The 20 Best Animation Studios Ever, Ranked

Every great cartoon has a great team behind it. These are the best animation studios that have managed to stay ahead of the competition.

Pixar Logo Characters

With so many animated stories dominating our televisions and movie theaters, it’s easy to forget just how many people it takes to complete a cartoon. From the writer's desk to the storyboarding to the computer-generated images, sometimes it can be a taxing process to breathe life into a character. So far, 2016 has been yet another stellar year is animation. At the movies, we’ve witnessed the return of a certain blue tang fish, the secret lives of our pets and the adventure of a foul-mouthed hot dog. Meanwhile, many of our favorite small screen cartoons returned for second seasons while The Powerpuff Girls was revived and we caught word of TV movie specials for shows like Hey Arnold! and Rocko’s Modern Life.

With children and their parents pouring money into the already lucrative animated world, every studio with a gift for the imaginative is taking a risk to bring the latest animated ideas to an ever-growing audience. You may know some of these studios by name already, while some may be new. Either way, it’s likely you’ve heard of their creations. From the biggest companies with long histories and hundreds of employees to the smaller, more obscure production houses, these are the 20 Best Animation Studios, Ranked. Based on all their many accomplishments, we think you’ll agree.

20 Fuzzy Door Productions

Family Guy

Seth McFarlane has been hot on the scene since 1999 when he launched one of the most influential adult animated sitcoms on television with Family Guy. After a short cancellation in 2003, which saw a renewed interest in the series, Peter Griffin and the rest of Quahog would return to the small screen in 2005. Since then, McFarlane's self-started company Fuzzy Door Productions has seen the release of many spin-off shows along with some successful theatrical films.

Among the notable projects the privately held company has managed over the years, there was The Cleveland Show, which followed the Griffin family’s neighbor Cleveland Brown as he settled in a new town with his dysfunctional family. The series would be cancelled after four years, but their other show, American Dad!, has proven more consistent, having been on the air since 2005. Other releases for the studio have included McFarlane’s feature films Ted, Ted 2 and A Million Ways to Die in the West. Their most recent series Bordertown opened to negative reviews and poor ratings after it premiered in early January this year. It was canceled on May 12, 2016.

19 Rough Draft Studios

Futurama Crew

Started in a garage in Van Nuys, California, Rough Draft Studios has had a hand in quality animation in both film and television since 1991 when the company’s founders Gregg Vanzo and his wife Nikki Vanzo were working on The Ren and Stimpy Show. The studio now has three separate locations - two in Glendale, CA and one in Seoul, South Korea - where it has produced shows like Beavis and Butt-Head, Futurama, Drawn Together and the first volume of Star Wars: Clone Wars in 2003.

While most of the studio's series are outsourced projects, many of them have proven to be groundbreaking achievements. With over a hundred different productions under their belt, Rough Draft has been on the receiving end of some of the industry’s most prestigious awards for more than a decade. Of the feature films that have used their services, their name has been attached to both SpongeBob SquarePants movies, The Simpsons Movie as well as the Futurama films. What other big projects lie in store remains to be seen, but if their past series are any indication, there should be no shortage of work for this studio anytime soon.

18 South Park Studios

south park

The name of the studio says it all, really. South Park has been creators' Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s baby since 1997 when the foul-mouthed escapades of four fourth grade boys in a small Colorado town first premiered on Comedy Central. Now approaching the series’ twentieth season on the air, the social satire is as relevant as ever with its open opinions on issues of politics and celebrity. Parker and Stone have made their feelings about Hollywood known, voicing concerns about the restrictions studios often put on creative freedom. Now with a company of their own, each episode of South Park remains refreshingly theirs, giving them almost complete control over what makes it to television.

Over those twenty years, the two founders of the company have dabbled in other forms of entertainment, including a feature length South Park movie and a handful of video games while also releasing hits like Team America: World Police and their Tony-winning Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, but the show has remained their biggest creative outlet for the public. A handful of awards later - including a Peabody and five Emmys - viewers are still tuning in to see what outrageous antics the town will get into next. With the show now renewed through 2019, South Park Studios looks to be only improving with age.

