The Worst Animated Movies of All Time

The Worst Animated Movies of All Time

We’ve all sat through movies so witless that we wished we could buy back the time we wasted watching them. Modern parents may have this experience often, as they endure programming meant to appeal to their children. 

An overwhelming number of animated movies seem to be churned out of an automated mainframe, programmed only to distract young minds for long enough to pick their parents’ pockets. (They’re not all animated, by any means. Here are the worst G-rated movies ever made.

24/7 Tempo has compiled the 50 worst animated movies, using an index composed of several measures from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Across the board, the two common (and contradictory) critiques of animated films are that they will only appeal to young children or that they have too much adult humor. Apparently, there is a golden ratio of age-appropriate versus mature comedy-in-disguise that these feature films must achieve in order to have broad appeal. 

Other common criticisms are of the overt placement of commercial products like cereals and sodas and advertisements for chain restaurants and retailers. There are also frequent complaints that a sequel is not as good as the original. (Here are the 25 worst movie sequels of all time.)

To identify the worst animated movies ever made, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the 767 animated films with at least 10,000 reviews on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon; only those with a runtime of greater than one hour that had wide release in the United States were considered. To rank these movies, we created an index composed of each film’s IMDb rating as well as its Audience Score and Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. Data was collected mid-March 2021. Data on domestic box office came from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. Cast information comes from IMDb.

Notably, many of the worst animated movies are live action/animation combinations, where actors were filmed “interacting” with nonexistent characters who were only added to the film later — a challenge for any performer. That said, the presence in many of these movies of top-flight talent, whether in live action form or merely as voices, is unfortunately no guarantee that it will be any good.  

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

50. Cars 2 (2011)
> Starring: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer
> Domestic box office: $221.1 millions

In this Pixar film, vehicles not only have minds of their own, but in fact can drive themselves through a human-like world that is devoid of actual humans. This backstory oversight may leave viewers with some nagging questions: Who built these cars? These roads? Is this a post-apocalyptic future where the machines won? Watch the movie and you will be no closer to the answers.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

49. We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993)
> Starring: John Goodman, Charles Fleischer, Blaze Berdahl, Rhea Perlman
> Domestic box office: $20.6 millions

Released during the dinosaur craze that brought us “Jurassic Park,” this attempt at a less terrifying dino flick follows a group of dinosaurs who end up lost in New York City after a scientist hires a time-travelling alien to give them an intelligence-increasing cereal and transport them to 1993. Understandably, the film received criticism for its convoluted plot and lack of character development.

Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

48. Escape from Planet Earth (2012)
> Starring: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry
> Domestic box office: $65.6 millions

Although young children may find joy in this simple film about an alien astronaut who is sent to earth to respond to an SOS call, their accompanying adults may do well to heed critics’ warnings about the lack of laughs that this frivolous comedy induces.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

47. Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)
> Starring: Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart, Jay Goede
> Domestic box office: $167.5 millions

Although the original Japanese release of the first Pokémon film was positively received, the English-language version has been criticized for inferior voice acting. It has also received negative feedback for its contradictory anti-violence message. Pokémon are, after all, creatures whose sole purpose is to defeat one another in battle.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

46. Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
> Starring: Jason Lee, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., Janice Karman, David Cross
> Domestic box office: $289.3 millions

This 2007 CGI and live action movie is a reimagining of the 1958 story of three singing chipmunks with a human father-figure. To keep up with the times, the chipmunks perform rap and pop songs amidst scantily clad female chipmunks and conspicuously placed products. The film has received criticism for its shallow characters, sexism, and blatant consumerism.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

45. Peter Pan 2: Return to Never Land (2002)
> Starring: Blayne Weaver, Harriet Owen, Corey Burton, Jeff Bennett
> Domestic box office: $76.5 millions

Set during the WWII bombing of London, this sequel to “Peter Pan” follows Wendy’s pragmatic daughter Jane, who is captured by Captain Hook and can’t escape Neverland (or Never Land) until she starts believing in magic. Although the concept is well executed, the film has been called “dull” and “uninspired” for lacking the charm of the original film.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

