Let’s take a look at which talking animals have brought in the most money at the box office.
Movies with an animal protagonist have long been a staple at the box office, with most of them being animated and geared toward children and the family experience. This formula has allowed for incredibly successful films in the genre to be made, with no signs of them ever stopping.
Here are the top 10 highest grossing films with an animal protagonist.
The only PG-13 movie to make it on the list, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the second installment in the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise. The film follows genetically enhanced chimpanzee Caesar as he struggles to protect his colony of fellow chimps while also having to deal with the humans that survived the events of the first movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes would go on to gross roughly $710 million globally and lands at the number 10 spot on the list.
Madagascar 3 is the final film in the main Madagascar franchise, not counting the Penguins of Madagascar spin-off. The movie continues the journey back to New York for Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman as they detour through Europe in a traveling circus. Madagascar 3 brought in a staggering $745 million worldwide, yet has not had any subsequent films after the restructuring of Dreamworks Animation.
Ice Age: Continental Drift is the fourth out of five Ice Age movies, where a continental split breaks up the main group of characters. If they want to get back together, they must go through a group of pirates first. Ice Age 4 earned over $875 million worldwide, and produced one more feature film after its release.
The second Ice Age movie on the list and the third in the franchise, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs shows the main characters of Sid, Manny, and Diego discovering a hidden world filled with dinosaurs and other species that they have never seen before. The third installment of the franchise raked in roughly $885 million at the global box office and cemented Ice Age as an animated powerhouse of the 2000s.
Coming in next is The Secret Life of Pets, which told the story of what our pets do when the humans are away. With a strong voice cast and a family-friendly story, The Secret Life of Pets brought in over $890 million internationally and garnered enough popularity for a second film to be released just a few years later.
Spoiler alert: you're only going to be seeing Disney films from here on out. Starting this run of Disney films is the universally loved and acclaimed Finding Nemo. A story about a father searching for his lost son in the endless ocean, navigating through sharks, jellyfish, sea turtles, whales and more, Finding Nemo is widely considered to be one of Disney-Pixar's absolute best. The box office would agree as well, with Finding Nemo earning about $940 million globally and spawning an even more commercially successful sequel 13 years later.
One of the most anticipated movie sequels of all time, Finding Dory released to a massive opening, and has now eclipsed the $1 billion mark, placing it in the top 50 highest grossing films of all time. The movie follows Dory, a main character from Finding Nemo as she sets out on an adventure to find her parents that she lost long ago. While Finding Dory may not be as universally loved as Finding Nemo, one cannot deny the impact that Finding Dory made in the animation world.
In a list about talking animals, it could not be complete without Zootopia. A film that has transformed the animal kingdom into a world similar to the one we live in, Zootopia follows bright-eyed, bushy tailed Judy Hopps as she moves from her small rabbit town to the big city of Zootopia with dreams of becoming a police officer. Along the way she runs into con artist Nick Wilde as they try to solve a mystery that's taking its grip on the city. Zootopia amassed over $1.04 billion worldwide and is one of Walt Disney Animation's most successful films by far.
One of the most iconic and memorable films of all time, not just in the animated sphere, Disney's The Lion King has earned over $1.06 billion since its release nearly 30 years ago in 1994. Beautiful hand-drawn animation, some of the best songs in film, and a triumphant story about young Simba, The Lion King has truly earned every dollar it made. The movie was so successful in fact, that it spawned sequels, a Broadway musical, and a live-action remake that made even more money than the original.
The most successful animal protagonist movie of all time as well as a top 10 highest grossing film ever, The Lion King (2019) is a hyperrealistic remake of the 1994 original that exploded at the time of its release. Remaking one of the most famous stories of all time and combining it with breathtaking visuals was the perfect recipe for success, with the film grossing over $1.6 billion at the international box office. While many prefer the original Lion King to the new remake, the impact of the film cannot be denied.