DreamWorks Animation

(Photo by DreamWorks Animation)

All 42 DreamWorks Animation Movies Ranked

DreamWorks Animation’s first movie was Antz, released two months before A Bug’s Life, and thus this studio was born into incessant comparison to Pixar’s output, molded by it, becoming the snarky and sarcastic foil to its competitor’s earnestness.

DreamWorks Animation would forge most of its identity and formula on the back of one giant, smelly, green ogre: Shrek, which has generated sequels, tie-ins, theme park rides, and billions of dollars, while ensuring Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” never leaving the pop culture’s ironic curriculum.

The studio’s other franchises include Kung Fu Panda, which introduced a whole new world of visual flair and surprising emotional depth to the DreamWorks movie canon, and Madagascar, which pulled off the mega-rare feat of each movie being higher-rated on the Tomatometer than the last. At least the mainline movies. (Penguins of Madagascar 73% is lower than the 79% Madagascar 3 has, but that’s a spin-off.)

Their latest release was The Bad Guys, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish on the horizon. Now, we’re ranking all DreamWorks Animation movies by Tomatometer! Alex Vo

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 106599%
Critics Consensus: Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars.
Synopsis: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life.... [More]

#2

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103371%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#3
Adjusted Score: 102797%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#4

Antz (1998)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 96608%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a stellar voice cast, technically dazzling animation, and loads of good humor, Antz should delight both children and adults.
Synopsis: Z the worker ant (Woody Allen) strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work-ethic of the ant colony.... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

#5
Adjusted Score: 99025%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, emotionally resonant, and beautifully animated, How to Train Your Dragon 2 builds on its predecessor's successes just the way a sequel should.
Synopsis: Five years have passed since Hiccup and Toothless united the dragons and Vikings of Berk. Now, they spend their time... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois, Tom Owens

#6
Adjusted Score: 106223%
Critics Consensus: The rare trilogy capper that really works, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brings its saga to a visually dazzling and emotionally affecting conclusion.
Synopsis: When the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois

#7

Shrek 2 (2004)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 97801%
Critics Consensus: It may not be as fresh as the original, but topical humor and colorful secondary characters make Shrek 2 a winner in its own right.
Synopsis: After returning from their honeymoon and showing home movies to their friends, Shrek and Fiona learn that her parents have... [More]

#8

Shrek (2001)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96644%
Critics Consensus: While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride.
Synopsis: Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) whose precious solitude... [More]

#9

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94942%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]

#10
Adjusted Score: 96009%
Critics Consensus: With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won't drive a wedge between family members.
Synopsis: George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#11

The Bad Guys (2022)
88%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95615%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and full of colorful visual appeal, The Bad Guys is good news for audiences seeking options the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: In the new action comedy from DreamWorks Animation, based on the New York Times best-selling book series, a crackerjack criminal... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Perifel

#12

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
86%

#12
Adjusted Score: 97228%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]

#13

Puss in Boots (2011)
86%

#13
Adjusted Score: 91049%
Critics Consensus: It isn't deep or groundbreaking, but what it lacks in profundity, Puss in Boots more than makes up for with an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm.
Synopsis: Long before meeting Shrek, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) -- just named a hero for saving a woman from a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller

#14

Abominable (2019)
82%

#14
Adjusted Score: 91330%
Critics Consensus: Working with admittedly familiar ingredients, Abominable offers audiences a beautifully animated and overall engaging adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: After discovering a Yeti on the roof of her apartment building, teenage Yi and her two friends embark on an... [More]
Directed By: Jill Culton

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 86667%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Peabody & Sherman offers a surprisingly entertaining burst of colorful all-ages fun, despite its dated source material and rather convoluted plot.
Synopsis: Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), the most accomplished canine in the world, and his boy, Sherman (Max Charles), use a time... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#16

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
80%

#16
Adjusted Score: 87364%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 84486%
Critics Consensus: The Prince of Egypt's stunning visuals and first-rate voice cast more than compensate for the fact that it's better crafted than it is emotionally involving.
Synopsis: In this animated retelling of the Book of Exodus, Egyptian Prince Moses (Val Kilmer), upon discovering his roots as a... [More]

#18
Adjusted Score: 83552%
Critics Consensus: Dazzlingly colorful and frenetic, Madagascar 3 is silly enough for young kids, but boasts enough surprising smarts to engage parents along the way.
Synopsis: Animal pals Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still trying to... [More]

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 87610%
Critics Consensus: Another agreeable outing for the titular prehistoric clan, The Croods: A New Age may be the missing link for parents between more elevated family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Searching for a safer habitat, the prehistoric Crood family discovers an idyllic, walled-in paradise that meets all of its needs.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Crawford

#20

Over the Hedge (2006)
75%

#20
Adjusted Score: 82405%
Critics Consensus: Even if it's not an animation classic, Over the Hedge is clever and fun, and the jokes cater to family members of all ages.
Synopsis: When Verne (Garry Shandling) and fellow woodland friends awake from winter's hibernation, they find they have some new neighbors: humans,... [More]

#21

Trolls (2016)
75%

#21
Adjusted Score: 85272%
Critics Consensus: Trolls brings its instantly recognizable characters to the big screen in a colorful adventure that, while geared toward the younger set, isn't without rewards for parents.
Synopsis: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 80827%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Avengers for the elementary school set, Rise of the Guardians is wonderfully animated and briskly paced, but it's only so-so in the storytelling department.
Synopsis: Generation after generation, immortal Guardians like Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla... [More]
Directed By: Peter Ramsey

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 82298%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 77616%
Critics Consensus: Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Plucky penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) -- the most elite spies... [More]

#25

Flushed Away (2006)
73%

#25
Adjusted Score: 77790%
Critics Consensus: Clever and appealing for both children and adults, Flushed Away marks a successful entry into digital animated features for Aardman Animations.
Synopsis: After an ignoble landing in Ratropolis, a pampered rodent (Hugh Jackman) enlists the help of a sewer scavenger (Kate Winslet)... [More]
Directed By: David Bowers, Sam Fell

#26

Megamind (2010)
72%

#26
Adjusted Score: 78165%
Critics Consensus: It regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast and strong visuals help make Megamind a pleasant, if unspectacular, diversion.
Synopsis: Though he is the most-brilliant supervillain the world has known, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the least-successful. Thwarted time and again... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#27

The Croods (2013)
72%

#27
Adjusted Score: 76677%
Critics Consensus: While it may not be as (ahem) evolved as the best modern animated fare, The Croods will prove solidly entertaining for families seeking a fast-paced, funny cartoon adventure.
Synopsis: Prehistoric family the Croods live in a particularly dangerous moment in time. Patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), his mate, Ugga (Catherine... [More]

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 82142%
Critics Consensus: A fun follow-up for fans of the original, Trolls World Tour offers a second helping of colorful animation, infectious energy, and sing-along songs.
Synopsis: Poppy and Branch discover that there are six different troll tribes scattered over six different lands. Each tribe is also... [More]
Directed By: Walt Dohrn

#29
Adjusted Score: 73032%
Critics Consensus: A visually stunning film that may be too predictable and politically correct for adults, but should serve children well.
Synopsis: Follows the adventures of a wild and rambunctious mustang stallion as he journeys through the untamed American frontier. Encountering man... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook

#30

Turbo (2013)
67%

#30
Adjusted Score: 70337%
Critics Consensus: It's nowhere near as inventive as its off-the-wall premise might suggest, but Turbo boasts just enough colorful visual thrills and sharp voice acting to recommend as undemanding family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a speed-obsessed snail with an unusual dream: to become the world's greatest racer. This odd snail... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#31
Adjusted Score: 69390%
Critics Consensus: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an improvement on the original, with more fleshed-out characters, crisper animation and more consistent humor.
Synopsis: Alex (Ben Stiller), Morty (Chris Rock) and other zoo animals find a way to escape from Madagascar when the penguins... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 65016%
Critics Consensus: While not without its moments, Shrek Forever After too often feels like a rote rehashing of the franchise's earlier entries.
Synopsis: Long-settled into married life and fully domesticated, Shrek (Mike Myers) begins to long for the days when he felt like... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell

#33

Madagascar (2005)
54%

#33
Adjusted Score: 62135%
Critics Consensus: Though its story is problematic in spots and its humor is hit-or-miss for the adult crowd, Madagascar boasts impressive visuals and enough spunky charm to keep children entertained.
Synopsis: Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. He... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

#34

The Boss Baby (2017)
53%

#34
Adjusted Score: 66383%
Critics Consensus: The Boss Baby's talented cast, glimmers of wit, and flashes of visual inventiveness can't make up for a thin premise and a disappointing willingness to settle for doody jokes.
Synopsis: A new baby's arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator -- a... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#35

Home (2015)
52%

#35
Adjusted Score: 56357%
Critics Consensus: Colorful, silly, and utterly benign, Home is a passable diversion, but there's no shortage of superior animated alternatives.
Synopsis: After a hive-minded alien race called the Boov conquer the Earth, they relocate the planet's human population -- all except... [More]
Directed By: Tim Johnson

#36

Bee Movie (2007)
49%

#36
Adjusted Score: 56650%
Critics Consensus: Bee Movie has humorous moments, but its awkward premise and tame delivery render it mostly forgettable.
Synopsis: Fresh out of college, Barry the Bee finds the prospect of working with honey uninspiring. He flies outside the hive... [More]

