are potential contenders to dethrone
as the highest-grossing animated film due to the anticipation and popularity of the established franchises.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2
Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse
have the potential to surpass Frozen 2’s box office success, given the excitement surrounding their respective franchises and previous installments.
Inside Out 2, Toy Story 5, Despicable Me 4,
all have a chance to reach or even break the $1 billion mark, potentially rivaling Frozen 2’s record as the highest-grossing animated film.
Frozen 2 is currently the highest-grossing animated film of all time, but several upcoming movies could dethrone it if they fare well at the box office. With the recent success of releases like The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, it’s clear there’s plenty of interest in animation. For established franchises, the anticipation grows with each passing sequel — something that likely contributed to Frozen 2‘s massive showing.
The original Frozen quickly became one of Disney’s most iconic movies of all time, placing characters like Anna and Elsa at the front of the studio’s modern lineup and turning songs like “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” into chart-topping hits. The sequel proved a solid follow-up to the first film, and fans rushed to theaters to see Frozen 2. Even heavy hitters like The Super Mario Bros. Movie haven’t managed to surpass the 2019 film’s $1.4 billion success. However, there are a few upcoming animated movies that could give it a run for its money.
8 Frozen 3
If any of the animated movies coming out in the next few years stands a chance at beating Frozen 2, it’s Frozen 3. Given the excitement surrounding the first Frozen sequel, it’s safe to assume the third follow-up will demand a similar level of anticipation. Anna and Elsa are popular among kids and adults alike, and viewers are no doubt eager to learn what becomes of them after Frozen 2‘s ending.
With Elsa’s fate open-ended after she relinquishes the throne of Arendelle, there’s more to explore when it comes to Disney’s beloved ice princess. Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf are also likely to reappear, meaning Frozen 3 will feature more comedy and musical hits — the very things that drew audiences to the first two films and made the series a massive success.
7 Shrek 5
Shrek is one of Dreamworks’ most iconic IPs, and the franchise holds a lot of nostalgia for those who grew up with the charming green ogre. Although none of the Shrek movies have come close to reaching the billion-dollar mark, they were each massive hits during their respective release years. And with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish bringing in a healthy $481 million in 2022 (via Box Office Mojo), it’s clear the series remains relevant.
That’s why it’s so exciting that Ilumination CEO Chris Meledandri confirmed Shrek 5 is in the works. Meledandri told Varietythat the original cast is likely to return, an exciting prospect for longtime fans of the franchise. With that in mind, the hype surrounding Shrek 5 is likely to be huge — perhaps enough so that it could outperform Frozen 2.
6 The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2
The Super Mario Bros. Movie came incredibly close to reaching Frozen 2‘s success when it debuted, raking in a grand total of $1.36 billion while it was in theaters (via Box Office Mojo). Based on the beloved Nintendo games, The Super Mario Bros. Movie brings the plumbers Mario and Luigi to the big screen — and does so far more competently than 1993’s attempt, Super Mario Bros.
Fans are the Nintendo adaptation are eager for The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2, and a sequel is likely to happen with Illumination and Nintendo revealing plans to adapt more of the latter’s IP. If The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s follow-up outshines the original, there’s a good chance it will pass Frozen 2‘s box office number. After all, the first film came close already.
5 Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was met with critical acclaim upon its 2018 release, and it even snagged the trophy for Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards. Its 2023 sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, is arguably even better. With the excitement surrounding the MCU dwindling somewhat post-Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse brought a fresh and fun take on Marvel Comics to the silver screen.
Across the Spider-Verse nearly doubled Into the Spider-Verse‘s $384 million box office haul, pulling in $690 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo), so it’s very possible the third movie could pass the billion-dollar mark. Whether it will outdo Frozen 2 remains to be seen. However, given Across the Spider-Verse‘s cliffhanger ending, fans will likely be rushing to theaters for the 2024 follow-up.
4 Inside Out 2
Pixar has had its share of misses over the past couple of years, but its hits remain as popular as ever. 2015’s Inside Out was among Pixar’s highest-grossing movies of all time, boasting an $858 million box office worldwide. Following the five major emotions of a girl named Riley, Inside Out delivered a clear and powerful message — and it set itself apart from Pixar’s other narratives in the process.
Inside Out 2 is already in the works, and its release date is slated for June 14, 2024. Since the original movie nearly crossed the billion-dollar line back in 2015, Inside Out 2 has a good chance of reaching it. If it fares slightly better, it might even break Frozen 2‘s $1.4 billion record.
3 Toy Story 5
Toy Story is the first series that comes to mind when discussing Pixar’s biggest hits, and the animated movies have remained iconic long after the original’s 1995 release. The first Toy Story‘s $244 million box office was a huge accomplishment at the time, as was Toy Story 2‘s $487 million (via Box Office Mojo). Each sequel has made more than its predecessor, with both Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 just passing $1 billion.
If Toy Story 5 continues the franchise’s box office trend, it will likely break $1 billion — though by how much remains to be seen. Both Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 were thought to be definitive endings to the series, so it’s possible Toy Story 5 could suffer from series fatigue. Lightyear‘s disappointing box officecould also factor negatively into its performance. Still, there’s no doubt anything associated with Toy Story will drag nostalgic fans into theaters. If it proves as popular as the third or fourth installments, it stands a chance of beating Frozen 2.
2 Despicable Me 4
DreamWorks saw huge success with 2010’s Despicable Me, and the animated movie has since spawned a number of sequels and Minions spinoffs. The original Despicable Me made more than $500 million at the worldwide box office (via Box Office Mojo), and its follow-ups grossed $970 million and $1 billion, respectively. The Minions spinoffs have also hovered around the billion-dollar mark, highlighting how much people love the little yellow creatures and the franchise they come from.
Despicable Me 4 is set to hit theaters on July 3, 2024. If its performance is similar to the most recent sequels and spinoffs, it could break $1 billion. If it can push past its predecessors slightly, it can even compete with Frozen 2 for the $1.4 billion record — and the title of highest-grossing animated movie.
1 Zootopia 2
Disney’s Zootopia was a surprise hit in 2016, crossing the $1 billion mark at the box office despite not coming from an already-established franchise. That’s impressive in and of itself, and the fact that a sequel is on the horizon means Frozen 2 may lose its $1.4 billion record. There’s no word on when Zootopia 2 will hit theaters. However, now that the original Zootopia has accumulated fans, it seems likely it will fare just as well — if not better — than its predecessor.
Source: Box Office Mojo, Variety