pursuits by forming an unlikely bond with a young kitchen worker. The film’s mouthwatering animation received critical acclaim for its creativity and charm, inspiring audiences to embrace their own culinary adventures.

13. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

  • Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich
  • IMDb user rating: 8.1
  • Metascore: 79
  • Worldwide box office: $560.4 million
  • Runtime: 92 minutes

“Monsters, Inc.” delighted audiences with the adventures of two monsters working at a power plant that generates energy by scaring human children. The adventure begins when a human child arrives in their realm and turns their world upside down. The 2001 film earned praise for its imaginative premise, originality, and heartwarming story.

12. Finding Nemo (2003)

  • Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
  • IMDb user rating: 8.2
  • Metascore: 90
  • Worldwide box office: $936.1 million
  • Runtime: 100 minutes

In this stunning underwater animation, a clownfish named Marlin journies across the ocean to rescue his son, who was taken by a scuba diver and kept in a fish tank at the dentist’s office. The film’s heartfelt story, pioneering visuals, and realistic computer-generated animation won the film an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

11. Princess Mononoke (1997)

  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • IMDb user rating: 8.3
  • Metascore: 76
  • Worldwide box office: $150.4 million
  • Runtime: 134 minutes

“Princess Mononoke” transported viewers to medieval Japan, where a young prince becomes embroiled in a struggle between the forces of nature and humankind. This breathtaking animation earned acclaim for its epic storytelling, mature themes, and complex characters.

10. Toy Story 3 (2010)

  • Director: Lee Unkrich
  • IMDb user rating: 8.3
  • Metascore: 92
  • Worldwide box office: $1.1 billion
  • Runtime: 103 minutes

In “Toy Story 3,” Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the toys must grapple with the challenges of growing up—facing an uncertain future as their owner prepares to leave for college. The movie tugged at audiences’ heartstrings for its emotional depth and poignant exploration of themes like friendship and nostalgia.

9. Toy Story (1995)

  • Director: John Lasseter
  • IMDb user rating: 8.3
  • Metascore: 96
  • Worldwide box office: $365.3 million
  • Runtime: 81 minutes

“Toy Story” introduced audiences to Woody, a pull-string cowboy doll, and Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger action figure, who must overcome their differences to escape the clutches of a toy-destroying neighbor. “Toy Story” revolutionized the animation industry with its groundbreaking use of CGI and heartfelt storytelling.

8. Up (2009)

  • Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
  • IMDb user rating: 8.3
  • Metascore: 88
  • Worldwide box office: $731.5 million
  • Runtime: 96 minutes

In “Up,” an elderly widower fulfills his late wife’s lifelong dream of exploring South America by tying thousands of balloons to his house and embarking on a journey filled with unexpected adventures. Touching the hearts and minds of audiences of all ages, “Up” became the first animated film to open the Cannes Film Festival.

7. Your Name. (2016)

  • Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • IMDb user rating: 8.4
  • Metascore: 81
  • Worldwide box office: $347.6 million
  • Runtime: 106 minutes

This beautifully animated tale follows two teenagers who mysteriously swap bodies. Despite never meeting in person, they embark on a quest to unravel the secrets behind their extraordinary connection. “Your Name.” became a cultural phenomenon in Japan and garnered international acclaim for its universal themes of love and fate.

6. Coco (2017)

  • Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
  • IMDb user rating: 8.4
  • Metascore: 81
  • Worldwide box office: $796.5 million
  • Runtime: 105 minutes

In this animated Pixar flick, a young boy named Miguel ventures through the Land of the Dead to learn the truth behind his family’s history and pursue his passion for music. “Coco” earned acclaim for its celebration of Mexican culture, traditions, and emotional resonance honoring loved ones with its vibrant portrayal of Día de los Muertos. In 2018, the film secured the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

  • Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
  • IMDb user rating: 8.4
  • Metascore: 87
  • Worldwide box office: $375.5 million
  • Runtime: 117 minutes

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” swung into theaters with its groundbreaking animation style and diverse representation, introducing audiences to a new iteration of Spider-Man, Miles Morales, joining forces with other Spider-People from different dimensions to protect New York City from a threat that could destroy all reality. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, setting a new standard for superhero storytelling.

4. WALL·E (2008)

  • Director: Andrew Stanton
  • IMDb user rating: 8.4
  • Metascore: 95
  • Worldwide box office: $532.5 million
  • Runtime: 98 minutes

“WALL·E” charmed audiences with its tale of a lonely robot tasked with cleaning up a deserted, garbage-filled Earth who discovers a new purpose and embarks on a journey through space to save humanity. The film’s minimal dialogue and environmental themes earned “WALL·E” praise for its innovative storytelling and poignant message about the importance of preserving the planet for future generations.

3. The Lion King (1994)

  • Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
  • IMDb user rating: 8.5
  • Metascore: 88
  • Worldwide box office: $986.2 million
  • Runtime: 88 minutes

“The Lion King” roared into theaters with its epic tale of a young lion prince named Simba learning about responsibility, loss, and identity while restoring his rightful role as king of the Pride Lands. The movie’s iconic characters, memorable music, and stunning animation remain one of Disney’s most beloved classics—inspiring a Broadway musical, Jon Favreau’s 2019 remake, and the 2024 prequel, “Mufasa: The Lion King.”

2. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

  • Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
  • IMDb user rating: 8.6
  • Metascore: 86
  • Worldwide box office: $681.2 million
  • Runtime: 140 minutes

A testament to the enduring legacy of everyone’s favorite web-slinger, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” continues the story of Miles Morales as he navigates the multiverse and encounters new challenges and allies from different dimensions. A sequel to the 2018 Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the new installment follows Miles’ growth as he grapples with the responsibilities of being a superhero.

1. Spirited Away (2001)

  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • IMDb user rating: 8.6
  • Metascore: 96
  • Worldwide box office: $383.9 million
  • Runtime: 125 minutes

“Spirited Away” follows a young girl who finds herself trapped in a mysterious, supernatural realm and must navigate a series of fantastical encounters to rescue her parents and return home. In 2003, the Japanese blockbuster won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, establishing director Hayao Miyazaki’s status as a master storyteller and becoming the first non-English-language movie to win the award.

Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Paris Close.


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Metro Parent Editorial Team
Metro Parent Editorial Team
Since 1986, the Metro Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for metro Detroit families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.

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