17 OLM, Inc.

Old pokemon style

OLM, formerly known as Oriental Light and Magic, is just one Japanese production house that has grown in credibility over the years with its prosperity in the United States and other countries worldwide. With its headquarters in Setagaya, Tokyo, the audience for the company has remained primarily Japanese for most of their productions, but we’re not talking about just any production when we discuss OLM’s source of magic. That’s because this studio is known for one of its animations above all the rest: Pokémon.

After being founded in 1994, OLM acquired the rights to produce an animated version of the popular Nintendo game Pocket Monsters. Since 1997, the show has been a bonafide success in its native Japan with the series being broadcast under its original name with four different subtitled chapters debuting for each subsequent change in the video games. But Pokémon didn’t truly sweep the world until its U.S. introduction where it aired on the Kids WB block on The WB. The trading cards, toy sales and advertising deals would all follow. Many of the feature-length adaptations, including Pokémon: The First Movie and Pokémon: The Movie 2000, would also be handled by OLM. With Pokémon GO now taking over everyone’s lives and Sun and Moon set for release on November 18th, it would take a miracle to slow down the twenty years of fandom that the show has inspired. We’re as psyched as ever to catch ‘em all and with over 700 known species, we’ve still got a while to go.

16 Disney Television Animation

Phineas and Ferb Disney

When it comes to one of the most widely recognized faces of the animation industry, there are so many cartoons to choose from that it becomes overwhelming. That’s why Disney has chosen to create two studios for its original animated content. Disney Television Animations, as you would guess, handles the small screen stories while another studio (to be discussed in detail later) handles the theatrical releases.

Founded in 1984, Disney Television Animation began as a risky investment to try to make cartoon shows a regularly recurring habit in children’s everyday lives. Until the 1980s, Disney had viewed the animation on television as low-budget and poor compared to motion pictures. With the intent to improve upon the quality with more money, Disney began airing series like The Wuzzles and Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears in 1985. Both series were a hit in the ratings and soon shows like DuckTales, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers and TaleSpin followed. Big screen films would also get the small screen treatment with series like Aladdin and Timon and Pumbaa becoming television titles. Airing original programs on the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior, more recent successes have included Kim Possible, Gravity Falls and Phineas and Ferb. With viewership as high as ever, these toons have provided a counterpart to Disney’s long history of films, but they still fall short of some of the company’s other achievements.

15 Illumination Entertainment

Gru chooses his daughters over stealing the moon in Despicable Me

The youngest studio on our list, Illumination Entertainment was founded only nine short years ago in 2007 when Chris Meledandri, then the President of Twentieth Century Fox Animation, left his post to pursue opportunities elsewhere. He started up the company under a new contract deal with NBCUniversal with the promise to produce at least two family-oriented motion pictures per year. After overseeing films such as Robots and Alvin and the Chipmunks during his time at Fox, Meledandri already had the experience to produce children’s films that could perform well at the box office. He would prove just that in 2010 when he brought in nearly eight times the production budget for the studio’s first release Despicable Me.

With one success story in the bag, Illumination released the Easter-themed Hop in 2011 to a much less stellar opening than their first film. The company would bounce right back, however, with the debuts for The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, the last of which became the second highest grossing cartoon film of all time. This year, The Secret Life of Pets proved to be yet another smash with its all-star lineup of voice actors such as Louis C.K., Kevin Hart and Ellie Kemper. Plans for sequels to both the Despicable Me franchise and The Secret Life of Pets are already in the works. With such an enticing filmography in such a short time, we can’t help but root for Illumination to rise above the ranks, but for now we’re content just giving them a much earned shout-out.

14 Williams Street Productions

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Adult Swim

Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Williams Street Productions takes its name from the road on which its headquarters lies. Near the home offices of both the TBS and TNT channel, Williams Street is in charge of both the animated and live-action shows which air on Adult Swim, the nightly block of adult-oriented content which plays on Cartoon Network between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. Known for its irreverent humor and outlandish spoofs, the studio’s animated programs have gained a significant standing among young adults. Thanks to the company’s two executive vice presidents Keith Crofford and Mike Lazzo, the late night series have remained characteristically offbeat, providing a one-of-a-kind viewing experience which continues to excel with experimental cartoon storytelling.

