Objectively Ranking the 13 Pixar Films from Worst to Best
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Objectively Ranking the 13 Pixar Films from Worst to Best

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | June 24, 2012 | Comments ()


Over the weekend, Brave opened at number one with $66.7 million, running its streak to 13 the number of films Pixar has opened at number one (i.e., all of them). It was a fairly strong showing for Brave, the 5th highest opening weekend for a Pixar film, just a notch ahead of Cars 2. It also slightly beat expectations, as many had assumed that Brave would be dominated by mothers and their daughters. However, like all Pixar flicks, it has a wide appeal across all demographics.

In her review of Brave over the weekend, Agent Bedhead wrote that she was underwhelmed by the picture (a feeling shared by my own son, although he's a bit young and sensitive not to have bear violence scare the holy shit out of him; anecdotally, other older kids, especially girls, were very pleased with it). Agent Bedhead noted that it Brave was Pixar's second worst effort behind Cars 2, so I thought put her claim to the test.

Taking the review numbers from IMDb, Metacritic, and RottenTomatoes, I combined them and averaged them out, ranking Pixar's 13 films from worst to best based only on the scores from aggregators. These are the results:

13. Cars 2: 64, 57, 38 -- (53)

12. Brave: 78, 68, 74 -- (73.3)

11. Cars: 73, 73, 74 -- (73.3)

10. A Bug's Life -- 72, 77, 92 -- (80.3)

9. Monsters, Inc.: 80, 78, 95 -- (84.3)

8. The Incredibles: 80, 90, 97 -- (88)

7. Toy Story 2: 80, 88, 100 (89.3)

6. Finding Nemo: 81, 89, 98 -- (89.3)

5. Up: 83, 88, 98 -- (89.6)

4. Ratatouille: 81, 96, 96 -- (91)

3. Wall-E: 85, 94, 96 -- (91.6)

2. Toys Story: 82, 92, 100 (91.3)

1. Toy Story 3: 85, 92, 99 -- (92)


Looks like Bedhead was right as Brave was tied for second to last (along with Cars), although I'm sure that many -- including myself -- would take issue with the way these films are ranked by the aggregators (I'm sure many would share my opinion that The Incredibles is the best Pixar movie. Right? RIGHT?).

Ooof, Cars 2.

In other box-office news, it wasn't a very good weekend for the other two wide openers. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter didn't exactly make a great case for genre mash-ups going forward, as it landed in third with only $16.5 million. It did not fare particularly well with critics (39% on the Tomatometer), Cinemascore (C+) or Joanna, who gave it a middling review. I don't remember whether the on-again, off-again Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is currently on-again, but if so, those numbers might force it back into development hell.

Meanwhile, Steve Carell's Seeking a Friend at the End of the World didn't do well at all, as it opened in 10th place with a paltry $3.8 million. It also scored poorly with audiences (C+ Cinemascore), although I thought it was a fairly decent summer anti-blockbuster and I kind of resent Nikki Finke's assessment in her box-office report -- "I, for one, am tired of Carell's shtick" -- mostly because 1) this was a dramatic role and contained none of Carell's "shtick," and 2) fuck her.

Madagascar 3 dropped from number one to number two, piling on another $20 million to bring its total to $157 million. Prometheus, the fourth place film, added $10 million to cross the $100 million mark in its third week. Rock of Ages didn't get the hoped for word-of-mouth boost, adding only $8 million (after 10 days, the $75 million film has made only $28 million). Meanwhile, The Avengers -- the 8th place film -- added $7 million to get it to $598 million. It will become only the third film ever to cross $600 million by tomorrow, though it still has $60 million to go to pass Titanic for number two. It appears that it will fall a little short.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • GarE