44. Chicken Little (2005)
> Starring: Zach Braff, Joan Cusack, Garry Marshall, Don Knotts
> Domestic box office: $193.5 millions

This frenzied reimagining of the fairytale “Henny Penny” adds baseball and aliens to the original story. While it may be entertaining to young children who are easily thrilled by its colorful chaos, critics have pointed out its poor plot and lack of comedic or intellectual substance.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

43. Monster Trucks (2016)
> Starring: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper
> Domestic box office: $35.3 millions

This movie about a young, restless junkyard worker befriending an oil-guzzling creature from the netherworld received many scathing reviews. Revealing their lack of faith in the film, Paramount Pictures took a $115 million writedown against expected losses before the movie was released.

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

42. Shark Tale (2004)
> Starring: Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie
> Domestic box office: $238.1 millions

Shark Tale is an underwater gangster movie that was strangely marketed as a family film. Children may fail to make sense of the characters’ struggles with relationships, debt, and the dangers of the mob. They may also miss the dozens of inside jokes aimed at fans of the 1972 R-rated film “The Godfather.”

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

41. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)
> Starring: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris
> Domestic box office: $47.0 millions

This sequel to the first “Goosebumps” feature film received criticism mainly for being a sequel, complete with all the second-rate qualities sequels are known for: lesser known actors, a lack of originality, and an inferior storyline compared to the first movie.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

40. Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)
> Starring: Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Madonna, Ron Crawford
> Domestic box office: $21.2 millions

This film follows a young boy who shrinks himself and enters a magical world to save his grandmother’s home from developers. The combo live action and CGI movie was criticized for its inferior and stylistically disjointed animation, its lack of humor, and for the questionable romance between 10-year-old Arthur and an ancient (adult) princess, however animated they may be.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corporation

39. Igor (2008)
> Starring: John Cusack, Molly Shannon, Steve Buscemi, Myleene Klass
> Domestic box office: $24.9 millions

Despite its all-star voice cast, this horror comedy was poorly received and criticized for both its darkness and its lack of humor. With an unclear target age, the film may be too gloomy for young children but too vapid for adults.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

38. Home on the Range (2004)
> Starring: Judi Dench, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jennifer Tilly, Randy Quaid
> Domestic box office: $73.8 millions

This animated western flips the traditional cowboy script by highlighting the stories of the cattle rather than the wranglers. Although the soundtrack has been complimented, the film received mixed reviews for being too simple and dull compared to other Disney animated hit features.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

37. Pokémon the Movie 2000 (1999)
> Starring: Veronica Taylor, Rica Matsumoto, Madeleine Blaustein, Mayumi Izuka
> Domestic box office: $155.2 millions

With a critic score of 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, the English-dubbed version of the second “Pokémon” film — much like the first — received criticism for its voice acting. On the positive side, some critics noted that it was slightly better than its predecessor.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

36. The Pagemaster (1994)
> Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Kanin Howell, Alexis Kirschner
> Domestic box office: $27.0 millions

This live action and animated film follows a fearful boy who ends up in a fantasy world of literary characters where he learns that books can actually be fun. Roger Ebert called the film sad and dreary, and the animation dingy and unfocused, as if “glimpsed through a yellowing, dusty pane at twilight.”

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

35. Planes (2013)
> Starring: Carlos Alazraqui, Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett
> Domestic box office: $101.7 millions

A flashy animation about a small-town plane with big dreams and a fear of heights, “Planes” may be useful for distracting young minds so parents can get a load of dishes done in peace. Various Rotten Tomatoes critics have called it “boringly average” and noted its use of “wince-worthy ethnic stereotyping.”

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

34. Mars Needs Moms (2011)
> Starring: Seth Green, Joan Cusack, Dan Fogler, Elisabeth Harnois
> Domestic box office: $24.7 millions

It’s the same old story: boy hates vegetables and would rather read comic books than do his homework. Naturally, he’s grounded and hates his mom until something terrible happens to her and he realizes the importance of family. Only this time, the terrible thing that happens is an alien abduction. To quote film critic Roger Ebert, “if a movie is not about baseball or space aliens, and you have to use them, anyway, you should have started with a better premise.”