After a failed pitch to Turner Broadcasting founder Ted Turner in 1993 to create some original programming of their own, Crofford and Lazzo gathered their own funds to produce a show on a shoestring budget. Using stock footage from previous shows in the Turner library, the two used the series Space Ghost to create their first cartoon Space Ghost Coast to Coast. The satirical animated talk show would be greenlit and Ghost Planet Industries would be founded in 1994. By the time Adult Swim began in 2001, the company had undergone a name change and was ready for the new adventure in more mature content. Co-producing many of their series with the help of other gifted animation houses, the studio would produce shows such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Bros., Robot Chicken and Rick and Morty. With their image now solidified, Williams Street has cornered the market in late night adult cartoons, a position which they’re not planning on relinquishing anytime soon.

13 Blue Sky Studios

Ice Age Blue Sky

A subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox, Blue Sky Studios has released eleven different feature-length animated movies since 2002 to varying levels of success. Based out of Greenwich, Connecticut, the company was founded by six animators who found themselves out of jobs after the CGI effects company MAGI - the group which created the visuals for the 1982 film Tron - shut its doors. For a ten year period, between 1987 and 1997, Blue Sky worked mainly in the world of television advertising and feature films, creating special effects. When Fox approached the studio with intentions of buying, the focus shifted to animation with some films such as The X-Files, Titanic and Alien: Resurrection also being treated by the company for visual effects.

In 2002, after some deliberation about leaving the special effects business for good, Fox decided to take a stab at appealing to children with a cartoon movie. Ice Age would prove to be a worthy attempt, raking in six times its production budget. With a new built-in confidence, Blue Sky would continue paving the road to its success. Robots, Dr. Suess’ Horton Hears a Who, both Rio films and The Peanuts Movie all brought in a considerable amount of cash while attracting their younger demographic. While the Ice Age franchise has continued to gross the biggest numbers overall, the formula has since proven to be wearing thin on audiences and critics alike. Although the company has shown it's capable of holding its own, it still has a long way to go before it reaches the upper echelons of the all-time great cartoon makers. Next up for Blue Sky and Fox is Ferdinand based on the children’s story of Ferdinand the Bull by author Munro Leaf.

12 Sony Pictures Animation

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Sony

Only fourteen years young, Sony Pictures Animation is new on the scene compared to some of the other studios on our list. It got its start in May 2002 after its owner Sony Pictures Entertainment sought to sell its visual effects subsidiary Sony Pictures Imageworks. When no interested buyers stepped up to the plate, the company was retooled to focus on animation. Within a year, a full lineup of cartoon features were being developed. Sony Pictures Animation would hone in on their expertise to establish the stories and characters for each motion picture while SPI would stay intact in order to take charge of the digital production tasks.

Sony Pictures Animation’s first theatrical release Open Season would gross more than twice its production budget, but fail to meet expectations critically with very mixed reviews calling the film more of a kid’s feature than something parents could enjoy. By the time the company’s second movie rolled around, the studio had become much more well-polished. Surf’s Up would be a welcome answer to another animated movie, Happy Feet. The movie would go on to receive critical acclaim and be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, though it would lose to the other talking penguin picture. Since 2006, Sony has released more hits such as both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films, Arthur Christmas and the two Hotel Transylvania features. The studio has a full slate of projects lined up in the coming years, including some early plans for television. While there’s still room to grow, Sony has proven to be a worthy animated production company and promises to only increase in quality as time goes on.

11 Sunrise Inc.

Cowboy Bebop Sunrise

A huge production company with several sub-studios working in tandem to turn out some of the most widely recognized shows in Japanese animation history, Sunrise has made a name for itself with its mecha animes. For forty-three years, many of Sunrise’s original series have been lauded by critics, resulting in multiple awards including the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize, which it has won more than any other anime studio to date. Over its four decades at the forefront of its genre, Sunrise has seen notable animators go on to form their own production companies. Today, six different studios have been created by former employees, including the most recent Bandai Namco Pictures.

Of all the top tier animes Sunrise has put out over the years, they are best known for series like Cowboy Bebop and the entire Gundam franchise. Despite their deep focus on robot animes, the company has tested other shows with varying levels of success, including many co-productions with another anime heavy-hitter Toei animation. Other popular shows that have garnered acclaim include Code Geass, InuYasha, Gintama, Tiger and Bunny and City Hunter. With an Academy Award nomination under their belt for the short film Possessions, Sunrise holds distinct honors that few Japanese production houses can claim to have. It’s no wonder all the giants robots, intense action sequences and romantic entanglements tend to linger in the minds of viewers years after they’ve wrapped up a show from this prestigious producer.