    It's obvious that there's a lot of disagreement as to the ranking of Pixar's films, and most of us are so passionate about our choices that we can't possibly imagine how anyone else could *possibly* feel any different. Me included. :-)
    Having said that, here's my ranking of the ones I've seen:
    1. Toy Story
    2. The Incredibles
    3. Toy Story 3
    4. Toy Story 2
    5. Wall-e
    6. Up
    7. Monsters, Inc.
    8. Ratatouille
    9. A Bug's Life
    10. Finding Nemo
    11. Cars
    I never saw Cars 2 or Brave - I was just meh about Cars 1, so why see the sequel? And Brave's trailers didn't make me feel like I had to see it.
    My top two are extremely close, but I just can't put anything above the first Toy Story. And TS3 made me bawl like a baby at the end. Thank goodness for 3-D glasses...
    Finding Nemo was okay, but without Dory, it would've been a pretty boring film to me.
    Why on earth they ever made Cars 2 at all, and *especially* before making The Incredibles 2, is something I'll never remotely fathom. Cars 2 was about money, plain and simple, and I just thought they were above that.
    In all, Pixar's awesome - even their lesser films are far better than most put out by other studios. But they've set my expectations insanely high in the process, because I know what they're capable of.

  • Urrrf. I'm the only person in the world who thinks A Bug's Life is the best Pixar movie. XD I just do, I've always adored it that much. I can't possibly actually RANK them, though. I love them all equally and they all bring something great to the table.

    Side note, I heard there's going to be a Toy Story FOUR. As much as I adore everything Pixar-related, they really need to stop this or they're going to turn into Dreamworks, milking out all the money they can from a popular franchise.

  • TheMudshark

    Best to worst:

    1. Ratatouille
    2. The Incredibles
    3. Finding Nemo
    4. Wall-E
    5. Toy Story 3
    6. Monsters Inc.
    7. Up
    8. Toy Story
    9. Toy Story 2
    10. A Bug´s Life
    11. Cars
    12. Cars 2

    I haven´t seen Brave yet, but since I had such high expectations, I still hope you´re all full of shit.

  • SaBrina

    Silly Dustin. Don't you know Leo will never let go of the #2 spot?

  • Hiro_the_Eighth_Samurai

    I agree that The Incredibles is the best Pixar. And I think it's going to stay that way since Disney owns Pixar now. The Pixar movies, under Disney's ownership, are only going to become more and more mediocre. There won't be any Pixar movie as smart as The Incredibles.

  • Tenacious EJ

    Am I the only one who hated WALL-E? I mean, besides my son, who hated it as well? Seriously, somebody else out there must have disliked it too.

  • Tinkerville

    In all honestly I don't understand the hate for Dreamworks and Sony. I know Pixar sets the gold standard and I'm not denying the quality of their movies but great kids films can *gasp* sometimes come from other places, too. But I might be biased because How to Train Your Dragon is one of my all time favorite movies.

  • Serpentlord

    You forgot to put the word "seventh" in front of "best" in your description of The Incredibles, but at least anything lower or equal to eleventh can be a compliment here.

  • flojnl

    I think I would have liked the first 10 minutes of UP more if I hadn't already seen this very similar short film the previous year. And yes, I cried like a baby.

  • Kala

    I've never gotten The Incredibles love. It's not a bad movie by any means (still trumps ANYTHING by Dreamworks), but I didn't get any emotional oomph. On the other hand, I can't see how anyone could hate Wall-E, so insert shrug here.

    My ranking goes:
    1. Wall-E
    2. Finding Nemo
    3. Ratatouille
    4. Toy Story 3
    5. Up

    The other films are really good in their own right, though I think we can all agree that Cars 2 is a fucking abomination that we are all just better off forgetting.

  • Scully

    The Incredibles is right where it belongs. I understand why both the Toy Story movies score so high, but as a non-parent, these just never resonated with me.

    1. Ratatouille
    2. WALL-E
    3. Finding Nemo

    The rest of the movies can sort themselves out. (But Monsters, Inc. would kick all their asses for the #4 spot, for creativity alone.)

  • pissant

    Meanwhile, Steve Carell’s Seeking a Friend at the End of the World didn’t do well at all, as it opened in 10th place with a paltry $3.8 million.

