The Evolution of the Summer Blockbuster

Animation Domination

They may not be able to stop themselves from eating glue, but kids sure do know how to drive up an animated film’s box office revenue. And without a school day to distract them during the summer, 90 minutes in a cinema can be just the thing an exhasuted parent needs.

Walt Disney, of course, has long been the king of animated movies. And while many of Disney's oldest films remain beloved by adults today, the 1990s were a particularly profitable—and prolific—time for the Mouse House, with annual box office behemoths that appealed to the young and old alike. In 1994, following huge box office numbers for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, the studio shifted its release strategy from November to June and ended up with its biggest animated hit: The Lion King.

In 2012, Disney went back to its November release schedule for Wreck-It-Ralph, perhaps only to make room on this summer’s schedule for Pixar’s Monsters University, which Disney released on June 21st (and has so far brought in $406 million).

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