#37

Spirit Untamed (2021)
49%

#37
Adjusted Score: 53634%
Critics Consensus: While it might be a passable diversion for younger viewers, Spirit Untamed is a middling sequel that lacks the essential energy suggested by its title.
Synopsis: After moving to a sleepy little town, young Lucky Prescott befriends a wild mustang named Spirit, who shares her rebellious... [More]
Directed By: Elaine Bogan

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 51542%
Critics Consensus: Predictable story and thin characters made the movie flat.
Synopsis: Two con-men (Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh) get hold of a map to the lost City of Gold, El Dorado. After... [More]

#39
Adjusted Score: 50881%
Critics Consensus: It's more C-level than C-suite, but as a painless diversion for the kids, this Boss Baby manages some decent Family Business.
Synopsis: Now adults, Tim Templeton is a stay-at-home dad for two adorable daughters, while his estranged brother, Ted, is a big-shot... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#40
Adjusted Score: 48379%
Critics Consensus: Competent, but not magical.
Synopsis: The adventurous sailor (Brad Pitt) and a beautiful stowaway (Catherine Zeta-Jones) have 10 days to save a prince from execution.... [More]

#41

Shrek the Third (2007)
41%

#41
Adjusted Score: 50595%
Critics Consensus: Shrek the Third has pop culture potshots galore, but at the expense of the heart, charm, and wit that made the first two Shreks classics.
Synopsis: When King Harold suddenly croaks, Shrek (Mike Myers) learns he will have to rule the land of Far, Far Away,... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller

#42

Shark Tale (2004)
35%

#42
Adjusted Score: 42359%
Critics Consensus: Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes.
Synopsis: Underachiever Oscar (Will Smith) is a pint-sized fish with grand aspirations. When mob-connected great white shark Frankie (Michael Imperioli) is... [More]

(Photo by Consolidated Pictures Group/courtesy Everett Collection)

67 Best Dog Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Dogs: Man’s best friend, movie’s most endangered hero. Seriously, how many times have we gone into a dog movie hoping we didn’t just get suckered into another one where the dog dies in the end? But some of those movies make up the classics. And some of those movies where the dog lives happily after ever, with a nice house and a bowl of kibble and a robust 401k, are also classics. And some dog movies ain’t so classic, but people love ’em anyways, so we’re including those, and all the other good boys and girls of canine cinema for our guide to the 80 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

First, we’ve retrieved all the golden films of yesteryear, like Old Yeller, Lassie, and The Incredible Journey. Then we rescued those nearly forgotten from the kennels of history, including Wendy and Lucy, Sounder, and Megan Leavey. After that, we introduced them to the tearjerkers of today, such as Hachi: A Dog’s Tale and Marley and Me.

Because dogs can take on new dimensions of ferocity and cuteness in animation, there’s plenty to see here in this list. Take the Disney classics (The Fox and the Hound, Bolt). Add a little stop-motion (Isle of Dogs, Frankenweenie). And, of course, bring along the ones that can solve mysteries (Scooby-Doo), hold a job (Wallace, he of Gromit), and pilot their house (Snoopy, Come Home).

The latest additions include Channing Tatum’s Dog. We’ve also included Rotten movies that fans have embraced, like Clifford the Big Red Dog, A Dog’s Purpose, Balto. Now, time to let all of them off the leash for the 67 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer! Alex Vo

#1

Old Yeller (1957)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101976%
Critics Consensus: Old Yeller is an exemplary coming of age tale, packing an emotional wallop through smart pacing and a keen understanding of the elemental bonding between humanity and their furry best friends.
Synopsis: While Jim Coates (Fess Parker) is off on a cattle drive, his wife, Katie (Dorothy McGuire), and sons, Travis (Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#2

Red Dog: True Blue (2016)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 84542%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An 11-year-old boy strikes up a friendship with a scrappy dog which will one day become an Australian legend.... [More]
Directed By: Kriv Stenders

#3
Adjusted Score: 99494%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pooches and a memorable villain (Cruella De Vil), this is one of Disney's most enduring, entertaining animated films.
Synopsis: In a Disney animation classic, Dalmatian Pongo is tired of his bachelor-dog life. He spies lovely Perdita and maneuvers his... [More]

#4

Heart of a Dog (2015)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100149%
Critics Consensus: Of a piece with much of director Laurie Anderson's idiosyncratic output, Heart of a Dog delves into weighty themes with lyrical, haunting grace.
Synopsis: Musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson reflects on the deaths of her husband Lou Reed, her mother and her beloved... [More]
Directed By: Laurie Anderson

#5
Adjusted Score: 102797%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#6

Lassie Come Home (1943)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 94774%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a small Yorkshire village during the Great Depression, financial pressures cause the parents of young Joe Carraclough (Roddy McDowall)... [More]
Directed By: Fred M. Wilcox

#7

Best in Show (2000)
93%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96971%
Critics Consensus: A fine example of writer-director-star Christopher Guest's gift for improv comedy, Best in Show boasts an appealingly quirky premise and a brilliantly talented cast.
Synopsis: The tension is palpable, the excitement is mounting and the heady scent of competition is in the air as hundreds... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Guest

#8

Lassie (2005)
93%

#8
Adjusted Score: 94420%
Critics Consensus: A beautifully-made retelling of the classic collie tale, one need not be a dog-lover to fall for Lassie.
Synopsis: Young Joe Carraclough (Jonathan Mason) and his family (Samantha Morton, John Lynch) love their faithful collie, Lassie. However, when Joe's... [More]
Directed By: Charles Sturridge

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 97224%
Critics Consensus: A nostalgic charmer, Lady and the Tramp's token sweetness is mighty but the songs and richly colored animation are technically superb and make for a memorable experience.
Synopsis: This Disney animated classic follows a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady (Barbara Luddy) whose comfortable life slips away once her... [More]

#10

White Dog (1982)
94%

#10
Adjusted Score: 93485%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An animal-trainer (Paul Winfield) tries to deprogram an actress's (Kristy McNichol) found dog, trained for racial attacks.... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Fuller

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 92670%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Charlie Brown's (Chad Webber) beloved dog Snoopy (Bill Melendez) receives a letter from his original owner, Lila (Johanna Baer), who... [More]
Directed By: Bill Melendez

#12

Togo (2019)
92%

#12
Adjusted Score: 93960%
Critics Consensus: An endearing and exciting underdog story that benefits greatly from its stars (canine and human alike), Togo is a timeless tale, well-told.
Synopsis: "Togo" is the true story set in the winter of 1925 of champion dogsled trainer Leonhard Seppala and his lead... [More]
Directed By: Ericson Core

#13

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 111991%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#14

My Dog Tulip (2009)
90%

#14
Adjusted Score: 91775%
Critics Consensus: A beautifully animated diversion, My Dog Tulip is as comforting and delightful as cuddling with your own canine companion.
Synopsis: Despite a lack of affinity for dogs, a confirmed bachelor (Christopher Plummer) adopts an Alsatian and forms a close bond... [More]

#15

Sounder (1972)
90%

#15
Adjusted Score: 91507%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Morgans, a family of poor black sharecroppers in the Depression-plagued South, struggle to find enough to eat despite the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Ritt

#16

Bolt (2008)
89%

#16
Adjusted Score: 96895%
Critics Consensus: Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story's familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters.
Synopsis: The days of canine superstar Bolt (John Travolta) are filled with danger and intrigue ... until the cameras stop rolling.... [More]

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 88025%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unlikely trio of pets -- aging bull terrier Bodger, spry Labrador retriever Luath, and Siamese cat Tao -- begin... [More]
Directed By: Fletcher Markle

#18

Baxter (1989)
89%

#18
Adjusted Score: 39368%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A bull terrier observes the behavior of an old lady, a young couple and a troubled boy and adapts his... [More]
Directed By: Jérôme Boivin

#19

White God (2014)
88%

#19
Adjusted Score: 92168%
Critics Consensus: White God isn't an easy watch, but its soaring ambition and powerful acting -- human and canine alike -- make it well worth the effort.
Synopsis: Failing in his efforts to find his beloved owner (Zsófia Psotta), an abandoned dog eventually joins a canine revolt against... [More]
Directed By: Kornél Mundruczó

#20
Adjusted Score: 34627%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby (Scott Innes) and the rest of the Mystery, Inc., crew encounter creepy characters at a haunted house on a... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#21

Frankenweenie (2012)
87%

#21
Adjusted Score: 96856%
Critics Consensus: Frankenweenie is an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.
Synopsis: Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend:... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#22
Adjusted Score: 87835%
Critics Consensus: Disney's remake of The Incredible Journey successfully replicates, and in some ways improves upon, the simple charms of the original, with its cross-country animal odyssey sure to delight kids.
Synopsis: Before the Seavers leave for a family vacation to San Francisco, they drop off their pets -- Chance (Michael J.... [More]
Directed By: Duwayne Dunham

#23

Oddball (2015)
87%

#23
Adjusted Score: 86571%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A chicken farmer and his granddaughter train a dog to protect a penguin sanctuary from foxes.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart McDonald

#24

Megan Leavey (2017)
86%

#24
Adjusted Score: 92518%
Critics Consensus: Megan Leavey honors its real-life subjects with a sensitive, uplifting drama whose honest emotion more than makes up for its mild approach to the story.
Synopsis: The true life story of Megan Leavey, a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with a military combat... [More]