    I really enjoyed watching that. I went to a private screening last night*...which doesn't bode well for the film. Maybe word-of-mouth?

    * - Read: I was the only one in the theater for the 7:15PM showing.

  • Well, nothing is more satisfying than grown adults (however, not necessarily mature) debating the relative merits of the Pixar canon. You could safely segregate the Cars pair, Brave, Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc., and we all ought to be able to celebrate the collective greatness of the rest as truly excellent work. Some of us value the more nuanced themes and writing, while others embrace the sheer fun and adventure. Pretty soon we'll be debating the relative merits of grownup films - wait, no, that won't happen here.

  • BAM

    Shouldn't Wall-E be second on your list??

  • Cree83

    I don't really like The Incredibles, so I'd probably rank it lower than Monsters, Inc. It's kind of violent and dark for a kid's movie. I found Mr. Incredible to be kind of a jerk for most of the movie, with all the lies and deceit - dude, having a crappy job is no excuse for treating your wife like that.

    Call me a softy, but I prefer the sweetness of the other Pixar movies like Finding Nemo and Ratatouille. I can do without explosions and sarcastic tween superheros in my Pixar.

  • thaneofmemphis

    Yep, The Incredibles is best by far.

  • Lin-z

    The Incredibles is #1.
    All the Toy Stories are fantastic too.

  • Green Lantern

    1) Yes, The Incredibles IS the best Pixar movie. I show no bias towards this whatsoever. End of discussion.

    2) I agree with Tracer..."Up" was pretty gorram great, but the opening sequence made me dearly miss my wife who was SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME. AUGH!!

  • Ender

    I had no idea that anyone else had seen the little known Bulgarian Pixsar release "Toys Story" but not only is it apparently well known, it's number 2 on the most successful list! At least it knocked that execrable "Toy Story" nonsense off the list...

  • BWeaves

    My first laugh of the day. Thanks, Ender!

  • QueeferSutherland

    The top three are some combination of Up, Wall°E, and a Toy Story, with Monsters Inc or Incredibles in the fourth position. They change frequently for me (except Up, which I dont watch anymore because it destroys my tissue budget/masculinity).

  • Stephen Nein

    If we're ranking Brave somewhere around A Bug's Life & Cars . . this is all bunch of whiny ass pissing & moaning. While not my go-to choice of viewing, I'd watch both again, with joy, if my kids pulled it up on the movie box.

    The Excellent: Incredibiles, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Wall-E
    The Good: Up, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Toy Story 3, Cars, Bug's Life
    The Ugly: Cars 2

  • Mrs. Julien

    We saw Brave on the weekend with Little Julien. We were underwhelmed and simply shrugged at each other when it ended. Lousy story. Lousy and not enough of the girl power vibe I had hoped for. Or Scottish music. The Boy loved it though. There were naked bums and that's all it takes. As a Pajiban, I am behooved tot take issue with your rankings, but I don't fell like reranking them so I'll just say Toy Story 3 deserves everything it gets. I haven't seen Cars 2, but I'll take your word for it that is sucked since we never even got through Cars.
    On a better note, we watched 50/50 last night and it was awesome.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Wow. I have seen only 4 out of those 13. And 3 out of those 4 I did not watch of my own volition. Guess that makes me some sort of cave troll.

  • PDamian

    As someone who was raised by an anxious, overprotective parent, I'll always love Finding Nemo more than any other Pixar film. I just get Marlin and Nemo. And Up's first half is heartrending, although the movie's second half bogs down in the jungle.

  • norris

    just came back from the theater, it was much better then some of those other ones. re-rank that line up, i did enjoy "Brave" more then at least 5 of their previous movies; cars, cars 2, ratatouilie, up, toy story 2, wall-e. you know there more preachy movies.

