It's been 20 years since "Shrek" opened in theaters! May 18, 2021, marks the milestone anniversary of the 2001 cartoon that spawned three sequels and the 2011 spinoff "Puss in Boots." Altogether, the five-film franchise has earned more than $3.5 billion at the box office. A fifth "Shrek" movie and a "Puss in Boots" sequel are reportedly in the works too. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look back at more of the most successful children's film franchises…
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The "Harry Potter" film franchise — which launched in 2001 with "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" — appeals to kids of all ages, which is how it's managed to earn more than $9 billion at the box office over the years. After eight movies centered around the titular boy wizard, Warner Bros. turned its attention to Newt Scamander, the fictional author of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" — the Wizarding World's book within a book. Two "Fantastic Beasts" films have opened in theaters so far, and there's more to come: A third is currently in production for a 2022 debut to be followed by two more installments in the five-film prequel series.
Since "Despicable Me" debuted in 2010, it's spawned two sequels — with a third on the way — and a spinoff, "Minions," which also has a sequel on the way. ("Minions: The Rise of Gru" was pushed from 2020 to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.) The four-film franchise has banked more than $3.7 billion at the box office so far.
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"Toy Story" hit theaters in 1995 and became one of the most successful children's franchises in history! The Oscar-nominated animated film spawned three sequels, an early aughts cartoon TV show, a series of shorts for Disney+ and more. The "Toy Story" franchise is now one of the most successful film franchises in Hollywood history, banking more than $3 billion at the box office for Disney and Pixar over the past 25 years.
The five "Ice Age" films — which opened in theaters between 2002 and 2016 — have earned more than $3.2 billion at the box office over the years.
Disney has experienced tremendous success with the two films that comprise the "Frozen" franchise. Together, they've made more than $2.7 billion at the box office. And in 2020, Disney gave the diehard "Frozen" fans another gift — they released a short series on YouTube and Twitter during the coronavirus pandemic, "At Home with Olaf," which features clips focused on the snowman.
Only two films in the "Lion King" franchise have opened in theaters: 1994's "The Lion King" and its 2019 photorealistic computer-animated remake. And yet it's one of the most successful children's film franchises in Hollywood history, banking more than $2.6 billion at the box office.
The "Madagascar" trilogy, which launched in 2005, and its 2014 spinoff, "Penguins of Madagascar," have claimed more than $2.2 billion at the box office combined.
"Jumanji" fans may have aged with time, but the first installment in the four-film franchise, which debuted in 1995, was definitely meant for kids. In addition to the 2017 star-studded reboot and its 2019 sequel, the franchise also includes 2005's "Zathura: A Space Adventure," which isn't a direct sequel to the original film but is set within the "Jumanji" universe. The franchise has banked more than $2 billion at the box office over the years.
The two films in the "Finding Nemo" franchise — the 2003 original and its 2016 sequel, "Finding Dory" — have banked more than $1.9 billion at the box office.
The two films in the "Incredibles" franchise — the 2004 original and its 2018 sequel — earned more than $1.8 billion at the box office.
The "Kung Fu Panda" trilogy, which kicked off in 2008, has banked more than $1.8 billion at the box office.
Another huge hit for Disney and Pixar? The "Cars" franchise, which launched in 2006 and has claimed more than $1.7 billion at the box office. The series includes two "Cars" sequels as well as the 2013 spinoff "Planes" and its 2014 sequel.
Another super-successful trilogy? DreamWorks' Oscar-nominated "How to Train Your Dragon" series, which debuted in 2010. The three-film franchise earned more than $1.6 billion at the box office.
Like "The Lion King," Disney's "Aladdin" franchise earned the big bucks with just its 1992 original and its 2019 live-action remake — the only two films under the umbrella to open in theaters. Combined, the two movies have banked more than $1.55 billion at the box office.
Alvin and the Chipmunks have appeared in eight feature films over the years, though only five opened in theaters: the 1987 cartoon "The Chipmunk Adventure" and the four live-action films that debuted between 2007 and 2015. Combined, they've made more than $1.3 billion at the box office.
The "Hotel Transylvania" trilogy, which kicked off in 2012, has earned more than $1.3 billion at the box office. And there's good news for Sony, the studio behind the computer-animated comedy series: A fourth installment, "Hotel Transylvania: Transformania," is due in 2022.
The 2016 computer-animated comedy "The Secret Life of Pets" and its 2019 sequel banked more than $1.3 billion at the box office.
Similarly, 2001's "Monsters, Inc." and its 2013 prequel, "Monsters University," earned more than $1.3 billion at the box office.
After the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" comic book series launched a super-popular late-'80s TV show, it inspired three sets of films: an early '90s trilogy, a 2007 animated film, "TMNT," and then a 2014 live-action reboot starring Megan Fox and its 2016 sequel. Combined, the six films have earned an estimated $1.15 billion at the box office.