#25

Wendy and Lucy (2008)
85%

#25
Adjusted Score: 92823%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Williams gives a heartbreaking performance in Wendy and Lucy, a timely portrait of loneliness and struggle.
Synopsis: Wendy (Michelle Williams), a near-penniless drifter, is traveling to Alaska in search of work, and her only companion is her... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Reichardt

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 88561%
Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.
Synopsis: Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction who's rude to everyone he meets, including his gay... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#27

Red Dog (2011)
84%

#27
Adjusted Score: 83808%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dog unites a fractured community while searching for its master.... [More]
Directed By: Kriv Stenders

#28

Alpha (2018)
81%

#28
Adjusted Score: 87775%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and beautifully filmed, Alpha offers a canine-assisted epic adventure that blends rousing action with an extra helping of canine charm.
Synopsis: Young Keda tries to survive alone in the wilderness after he's left for dead during his first hunt with his... [More]
Directed By: Albert Hughes

#29

White Fang (2018)
80%

#29
Adjusted Score: 52002%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young boy befriends a half-breed wolf as he searches for his father, who has mysteriously gone missing during the... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Espigares

#30
Adjusted Score: 63398%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cat and a dog find perils and mates after straying from their farm in Japan. Narrated by Dudley Moore.... [More]
Directed By: Masanori Hata

#31

Dog (2022)
77%

#31
Adjusted Score: 84938%
Critics Consensus: Dog's dramatic breed is far from exotic, but solid narrative bones and well-trained work from co-director/star Channing Tatum make for a fetching viewing experience.
Synopsis: DOG is a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the... [More]

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 78481%
Critics Consensus: An offbeat, eccentric black comedy, A Boy and His Dog features strong dialogue and an oddball vision of the future.
Synopsis: Vic (Don Johnson) is a libidinous 18-year-old traversing the post-apocalyptic desert of 2024, in the company of his telepathic dog,... [More]
Directed By: L.Q. Jones

#33

Eight Below (2006)
73%

#33
Adjusted Score: 78471%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a stellar cast of marooned mutts, who deftly display emotion, tenderness, loyalty and resolve, Eight Below is a heartwarming and exhilarating adventure film.
Synopsis: The frozen wasteland of Antarctica serves as the background for a tale about the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Three... [More]
Directed By: Frank Marshall

#34

My Dog Skip (2000)
73%

#34
Adjusted Score: 75514%
Critics Consensus: Critics say My Dog Skip is cute, wholesome entertainment for the family. It's especially designed to appeal to your sentiment, but you might find yourself choking up just the same.
Synopsis: Who says best friends have to be human? Not Willie Morris (Frankie Muniz), who receives a talented terrier named Skip... [More]
Directed By: Jay Russell

#35

Shiloh (1997)
73%

#35
Adjusted Score: 38672%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Marty Preston (Blake Heron) wants to keep a beagle dog that followed him home. He even names him Shiloh.... [More]
Directed By: Dale Rosenbloom

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 86121%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and blessed with a talented voice cast, The Secret Life of Pets offers a beautifully animated, cheerfully undemanding family-friendly diversion.
Synopsis: Max (Louis C.K.) is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York building until his owner... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 71341%
Critics Consensus: The Fox and the Hound is a likeable, charming, unassuming effort that manages to transcend its thin, predictable plot.
Synopsis: After his mother is killed, Tod the fox (Mickey Rooney) is taken in by the kindly Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan).... [More]

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 68359%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Marty (Zachary Browne) adopts Shiloh, a beagle mistreated by its former owner, local hunter and town drunk Judd (Scott... [More]
Directed By: Sandy Tung

#39

I Am Legend (2007)
68%

#39
Adjusted Score: 77742%
Critics Consensus: I Am Legend overcomes questionable special effects and succeeds largely on the strength of Will Smith's mesmerizing performance.
Synopsis: Robert Neville (Will Smith), a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants.... [More]
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

#40

Iron Will (1994)
67%

#40
Adjusted Score: 41604%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: His father's demise leaves young Will Stoneman (Mackenzie Astin) and his mother struggling to save their farm from financial ruin.... [More]
Directed By: Charles Haid

#41

White Fang (1991)
65%

#41
Adjusted Score: 65715%
Critics Consensus: This glossy edition of White Fang shaves off the rough-hewn edges that made Jack London's epic story so distinct, but gorgeous photography and heartfelt performances make this an appealing adventure.
Synopsis: This adaptation of Jack London's wilderness tale focuses on young Jack Conroy (Ethan Hawke), who has arrived in Alaska to... [More]
Directed By: Randal Kleiser

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 64256%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A college professor (Richard Gere) forms a lasting bond with a dog that he finds on a train platform.... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#43

Marley & Me (2008)
63%

#43
Adjusted Score: 67685%
Critics Consensus: Pet owners should love it, but Marley and Me is only sporadically successful in wringing drama and laughs from its scenario.
Synopsis: Newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston) leave behind snowy Michigan and move to Florida, where they buy... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#44

The Plague Dogs (1982)
63%

#44
Adjusted Score: 46115%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animation, Snitter (John Hurt) and Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) are two dogs trapped in a lab where they are... [More]
Directed By: Martin Rosen

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 76789%
Critics Consensus: It's undermined by distracting and unnecessary CGI, but this heartwarming Call of the Wild remains a classic story, affectionately retold.
Synopsis: Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his... [More]
Directed By: Chris Sanders

#46

Dog Days (2018)
62%

#46
Adjusted Score: 65486%
Critics Consensus: Dog Days is frivolous but frothy, sporting a forgettable cast of human characters but a lovable troupe of pooches that ought to delight viewers looking for a gentle affirmation of humanity's bond with their furry friends.
Synopsis: Elizabeth is a charming anchorwoman who seeks advice from her dog's therapist. Tara is a spunky barista who dreams of... [More]
Directed By: Ken Marino

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 69934%
Critics Consensus: The Secret Life of Pets 2 doesn't teach its animated stars any new narrative tricks -- but for fans of the original, this funny, energetic sequel should still satisfy.
Synopsis: Explore the emotional lives of pets and the deep bond between them and the families that love them as Max,... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#48

Benji (2018)
60%

#48
Adjusted Score: 39008%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dog comes to the rescue and helps heal a broken family when a boy and his sister stumble into... [More]
Directed By: Brandon Camp

#49
Adjusted Score: 14911%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Transported into a video game, the gang must survive different levels of difficulty to solve a mystery.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#50

Arctic Dogs (2019)
12%

#50
Adjusted Score: 11127%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Swifty the fox discovers a devious plan by Otto Von Walrus to drill beneath the Arctic surface to unleash enough... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Woodley

#51

A Dog's Way Home (2019)
59%

#51
Adjusted Score: 63234%
Critics Consensus: A Dog's Way Home may not quite be a family-friendly animal drama fan's best friend, but this canine adventure is no less heartwarming for its familiarity.
Synopsis: As a puppy, Bella finds her way into the arms of Lucas, a young man who gives her a good... [More]
Directed By: Charles Martin Smith

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 61477%
Critics Consensus: It may get younger viewers to sit and stay, but Clifford the Big Red Dog is nowhere near as charming as its classic source material.
Synopsis: When middle-schooler Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) meets a magical animal rescuer (John Cleese) who gifts her a little, red puppy,... [More]
Directed By: Walt Becker

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 58897%
Critics Consensus: An old-fashioned, if bland, adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's novel.
Synopsis: Abandoned by her mother years ago, Opal (AnnaSophia Robb), a 10-year-old girl, moves with her preacher father (Jeff Daniels) to... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#54

Benji the Hunted (1987)
55%

#54
Adjusted Score: 29013%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a shipwreck separates the courageous dog Benji from his trainer (Frank Inn), the crafty canine must brave the dangers... [More]
Directed By: Joe Camp

#55

Balto (1995)
56%

#55
Adjusted Score: 56924%
Critics Consensus: Balto is a well-meaning adventure with spirited animation, but mushy sentimentality and bland characterization keeps it at paw's length from more sophisticated family fare.
Synopsis: In this animated feature, a deadly diphtheria epidemic strikes the remote town of Nome, Alaska. With the life-saving medicine located... [More]
Directed By: Simon Wells

#56

A Dog's Journey (2019)
51%

#56
Adjusted Score: 54629%
Critics Consensus: A Dog's Journey is as sentimental as one might expect, but even cynical viewers may find their ability to resist shedding a tear stretched to the puppermost limit.
Synopsis: Bailey is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his boy, Ethan and Ethan's wife Hannah. He even... [More]
Directed By: Gail Mancuso

#57

Oliver & Company (1988)
50%

#57
Adjusted Score: 52958%
Critics Consensus: Predictable and stodgy, Oliver & Company isn't one of Disney's best, though its colorful cast of characters may be enough to entertain young viewers looking for a little adventure.
Synopsis: In this animated update of the classic "Oliver Twist" tale, Oliver (Joey Lawrence) is an orphaned kitten taken in by... [More]
Directed By: George Scribner

#58
Adjusted Score: 14927%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby and friends investigate creepy goings-on and a mystery involving a famous horror writer in a small Massachusetts town.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#59
Adjusted Score: 50949%
Critics Consensus: Its heartstring-tugging overtures may be difficult for dog lovers to resist, but The Art of Racing in the Rain is sentimental and contrived.
Synopsis: Denny Swift is a Formula One race car driver who understands that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also... [More]
Directed By: Simon Curtis

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 44647%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animated feature, canine casino owner Charlie (Burt Reynolds) is killed by gambler Carface (Vic Tayback), but returns to... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth

