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Top 10 Animation Studios That Gave Us The Feels

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Written by Derick McDuff

These animation studios have been giving children these timeless classics for years, and some for decades, but among the likes of Disney, Warner Bros. and Pixar, which studio is the greatest? WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Animation Studios That Gave Us Our Favorite Childhood Films. Watch to find out which one takes the top spot!

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Big thanks to jkellis, Godslayer79, Angel21, darkhelmerservo, TheRandomPoster and Tommy Williams for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Animation+Studios


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We’ve got a lot of fond childhood memories here. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Studios That Gave Us Our Favorite Childhood Movies.

For this list, we will be looking at studios that produce feature-length animated movies that are exceptionally memorable for younger viewers. Therefore, studios that produce animation mostly aimed at adults won’t appear on this list.

#10: Aardman Animations

Forgoing traditional animation, Aardman is famous for its films featuring claymation; a style that fits well with their off-the-wall plotlines and often quirky, understated characters like Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. Trying to do something different in a field dominated by traditional animation, they use a stop motion technique to capture their clay characters. When Aardman released their first film “Chicken Run” in 2000, they became an instant success, and since then they’ve produced a number of equally well-received claymation films. While they’ve made some of the top grossing stop motion movies of all time, in recent years they’ve branched out and brought their distinct style to computer-animated films as well.

#9: Nickelodeon Animation Studio

While they’re best known for producing zany but relatable animated children’s TV shows, Nick has released a number of great theatrical films over the years as well. Unsurprisingly, many of their hit shows and characters have made the jump to the big screen, including “Rugrats,” “Spongebob,” “Hey Arnold,” and even the crossover “Rugrats Go Wild,” which features both the Rugrats and the Wild Thornberrys. However, the process works in reverse as well, as there have been a number of original Nick films, including “Barnyard,” and the Academy Award-nominated “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” that were spun off into their own Nicktoons.

#8: Illumination Entertainment

This studio may still be too new for some older audiences to look back on with nostalgia, but you’ve undoubtedly seen a Minion or two on your radar in the last few years. Starting with their first feature “Despicable Me,” they spawned a franchise that includes sequels and a spinoff for our yellow, banana-loving henchmen. It’s not hard to see why the studio has done so well, what with the voice talents of Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig at their disposal. Despite existing for such a short time, the studio has already endeared itself to children, and with additional films like “The Secret Life of Pets,” they’ve proven they are here to stay.

#7: Blue Sky Studios

Blue Sky had humble beginnings, starting as a visual effects studio formed by animators who had worked together on “TRON.” Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, the studio worked on effects for film and advertisements, and in fact it wasn’t until 2002 that they branched out and made their own film, “Ice Age.” “Ice Age” was a humongous success, spawning a handful of sequels and becoming one of the highest grossing film franchises of all time. In the years since, the studio has added a number of successful family films to their catalog, and recently even adapted one of the most beloved children’s franchises of all time to the screen in the critical and financial success “The Peanuts Movie.”

#6: Sony Pictures Animation

For years, Sony Pictures’ Imageworks had produced visual effects for dozens of live-action films that you… may have heard of. With computer-animated children’s films succeeding at the box office, Sony Imageworks created a new animation studio in order to make their own animated children’s films. It didn’t take long for the new studio to make brilliant films of its own, like “Surf’s Up.” SPA has found continued success with multiple franchises, like “Hotel Transylvania” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” that have proven to be some of the freshest kids movies in the past few years.

#5: Studio Ghibli

Combining breathtaking visuals and stunning storytelling, Ghibli’s films, especially those of co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, are filled with a sense of wonder and inspiration. The Japanese studio has gained a prestigious reputation for, among other things, much more complex plots and characters than those usually seen in children’s films. Villains are often absent or sympathetic, challenging perceived notions and giving new perspectives to impressionable younger audiences – and even adults. While many other studios move away from traditional animation to cut costs, Ghibli has remained true to their beautiful aesthetic, with films like “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” and “Spirited Away” – to name a few – becoming iconic with children around the world.

#4: DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks quickly made a name for itself by winning the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature with their massive hit, “Shrek.” Over the next few years, the studio built upon that reputation by pushing the boundaries of what makes a successful children’s film, often finding the right balance of humor, relatable characters, and beautiful visual effects. In a short timespan, they’ve created a number of tentpole franchises such as “Kung Fu Panda,” “Madagascar,” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” which all boast multiple impressive films. It’s truly the stuff that dreams are made of.

#3: Pixar

Though other studios on this list can say they’ve produced fantastic computer animated films, only one can claim to have pioneered the process in full-length – and that’s Pixar. Originally a division of LucasFilm, Pixar spent years perfecting 3D animation before releasing the first ever computer animated feature film, “Toy Story.” Of course, Pixar is noteworthy for more than just its technical advancements; its films have been hailed as some of the best children’s movies of all time. “Toy Story 3” and “Up” both earned nominations for Best Picture, being two of only three animated films to ever achieve such an honor. Their films made our childhoods more magical and even as adults give us a sense of childlike wonder.

#2: Warner Bros. Animation

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, and the rest of the Looney Tunes have been some of the most popular kids cartoons for decades, dating all the way back to the 1930s. But the “Merrie Melodies” series isn’t the studio’s only cultural touchstone. In a more action-oriented vein, Warner is also the company behind the animated adaptations of DC Comics, featuring the likes of Batman and Superman. What’s more, the studio has made a number of films not directly related to comedic rabbits or costumed heroes, including “The Iron Giant” and “The Lego Movie.” Of course, they did get to slip a Superman reference into the former and have Lego Batman in the latter. We see what you did there.

Before we unveil our top pick here are a few honorable mentions:
· Universal Animation Studios
· Toei Animation
· Laika

#1: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Young or old, it’s almost impossible to find someone that didn’t grow up loving Disney films. In fact, the studio made the first ever traditionally animated feature film with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and has continually produced quality animation ever since. Each generation has their own collection of classic Disney films, whether it’s the early movies like “Bambi” and “Fantasia,” or the greats of the Disney Renaissance like “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Recent additions like “Frozen” and “Zootopia” show that they are not going to slow down any time soon. And even then, those stellar films barely scratch the surface of Disney’s list of the best animated films ever made. Hey, a lot can happen when you wish upon a star!

Do you agree with our list? Which studio made your favorite childhood movies? For more nostalgic top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to That’s all, folks!

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