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

33. Hop (2011)
> Starring: Russell Brand, James Marsden, Elizabeth Perkins, Kaley Cuoco
> Domestic box office: $124.9 millions

Although the animation and acting in this combo live action film has been commended, critics blame the script for leaving the actors nothing redeeming to work with — especially not the crude adult humor scattered throughout this child’s tale of a renegade rabbit.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

32. Barnyard (2006)
> Starring: Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Danny Glover, Sam Elliott
> Domestic box office: $101.8 millions

Besides praise for the voice acting, critics had few compliments for this unfunny comedy starring bulls with udders. This anatomical blunder may in fact be the most noticeable aspect of the film, as the plot struggles to cohere into anything memorable.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

31. Strange Magic (2015)
> Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph
> Domestic box office: $13.5 millions

“Strange Magic” is a fairytale based on a storyline by George Lucas, who wanted to create a “Star Wars”-like film for his daughters. Unfortunately, critics pounced on the film’s tired tropes, unoriginality, lack of humor, and strange, incongruous classic rock soundtrack.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

30. Planet 51 (2009)
> Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Jessica Biel, Justin Long
> Domestic box office: $51.5 millions

“Planet 51” follows a human astronaut who lands on a distant planet and discovers a quaint 1950s-esque society of aliens who are terrified of…well, an aliens — in this case the human. Although the role-reversal concept is cute, it alone couldn’t float the movie, which was criticized for its stale storyline and predictable characters.

Source: Courtesy of Relativity Media

29. Free Birds (2013)
> Starring: Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Dan Fogler, Amy Poehler
> Domestic box office: $62.8 millions

The first fully animated feature produced by Reel FX Creative Studios, “Free Birds” follows two time-travelling turkeys who head back to the Colonial era to ensure that their species never makes it onto the first Thanksgiving dinner menu. Despite generally negative reviews, the film was a Domestic box office success.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

28. The Smurfs 2 (2013)
> Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Katy Perry, Hank Azaria
> Domestic box office: $80.0 millions

The second of three feature-length films about the mini, blue, magical forest creatures famous in the ’80s, this film has a score of 14% on Rotten Tomatoes — the second lowest for any film produced by Sony Pictures Animation. Critics were unimpressed with the movie’s fart jokes, slapstick humor, and overall lack of charm.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

27. Ratchet & Clank (2016)
> Starring: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, Sylvester Stallone
> Domestic box office: $9.3 millions

For a film based on a series of third-person shooter video games, it’s no surprise that critics cited “Ratchet & Clank”‘s lack of creative direction and originality. The action, however, is true to the roots of the video game franchise and may keep the attention of youngsters.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

26. The Smurfs (2011)
> Starring: Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Neil Patrick Harris
> Domestic box office: $164.7 millions

While some of the film’s voice and live action actors were praised for their performances, the first Smurf movie received lukewarm reviews for its generic storyline and for lacking much resemblance to the beloved Smurfs cartoons of the ’80s.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

25. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
> Starring: Matt Lanter, Nika Futterman, Tom Kane, Ashley Eckstein
> Domestic box office: $44.9 millions

It’s admittedly hard for any 21st-century “Star Wars” movie to please fans of the originals these days, and this feature is no exception. The animation received much criticism, specifically for the characters appearing mechanical, with the stiff movements of marionettes.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

24. Valiant (2005)
> Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent
> Domestic box office: $27.8 millions

Although some critics enjoyed “Valiant,” a story about carrier pigeons serving the Allies during WWII, many agreed that the film’s adult humor and war movie clichés would leave children more than a little confused. The voice acting, however, was generally applauded.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

23. Walking with Dinosaurs 3D (2013)
> Starring: Charlie Rowe, Karl Urban, Angourie Rice, John Leguizamo
> Domestic box office: $40.6 millions