#61

The Stray (2017)
40%

#61
Adjusted Score: 32138%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Christian Davis finds a stray dog named Pluto and decides to bring it home to his parents and two... [More]
Directed By: Mitch Davis

#62

Max (2015)
38%

#62
Adjusted Score: 41573%
Critics Consensus: Max has good intentions and tries to hearken back to classic family-friendly features, but its disjointed, manipulative plot overwhelms the efforts of its talented human and canine stars.
Synopsis: After U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott is killed in Afghanistan, Max, his highly trained service dog, is too traumatized to remain... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#63

Firehouse Dog (2007)
38%

#63
Adjusted Score: 40076%
Critics Consensus: Firehouse Dog's cute premise is ruined with endless fart and poop jokes, and an overlong run time.
Synopsis: When a commercial shoot goes terribly wrong, Rex, Hollywood's biggest canine star, goes missing and is presumed dead by his... [More]
Directed By: Todd Holland

#64

Saving Shiloh (2006)
39%

#64
Adjusted Score: 39123%
Critics Consensus: The aggressively wholesome Saving Shiloh has honorable intentions, but this simple story of a boy and his dog is overwhelmed by its heavy-handed approach.
Synopsis: Following a devastating accident, a youth (Jason Dolley) tries to help the former owner (Scott Wilson) of his beloved dog... [More]
Directed By: Sandy Tung

#65

A Dog's Purpose (2017)
35%

#65
Adjusted Score: 44976%
Critics Consensus: A Dog's Purpose offers an awkward blend of sugary sentiment and canine suffering that tugs at animal-loving audiences' heartstrings with shameless abandon.
Synopsis: A devoted dog (Josh Gad) discovers the meaning of its own existence through the lives of the humans it teaches... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#66

Fluke (1995)
25%

#66
Adjusted Score: 13780%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Workaholic Thomas P. Johnson (Matthew Modine) has achieved professional success at the expense of his family life, having neglected his... [More]
Directed By: Carlo Carlei

#67
Adjusted Score: 3955%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dracula transforms Shaggy into a canine horror when the werewolf drops out of the annual Transylvania car race.... [More]
Directed By: Ray Patterson

(Photo by Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: DreamWorks SKG, Buena Vista Pictures, Fox Searchlight, Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

30 Best Stop-Motion Animated Movies of All Time

Tangible and physical, stop-motion animation is the art of manipulating objects and figures frame by frame, creating the illusion of fluid movement. It’s an almost atavistic art form of ours: Instinct tells us if you have a lump of clay in your hands, start making stuff out of it. Shape a chicken and a fox, mold some pirates, heck, make a movie. It’s what filmmakers have been doing for over a century, so we’re taking a look through time with the 30 best stop-motion animated movies ever made.

In this guide, we’ll come in contact with the different materials and styles used in stop motion. Clay has led to the creation of one of animation’s most enduring man-and-canine duos, Wallace and Gromit, created by Nick Park. His films and studio, Aardman, have an outsized presence in that scene, with the likes of Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep. Paper cutout stop-motion animation is less frequently used. See it at its trippy best with Fantastic Planet, and in The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animated film.

Puppet stop-motion animation has been the preferred method for venerable directors like Tim Burton (producer of The Nightmare Before Christmas), Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa), and Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox). Anderson collaborated with Nightmare-director Henry Selick to animate the marine fauna in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; afterwards, Selick set up shop at studio Laika, where he gave them their first big hit, Coraline. Laika has been a stop-motion powerhouse since, using a cutting-edge mix of puppets, clay, and computer enhancements to fuel a string of Certified Fresh films, including The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings.

We included only movies where stop motion is a majority of the presentation, which opened the way for James and the Giant Peach and Jan Švankmajer’s twisted Alice. So while we adore the individual creature effects by Ray Harryhausen in Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad movies, or ED-209 in RoboCop, and even the aforementioned Life Aquatic, you won’t be seeing them here. After we collected the 30 highest-rated movies, we sorted the list by Adjusted Tomatometer, which accounts for the movie’s number of reviews and release year.

Now, read on to discover the 30 best stop-motion animated movies!

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 77448%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three residents (Robert Levy, Nancy Andrews, Chris Sullivan) of a small Rust Belt town lead sad, interconnected lives.... [More]
Directed By: Chris Sullivan

#29

$9.99 (2008)
73%

#29
Adjusted Score: 73589%
Critics Consensus: Its storyline isn't as wondrous as its visuals, but $9.99 has a sophistication and handmade charm that sets it apart from the animated pack.
Synopsis: Residents of a Sydney, Australia, apartment complex look for meaning in their lives.... [More]
Directed By: Tatia Rosenthal

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 83363%
Critics Consensus: A Town Called Panic is a raucous, endlessly creative animated romp with a quirky, adult sense of humor.
Synopsis: In this animated film, Cowboy (Stéphane Aubier) and Indian (Bruce Ellison) plan to construct a barbecue pit for the birthday... [More]

#27

The Boxtrolls (2014)
78%

#27
Adjusted Score: 84449%
Critics Consensus: While it's far from Laika's best offering, The Boxtrolls is still packed with enough offbeat wit and visual splendor to offer a healthy dose of all-ages entertainment.
Synopsis: Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), an orphan, lives with the Boxtrolls -- a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who inhabit a cavern... [More]

#26

Early Man (2018)
80%

#26
Adjusted Score: 90507%
Critics Consensus: Early Man isn't quite as evolved as Aardman's best work, but still retains the unique visuals and sweet humor that have made the studio a favorite among animation enthusiasts.
Synopsis: A plucky cave man named Dug, his sidekick Hognob and the rest of their tribe face a grave threat to... [More]
Directed By: Nick Park

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 92527%
Critics Consensus: As can be expected from a Tim Burton movie, Corpse Bride is whimsically macabre, visually imaginative, and emotionally bittersweet.
Synopsis: Victor (Johnny Depp) and Victoria's (Emily Watson) families have arranged their marriage. Though they like each other, Victor is nervous... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson

#24
Adjusted Score: 92481%
Critics Consensus: It may not quite scale Aardman's customary delirious heights, but The Pirates! still represents some of the smartest, most skillfully animated fare that modern cinema has to offer.
Synopsis: Accompanied by his ragtag crew, an enthusiastic pirate captain (Hugh Grant) sails the high seas and dreams of besting his... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord

#23
Adjusted Score: 90025%
Critics Consensus: Have no fear! Mrs Claus spreads holiday cheer in The Year Without Santa, a holiday classic full of unforgettable songs and characters that stays true to the Christmas spirit.
Synopsis: Two elves try to save Christmas after disgruntled Saint Nick (John Goodman) decides to take the year off.... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

#22

Le Roman de Renard (1930)
100%

#22
Adjusted Score: 79316%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: King Lion orders Master Fox arrested for tricking animals.... [More]

#21

Fantastic Planet (1973)
91%

#21
Adjusted Score: 90642%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Planet is an animated epic that is by turns surreal and lovely, fantastic and graceful.
Synopsis: This animated tale follows the relationship between the small human-like Oms and their much larger blue-skinned oppressors, the Draags, who... [More]
Directed By: René Laloux

#20
Adjusted Score: 92619%
Critics Consensus: Arriving with light-hearted cheeriness and the best musical numbers, Santa Claus Is Comin To Town is a magical story told by charming wood-figure animation.
Synopsis: ... [More]

#19

ParaNorman (2012)
89%

#19
Adjusted Score: 96089%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.
Synopsis: Young Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has the ability to speak with the dead -- and he often prefers their company... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 94321%
Critics Consensus: The arresting and dynamic visuals, offbeat details and light-as-air storytelling make James and the Giant Peach solid family entertainment.
Synopsis: Featuring stop-motion animation and live action, this inventive adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's tale follows the adventures of James... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#17

Frankenweenie (2012)
87%

#17
Adjusted Score: 96856%
Critics Consensus: Frankenweenie is an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.
Synopsis: Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend:... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#16

Missing Link (2019)
88%

#16
Adjusted Score: 97396%
Critics Consensus: Another beautifully animated triumph for Laika, Missing Link is a visual treat with lots of humor, plenty of heart, and even a little food for thought.
Synopsis: Tired of living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Link -- 8 feet tall and covered in fur... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 97694%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and faithful to the spirit of its classic source material, The Little Prince is a family-friendly treat that anchors thrilling visuals with a satisfying story.
Synopsis: The Aviator introduces a girl to a world where she rediscovers her childhood and learns that it's human connections that... [More]
Directed By: Mark Osborne

#14

Mary and Max (2009)
95%

#14
Adjusted Score: 97083%
Critics Consensus: Mary and Max is a lovingly crafted, startlingly inventive piece of animation whose technical craft is equaled by its emotional resonance.
Synopsis: A lonely Australian girl (Toni Collette) and an elderly Jewish man (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in New York develop an unlikely... [More]
Directed By: Adam Elliot

#13

Coraline (2009)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 101806%
Critics Consensus: With its vivid stop-motion animation combined with Neil Gaiman's imaginative story, Coraline is a film that's both visually stunning and wondrously entertaining.
Synopsis: While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#12
Adjusted Score: 101148%
Critics Consensus: A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon retains the charm of its small-screen source material while engagingly expanding the title character's world.
Synopsis: When a UFO crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, it's up to Shaun the sheep and his animal friends to help... [More]

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 102622%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#10

