Sony Pictures Animation Movies Ranked

5. Vivo (2021)

Budget: $25million
Worldwide Box Office: N/A (Netflix)
Starring: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Gloria Estefan, Nicole Byer, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Leslie David Baker, Lidya Jewett, Brian Tyree Henry

Sony Pictures Animation took a risk on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s unsuccessful Dreamworks Animation pitch to make an animated family musical based around a Cuban cast of characters, and upon the direct-to-Netflix release of this infectious and wholesome animation it was proven to be the correct choice.

Featuring songs written by Miranda, creator of “Hamilton” and writer behind the music of Disney’s Moana, Vivo was a joyful 100-or-so minutes with ear worms aplenty, and featured a rich and diverse voice cast headed by the man himself.

Featuring the kinds of traits usually associated with Walt Disney Animation releases – namely a hearty story grounded in real-world issues to teach the kids valuable lessons about friendship, family, and in this case the experience of migrating to a new place – and filled with the animation industry’s standard of a variety of funny animal sidekicks, Vivo ticked all the boxes for a lovely time at the movies.

4. Arthur Christmas (2011)

Arthur Christmas 2011 Film

Budget: $100million
Worldwide Box Office: $147.4million
Starring: James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Ashley Jensen, Imelda Staunton, Eva Longoria, Laura Linney, Michael Palin, Robbie Coltrane

Arthur Christmas was officially the first co-production between Sony Pictures Animation and British stop-motion icons Aardman, though unlike the 2nd film of the partnership, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, it wasn’t a stop-motion animation.

The project was a relative hit with critics. It was funny, charming and clever, just as Aardman films and TV shows had always reliably been, and it was unapologetically festive.

Unlike a lot of the more maligned Sony Pictures Animation releases, Arthur Christmas offered elements to people of all ages, and was a delight that seems to have been unfairly forgotten amongst the pantheon of Christmas animation movies released over the years.

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3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Cloudy Meatballs Sony Pictures

Budget: $100million
Worldwide Box Office: $243million
Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, James Caan, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt, Mr. T, Will Forte

The feature screenwriting and directorial debuts of the now reputably hilarious Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street; The Lego Movie), Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs proved to be just as creative of a concept as the pair’s later Sony Pictures Animation release (still to come) and was the proving ground of their now somewhat iconic comedic style, timing and original presentation.

Featuring a voice cast of talents as loveable as Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Andy Samberg and a perfectly used Mr. T, Cloudy was performed with the same innocence and heart as the imaginations that dreamt up ice cream snowballs and spaghetti twisters, creating an overall experience of pure joy that had it ranking at the very top of Sony Pictures Animation’s filmography for close to ten years.

Time may have dimmed the bright spark of genius that once fired from this animated classic, but a classic of the form it remains.

2. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

Budget: $50-100million
Worldwide Box Office: N/A (Netflix)
Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Olivia Colman, Eric Andre, Alex Hirsch, Blake Griffin, Charlyne Yi, Fred Armisen

As just one of the trifecta of Sony Pictures Animation releases sent directly to Netflix in 2021 (owing to cinema closures and an uncertain box office marketplace), The Mitchells vs. the Machines could have easily been forgotten about. Instead, it was a best-of-the-year offering; not just for streaming or animation, but for the wider film world.

Edge-of-your-seat action, consistent laughs and a deeply emotive core made The Mitchells vs. the Machines a creative success from conception to presentation, another out-and-out contemporary masterpiece from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse writer-producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

Its masterful animation acted as a reminder as to why animated films still belong on the big screen in an era capable of creating photo-realistic talking animals with CGI, never failing to reinforce the always important talents and creativity of animation artists, while its central narrative of a dysfunctional modern family attempting to navigate apocalyptic circumstances was (intentionally or not) a tale that 2021 audiences could relate to perhaps more than ever.

Hearty, funny, terrifically animated, creatively constructed, and immensely timely, few animated feature films have been as spectacular or as important as The Mitchells vs. the Machines, one of Sony Pictures Animation’s greatest releases.

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1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Spider-Man 2018 Movie

Budget: $90million
Worldwide Box Office: $375.5million
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, Lily Tomlin, Kimiko Glenn, Chris Pine, Zoe Kravitz, Kathryn Hahn, Natalie Morales

Incomparable and monumental, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a game-changing move from Sony’s animation house, their commitment to tastefully animating such a fantastic and fresh narrative from their multi-time collaborators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller elevating the entire studio from B-tier animation and into the very top of the game.

Into the Spider-Verse was simply sensational; easily good enough to compete with the very best of the Spider-Man movie franchise and even pip Disney to the Animated Feature Oscar in 2019 (making it only the 6th film to do so).

This gem of both visual and narrative standards was a simply incomparable release that re-wrote how comic books could be adapted, how animated films could look, and how people perceive Sony Pictures Animation, writing itself into the annals of film history as one of the very best releases of the 2010s in the process.

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What is your opinion on Sony Pictures Animation? Do you think their greatest work can rival the likes of Walt Disney Animation? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on more insightful movie lists.

Updated 16th July 2022 to include several films. Originally published 9th November 2019.

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