Blue Sky, Disney, DreamWorks, Illumination Entertainment, LAIKA, Opinions, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, Studio Ghibli, Studios, Warner Animation

Daily Debate: What’s the Best Animation Studio of the Decade?

Share on Pinterest


In the ’90s, Disney reigned supreme. A decade later, Pixar was a behemoth that gave us instant classic after instant classic. Nobody could compete with these two in their respective decades. But since 2010, the picture isn’t as clear. So I put it up to you, readers, to tell us what you think the dominant studio of the 2010s is!

The rest of this article will consist of short summaries on nine major animation studios, a list of all the movies they’ve produced since the decade began, average Rotten Tomatoes* scores of all their movies combined, average budgets, and box office.

*Rotten Tomatoes is not a perfect tool, as it doesn’t measure quality as much as accessibility across the board, but it’s a good way to see what movies worked and which ones didn’t.

The Big Ones


The Walt Disney Animation Studios has been living in a new Golden Age lately. It started the decade with Tangled, which brought its Princess movies into the 21st Century and has continued to produce hits in that genre while producing excellent non-princess, non-musical movies too. Zootopia has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score with an extraordinary 98%. If you want to read more about Disney’s extraordinary years, you can read our Disney Revival Rundown reviews or our Countdown to Moana.

Movies since 2010: Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck-It-Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and Moana

Average Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%

Average Budget: $167 million

Average Box Office: $673 million




The once undisputed king of animation started the decade off with a bang with Toy Story 3, only the third animated movie ever to be nominated for Best Picture. Sadly, it followed Toy Story 3 with Cars 2, which has a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes that severely hurt Pixar’s average. Once famous for its original movies, Pixar has released only three of these this decade, along with five sequels/prequels. Toy Story 3 is the clear front runner for their best movie of the decade with an amazing 99% on RT (Inside Out and Finding Dory are the only other scores over 90%).

Movies since 2010: Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, and Cars 3

Average Rotten Tomatoes score: 78.75%

Average Budget: $195 million

Average Box Office: $733 million


DreamWorks has released an astounding 16 movies since the decade began starting with the amazing How to Train Your Dragon. Some have worked and some haven’t, but aside from the Dragon movies, DreamWorks hasn’t hit the heights it got us used to.

Movies since 2010: How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, Megamind, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Rise of the Guardians, The Croods, Turbo, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Penguins of Madascagar, Home, Kung Fu Panda 3, Trolls, The Boss Baby, and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73.93%

Average budget: $144.6 million

Average Box Office: $514 million

The Smaller Ones

Studio Ghibli

The Japanese studio has released a mere five movies this decade and most of them have been very well received. The Tale of Princess Kaguya, in fact, holds the rare 100% on RT. You can read detailed takes on all Studio Ghibli’s movies on our Ghibli Countdown series right here.

Movies since 2010: Arrietty, From Up on Poppy Hill, The Wind Rises, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There

Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91.8%

Average Budget: $27 million

Average Box Office: $80 million












Laika has only made three movies in these seven years. It’s a small studio and it does stop-motion, which takes ages to do as beautifully as Laika does. While its movies also have considerably smaller budgets than its American counterparts, Laika still shines as a filmmaker driven studio.

Movies since 2010: Paranorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings

Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86.33%

Average budget: $60 million

Average Box Office: $96 million

Blue Sky Studios

Of the five movies Blue Sky has released this decade, two have been Ice Age sequels, suggesting it doesn’t have many new ideas. There are still highlights, but the last sequel has the lowest score of all movies sampled (15%).

Movies since 2010: Rio, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Epic, Rio 2, The Peanuts Movie, and Ice Age: Collision Course

Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55.83%

Average Budget: $117 million

Average Box Office: $463 million

Illumination Entertainment

Illumination started off the decade by releasing Despicable Me and quickly realizing the Minions were practically a money printing license. Its original movie The Secret Life of Pets holds the record for the biggest box office opening weekend for any original movie ever ($104 million)

Movies since 2010: Despicable Me, Hop, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2, Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing

Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62.14%

Average Budget: $71 million

Average Box Office: $673 million

Warner Bros Animation










Warner Bros. only joined the party three years ago with the awesome Lego Movie and, out of the other two movies they’ve released, one is a spinoff and another is coming this fall. Can they simply make Lego movies forever more? I guess we’ll find out!

Movies since 2010: The Lego Movie, Storks, and The Lego Batman Movie

Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Average Budget: $70 million

Average Box Office: $320 million

Sony Pictures Animation

cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-2-teaser-trailer-screenshot-andy-sambergMovies since 2010: Arthur Christmas, Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hotel Transylvania, Hotel Transylvania 2, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Angry Birds Movie, Smurfs: The Lost Village

Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66.28%

Average budget: $75 million

Average Box Office: $273 million


So looking at the data, a few things jump out:

Pixar has the highest budgets (rarely go down from $200 million per movie) and the highest box office returns.

-The three highest RT scores (Ghibli, Disney, and Laika) count no sequels amongst their movies.

-Even though Illumination‘s budgets are $100 million lower than Disney‘s on average, its box office is the same. The power of Minions!

So, these are all numbers, lets’ get to the the point:

What do you think the best studio of the decade is? Will you go for Disney’s revival? Pixar’s safe bets? Ghibli’s artistry? Laika’s originality? Minions? Let us know in the poll and in the comments! 

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

Share on Pinterest

About Pablo Ruiz

Pablo Ruiz is a Colombian filmmaker. Movies like Toy Story, The Lion King and Aladdin made him fall in love with the art form and now he hopes to dedicate his life to telling stories, hopefully for Pixar (if they go back to doing original films). Some of his ambitions are making a movie as emotionally impacting as Toy Story 3, meeting JK Rowling, and petting a million dogs. Follow him on Twitter (@PabloRV7).