Alice (1989)
95%

#10
Adjusted Score: 81411%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Czech director Jan Svankmajer's surreal adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic children's book, Alice (Kristyna Kohoutova) follows her stuffed rabbit... [More]
Directed By: Jan Svankmajer

#9
Adjusted Score: 102797%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#8

Anomalisa (2015)
92%

#8
Adjusted Score: 108922%
Critics Consensus: Anomalisa marks another brilliant and utterly distinctive highlight in Charlie Kaufman's filmography, and a thought-provoking treat for fans of introspective cinema.
Synopsis: An inspirational speaker (David Thewlis) becomes reinvigorated after meeting a lively woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who shakes up his mundane... [More]

#7
Adjusted Score: 103453%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#6

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#6
Adjusted Score: 103371%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#5
Adjusted Score: 103715%
Critics Consensus: The Adventures of Prince Achmed's exquisitely crafted visuals are more than matched by its utterly enchanting story.
Synopsis: A handsome prince with a flying horse befriends a witch, meets Aladdin, and battles demons to win a princess' heart.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Lotte Reiniger, Karl Koch

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 108007%
Critics Consensus: My Life as a Zucchini's silly title and adorable characters belie a sober story whose colorful visuals delight the senses even as it braves dark emotional depths.
Synopsis: A police officer (Nick Offerman) and some new friends help an orphan adjust to life at a foster home.... [More]
Directed By: Claude Barras

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 105820%
Critics Consensus: Warm, funny, and brilliantly animated, Shaun the Sheep is yet another stop-motion jewel in Aardman's family-friendly crown.
Synopsis: All is well at Mossy Bottom Farm, except for the fact that the animals will do anything to get out... [More]

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 110575%
Critics Consensus: Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing -- and bravely melancholy -- story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.
Synopsis: Young Kubo's (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now... [More]
Directed By: Travis Knight

#1

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#1
Adjusted Score: 111991%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

Black Panther is clearly going to be the primary draw at the cinema this weekend — and with that in mind, Christy offers a take on how kid-friendly the Marvel movie is. However, the clearer choice for families is Early Man, the latest offering from stop-motion treat from Aardman Animations, and if that’s your bag, Christy also has three other lovely recommendations. Read on for the full list.


THE MOVIES

Black Panther (2018) 96%

Rating: PG-13, for prolonged sequences of action violence and brief rude gesture.

Believe the hype: Black Panther is a game-changer. Beautifully crafted and powerfully acted, director Ryan Coogler’s film thrillingly combines blockbuster visuals with indie character sensibilities. It’s a breath of fresh air and a much-needed moment of representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it’s also quite intense and violent, which might make it unsuitable for some younger viewers. The great Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa, heir to the throne of the fictional African country of Wakanda following the death of his father, the king (which we saw in Captain America: Civil War). But when he dons his high-tech suit, he becomes the powerful warrior Black Panther. And he’ll need to fight to protect both his position and his nation when another possible heir emerges in the driven and muscular Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan, star of Coogler’s Fruitvale Station and Creed). There’s a ton of action here: fight scenes that are both intimate and massive. T’Challa must withstand a series of challenges to his authority: brutal and bloody sequences of hand-to-hand combat. There are also giant battle scenes featuring armies fighting with spears and swords, as well as a couple of elaborate car chases. But Black Panther is notable not only for its cast of strong actors of color, but also for the prominence of its female characters, including T’Challa’s brilliant scientist sister (Letitia Wright) and Wakanda’s fearless general (Danai Gurira). My 8-year-old son didn’t find anything disturbing – he actually turned to me halfway through the screening and whispered, “I love it!” – but he’s also seen pretty much every Marvel movie. Black Panther is indeed great, but it might be too much to handle on the big screen for kids younger than about 7.


Early Man (2018) 80%

Rating: PG, for rude humor and some action.

It’s not a peak offering from the prolific Aardman Animation, but it’s consistently entertaining fun. The latest stop-motion comedy from Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park traces not only the evolution of man but also the origins of soccer – or football, as they call it in the rest of the world. Eddie Redmayne provides the voice of Dug, a caveman who dares to lead his tribe in a soccer match against the greatest team of the Bronze Age in hopes of reclaiming their land from the evil Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston). The humor is cheeky, punny and self-referential throughout. Word play and visual gags abound. But while Early Man pokes fun at our current society, there’s a gentle nature to its comedy that makes it timeless. Dug’s sidekick is a goofy boar named Hognob, and the catalyst for his team’s transformation into a contender is a talented, spirited woman named Goona (Maisie Williams). There’s a bit of harmless potty humor. Themes of teamwork, bravery and perseverance are worthwhile. Plus, the Aardman clay character design is, as always, adorable in an off-kilter way. Overall, this is a fine choice for viewers of all ages.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

Early Man may not represent the height of Aardman’s creative possibilities, but if you liked the look and feel of it, here are some great examples of the kind of work the stop-motion animation house has done so well for so long. You could start with the classic Wallace & Gromit shorts like A Grand Day Out or The Wrong Trousers, about the adventures of a mild-mannered, cheese-loving inventor and his trusty dog pal, or you could plunge into any of these movies:

Chicken Run (2000) 97%

Rating: G

Park and his longtime collaborator Peter Lord co-directed this cheeky, animated take on The Great Escape. The first feature-length Aardman movie features Mel Gibson providing the voice of a cocky circus rooster named Rocky. When he accidentally arrives at an English chicken farm, he informs his new feathered friends of their fate as food, which horrifies them. He and the brave Ginger (Julia Sawalha) figure out a way to teach their fellow chickens to fly to freedom, with plenty of starts and stops along the way. The possibility of chicken death may be a bit disturbing for the very littlest kids. The chicken pie-making machine may seem ominous and the farmers might come off as a little scary. But the character design is super cute, and – as in Early Man – the idea of a ragtag band of underdog characters coming together to achieve something greater than they ever could have imagined is worthwhile. Fine for pretty much all ages.


Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) 95%

Rating: G

Park also directed this film, which won the Academy Award for best animated feature. It’s sort of a Halloween movie and sort of an Easter movie, but it’s also extremely enjoyable year-round. I showed it at a movie night at my son’s school last spring and it was a big hit. This time, Wallace and Gromit run a pest control service to help their neighbors keep bunnies and rodents out of their gardens. But one of Wallace’s experiments goes horribly wrong, resulting in a giant were-rabbit that ravages the town. The bunny’s transformation into a werewolf-type monster might be slightly disturbing for the absolute youngest viewers, but he’s also oddly cute. The townspeople chase after the creature and try to hunt it down in classic monster-movie style, but it’s played for laughs. But overall, Were-Rabbit has great energy and is chock full of clever details. This is another great choice for all ages.


Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) 99%

Rating: PG, for some rude humor.

I am still so dazzled by this movie, even though it couldn’t be more understated. It’s pretty much totally wordless – animal and human characters alike communicate through grunts and gestures – yet this world is rich, full, and vibrant. And as always, the character design is irresistibly adorable. This feature-film version of the Shaun the Sheep TV series was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature. On a farm in the English countryside, a tiny sheep named Shaun is tired of the rigid schedule the farmer imposes on the animals every day. He devises an elaborate plan to make the farmer sleepy and give everyone a day off but – as is so often the case in Aardman stories – things don’t quite go as he expected. The animals wind up in the Big City in hopes of making things right and wind up in one misadventure after another. This includes some danger in the form of the mean animal control officer, whose tactics might seem cruel. There’s also a bit of potty humor and the humorous suggestion of nudity. But in general, Shaun the Sheep Movie has a wonderful sweetness about it and an infectious energy. The whole family will love it.

Halloween is coming. Perhaps you were aware of that. What better way to celebrate the holiday than with some family-friendly horror movies? Take a break from stressing out over costumes and shopping for candy with any of these great choices. Or you could just watch all eight Harry Potter movies, in order, all over again. Enjoy!


 

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) 89%

My husband and I took our son, Nicolas, to see this at the New Beverly Cinema, the Los Angeles repertory theater Quentin Tarantino owns, when he was a little over 6 years old. He laughed the whole way through – and he especially enjoyed the Invisible Man, voiced by Vincent Price. Abbott and Costello’s classic brand of slapstick comedy is perfect for kids, and the clever integration of Universal’s iconic movie monsters into their zany world will amuse grown-ups, as well.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Beetlejuice (1988) 85%

This entire list could consist of nothing but Tim Burton movies, in theory – at least, his earlier ones. But I’m limiting myself to just a handful, and this one’s a must. Beetlejuice finds Burton in his sweet spot with a mix that’s weird and whimsical, giddy and ghoulish. The macabre details, the off-kilter humor, the Danny Elfman score: They all blend brilliantly to create one of Burton’s absolute best works. And Michael Keaton is in peak form as the title character: a fast-talking, flatulent spirit who’s been hired to scare a family of yuppies out of their new house.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

The Blob (1958) 68%

This is just straight-up silly – a pure, unabashed B-movie with a ridiculous premise and cheesy special effects. If your kids are savvy moviegoers (like mine is), and they’ve grown up enjoying blockbusters with the highest of high-tech computer-generated visuals, they’ll be struck by how cheap and simplistic The Blob looks by comparison. But that’s what makes it such a blast to watch. A meteor crashes to Earth and emits a reddish, gooey ooze that starts sucking the life out of people, increasing in size with each new victim. Pandemonium ensues. It’s a hoot. And it gave Steve McQueen his first starring role.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon


 

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) 84%

We’re back with Burton again, this time in stop-motion animation mode. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is also a great — and popular — Halloween choice along these lines, but I’ve got a soft spot for the melancholy sweetness of this one. With an all-star voice cast led by Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, the film follows the romantic troubles of a shy young man torn between the woman his parents have arranged for him to marry and the woman who rises from the Land of the Dead and accidentally becomes his wife. It’s as gorgeous as it is poignant.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Netflix


 

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 99%

This may not seem like the most traditional pick. But if you’ll recall, a crucial scene in E.T. takes place on Halloween night: when the boys smuggle their alien friend out of the house by pretending he’s Gertie, dressed as a ghost for trick-or-treating. As always, Steven Spielberg works wonders with perspective here, as an awestruck E.T. surveys the landscape of ghouls and goblins and struggles to make sense of it all. And come on – this is one of Spielberg’s greatest films ever. Any excuse to watch it will do.

