Fight: Disney vs Pixar Animation

With the revitalization of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2010 with Tangledthey have released success after success, blockbuster after blockbuster, and have even won Oscars for their content. It used to be just Pixar and Dreamworks that release huge 3D animated films each year, but now this studio is also creating quality entertainment. Their filmography thus far includes Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopiaand soon, Moana as well. These films are all beloved and widely praised, and some may even say that they compete very well against the other animation studios. Today, let’s just look at these 6 films in comparison with Pixar’s filmography, or at least Pixar’s 6 most recent, and see how they stack up. Note: Yes, Disney owns both animation studios, so whoever loses, Disney still wins, but this could be a fun conversation if we get some debate going.

(update: Moana is out now, and it’s getting stellar reviews. Also, I’ve seen it and it blew me away.)

Walt Disney Animation has existed for a century, but officially underwent a makeover in 2010 (some would say with Bolt, but officially with Tangled). Pixar’s feature films began with Toy Story in 1995, and have released 17 films since then, with two Best Picture nominated films, as well. They have always boasts quality and originality, and that’s something that has always come with the Pixar label. Since 2010, both studios have released one film per year, but both have taken a year off and then released two the following year (2015 for Pixar with Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur2016 with Disney with Zootopia and Moana). That was completely irrelevant, however, but still a fun fact. Some would say that 2010 was Pixar’s last year before entering their descent into less-impressive quality as well as reliance on sequels… and some would be right.

Here are the Pixar films released from 2010 to present: Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory. Toy Story 3 and Inside Out are the only 2 out of those 7 films that people would say had Pixar at the top of their game- which they used to be with every single film they released. Finding Dory, The Good Dinosaur and Brave have really good reviews, but more along the lines of A Bug’s Life or Carsthe second-tier Pixar films. Then, at the bottom, Cars 2, which was widely considered a big disappointment, and has to this day received the worst reviews of any Pixar film, and is what many people consider the beginning of Pixar’s decline. To me, it isn’t much of a decline of no film since then has gotten worse reviews- Cars 2 stands as more of a rock-bottom. My good friend Brenton says that since Cars 2 is a story all about Mater, that it makes more sense to think of the movie as a Mater spin-off than an official sequel, and I think I agree. In contrast, Inside Out is one of the best movies I’ve seen this century, which is an incredible achievement with the amount of films that I’ve seen. However, I’d be lying if I said that no Pixar film aside from Cars 2 disappointed me… almost all of the films after Toy Story 3 did disappoint me at least slightly. 

On the other hand, Walt Disney Animation has blown me away with movie after movie… except for Big Hero 6… which should not have beat out How to Train Your Dragon 2 for Best Animated Feature Film. Aside from that film, every other Disney Animated film has been not only intelligent and original, but also heartfelt and original, and absolutely hilarious as well. They seem to love turning expectations over on their heads, and I’m sure will do again with Moana later this month. They haven’t released a single movie recently that hasn’t gotten fantastic reviews (well, Winnie didn’t do as well but it’s still a nice watch), whereas Pixar has released about 5 of the 7 that don’t live up to the rest. If we’re looking at the entire filmography of both studios, then I’d say that Pixar has more better films, but proportionately, Walt Disney Animation Studios has them beat. Furthermore, just looking at the films they have both released since 2010, Disney is absolutely destroying Pixar in quality and originality- the very thing that used to sell the Pixar tickets. Of course, this year’s Dory just broke the record for highest grossing animated film of all time, and passed 1 Billion Dollars at the global box office, so one can argue against me that it do as well critically or commercially, but that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do! Let’s discuss… what do you think about this topic? I’d like to thank you for reading, ask you to share if you liked it, and come back soon for more entertaining content!

Published by Blake Carson Schwarz

Indiana University graduate in Media and Creative Writing. I love to write my own stories as well as experience the work of others. On this site, I post reviews, essays, and other fun posts that I hope you have as much fun reading and I have writing. Please share any comments you have, I'd be happy to hear what you think! *Never a critic, always a fan*

6 thoughts on “Fight: Disney vs Pixar Animation

    1. Yeah, I love DreamWorks; HtTYD I think is their strongest film (series) and I think they can compete with Pixar any day of the week. I wrote an article about them for a different blog I edit for, but this post was just analyzing and comparing these two Disney subsidiary animation studios. Do you like DreamWorks more than the Disney studios?


      1. I don’t really care honestly as long as it’s a good story. Although Dreamworks doesn’t really have anything but how to train your dragon and Shrek lol. I’m just a sucker for anything animated so doesn’t matter who makes it 🙂


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