5. Spies in Disguise (2019)
Worldwide Box Office: $171.6million
Starring: Tom Holland, Will Smith, Rashida Jones, Karen Gillan, Ben Mendelsohn, DJ Khaled, Masi Oka, Reba McEntire, Mark Ronson, Rachel Brosnahan
The final release in the acclaimed history of Blue Sky Studios would prove to be a financial flop, earning less ($66million) than its budget ($100million) at the North American box office and barely earning its production costs and advertising budget back when sold across the rest of the world ($172million). Even so, it was a film faithful to the Blue Sky way; a movie that gave the loser their moment in the sun, encouraged love and togetherness, and in doing so spoke of the inclusive beauty of family films.
Starring a voice cast consisting of A-Lister Will Smith and Spider-Man himself Tom Holland, Spies in Disguise was everything you might expect of a child imagining the greatest James Bond movie ever: gadgets that were more bubble gum that flesh-eating lasers, illuminous car decals more than luxury speed boats. And, the golden pun: that turning into a pigeon can actually give a spy a myriad of advantages.
Funny, endearing and wholehearted, Spies in Disguise proved Blue Sky’s worth until the very end, sending the studio off in a way faithful to their short time in the sun.
4. Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
Worldwide Box Office: $661million
Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Chris Wedge, Josh Peck, Seann William Scott, Jay Leno, Alan Tudyk, Will Arnett, Ariel Winter
$80million may seem like a lot for an animated movie, but when your predecessor turned just $59million into $383million and Disney/Pixar had been making $200million animated features for a decade or more, it seems like Blue Sky/Fox got Ice Age 2 (The Meltdown) for a snip.
Factor in the $661million return at the global box office and it’s clear as to what a huge success the film was with audiences too, the majority of whom ate up the typical sequel formula of doing everything the original did only bigger.
Ice Age: The Meltdown was exactly what a sequel should be in that sense – it captured the essence of the original and played with ideas regarding the universe the first movie had set up – but, much like a lot of sequels in the wider film sphere, The Meltdown did suffer from recreating some of the more popular moments and losing just a drop of the first movie’s originality and sense of heart, placing it at number 4 on this list.
Recommended for you: Warner Animation Group Movies Ranked
3. Rio (2011)
Worldwide Box Office: $484.6million
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, Rodrigo Santoro, Jermaine Clement, George Lopez, Leslie Mann, Tracy Morgan, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Judah Friedlander
Set in emerging Brazil’s most iconic city, Rio de Janeiro, Blue Sky continued their tradition of rendering some of the most aesthetically pleasing animations in the genre by marrying the city’s real-life battle between its urban landscape and the encroaching wild to their 2011 release Rio. What was perhaps the most creative aspect of the film was the way in which they did so through a tale centring on the only creature in the vicinity that could possibly cross the threshold between rainforest and urban slums, the bird.
Voiced by Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway, the birds of paradise at the centre of the film’s self-discovery/romance arc were used effectively to tell the wider tale of Brazil and particularly Rio de Janeiro, but they were also selected for having an incredible visual appeal that fitted with the movie’s overall colourful glow and energetic presentation.
Some of the most enjoyable aspects of this film are contained within the picture’s presentation of a unified city celebrating the colourful and bouncy nature of its country, yet with as many side characters to laugh at as you’d expect from an animated film and a story that works effectively despite its generic formula, Rio is the kind of movie that children and adults can enjoy for vastly different reasons, yet enjoy all the same.