Watch Trailer |  Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Netflix


 

Frankenweenie (2012) 87%

Tim Burton reminds us of why we love Tim Burton with this feature-length version of the 1984 short that revealed early glimmers of the veteran director’s darkly humorous style. The story of a little boy who brings his beloved, deceased dog back to life felt like the purest expression of Burton’s ethos that we’d seen in a while. His love of classic monster movies is infectious. And it’s just gorgeous in crisp black and white. I recently showed this to my son and I cried all over again, and he made fun of me for crying, so a good Friday night was had by all.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Ghostbusters (1984) 97%

You could watch either version – the original or this summer’s remake with a cast of stellar comediennes. But I’d steer you and (more importantly) your kids toward this one first, for cultural perspective, if nothing else. You know what it’s about: It’s Ghostbusters. A group of scientists try to explain and eliminate a paranormal invasion that’s terrorized New York City. A comedy classic starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, but one with some genuine scares and thrills, too.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Goosebumps (2015) 78%

A really fun big-screen version of the R.L. Stine Goosebumps books, starring Jack Black as the real-life author. If your kids love the books, they’ll have a blast watching this – but even if they’re not familiar with the series (as my son wasn’t when he saw the movie), they’re still in for some thrills. A teenager moves to a new town and finds his next-door neighbor is the creepy and reclusive Stine. Soon afterward, the monsters trapped inside Stine’s bound books spring to life and wreak havoc. Some of the images here may be a bit too scary for very young kids, but the tone is mostly playful.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Netflix


 

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) 95%

THE Halloween classic, of course. You’ve probably seen it a million times and can recite Linus’ Great Pumpkin speech right along with him. But if it’s been a while, or if your kids have never seen it, this is a great one to watch together – regardless of their age. Charlie Brown’s trick-or-treating lament – “I got a rock” – never gets old. And Linus’ unshakable faith that the Great Pumpkin not only exists but also will rise up and bring presents to all the good boys and girls has a charming innocence.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) 95%

Another dazzling example of stop-motion animation – in the same year, as Corpse Bride, no less – from the geniuses at Aardman. Mild-mannered Wallace and his trusty dog, Gromit, come to the rescue when a mutant rabbit attacks a village right before its annual vegetable competition. Winner of the Academy Award for best animated feature, Curse of the Were-Rabbit is irresistibly sweet and slyly subversive. A great choice for viewers of all ages and an excellent entry into the Wallace & Gromit world.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW

Ever since 1998 and into this Friday’s release of Kung Fu Panda 3, DreamWorks Animation has emerged as one of the dominant forces in animated storytelling worldwide, whose blend of state-of-the-art tech and raucous contemporary humor has carved their own identity in our current cartoon renaissance. Kung Fu Panda 3 inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery, in which we explore the nearly two-decade history of DreamWorks Animation.

Good news, Wallace and Gromit fans: Aardman will soon be bringing the duo back to a (small) screen near you.

Variety reports that Aardman’s Nick Park will begin production on the 30-minute adventure Wallace & Gromit: Trouble at’ Mill in January, with an eye toward a Christmas 2008 debut on BBC1. From the article:

In “Mill,” Wallace and Gromit open a bakery but Wallace becomes sidetracked by a love interest, Piella Bakewell. With his master distracted, Gromit is left to solve a murder.

“I love making films for the cinema, but the production of ‘Chicken Run‘ and ‘Curse of the Were-Rabbit‘ were virtually back to back, and each film took five years to complete. ‘Trouble at’ Mill’ will be so much quicker to make, and I can’t wait to get back into production,” Park said.

“It’s nice to be out of that feature film pressure now,” Park told the BBC. “I’m making this for myself again and the people who love Wallace and Gromit.”

For more on Trouble at’ Mill — including a short film — be sure to visit the Wallace and Gromit website at the second link below!

Source: Variety
Source: Wallace and Gromit

Only a few months after severing ties with DreamWorks Animation, the mad geniuses at Aardman hooked up with Sony’s animation division. And now they’re announcing their next movies.

Fans of "Chicken Run," "Flushed Away" and "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" will be pleased to hear about Aardman’s newest flicks:

"The Cat Burglars" — Described as "Wallace & Gromit" meets "Ocean’s 11" AND as "family-friendly Tarantino," this one will be about, you guessed it, a team of feline felons. (And clay-mated, not CG animated.)

"Pirates" — Aardman co-founder Peter Lord will helm this action comedy about … pirates! (Based on the series of stories by Gideon Defoe.)

"Operation Rudolph" — From one of the "Borat" screenwriters … I’ll let Variety describe this one: "The Christmas movie shows the North Pole operation as an exhilarating ultra-high-tech military procedure on a massive scale, revealing how Santa and his huge army of combat elves get around the whole world in one night." Sounds cool.

Alas, Aardman presently has no plans to deliver a "W & G" sequel. These new ones sound pretty cool though.

Source: Variety

Big fan of the Aardman Animation flicks? Well, you are if you dug "Chicken Run," "Flushed Away," and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." Unfortunately those last two flicks didn’t make enough money to keep DreamWorks happy, which is why Aardman now has a new home at Sony.

Much ink was spilled on how disappointing the "Flushed Away" box office was, and when DreamWorks bailed on their Aardman contract a few months later, a lot of animation fans in North America went "Aw, man. Not cool." Well now it’s Sony Animation to the rescue, as they’ve signed a deal with Aardman to bring a few of their new projects to American cinemas. (And one of those new ones might be another "Wallace & Gromit" adventure!)

Aardman chief Stephen Moore couldn’t resist taking one last shot at DreamWorks while celebrating his new Sony deal: "The thing that attracted us to Sony is that they have a very broad taste, and they are distributing 20 movies a year around the world … their desire to restrict us was much less, so we can make movies that follow Aardman’s instinctive style." In other words, as Variety points out, Sony will probably let the Aardmaneers do their own thing, whereas DW was a lot more "hands-on" than the filmmakers would have liked.

Apparently Jeffrey Katzenberg is convinced that the decidedly British Aardman attitude simply doesn’t sell well enough in the U.S., but hey, the guys have made three damn good films, regardless of box office, so this new Sony deal is good news all around.

Source: Variety

This week at the movies brings us the profound discoveries of a great Kazak journalist ("Borat," starring Sacha Baron Cohen), a battle between Santa and Jack Frost ("The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," starring Tim Allen), and a tale of rats in the sewer ("Flushed Away," featuring the voice work of Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman). What do the critics have to say?

Jagshemash! Here in U.S and A., what do critic say about "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan?" They like! In fact, the scribes are almost universally pleased with the film, and some are going as far as calling it one of the funniest comedies ever. Part satire, part shockumentary, "Borat" follows the gleefully sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic title character (Cohen) on a cross-country trek to learn more about our strange nation; along the way he dredges up the seamy underbelly of American prejudice and ignorance. At 95 percent on the Tomatometer, "Borat" is not only Certified Fresh, it’s the best reviewed wide release of the year, topping such acclaimed movies as "Dave Chappelle’s Block Party," "The Departed," and "United 93." That’s a good thing, since Borat himself has said if the movie doesn’t do well, he will be execute.


Borat loves the U.S. and A.

It doesn’t sound like the most auspicious subject for a film: mice and rats are flushed down a toilet, where they find a bustling municipality in the sewer. However, in the hands of Aardman Productions, the endlessly imaginative company responsible for "Chicken Run" and "Wallace and Gromit," anything is possible. And so it is with "Flushed Away," which tells the upstairs-downstairs tale of a coddled mouse who finds action and adventure after a trip through the plumbing. Critics say that while "Flushed Away" may not achieve the dizzying heights of "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (which scored 95 percent on the Tomatometer), it’s an eccentric, inventive family film with plenty of laughs. At 76 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flushed Away" is critically sanitized for your viewing pleasure.


Dive in! It’s fresh!

"The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," was barely screened for critics, much like star Tim Allen‘s last flick, "Zoom." The big difference is that "Clause" at least has a couple good reviews, whereas "Zoom" had none. The story of Santa’s duel with Jack Frost for control over Christmas, "Clause" hasn’t exactly enchanted the critics who have seen it; they say the movie is labored and mostly mirthless. It’s currently at 29 percent on the Tomatometer.


Yes, Virginia, there is a "Santa Clause 3."

