15. The Star (2017)
Worldwide Box Office: $62.8million
Starring: Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Steven Yeun, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Oprah Winfrey, Gabriel Iglesias, Keegan-Michael Key, Ving Rhames, Tyler Perry, Anthony Anderson, Christopher Plummer, Tracy Morgan
Telling the tale of Jesus’ birth from the perspective of the animal kingdom, The Star surpassed the relatively low expectations of being an animated feature suitable only for audience members with devoutly Christian beliefs to become something of a heart-warming and funny take that was suitable for the whole family to enjoy.
While many of the jokes crashed and burned, and the concept itself seemed like an outdated one for a major studio to tackle as recently as the 2010s, The Star at least vaulted into mediocrity, landing it in this spot on our list.
14. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
Worldwide Box Office: $528.6million
Starring: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Kevin James, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Shannon, Mel Brooks, Joe Jonas, Chrissy Teigen
Not a perfect animated film by any means, but a heart-warming and funny release nonetheless, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation set the Hotel Transylvania franchise back on the right track after an underwhelming second release, offering a film that may not have hit year-best heights but was certainly worth the price of admission for those familiar with the other two movies.
Promoting positive messages, featuring the same cast of voice actors who made the original so endearing, and capturing a loving Halloween-esque atmosphere, Summer Vacation is the kind of feature you’d expect from a largely B-level animation house and would be a solid choice for a family evening at home in front of the television.
13. The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)
Worldwide Box Office: $145million
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, Danny McBride, Awkwafina, Leslie Jones, Sterling K. Brown, Maya Rudolph, Pete Davidson, Nicki Minaj
When Sony re-purposed the Angry Birds IP from Columbia Pictures to Sony Pictures (and original animation division Rovio Animation were replaced by Sony Pictures Animation), the quality was immediately increased.
This animated sequel hit the market at a time when Angry Birds was even less relevant than during the first movie’s release (2016) and barely made a splash with audiences, acquiring a relatively tiny $124million at the worldwide box office; a figure that only just ensured that the project broke even.
As many B-level modern animated projects do these days, The Angry Birds Movie 2 leant heavily into referential humour (even including references to The Hunger Games) and was hardly anything other than an enjoyable throwaway. Nevertheless, it was a surprisingly well made film with a cast of great, listenable voices and some high quality animation.
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12. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Worldwide Box Office: $358.4million
Starring: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Molly Shannon, CeeLo Green, Jon Lovitz, Rob Riggle
Before the renaissance of Adam Sandler’s much-maligned career, the Hotel Transylvania series that started in 2012 was the only mild respite from a plethora of below average movies the once beloved actor would star in between 2006 and 2016, his animated turn as Dracula combining the actor’s most lovable qualities while keeping a tight lid on those elements of his persona that people had come to dislike.
Hotel Transylvania benefitted most from having a heart-warming central narrative around which its creative exploration of famed cinematic monsters Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Quasimodo etc. were able to operate as entertaining comedic elements, making for an enjoyable family movie, albeit one still several levels below the very best of the era.
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11. Peter Rabbit (2018)
Worldwide Box Office: $351.3million
Starring: James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Sam Neill, Sia Furler
A runaway box office hit in the UK, Peter Rabbit was a certified audience favourite in 2018, the Beatrix Potter-created titular character being about as engrained in British culture as tea and biscuits or Yorkshire puddings. It was hardly anything more than a throwaway children’s film wrapped in a lot of clever marketing, but sometimes that’s all you need for a good time.
Peter Rabbit was fun so far as B-tier animated movies go. And, while the animation wasn’t particularly creative and the narrative was far too safe to push this film up our rankings, ultimately it was enjoyable and wholesome, a middle of the road Sony Pictures Animation release.
It’s a shame Sony didn’t work on the sequel, Peter Rabbit 2.