With a combination of CGI dinosaurs and breathtaking live action settings — filmed in New Zealand and Alaska — this film has been praised for its visual brilliance. Its script, however, which is dominated by tired wisecracks and fart jokes, left critics with a bad taste.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

22. Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
> Starring: Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Jackie Sandler, Austin Stout
> Domestic box office: $37.3 millions

Produced and co-written by Adam Sandler, this holiday redemption flick has a 12% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics bashed the film for its crude potty humor, blatant product placement, and dearth of kid-friendliness.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

21. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015)
> Starring: Jason Lee, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney
> Domestic box office: $93.3 millions

The fourth and final installment in the Chipmunks franchise left critics grateful that it’s the last time they’ll have to listen to what Times (UK) critic Kevin Maher called “three enormously punchable helium-voiced rodents.”

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

20. Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)
> Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Chris Wedge
> Domestic box office: $67.8 millions

“Collision Course” is the fifth installment in a once-popular movie franchise that saw its peak returns after the third film. With a reliance on potty humor and a boring plot, this movie left critics hoping that the Ice Age may finally be coming to an end.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

19. Sherlock Gnomes (2018)
> Starring: Johnny Depp, James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Kelly Asbury
> Domestic box office: $43.5 millions

This film about missing garden gnomes is a sequel to the 2011 film “Gnomeo and Juliet.” Despite vivid animation and a worthy voice cast, the film nevertheless failed to impress due to a convoluted storyline, tiring self-references, and a general lack of inspiration.

Source: Courtesy of Open Road Films

18. The Nut Job (2014)
> Starring: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl
> Domestic box office: $72.0 millions

Following the trials of a selfish squirrel who destroys his town’s food supply, “The Nut Job” fails to infuse its central character with any redeeming qualities, leaving audiences bored with the cheap gags meant to float the film.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

17. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
> Starring: Jason Lee, Zachary Levi, David Cross, Justin Long
> Domestic box office: $268.2 millions

The second film in the Chipmunks franchise follows the three singing rodents as they navigate high school bullies, crushes, and a Battle of the Bands. The slapstick humor that drives the film might be all children need to stay entertained, but adults may need earplugs to make it through “The Squeakquel.”

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

16. G-Force (2009)
> Starring: Will Arnett, Penélope Cruz, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Nighy
> Domestic box office: $145.9 millions

This cyber action movie about secret-agent rodents failed to impress critics, who lambasted the film for its formulaic storyline, dependence on poop jokes, and generic, uninspired plot.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

15. Alpha and Omega (2010)
> Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci, Justin Long, Dennis Hopper
> Domestic box office: $29.1 millions

This film follows two incompatible wolves who must stick together in order to help their pack. Critics called it “unambitious” and “poorly written,” critiquing its predictable plot, which seemed to borrow elements from a handful of other movies, while injecting nothing original.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

14. Space Chimps (2008)
> Starring: Andy Samberg, Stanley Tucci, Jeff Daniels, Cheryl Hines
> Domestic box office: $38.4 millions

Nobody should expect to take a movie about chimpanzee astronauts too seriously, and some critics were able to get behind the constant monkey puns and hijinx in “Space Chimps.” Others were turned off by the banal jokes that seemed to be aimed at adults, but missed the mark.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

13. The Wild (2006)
> Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Belushi, Eddie Izzard, Janeane Garofalo
> Domestic box office: $52.3 millions

Although critics praised the computer generated graphics — including impeccably detailed fur and realistic feathers — in this film about zoo animals who’ve escaped to Africa, many agreed that the characters and plot come off as a mere regurgitation of elements from previous animated features.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

12. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011)
> Starring: Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Jason Lee
> Domestic box office: $153.8 millions

Take any well-known cast of characters, maroon them on a tropical island, and you’ve got yourself a sequel. This unnecessary third installment received worse reviews than the previous two Chipmunks movies, and has an approval rating of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

11. Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006)
> Starring: Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Connolly, Bill Murray
> Domestic box office: $39.8 millions