Also opening this week in limited release: "Commune," a documentary about the Black Bear Ranch in California, is at 100 percent; "Romantico," a heartbreaking documentary about a musician working illegally in the U.S., is at 100 percent; Pedro Almodovar‘s "Volver," starring Penelope Cruz in a complex tale of womanhood, is Certified Fresh at 90 percent; "Wondrous Oblivion," the story of a boy and his neighbor who bond over the game of cricket, is at 60 percent; "Death & Texas," a death penalty satire, is at 60 percent; the twisty thriller "Unknown," starring Greg Kinnear, is at 29 percent; "Shottas," a based-on-true-events Jamaican crime flick, is at 20 percent; and "Zerophilia," a gender-bending rom-com, is at 18 percent.


Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz take a spectral walk down memory lane with "Volver." Check out our retrospective of the Spanish director’s work here.

Finally, we’d like to bestow props upon the whimsically monikered killthemall4444, who correctly predicted that the equally whimsical "Saw III" would wind up with a Tomatometer of 28 percent. Congrats, ktm4444.

Best Reviewed Wide Releases of 2006:
————————————————
95% — Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
93% — Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
93% — The Departed
90% — United 93
88% — Inside Man
84%– Akeelah and the Bee
83% — Slither
83% — The Descent
80% — A Prairie Home Companion
79% — Catch a Fire

Recent Tim Allen Movies:
——————————–
0% — Zoom (2006)
28% — The Shaggy Dog (2006)
4% — Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
55% — The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
22% — Who Is Cletis Tout? (2002)

Recent Sacha Baron Cohen Movies:
———————————————
72% — Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
55% — Madagascar (2005)
55% — Ali G Indahouse: The Movie (2002)

A pair of new family films aimed at kids will duke it out for the top spot this weekend while a bumbling reporter from the former Soviet Union will cause a commotion for a more adult crowd.

Disney unleashes "The Santa Clause 3," Paramount counters with its own kidpic "Flushed Away," and Fox lets loose its outrageous comedy "Borat." Together, the three new releases should provide some zing to the North American box office.

Kris Kringle takes on Jack Frost in Disney’s latest family pic "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" which the studio hopes will win the weekend’s battle of the kidpics. With a tame G rating, the Tim Allen film finds the former "Home Improvement" star trying to get back to his winning ways at the box office with a new chapter of his most successful franchise. Martin Short joins the cast as Frost. Allen crapped out at the multiplexes this past summer when his kidpic "Zoom" crashed and burned with only $4.5M on opening weekend. He needs to prove that he can still sell tickets.

The studio has had great luck with its "Santa Clause" franchise and its launching pad of early November. The first film in 1994 bowed to $19.3M on its way to $144.8M while the 2002 sequel opened to $29M heading to a $139.2M final. The gimmick just isn’t as interesting anymore. However, this time of year is typically active for the family audience and there could be room for both new pics to find their audiences. Still many of the same people will be torn between the two and will not have time to see both. Disney and Paramount would have been wise to open their films at least a week apart instead of on top of each other. Opening in more than 3,000 theaters, "The Santa Clause 3" could debut with about $22M.


Tim Allen is back for a third "Santa Clause."

Parents looking for another kind of battle this weekend can pick the claymation film "Flushed Away" which presents a pampered pet mouse against a slimey sewer rat having fun in each other’s world. The PG-rated film is produced by DreamWorks and released by its new parent Paramount. Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, and Kate Winslet provide their voices. "Flushed Away’s" biggest challenge, of course, will be from stiff competition from the opening of an established franchise film like "Clause 3." Reviews have been quite good so the studio is hoping that many adults will find "Flushed" to be the more original and entertaining choice and choose it instead. DreamWorks scored a $16M bow last fall for the critical darling "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and could approach the same territory here. The marketing push for the new film has been stronger, but the competition will cancel out that added benefit. Opening in roughly 3,250 locations, "Flushed Away" might debut to about $16M.


Hugh Jackman provides the voice of Roddy in "Flushed Away."

Sacha Baron Cohen hits theaters on Friday in one of the season’s most-talked-about films, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." Box office expectations are all over the map for Fox’s R-rated comedy and it’s anyone’s guess how it will play out as there is no real film in history it can be compared to. The studio has executed a brilliant marketing campaign over the past several months with teaser posters of the fake journalist sparking curiousity with those not familiar with the character from Britain’s "Da Ali G Show" which has also found a home in the U.S on HBO. The Toronto International Film Festival screening brought the buzz to a whole new level with its outrageous red carpet premiere, projector snafus, and overwhelmingly warm response. Publicity stunts this fall with Kazakh government officials also helped "Borat" leap from the entertainment page to the front page reaching an audience that would otherwise be tough to reach. Reviews have been glowing with many critics calling it the funniest film in years.

The studio is releasing "Borat" in moderate national release with 837 theaters hoping to keep the product limited in the beginning. Sell outs combined with the expected positive word-of-mouth should fuel even more excitement justifying an expansion next week. The "Ali G" crowd will be out in full force so strong business should result from young men. That means that the second weekend of "Saw III" will provide some tough competition. Reports indicate that awareness is not too high in the middle of the country, but that should not be the case with the college crowd. Young adults want bold envelope-pushing films to see like the "Jackass" pics and "Borat" will play to much of that crowd. But is this only a blue-state film? Some thought that would be the case for 2004’s "Fahrenheit 9/11" before it opened to a surprising first place finish with $23.9M from only 868 theaters.


A scene of cultural learnings in "Borat."

"Borat’s" humor has the potential to go beyond the immature set and play to CNN-watching adults. Many will be offended and will never be converted. But a very strong average is assured this weekend and long-term success is likely too since there will be no other movie out there that comes close to resembling this picture. For the opening weekend, "Borat" might gross around $11M for an average north of $10,000.

"Saw III" should be the only holdover likely to still put a dent into the box office. Second weekend declines for the previous installments in the franchise were 39% for the first pic and 47% for last year’s "Saw II." Even with no competition for the horror crowd, a hefty drop should occur. Look for the third torture flick to get sliced in half which would give it around $17M for the frame and $61M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: Disney led the frame with its non-Pixar digital toon "Chicken Little" which debuted to a cool $40M. The animated film went on to gross $135.4M. Opening with strength in the runnerup spot was Universal’s war drama "Jarhead" with $27.7M on its way to $62.7M. "Saw II" dropped to third with $16.9M in its second weekend. Fourth place went to "The Legend of Zorro" with $10M while Meryl Streep‘s "Prime" rounded out the top five with $5.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Blood will flow and screams will be deafening at North American multiplexes this weekend when the horror sequel "Saw III" buzzes its way into theaters. While there will be no fight for the number one spot, the rest of the top ten will see new films and holdovers scrambling for high positions.

The political thriller "Catch a Fire" opens on Friday in moderate national release and the comedy "Running with Scissors" expands into major markets after an impressive debut in limited release last weekend. Meanwhile, star-driven pics "The Prestige" and "The Departed" will try to remain popular choices with adult moviegoers.

If it’s Halloween, it must be "Saw." That’s the tagline that Lionsgate hopes will keep horror fans coming back for a third helping of pain for the newest chapter in its highly profitable fright franchise, "Saw III." The R-rated film finds Jigsaw returning to terrorize another set of young people. Once again, the formula of no stars plus extreme brutality unleashing its fury on the weekend before the pumpkin holiday remains intact. Now a major player in the horror genre, Lionsgate opened its first "Saw" in 2004 to the tune of $18.3M and grew its audience over the following year, especially with DVD, to propel the sequel to a $31.7M bow. Over the last 15 months, no other R-rated film has opened better. Now, a marketplace without many exciting choices for the 17-30 age group will embrace a film, though familiar, that appeals to young adults.


Another unfortunate dude opens "Saw III."

This month has already seen a pair of horror franchise pics open weaker than their predecessors which bowed in mid-October of recent years. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" debuted to $18.5M, down 34% from the $28.1M of 2003’s "Massacre," and "The Grudge 2" launched with $20.8M, a steep 47% less than the Gellar original. But "Saw III" is in a different situation. "Beginning" was a prequel three years later with not much new to offer while "Grudge 2" was no longer a star vehicle. "Saw III" promises more of what its fans want – brutality, gore, and torture – so it stands on almost equal footing when compared to the last installment. The fan base has probably not grown much in the last twelve months and some might even drop out thinking it’s just the same offering yet again. But with competing fright flicks fading fast, "Saw III" will basically be the only horror film in town for those getting ready for Halloween. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, "Saw III" might cut up around $30M.

Tim Robbins plays an elite South African leader and Derek Luke stars as an oppressed everyman in the apartheid drama "Catch a Fire." Directed by Phillip Noyce ("Patriot Games, "Clear and Present Danger"), the PG-13 political thriller tells the true story of a man captured and tortured by his government, only to become a radical freedom fighter for his people. Focus is likely to attract an audience similar to the one it saw last fall with another African-set political pic, "The Constant Gardener." The Ralph FiennesRachel Weisz film boasted a similar level of starpower and screens when it bowed to $8.7M over three days from 1,346 locations for a solid $6,444 average.


Derek Luke in the inspirational "Catch a Fire."

Reviews for "Fire" have been generally positive, but it will not be an easy sell at the box office. Robbins is the top star here and his track record selling tickets is spotty when it comes to films where he is the solo anchor. Plus the marketplace is filled with pictures targeting mature adults like "The Departed," "The Prestige," and "Flags of Our Fathers" so a crowded field will make it tough for "Fire." Using the ‘based on a true story’ angle in the marketing is always a helpful thing and Focus will soon see how much mileage it can get from it. Attacking 1,305 locations, "Catch a Fire" might capture about $6M over the Friday-to-Sunday session.