10 Laika Entertainment

Kubo and the Two Strings Laika

Kubo and the Two Strings is out in theaters now and is already leaving an impression with audiences and critics alike with its spirited animation and absorbing storytelling, but its production company, Laika, has been a top competitor in stop-motion pictures for the past decade. Founded in 2005, Laika began as a successor to the financially struggling Will Vinton Studios, which had produced films like Return to Oz and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. Nike, Inc. owner Phil Knight would invest in the company, settling its headquarters near Portland, OR and hiring stop-motion creator Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) as a supervising director.

Although Laika specializes in both feature films and commercial content, it’s the Laika Entertainment division which gets the credit for the movies viewers know today. Among their notable works, the studio has released Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and the aforementioned Kubo. The company has also done contract work on films like Corpse Bride, King of California and A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. Laika is still comparatively new, but in such a short time they have already made an indelible impact on the animated world, making them a star in a category of supremely talented studios.

9 Aardman Animations

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

Among so many established names on this list, a British stop-motion production company using claymation to create its stories definitely seems likes the odd man out. But there’s something admirable in crafting a film which feels relatively small in scale compared to the digital techniques so many companies use today. In comparison to other methods, claymation is extremely laborious, requiring multiple stops to change the figures for each frame. It takes a detailed and patient group of individuals to manage such a time-consuming process. It’s that kind of dedication that stands out and transfers wonderfully to the screen when the characters are on fully display.

Aardman began back in 1972 as a small team created by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, producing shows for BBC such as The Amazing Adventures of Morph, Rex the Runt and the series of shorts titled Wallace & Gromit’s Cracking Contraptions. Making a name for themselves in both television and film, Aardman would become known for characters such as Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. In 1997, the studio would announce their first joint venture with another animation company, coming together to produce the theatrical release Chicken Run with DreamWorks in 2000. Five years later, they’d release Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which would win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. To date, they have teamed with many other companies to produce films such as Flushed Away, The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Shaun the Sheep Movie. Along the way, they have stuck to their humble roots, putting the art of claymation before everything else, making Aardman a rarity in the cartoon world of today.

8 Cartoon Network Studios

Adventure Time

Cartoon Network Studios is one of the most watched animated television studios alongside its number one competitor Nickelodeon (which we’ll discuss in detail later). We’ve already talked about their sister studio Williams Street and their many creative programs stretching the limits for adults, so it’s only right that we switch gears to focus more on the kid-friendly fare. It all began in 1994, when the company began as a division of the now defunct Hanna-Barbera, the creator of such notable shows as The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! At the time, the division was co-producing programs such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo and The Powerpuff Girls. After Hanna-Barbera was folded into Warner Bros. Animation following the passing of William Hanna in 2001, Cartoon Network Studios took over the reins and it has been pumping out original content for Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network channel ever since.

While the battle between the studio and Nickelodeon has felt like a never-ending fight for children’s attentions, the company has fared well against the stiff competition. Since branching away from their parent studio fifteen years ago, Cartoon Network has managed some well-received shows, boosting viewership and refining their fanbase. Among their many unique programs, they’ve release Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Ben 10 and Adventure Time. They’ve also released many television specials and made-for-TV movies based on their growing archive. With so many series to choose from and Adult Swim now catering to a new market, the channel has never been stronger. That’s why we see a long future ahead for this studio and many of the animated productions that follow.

7 Toei Animation

Goku vs Frieza in Dragon Ball Z

If you’re a fan of anime television series, the probability that you’re seen at least one Toei Animation production is very high. In fact, we’re certain even the unconverted have at least heard of many of the productions from this popular Japanese company. Toei’s popularity across the globe really began in the 1990s, but its history goes as far back as 1956 when the studio acquired Japan Animated Films. For the past sixty years, it’s been releasing cartoons for the Japanese viewing public, but business picked up when English dubbed versions of many of the shows finally began making their way to the United States.

