Toy Story 3 Becomes Pixar’s Highest Grossing Film [Updated]

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 16th, 2010 at 4:49 am,

Toy Story 3 Toy Story 3 Becomes Pixars Highest Grossing Film [Updated]

[Update: It’s confirmed that Toy Story 3 is now the highest grossing animated movie EVER. See below for details]

Once upon a time Pixar was the new kid on the animation block, until they stormed out of nowhere with Toy Story back in 1995. Fast forward fifteen years and they’ve become not only the most beloved animation studio out there, but one of the most admired studios period.

It’s no secret that Pixar movies make a lot of money and for the last seven years the reigning champ at camp Pixar has been Finding Nemo, which grossed almost $870 million worldwide. However, it’s time for a new top dog: Pixar’s only threequel, Toy Story 3.

Although not way ahead of the rest of Pixar’s work in terms of box office success, Toy Story 3 has surpassed Finding Nemo by about $30 million. But here’s the kicker: the third Toy Story entry has only been in theaters for less than eight weeks. To compare, here’s a breakdown of what each of the Pixar films have made so far (in order of highest-to-lowest grossing):

  • Toy Story 3 – $940 million (worldwide)
  • Finding Nemo – $867 million (worldwide)
  • Up – $731 million (worldwide)
  • The Incredibles - $632 million (worldwide)
  • Ratatouille – $620 million (worldwide)
  • WALL-E – $532 million (worldwide)
  • Monsters, Inc. – $526 million (worldwide)
  • Toy Story 2 – $484 million (worldwide)
  • Cars – $461 million (worldwide)
  • A Bug’s Life – $363 million (worldwide)
  • Toy Story – $361 million (worldwide)

So why did Toy Story 3 make so much money in such a short amount of time? Well there are a couple of key factors that played a big part:

  1. This is not only a sequel but a sequel to a sequel. It had not one, but two previous films to build anticipation off of. People already know and remember these characters fondly, so a new installment catching audiences up with their beloved toys was inevitably going to be a huge success.
  2. Although most people would have gone to see the film regardless, the fact that it was in 3D definitely played a part. Only one previous Pixar film was available in 3D (Up) so adding $3 extra onto each ticket has caused the box office profits to increase quite significantly when you add them all up.

Of course, there’s always the fact that Toy Story 3 was a fantastic film, but that’s not exactly a new thing for Pixar; every Pixar film – without exception – has been at least good, and more often than not a classic in their own right.

The question is not really why Toy Story 3 made so much money but rather why it made more than any other Pixar film. I’ve already given my theories but I’d be interested to hear yours: Do you agree with my reasoning? Are there any others causes you can think of? Sound off in the comments below.

UPDATE: Not only is Toy Story 3 the highest grossing Pixar film but it’s now officially the biggest money-making animated feature in history. There were projections at the weekend of the threequel passing the previous champ, Shrek 2, which sits at just under $920 million (worldwide). However, according to Box Office Mojo, Toy Story 3 has soared passed the big green ogre to $400 million domestically and a whopping $940 million worldwide.

Congratulations goes out to Pixar for not only being the king of animation in the critical sense but also in the box office department!

Make sure to check our Pixar SR pick which wonderfully visualizes the costs and success of the studio’s films so far. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to check out our own Mike Eisenberg’s fantastic Toy Story 3/Inception trailer mash-up.

Source: The-Numbers and Box Office Mojo

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. The fact that it’s the summer holidays will play a big part I think, with parents wanting to fill days with activities, especially as Toy Story is appealing to the buyers of the tickets as well as their kids. Best time of the year to bring out an anticipated all-ages movie. Saw it today and loved it!

    • I don’t know if that really factors into it making more money than other Pixar films – Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up were all released in the summer too.

      But it definitely adds to it making lots of money in the general sense (not relating to other Pixar movies).

  2. Kudo’s to TS3, eventhough the high ticket prices have helped the totals. Whenever I see these box office totals spanning decades, I chuckle because unless the $$$ figures are adjusted for inflation they are not very comprable. Anyway… back to Pixar. I missed the mass appeal of Wall E and Up and to a certain extent Cars. My kids didn’t even sit through them. Toy Story, Monster Inc and Incredibles were great. I still think kids enjoy the Dreamworks animated movies more, Over the Hedge, Madagascar etc. There is no disputing Pixar’s power and box office gravitas though…

  3. i think it made alot of money because its one of pixars best movies but not only that it was about 10=11 years in the making. it was the last movie to a great series and thats why it made alot of money. i love TS3 :D

  4. I love a great animated movie as much as any other, and Pixar epitomizes why I feel that way.

  5. if you havent already, go see the movie again. it only needs $50 million more to be #1 animated film of all time.

    i’ve already seen it 3 times

    Shrek 2 is good but Pixar really deserves the spot.

    • Yeah, Pixar definitely deserves the highest grossing film title. Nothing but quality from those good folks.