Annette Bening‘s dysfunctional family pic "Running with Scissors" enjoyed a strong platform debut last weekend with a scorching $28,263 average from only six sites. This Friday, Sony hopes to build on its bow by expanding the R-rated film into 586 theaters across North America. Critics agree that "Scissors" is not the next "Little Miss Sunshine." Reviews have been unflattering which will limit the commercial potential of a film that will mostly play to upscale adult audiences. A weekend take of around $3M could result diluting the per-theater average down to the neighborhood of $5,000.


Annette Bening and Brian Cox in "Running With Scissors."

Arthouses continue to get more crowded with fall films hoping for critical buzz and possible awards attention. Paramount Vantage packs the most starpower with its Brad PittCate Blanchett drama "Babel" which took home Best Director honors at Cannes this year for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Amores Perros," "21 Grams"). The R-rated tale trots across the globe from Morocco to Mexico to Japan with four interweaving stories about people from around the world who have no idea how connected their lives are. "Babel" opens in just six locations in New York and Los Angeles, most of them major multiplexes, and expands nationally in November. Reviews have been solid.


Brad Pitt, in the oscar-buzz grabber "Babel."

With Election Day around the corner, President George W. Bush stars in two documentaries that will try to stir up some controversy in order to get audiences running to their local theater. Newmarket Films releases "Death of a President," a docudrama about the fictional assassination of Bush in October 2007 and its aftermath. The R-rated whodunit was one of the hottest films at the Toronto Film Festival last month and hopes to capitalize on its buzz when it invades over 100 theaters this Friday. Also trying to wage a Red State vs. Blue State rivalry is "Shut Up & Sing" which examines the hardships that The Dixie Chicks faced recording their new album after their public outcry against the current Commander-in-Chief. The Weinstein Company opens the film in New York and Los Angeles on Friday before expanding to much of the country on November 10.


"D.O.A.P"

Among holdovers, the period thriller "The Prestige" and the mob drama "The Departed" should remain popular contenders in the top five. "Saw III" should not detract from either pic too much and the frame’s other new films will not play wide enough to offer significant competition in the rankings. "Prestige" swiped the top spot last weekend and is well-liked by moviegoers. A 40% drop would give Buena Vista about $9M and a ten-day total of $28M. "The Departed" has been holding up superbly so another 30% dip would leave Warner Bros. with around $9.5M which could be good enough for a third consecutive weekend at number two. The cume would rise to $90M.

LAST YEAR: Doing what its predecessor couldn’t do, "Saw II" opened triumphantly at number one and grossed a sturdy $31.7M for Lionsgate on its way to $87M continuing its most popular horror franchise. Sony countered with its family friendly adventure sequel "The Legend of Zorro" which debuted in second place with a decent $16.3M. The pricey Antonio BanderasCatherine Zeta-Jones pic went on to reach just $45.4M domestically. Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman quietly bowed in third with the comedy "Prime" which opened to $6.2M from less than 2,000 theaters. Universal found its way to a $22.8M final. The horse flick "Dreamer" held up well in its second jump taking in $6.1M while fellow kidpic "Wallace & Gromit" rounded out the top five with $4.3M in its fourth weekend. The fourth new wide release of the frame, Nicolas Cage‘s "The Weather Man," got rained out collecting a mere $4.2M leading to a wimpy $12.5M finish.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Hollywood sure loves to dwell on yesteryear. Another wave of historical films hits the multiplexes on Friday led by the World War II drama "Flags of our Fathers" directed by Clint Eastwood.

Going back another half-century is the Hugh JackmanChristian Bale thriller "The Prestige." Kirsten Dunst rewinds even further to the 18th century playing the title role in "Marie Antoinette." Moviegoers who want to stick to the today’s times get to ride the family film "Flicka" which also is added into the mix this weekend. Overall, the North American box office should simmer down after two weeks of red-hot action thanks to a quartet of new releases that does not seem to be exciting the public too much.

What happens when two-time Oscar winners Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg join forces to produce a film? You get the DreamWorks/Warner Bros. production "Flags of our Fathers" which chronicles the famous battle at Iwo Jima and the notoriety that followed for the soldiers photographed hoisting the American flag. The R-rated film is low on starpower boasting a cast featuring Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, and Jesse Bradford. Clearly it will be subject matter and the director that will draw in audiences. "Flags" is likely to become the oldest-skewing film in the marketplace. Young adults should not show too much interest and female appeal will be limited as well for this war story. Competition for adult men will be tough given the start of the World Series and the continuation of all sorts of live football all weekend long on television.


Clint Eastwood’s WWII epic "Flags of Our Fathers."

But loyal Eastwood fans will probably find the time for "Flags" this weekend and some reviews have been good. Critics have not been giving the type of support this time that they gave in recent years to "Million Dollar Baby" and "Mystic River" giving it a lesser sense of urgency. Plus a fall season full of period films really doesn’t need more of them. A narrow release will curtail box office potential too. This weekend, it could turn out to be a rematch where Eastwood will square off against Martin Scorsese whose "The Departed" is proving to be an exciting option, set in modern times, for ticket buyers.The New York-based filmmaker wants revenge after losing to Dirty Harry at the Academy Awards a year and a half ago. "Mystic River" opened wide in October 2003 to an average just north of $7,000. Paramount’s "Flags of our Fathers," which debuts in roughly 1,800 locations, could reach the same vicinity and collect about $13M this weekend.

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play dueling magicians at the turn of the 20th century in "The Prestige." The current Caped Crusader reteams with director Christopher Nolan in this PG-13 period drama which co-stars Scarlett Johansson as, you guessed it, the beautiful young woman both men desire. Michael Caine also appears in another Alfred-like role. The Buena Vista film’s biggest challenge will be to convince audiences that this is not that Edward Norton film they just saw a few weeks ago. While "The Illusionist" was not a big blockbuster, it was very well-liked by moviegoers and has had some of the best legs of 2006. Those who paid to see it may not be in the mood for another one so soon. Just ask Mr. Capote. Starpower in "The Prestige" is good, but the two leads do not usually sell well outside of their comic book flicks. "The Departed" and "Flags of our Fathers" will steal away adult audiences providing ample competition, but "The Prestige" does have more female appeal than Clint’s war tale so adult couples that have seen Leo vs. Matt already might give Wolverine vs. Batman a try. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, "The Prestige" could debut with around $10M.


Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman, in that other 19th century magician movie.

The weekend’s only family offering comes on horseback in the form of "Flicka." 27-year-old Alison Lohman stars as a stubborn 16-year-old girl who befriends a steed against the wishes of her dad on a scenic Wyoming ranch. The PG-rated film should mostly appeal to girls and play to the same crowd that spent $9.2M this weekend a year ago for the bow of another girl-and-her-horse flick, "Dreamer." Business will be stronger in the heartland than in large urban centers. Fox is giving "Flicka" the widest release by far of any of this weekend’s new openers so the sheer size of the distribution will give it some traction, even if the average limps a bit. "Open Season," which is still strong going into its fourth hunt, will be the only real threat to business. While bad girls might line up for "Marie Antoinette" this weekend, the good girls will get to ride with "Flicka" which will gallop into over 2,000 more theaters. Opening in 2,876 sites, the horse flick could take in around $10M this weekend.


Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw in "Flicka."

Spidergirl Kirsten Dunst tosses on a fancy wig to play the famous queen of France in "Marie Antoinette," written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Booed last May at the Cannes Film Festival, the PG-13 film is a biopic aimed squarely at teenage girls and young women with a story of a bold gal with a strong head on her shoulders, for most of the time. The studio is marketing the film in a hip way hoping to appeal to young people. "Marie" should skew heavily female as interest from guys will be weak. Dunst will have a chance to test her starpower as the only big-name actor in the cast. Her date movie "Wimbledon" did not fare too well in the Fall of 2004 with a $7.1M opening from over 2,000 theaters. Reese Witherspoon‘s "Vanity Fair" bowed to $4.8M from just over 1,000 playdates by appealing to a similar audience. "Marie Antoinette" will launch in only 859 theaters on Friday limiting its box office potential. A weekend gross of about $5M could result.


Kirsten Dunst is "Marie Antoinette."

Last weekend’s box office champ "The Grudge 2" has seen its audience get frightened away during the week as the Sony thriller dropped to second place on Monday and third on Tuesday. A hefty tumble of 55% could result giving the spookfest about $9M for the weekend and a ten-day sum of $33M.

On the other hand, Warner Bros. has been enjoying great legs from its mob thriller "The Departed" which eased only 29% in its second mission. "Flags of our Fathers" and "The Prestige" will eat into its adult audience, but the Martin Scorsese hit should continue to remain a very popular moviegoing option. A 30% fall to about $13M might lead "The Departed" back into the top spot this weekend unless one of the newbies breaks out. Regardless, that would push the cume to a stellar $76M.

LAST YEAR: The Rock cooked up a number one opening with his sci-fi actioner "Doom" which opened with $15.5M. Universal’s video game-inspired flick fell apart quickly and found its way to only $28M. Debuting in second place was the less expensive family film "Dreamer" with $9.2M on its way to a stronger $32.8M final for DreamWorks. The Spielberg studio also claimed the third spot with the leggy kidpic "Wallace and Gromit" with $8.6M, off only 26% in its third weekend. Sony’s horror pic "The Fog" fell from first to fourth with $6.7M. Warner Bros. saw a weak opening for its Charlize Theron drama "North Country" which grossed just $6.4M. Cume reached a mere $18.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com