Taking into consideration the popularity of legendary manga in Japan, the studio began adapting many of the comic book series to the small screen. Chief among the works for which Toei has become known is the Dragon Ball series, most notably Dragon Ball Z which ran for seven years on Fuji TV and was broadcast in the U.S. on Cartoon Network. Other shows have included Sailor Moon, One Piece, Saint Seiya and Yu-Gi-Oh!. Many of their shows have also received a variety of made-for-TV specials and theatrical films. With Toei still turning out hits in Japan and many of their shows still being introduced to audiences worldwide, the company is steadily increasing its number of faithful recruits, but we’ve been in the studio's corner for as long as we can remember.

6 Warner Bros. Animation

The Lego Movie Poster

Of all the animation studios that have made their way onto our list, perhaps none have a greater lineage of cartoon characters than Warner Bros. Stretching as far back as 1933, this studio has ties with such famed characters as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as well as a slew of other Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies creations. The studio would re-open its doors in 1980 after Warner Bros. Cartoons shut down in 1969 due to increasing costs in production and the decline in popularity of animated shorts. Since then, the Looney Tunes characters have remained a staple for the company with shows like The Bugs Bunny Show and Bugs N’ Daffy proving popular. With shows such as Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain as well as many DC properties such as Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series also making their way to the air, it’s no wonder Warner has kept a loyal viewership for so long.

In addition to all their noted achievements in television, Warner has taken the movies by storm as well. Besides having a hand in more obvious projects like Space Jam and Looney Tunes: Back in Action, they’ve also released other high quality stories such as The Iron Giant and most recently The LEGO Movie. With the company moving forward with its rights to LEGO, DC and classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, Warner has an edge over the competition. There have long been rumors of a live-action Jetsons movie and NBA all-star Lebron James has confirmed he will appear in Space Jam 2. With so much going on, Warner Bros. Animation’s workload appears to only be getting bigger and we’ve got to admit, we’re just as excited as them to see what happens next.

5 Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Spongebob Squarepants rainbow Idiot Box Nickelodeon

If a pantheon were erected in honor of all the truly great cartoons of our childhood, Nickelodeon would have a spot reserved for it by all the Generation Y adults still coping with their nostalgia. Beginning in 1990 as Games Animation, Nickelodeon hit it big from the get-go with original programs like Doug, Rugrats and The Ren and Stimpy Show. The television network dipped into live-action game shows too with Legends of the Hidden Temple and Figure It Out, but it was the animated series, given the name Nicktoons by the studio, that stood out as a testament to the quality of the channel among both kids and adults.

We’ve already compiled a list of the very best shows in Nickelodeon’s illustrious history, including many of the best animated series the studio has offered. Of those series, a few that have stood out include SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Invader Zim and Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the 1998, the company would make its first foray into cartoon features, releasing its theatrical film The Rugrats Movie. Since then, other Nicktoon favorites have made their big screen debuts including Hey Arnold!: The Movie and both SpongeBob releases. It’s been a long ride of one classic cartoon after another and it shows no signs of slowing down. With so many original stories still left to tell, Nickelodeon remains firmly planted on the throne for the best in television animation with room left to grow in the film department.

4 DreamWorks Animation

Shrek 5 Release Date 2019

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That’s been DreamWorks Animation’s story since stepping on the scene back in 1994. Don’t get us wrong - they’ve left an indelible mark on the animated film and television world in that short time. By now, we’re all familiar with their logo of a young boy fishing from his seat on a crescent moon - an image which was created after co-founder Steven Spielberg requested an imaginative computer-generated picture that would encapsulate the kind of creativity the company strove for. Ever since that logo first appear more than two decades ago, audiences have received that kind of creativity and while it’s never failed to impress, the reactions have always been just slightly short of that which comes from our top three ranked choices on this list.

DreamWorks began as a business venture between Spielberg, former Disney executive Jefferey Katzenberg and music executive David Geffen. After recruiting some heavy-hitting animators to join their squad, the team went to work, releasing their first feature Antz in 1998. Since then, the studio has consistently turned out one of the best track records for cartoon features and television, including films such as the Shrek franchise, the Madagascar franchise, the Kung Fu Panda franchise, both How to Train Your Dragon films and their latest feature Trolls which premieres on November 4, 2016. Earlier this year, DreamWorks was acquired by Comcast, placing it under the umbrella of NBCUniversal’s talented network of media-savvy leaders. With a change in ownership, the studio hopes to compete even more with the likes of our top three entries. Only time will tell if it will be able to do so.

