Adjusted Gross: *$443.092 million
Unadjusted Gross: $93.602 million
Release Date: June 22, 1955
As Disney’s 15th animated feature , this was the first feature-length animated movie to be made in widescreen (2.55:1)—the widest film the company has ever created. However, upon its release, not all theatres were equipped to show a film in CinemaScope, so another version of the film had to be made, this time in original-aspect ratio.
Before animating the fight between Tramp and the rat, animator Wolfgang Reitherman kept rats in a cage next to his desk to study their actions. The film’s opening sequence, in which character “Darling” unwraps a hat box on Christmas morning and finds Lady inside, is reportedly based upon an actual incident in Walt Disney’s life. After he’d forgotten a dinner date with his wife, he offered her the puppy-in-the-hat box surprise and was immediately forgiven.
Adjusted Gross: *$447.883 million
Unadjusted Gross: $339.714 million
Release Date: May 30, 2003
Distributor: Buena Vista
The look and feel of the underwater world was essential to Finding Nemo’s success.The production crew all visited aquariums, went on diving stints in Monterey and Hawaii, attended study sessions in front of Pixar’s own 25-gallon fish tank and even attended a series of in-house lectures from an ichthyologist.
Rendering a frame which lasted about 1/24th of a second in the film could take up to four days because of the complexity of the underwater environment with sunlight coming through the water and hitting fish scales. The great white shark’s name in the movie was Bruce—also the nickname given to the models used for the shark in the original “Jaws.”
Adjusted Gross: *$506.514 million
Unadjusted Gross: $102.247 million
Release Date: Aug. 21, 1942
This was the fifth animated Disney feature . The look of the film was inspired by the work of Tyrus Wong, a Chinese animator whose sketches used softened backgrounds allowing the audience to focus squarely on the beautifully drawn animals.
To design Bambi’s scenes, Walt Disney traveled to Argentina in 1941, and there he was inspired in the forests of the Neuquéns province (southwest of Argentina). For the film’s DVD release in 2005, over 110,000 frames were cleaned up individually, requiring more than 9,600 hours of work.
Adjusted Gross: *$564.855 million
Unadjusted Gross: $441.226 million
Release Date: May 19, 2004
This was the first sequel ever nominated for an Oscar as best animated feature. The award-winning facial animation system was the breakthrough that allowed “Shrek” to be the first computer-animated film to put human characters in leading roles. It was also the first film to be shown at over 4,000 theatres in the US.
Shrek 2 was nominated not only for the Academy Award for best animated feature film, but also for best achievement in music written for motion pictures, original song (for the song “Accidentally In Love”), as well as nominated for the 2005 Golden Globes Award for best original song and for the MTV Movie Award for best comedic performance.
Adjusted Gross: *$577.774 million
Unadjusted Gross: $51.600 million
Release Date: Jan. 29, 1959
This film was in active production from 1951 to 1958 , and tied the record for having the longest animated film production schedule at Disney. It was shot on a 35mm Technirama double-frame negative (which is as big as two regular Academy frames joined together) running horizontally through the animation camera, with each frame photographed three times (once with a red filter, once with a blue filter, and once with a green filter). It was thus the first film released in Super Technirama 70.
The musical score throughout the film was recorded by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. The Disneyland castle was named for this film, even though the park opened four years prior to the film’s release.
Sleeping Beauty is also one of the films to include a “hidden Mickey.” When the fairies discuss how to help the king and queen, Merryweather makes cookies in the shape of Mickey Mouse.
Adjusted Gross: *$585.755 million
Unadjusted Gross: $141.843 million
Release Date: Oct. 18, 1967
This was the last film personally overseen by Walt Disney , as he died during production. The Jungle Book was animated using a combination of Xeroxed cells and hand-inked details.
The film’s popular song “The Bare Necessities” was nominated for an Academy Award. The Vultures were originally going to be voiced by the Beatles, but after the characters were created, John Lennon decided against it. The Vultures even had “mop top” haircuts and Liverpool voices.
Adjusted Gross: *$613.992 million
Unadjusted Gross: $328.541 million
Release Date: June 15, 1994
Distributor: Buena Vista
More than one million drawings were created for the film , including 1,197 hand-painted backgrounds and 119,058 individually colored frames of film.
“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” was the first song Tim Rice wrote for the movie. He gave the words he’d written to Elton John, who wrote the music. Elton imagined the love ballad being sung by the two young lions —but instead it was originally recorded by Timon and Pumbaa. The producers later changed their minds and gave the song to the lions.
Adjusted Gross: *$660.195 million
Unadjusted Gross: $76.408 million
Release Date: Jan. 29, 1941
This was the first American film to use stereophonic sound as well as the first and only film recorded in “Fantasound.” All of the music in the film is recorded by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra except for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
The animators secretly modeled elements of the Sorcerer in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” on their boss, Walt Disney—the raised eyebrow was regarded as a dead giveaway—and they call the character Yen Sid, which is “Disney” spelled backwards.
2. 101 Dalmation
Adjusted Gross: *$794.34 million
Unadjusted Gross: $144.880 million
Release Date: Jan. 25, 1961
This was the first Disney feature film to use photocopying technology also known as Xerography, which made an animated film with this much visual complexity possible, setting the visual style of Disney animation for years to come.
A total of 300 artists using 1,218,750 pencils worked on this film. Over 1,000 different shades of color (100 of these brand new) were specifically developed to show realistic human and animal movement . Also, there is a hidden Mickey on almost all of the Dalmatians.
Adjusted Gross: *$866.55 million
Unadjusted Gross: $184.925 million
Release Date: Dec. 21, 1937
Snow White was a breakthrough in animation because of the sliding painted background glasses used— two million illustrations were made using 1500 shades of paint. A total of 32 animators, 102 assistants, 167 “in-betweeners”, 20 layout artists, 25 artists doing water color backgrounds, 65 effects animators, and 158 female inkers and painters were involved in producing the movie.
This was the first full-length animated feature film to come out of the United States and was also the first film to ever have a soundtrack recording album released for it.
*Adjusted for ticket price inflation to the estimated 2010 average ticket price of $7.95