Sixty years after Disney Animation proved that animated films could be major box office successes, DreamWorks formed and started to build a library of its own. It was an immediate success thanks to a grumpy green ogre. However, it took the company years to prove its style of animated filmmaking was as original as its competitors.
Despite early critics, DreamWorks Animation proved very successful. It created mega franchises based on its properties with sequels and spin-off television shows. The properties scored big at both the box office and the Nielson ratings. Here is a look at the 10 most popular DreamWorks Animation movies of all time based on IMDB users.
10 THE CROODS (7.2)
While not talked about as much as other DreamWorks Animation franchises, The Croods enjoyed life outside its original movie, which received a favorable rating on IMDB. The film, released in 2013, follows a prehistoric family of cavepeople threatened when a natural disaster forces them to find a new home.
The voice cast is excellent, with Nicolas Cage as the father, set in his ways and scared to death of an unknown future. Emma Stone is his rebellious teenage daughter who wants to set out to see the world. The Croods received an Oscar nomination and spawned an animated series that lasted four seasons.
9 KUNG FU PANDA 2 (7.2)
While a sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2 proved to be extremely popular and was only one of two DreamWorks animated franchises to have more than one movie on this list. Following the first movie about a panda named the Dragon Warrior, this movie features a peacock named Lord Shen who believes he deserved that title.
The movie added just enough comedy and unique set pieces to help set it apart from the first film in the series. This movie also received a lot of praise for its use of 3D fight sequences and cut to traditional animation at critical moments. There was also a third movie that was great as well but failed to make the cut.
8 MEGAMIND (7.3)
Possibly the lesser-known DreamWorks Animation movie on this list, Megamind was released in 2010 and featured Will Ferrell in the lead voice role of Megamind, the world’s most intelligent supervillain. However, what makes this movie so great is the fact that it turns all ideas of superhero movies on their heads.
The hero in this world, Metro Man, is kind of a jerk. On the other hand, Megamind was picked on as a kid and had no choice but to be the villain. However, when he gets a chance to be the hero for a change, he jumps at the chance but is he good enough to succeed in his new role?
7 RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (7.3)
Rise of the Guardians is the most underrated movie on this entire list, but it is one that enough IMDB users recognized the brilliance from to lead it to the seventh spot. This beautifully animated DreamWorks Animation movie follows the Legends, which are all the mythical characters from childhood tales.
The focus of the story is Jack Frost, the least likely hero and the character least known by kids today. Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Sandman don’t want Jack in their club. However, when Pitch Black strips hope away from children, Jack is all remaining to stop him.
6 WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT
One surprising addition to this list if Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It isn’t a surprise due to quality, as this movie deserves to be on just about any best-of list for animated films. However, this is an Aardman movie, so it is unusual to think of it as a DreamWorks Animated film.
However, it was DreamWorks, and not in name alone. Aardman animator and director Nick Park said that he often received notes from DreamWorks on things he needed to change, which irritated him. However, he stuck to his vision, and the movie ended up a massive critical success.
5 KUNG FU PANDA (7.6)
Kung Fu Panda is one of the most successful animated movie franchises in Hollywood, as DreamWorks Animation knocked it out of the park with its original movie. Jack Black voiced Po, a giant panda who idolizes the Furious Five — kung fu masters who protect the land.
After Tai Lung escapes from prison, threatening to destroy everything the Furious Five and their master Shifu hold dear, Po is their only hope. With great humor, brilliantly created martial arts battles, and a heartwarming story, it was one of DreamWorks Animation’s first critical successes.
4 HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD (7.6)
It should come as no surprise that all three How to Train Your Dragon movies made this list, but the fact that all three were in the Top 4 might be a slight surprise to some. The third movie, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was the final film in the series that also included interconnected animated cartoons on Netflix connecting the films.
The movie was colorful and beautiful and provided the franchise with what might be considered the greatest conclusion of any movie franchise. In a series where Hiccup lost his father and gained back his mother, this is the movie where he finally had to let Toothless go. It was heartbreaking and touching to let go of these beloved characters.
3 HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (7.8)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 took the ideas from the first movie and then added shocking moments that left audiences stunned and excited about where the franchise could go next. In the first movie, Hiccup was living with his father, after his mother’s death at the hands of a dragon attack.
His father finally came around in that movie, and just as they learned that the mother was still alive in this movie, his father died — sacrificing himself to save his son. That moment was only one part of this movie, but the entire story was a roller coaster ride of emotions. It kept the heart of the original while adding a lot of breathtaking animated action scenes to create a visionary treat.
2 SHREK (7.9)
Shrek receives a lot of criticism by vocal fans and movie critics, but it seems fans on IMDB still find the charm and creativity of the original film. It ranks second best for DreamWorks Animation. Mike Myers voices the ogre Shrek while Eddie Murphy voices his companion Donkey in this franchise.
The law of diminishing returns hurt the Shrek franchise as it never reached the levels of Kung Fu Panda or How to Train Your Dragon for sequels. However, the first movie about an ogre who finds the love of his life while trying to save his home from the evil Lord Farquaad still connects with fans. This film made DreamWorks a significant player in animation.
1 HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (8.1)
The most popular DreamWorks Animation movie by far is the first How to Train Your Dragon. There are a few reasons why this is the movie that people look to as the crown jewel for DreamWorks Animation. The first is the animation itself, which is beautiful, exuberant, and possibly the best work that they did in any movie to date.
The second reason is the story about a boy and his dragon in a world that fears the creatures. It is neither hokey, nor is it overly sentimental. Despite this, it still pulls at the heartstrings smartly and poignantly. In addition to the overwhelming love by fans, it is also the highest-rated DreamWorks Animation movie on Rotten Tomatoes, at 99-percent fresh.
NEXT: 10 How To Train Your Dragon Theories So Crazy They Might Be True
Shawn S. Lealos