  • The Incredibles FTW


  • I don't get why the Incredibles seems to be the canon choice for best pixar movie. It was great, but in the same way that Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc were great. It was funny and polished and great fun, but it didn't really have the same thematic oomph as Up, Wall-E, Ratatouille, or Toy Story 3.

    At this point, if I don't break down and cry like a baby during a Pixar movie, its a little disappointing.

  • bel

    I agree, Incredibles disapointed me as well. Up set the bar really high in the first ten minutes but the only films that engaged me emotionally and entertained me the whole movie were Wall-e and Ratatouille

  • AudioSuede

    I had this exact debate with my wife, though, as it turned out, she said she's "not impressed" with Pixar movies, and thinks Dreamworks, overall, makes better films. Divorce papers are being drawn up. Meanwhile, if I'm ranking based on what the BEST Pixar movies are (i.e. the ones that hold up the best to critical examination) instead of what my FAVORITE Pixar movies are (i.e. the ones that I enjoy watching on a repeated basis if I avoid thorough analysis), it would break down as follows:

    13. Cars 2
    12. Cars
    11. A Bug's Life
    10. Brave
    9. Monsters Inc.
    8. Finding Nemo
    7. Toy Story 2
    6. Toy Story
    5. The Incredibles
    4. Ratatouille
    3. Up
    2. Toy Story 3
    1. Wall-E

    The emotional impact of the top 3 puts them over the top, and the sheer scale of Wall-E was astounding. If you want my favorite? Ratatouille, followed closely by The Incredibles. Both are so much fun, and brilliantly animated.

    Side note: I think someone should try to rank the music of the Pixar films. Because the musical interludes in Brave really put the brakes on the story a bit too often, but its score was still very affecting. The Incredibles' score is as close to perfect as it can get, though it can be very distracting at times.

    Anyone else up for this?

  • John G.

    The Incredibles is so incredibly watchable. If it's on, I'm there till the end.

  • blackmarket

    As for Nikki Finke I think your "fuck her" was too kind. Instead let me add, TOLDJA! Nikki Finke is a small minded, big egoed asshole. Oh yea, and, fuck her.

  • Joe

    I really liked "Seeking a friend of the end of the world". I found Keira Knightly to be adorable, and I also like that they didn't cop out at the last second; they delivered 100% on their premise.

  • John G.

    I liked the ending too, but that's all I liked. They did not earn the level of love they were trying to pass off, and the two leads had NO chemistry at all.

  • Joe

    That's a fair rap. But I suspect your standards for true love drop significantly when incineration is imminent.

  • Arran

    That was my feeling too; the normal romcom criticisms of "well, that's no basis for an actual relationship" or "that couple isn't going to last beyond the credits" or "he's WAY too old for her" became kind of moot given the apocalyptic scenario. It was about connecting with someone in the moment when there's no time left, and I thought it worked really well.

    Reports I had tears in my eyes as the credits rolled are erroneous and unfounded and SHUT UP I'M NOT CRYING.

  • Spiffy McFly

    Still can'igure out how anyone actually made it through Wall-e. GOD what a terrible movie.

  • BWeaves

    I didn't care for Wall-e, either. And every time someone brings up Wall-e, I can't get that STUPID, FUCKING SONG out of my head. Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out. ARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGG!

  • Wednesday

    I didn't care for Wall-e, either. I didn't hate it, but I sure wouldn't watch it again. Also, Up. Everyone loves the opening scene, of course, but does anyone even remember the rest of the movie?

    Give me Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo. You can keep everything else.

  • vicky

    The up opening scene is not that unique. I loved it But there are tons of short films like that. For Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • bel


  • I upsets me that someone with a name as cool as Spiffy McFly could be so wildly wrong.

  • John G.

    I know, right?

  • The Incredibles is the best Pixar movie. Right? RIGHT?


    Finding Nemo is best. But I'll forgive you, because The Incredibles is my #2.

    And I will loudly disagree that Toy Story 3 was the best. It was recycled material at best.