Although it featured excellent vocal performances by Bill Murray and Tim Curry as two look-alike cats, “A Tail of Two Kitties” received generally poor reviews. The best thing to be said about this sequel is that its runtime is under an hour and a half.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

10. The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000)
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Rene Russo, Piper Perabo, Jason Alexander
> Domestic box office: $44.2 millions

In this live action/animated feature, a washed-up Rocky and Bullwinkle are living on residuals after their show has been cancelled; luckily for the audience, their nemeses decide to stir up some trouble in Hollywood. The film received mixed reviews and was cited as having a few laughs, but not enough to justify the 92 minutes of screen time.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

9. Garfield (2004)
> Starring: Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Stephen Tobolowsky, Bill Murray
> Domestic box office: $111.2 millions

Although the first Garfield feature film received generally poor reviews, it was a success at the Domestic box office. The vocal performance of Bill Murray as the lasagna-loving cat may be the film’s greatest boon, as critics agree the movie won’t please anyone but the youngest of children.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

8. Monkeybone (2001)
> Starring: Brendan Fraser, Bridget Fonda, John Turturro, Chris Kattan
> Domestic box office: $8.8 millions

This live action and stop motion animated feature has some striking and refreshingly bizarre visual elements, especially in the carnivalesque spirit world that the protagonist finds himself in while his body is in a coma. Unfortunately, the flat characters and juvenile humor led to a poor reception and the film flopped at the Domestic box office.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

7. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010)
> Starring: Bette Midler, Chris O’Donnell, Jack McBrayer, James Marsden
> Domestic box office: $50.6 millions

This film follows a feline spy who seeks world domination, causing the feuding cats and dogs of the world to set aside their differences to defeat a common enemy. Children under 10 might find the premise cute, but older viewers may cringe at first recognition of the villain’s name, which is a throwback to a certain James Bond character.

Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

6. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011)
> Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton, Joan Cusack
> Domestic box office: $11.7 millions

In this sequel to the successful 2005 independent animation “Hoodwinked!,” a mishmash of classic folktale characters are tossed into an action/crime story in which they can’t help but to make numerous pop culture references. Critics gave the film scathing reviews but praised the voicework of Bill Hader and Amy Poehler as Hansel and Gretel.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

5. Marmaduke (2010)
> Starring: Owen Wilson, Judy Greer, Lee Pace, Emma Stone
> Domestic box office: $39.1 millions

With a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this film about a talking Great Dane with a penchant for flatulence failed to impress critics. Fans of the comic strip on which the film is based may do well to stick to the funny pages.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

4. Yogi Bear (2010)
> Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh
> Domestic box office: $116.4 millions

This CGI and live action feature based on the classic cartoon about a hungry bear was met with negative reviews. The script, called humorless and bland, was criticized for giving the comedic actors nothing of value to work with. Justin Timberlake, who voiced Yogi’s sidekick Boo Boo, was however praised for his charming voicework.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

3. Cool World (1992)
> Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Kim Basinger, Janni Brenn, Brad Pitt
> Domestic box office: $31.1 millions

“Cool World” follows a cartoonist who ends up sucked into a cartoon world. This live action/animated film has a fun concept that wasn’t properly executed. With a startlingly low approval rating of 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics acknowledged that although the film had massive potential and great actors on board, the storyline missed the mark.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

2. Happily N’Ever After (2006)
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Patrick Warburton, George Carlin
> Domestic box office: $22.2 millions

This fairytale mashup received poor reviews and only a 4% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Although some of the voice acting was commended, many critics claim that even the youngest of children won’t find joy in the lazy plot and outdated jokes.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

1. The Emoji Movie (2017)
> Starring: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph
> Domestic box office: $87.9 millions

A film that never should have been, “The Emoji Movie” features the floating emotive faces who live in the soulless cyber-city inside a cell phone. Even the concept deserved no more than a guffaw and a one-way ticket to the wastebasket. The talented voice cast could not save this film from itself.

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