It hit the news over the weekend that Toy Story 3 is now the highest-grossing film of all time, with $920 million overall in the bank. While it is commendable that it has achieved this level of success, all is not what it appears to be.
There is a fairly comprehensive article over on Forbes.com that establishes how TS3, as successful as it is, has not quite broken the ultimate record for an animated film. That belongs to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which, when adjusted for inflation, raked in over $800 million at the US box office alone!
Of course there are a number of factors at play besides inflation. For one, ticket prices for 3-D movies have resulted in higher gross figures from smaller audiences. The latest Shrek film was blatantly pulling off this trick by having a higher gross than its predecessor with only half the audience.
Besides that, studios these days make more money from the likes of DVDs, broadcast rights, merchandise, etc. than back in the 30s, when a film had to make all its profit at the box office if its financiers stood any chance of keeping their shirt.
The best part of all this hubbub, is that the focus will once again be on animated films and their usual success. This can only be good for the artform as a whole and will hopefully encourage others to take a risk on an animated feature.