  • PDamian

    Oh, good, finally someone who agrees with me. Finding Nemo is without a doubt Pixar's best, followed by The Incredibles, Up, and the first Toy Story. Pixar usually does so well with its explorations of family dynamics that I'm surprised to hear that Brave isn't that good. Hmm. I passed on Brave to see Abe Lincoln fight vampires, and what a mistake that was.

  • The relationships in Finding Nemo are some of the best I've ever seen in movies. Plus it's by far the funniest thing Pixar's ever done.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    Thanks for making me look up this scene again. I'm now sobbing. The movie had a lot of flaws, but it also contained the most powerful scenes that Pixar has ever produced.

  • Eeeh, I don't know. That movie just never really hooked me in. I found #2 to be a lot funnier, and the "When Somebody Loved Me" scene just broke me into pieces. I think the story should've ended with that one.

  • My two sons, and the elder son's girlfriend, all liked Brave. I thought it was pretty, if a little light on story. Well worth the matinee price, even with popcorn.

  • john

    I liked UP when it started and liked it less and less as it went on. Montsers, Inc, was awesome!!! and the original Toy Story was NOT better than the second one.

  • jcamp11

    13. Cars 2
    12. A Bug's Life
    11. Cars
    10. Toy Story 2
    9. Brave
    8. Monsters Inc
    7. Toy Story 3
    6. Wall-E
    5. Toy Story
    4. Ratatouille
    3. Finding Nemo
    2. The Incredibles

  • Fredo

    1. The Incredibles
    2. Toy Story 2
    3. Up!
    4. Finding Nemo
    5. Ratatouille

  • Tracer Bullet

    I don't know how to rank UP. It was eventually a lot of fun, but the first 10 minutes DESTROYED MY SOUL.

  • PerpetualIntern

    Seriously. I think I cried 10 times during that movie. Every time he took out that damn scrapbook I lost it again.

  • John G.

    I would rank them thusly:

    2.The Incredibles
    3.Finding Nemo
    6.A Bug's Life
    7.Toy Story 3
    8.Toy Story
    9.Monster's Inc.
    10.Toy Story 2
    12.Cars 2

    have not seen Brave yet.

  • 1: Wall-E
    2: UP!
    3: Everything else.


  • athena23

    This. Very much so.

  • E-Money

    Add Ratatouille and I'm with you

  • DominaNefret


  • nicole

    How is Ratatouille ahead of Finding Nemo and Up?!

  • $2786243

    Three words: Anton Ego's memory.

  • Green Lantern

    Right? I mean I really liked Ratatouille, but over NEMO? INCREDIBLES? *BLASPHEMY*!

  • PerpetualIntern

    My husband would agree with that ranking. He watches Ratatouille when he's home sick from work.

  • AudioSuede

    Finding Nemo was always too childish for me. As a Grown-Ass-Adult, I have a hard time giving a shit about Dory, who is supposedly the best part of the film. They needed to do a little more work on the father-son story and less on the hijinks. Up suffered from the opposite problem; its heavy and beautiful emotional undercurrent was established right away, and brilliantly, but the film's pacing sometimes got lost on its true path, which was the story of an old man learning to enjoy his life again after the loss of his wife.

    Ratatouille, aside from romanticizing Paris only slightly less than Woody Allen, keeps its main focus at the forefront and doesn't get lost in its sillier moments and characters; the romantic and slapstick elements only serve to help Remy achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a great chef. The success story is wrapped up beautifully, and the script is air-tight; I had to study it for a Screenwriting class, and it's got the hero's journey nailed emotionally speaking.

    ...So, that....might be a couple reasons.....I'm sorry.

  • POINGjam

    Some people really love Ratatouille, and I'm one of them. It's my most frequently watched Pixar movie as an adult.

  • Wall-E and Ratatouille are among my favorite films, but I think that they are the only two Pixar productions that fail as entertainment for children. Kids don't give a shit about Parisian cuisine.

  • POINGjam

    Well kids are dumb like that.

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