3 Studio Ghibli

Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki

Hailing from Koganei, Tokyo in Japan, Studio Ghibli has not only the honor of being one of the most beloved producers of anime in the world, it’s also the company of co-founder and acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki. If every family-friendly anime feature or Pixar movie of the last two decades has won over its audience with its heartfelt tales of virtue, it’s only because their creators have stood on the shoulders of giants like Miyazaki who have continually crafted some of the most imaginative and visually captivating pictures cinema has ever seen. It’s on those shoulders that Studio Ghibli’s reputation has rested and so far its founders haven't faltered.

After the success of his 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki launched Studio Ghibli on June 15, 1985 with producer Toshio Suzuki and fellow director Isao Takahata, who would later go on to direct Grave of the Fireflies for the company. While many companies were ran like businesses with an agenda, Ghibli always felt like a passion project between friends. Miyazaki and his allies would go on to release eight of the fifteen highest grossing anime films in Japanese history with notable movies such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and most recently When Marnie Was There. Reaching to fans in the United States, Miyazaki has made a name for himself as not only the greatest animated director of his generation, but perhaps of all time. With the 75 year old director announcing his first fully CGI short film Boro the Caterpillar last year shortly after reportedly retiring from the industry for the sixth time, Studio Ghibli looks to still have the spotlight for anime fans. There’s no telling how long the legend will live on, but as long as the right minds remain at work, we’re going to keep watching.

2 Walt Disney Animation Studios

Frozen Disney

Disney is a name that has become synonymous with so many words over time that it’s hard to keep count. It’s an umbrella of imagination and adventure that covers every facet of entertainment. From covering movies, television and video games, to more vacation-friendly getaways like cruise lines and theme park resorts, it’s a company which has honed its craft and feels more like a friend than a multi-billion dollar empire. It’s through timeless classics that the studio first made its mark and we’re forever indebted to them for giving us so many childhood memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Founded in 1923 by Walt Disney and his older brother Roy, the two siblings began producing silent short cartoons in their small studio in Los Angeles. It was the introduction of none other than Mickey Mouse which kickstarted the company’s career. Mickey would of course go on to become the face of the business, but it was the 1937 feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which brought renowned attention to everyone on board. Since then, the company has released upwards of sixty different full-length features, each one a testament to the remarkable strength in quality Disney holds for itself. With classics like Pinnochio, Bambi, The Lion King, The Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid to name a few, along with more recent examples like Tangled, The Princess and the Frog and Frozen, we’re not in the minority in saying that Walt Disney leads by example. While their television animations have a department on their own, it’s the films where the truly inspirational stories are happening. It’s enough to bring back a flood of nostalgia, but there’s still one studio which has managed to edge out this all time great for the number one spot.

1 Pixar Animation Studios

Toy Story

What has been said about Pixar that hasn’t already been said countless times? It isn’t just a studio, it’s a braintrust and a template for how any creative business should be run. For three decades, it’s produced stories which have exceeded the ideas of what a cartoon should be by appealing to children, their parents and pretty much every age group out there. It begins with a thought, the basis for the story. From there, regular meetings are held with trusted members of the company to transform that idea. Criticisms are tossed away for open discussion and everyone is inviting when it comes to restructuring a feature for the betterment of the final product. It’s all about creating an image of acceptance and quality with your audience. The whole process begins in a room and it can be seen projected onto the big screen.

Every Pixar picture to date, as well as the short films that preceded them, have been the result of the writers trying to surprise themselves by being candid about their own story's flaws. We all know the resulting filmography- the Toy Story franchise, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, WALL-E, Finding Dory  - the list goes on and on. Not every moment has always been a success, but the positives have far outweighed the negatives. It all began in 1979 with an investment from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Since then, the desk lamp logo for the company has become one of the most memorable symbols in cinematic history. With slated releases for Cars 3, Coco, Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2 all within the next three years, the anticipation only grows for what’s next. Audiences will surely keep buying tickets as Pixar proves over and over again that they are number one in heartfelt animation.

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