      • i still have yet to check this out. im still waiting for a Hoodwinked 2 LOL

  6. YESSSSSSSSSSSS! Pixar is the best ever!!!! i love their movies!

  7. I really don’t think that 3d played a part though, I read an article on The Wrap that ticket sales for 3D are down from last year despite an expansion in 3d screens and higher ticket prices. Plus in my local theaters more people saw Toy Story 3 in 2d so it was taken off in the 3d screens within 2 weeks. Isn’t it possible that the reason why it made a lot of money was simply because it’s a great film that beneffited from strong word of mouth like an old fashioned hit?

  8. There are no greater joys than the joys of childhood.
    And no greater sadness than having to move on from them.

    You can’t go back, you remember, you always remember.
    When imagination was reality and your toys were real.
    It was a perfect world and you once lived in it.

    Toy Story 3 is a story made for everyone.
    And Toy Story 3 was a story about me.

    • So true.

    • Sure you can go back — just have your own kid. “Why, Honey, of COURSE all those Lego sets are for Junior!”

  9. Robert Palmer

  10. While most of their films are good I disagree that all of them are good with out exception.

    Cars,and Ratatouille were not good in my opinion, but merely just ok. However, WALL-E was just awful.

  11. Toy Story 3 deserves it

  12. ratatouille was good! but yeah cars and wall e are the weakest….

  13. I don’t know how ToyStory3 ended but even if the main characters were crushed and destroyed, this news guarantees a ToyStory4.

    And that makes me sad,,, 8-)

  14. 790
    I think u r wrong,pixar is not greedy like other studios,if they cant find a story that tops this one,there wont be a part 4….and to me its impossible to top this one so NO 4!!!

  15. Ricky don’t let the loving message in ToyStory3 fool you.
    The folks at Pixar are co owned by Disney and they are one the greediest corporations on the face of the planet.

    • Disney likes making money, but they also care about putting out a quality product. Much more so than most other “greedy” corporations.

      BTW, ever notice that the Disney Channel only runs commercials for Disney Channel programming? No toys or sugary cereal. Not even Disney toys (unless you count the shows themselves, I suppose). How much more money could they make if they sold out?

  16. Well all im saying is i wont see part 4….maybe i will lol! but i think they should leave it at that,but trust me i know a few more corporations that are greedier than disney…..

  17. Tell me Ricky!


  18. Warner Brothers,Lionsgate,and Summit Entertainment are a few^^

  19. Ricky your young and need to do some research. Disney makes Lionsgate look like a Christian based production studio…
    Disney is rich in creative theft, desensitizing/promoting drugs/sex to children, embedding these symbols/messages in their films, treating employees like chipped cattle, hiring sex offenders to direct their films/write their movies, influencing and driving the 3D agenda and if thats not enough they own ABC, and use that network to push the obama agenda.

  20. WTF? 790….omg,disney hires sex offenders?Where u get that??? lol,well those ssex offenders sure know how to make great stories…..

  21. Give me a few days to get the info for ya Rickey, if it will make a difference?

    If not then I would rather move on.

  22. Rickey I strongly suggest you double check any thing some one tells you online. Make sure you do research for your self you can’t believe every thing random people online especially if the info comes from an unreliable source.

  23. Lol Daniel,,, where’s that link you promised me?

    Truth is two way street bro,,,

    • Gonna have to remind me what link your talking about. Been a crazy couple weeks for me.

  24. Dans, I believe it had something to do with a Mel Gibson thread, but if you don’t remember I guess I won’t be seeing it anyway.

    Nice talking to ya.

    • I don’t know much about Mel Gibson beyond whats reported to everyone else I have no extra knowledge in that I doubt it’s that, but like I said i’ve been real busy lately with pain issues and the baby on the way can’t remember exactly what the info you asked for was.

  25. Yeah I speak English daniel,,,

    Catch ya later!

    • Whats that suppose to mean? Are you drunk or something?

  26. No it means I can read between the lines and that you never had any intention to provide that link you fought so hard to prove you would a few days ago,,,lol

    If you don’t remember the exact link then there’s nothing left to talk about,,,

    Do you speak English?

    Good night,,,

  27. Typical adults fighting…! u guys are serious! LMAO! Well every corporations greedy,but PIXAR deserves evry cent they get,i think we can all agree in that :)

  28. I think the main reason for Toy Story 3 being the highest grossing of the Pixar films in addition to what you already listed, Ross, is the fact that the target demographic for the original Toy Story film are now old enough that they are interested to revisit a childhood favorite, not just their kids wanting to see the latest family film. Instead of only children clamoring for their parents to take them, the current generation of adults, parents or not, want to see this film for themselves. Parents with children who are not initially interested of their own will to see TS3 could also be coaxed into seeing it for their parents’ sake, as well.

  29. What ever you say 790 all you would have to do is remind me and I could of gone and grabbed the link, but you want to act like a child. I apologize for having a life and not making grabbing what ever link you wanted my highest priority. Next time I’ll be sure to tell my back and pregnant girl friend to leave me alone till I get your link for you. Clearly that link is far more important than anything else.

    Grow up