“Cars” or “Cinderella?” “Moana” or “WALL-E?” “The Lion King” or “Toy Story?”
Disney and Pixar have come out with tons of great movies. There’s no denying that one of these movies might be in your top 5 favorites. Are you passionate about one being better than the other? Do you believe that the animation of Pixar is superior to that of classic Disney? You might not be alone.
With this in mind, the team at Upgraded Points wanted to know which Disney and Pixar movies are Americans’ favorites. In order to find out, we conducted a national survey and compared those results to box office numbers to see if the ticket sales are correct in telling us which Disney or Pixar movie reigns supreme!
Disney vs. Pixar: The Top Franchise in Every State
Diving into our research, we used our data to map out how each state feels about Disney and Pixar animated films. Simply looking at the U.S. map showing fan favorites, it’s clear that state preferences were almost split throughout the country. Despite the narrow margin, 54.7% of states favor Pixar films, as opposed to the 44.2% of states that prefer Disney films. Perhaps you’re someone who just can’t decide between 2 great options… that’s alright! Similarly, Kentucky was the only state in the U.S. that resulted in a 50/50 tie.
Both studios are known for their spectacular animation films, as well as the Disney amusement parks and Pixar-themed “lands” within. As both Disney and Pixar were founded in California, residents have the luxury to visit both Disneyland and Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure. With that being said, California locals prefer Pixar movies. If you live on the East Coast, you may be more familiar with Walt Disney World and Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but as shown on the map, Florida residents also favor Pixar animated films. If you’re a big moviegoer, it may be time to start thinking about visiting one of these parks!
The Most Popular Disney and Pixar Movies
Disney and Pixar films are undeniably popular in the U.S. We wanted to go even further to uncover the most popular movies among audiences and compare them to box office sales. 63% of respondents said they believe Disney ranks higher than Pixar in box office sales on average and they were right. The highest-grossing Disney movie, “Frozen,” brought in $410 million more than that of Pixar’s leading film, “Finding Nemo.”
Olaf may say that certain movies “are worth melting for,” as the Disney film “Frozen” topped the box office with $1.281 billion in sales. The Disney animated film “The Lion King” was the #1 fan favorite and placed second in box office sales with $1.083 billion. “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Mulan,” and “The Little Mermaid” rounded up Disney’s top 5 fan favorites.
Surprisingly, the Disney box office sales did not reflect the popularity of the fan-favorite movies. Recent films released over the last 8 years, such as “Zootopia,” “Big Hero 6,” and “Moana,” have ranked among Disney’s top 5 grossing films.
Buzz Lightyear went “to infinity and beyond” as the Pixar animated movie “Toy Story” ranked #1 in popularity based on our survey results. The next Pixar movie that just kept swimming its way to rank #2 in fan favorites was “Finding Nemo,” which also was ranked #1 in box office sales at $871 million. The remainder of Pixar’s top 5 fan favorites includes “WALL-E,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Ratatouille.” Although they did not reflect the fan-favorite Pixar films, “Inside Out,” “Coco,” “Up,” and “The Incredibles” rounded out the top-grossing films at the box office.
Perceptions Towards Disney and Pixar Films
Next, we wanted to dig into the perceptions of Disney and Pixar animated movies.
Two-thirds of individuals do not feel a significant quality difference between the films. Although both Disney and Pixar films appear to be rather similar, there are a few notable distinctions between them.
Walt Disney believed in the power of imagination. He created enchantment in stories like “Pinocchio,” “Snow White,” “Peter Pan,” and “Cinderella.” It is difficult to top some of the classic Disney movies, and most individuals would agree, as only 45% of Americans say that Disney movies have improved over time. On the other hand, 3 out of every 4 individuals believe that Pixar animated films have improved with time.
Disney is known for its magic, and 66% of people feel that Disney films have more happy endings than Pixar movies. One thing both Disney and Pixar films have in common is having some catchy soundtracks, however, the Disney soundtrack is preferred by 63% of people over the Pixar soundtrack.
For the older audience, 76% of respondents believe that Pixar is more adult-friendly than Disney movies. Pixar and chill? Who wouldn’t love to binge on some classic Pixar movies like “Cars,” “Up,” “WALL-E,” and “Monsters, Inc.”? Pixar ranked higher in preference for both first date and road trip movies.
In April 2022, we surveyed over 3,100 people over the age of 18 across the U.S. We asked participants questions about their overall preferences, opinions, and attitudes towards Disney and Pixar movies. Due to insufficient sample sizes, Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming were not included.
Our survey focused on movies from both studios that have a reputation for being well-known and well-loved. We strayed away from asking about sequels and live-action remakes to focus on original animated movies from both Disney and Pixar.
While Disney might have more happy endings and better soundtracks, Pixar takes the cake with better storylines and star-studded casts. The casts and storylines might have been what gave Pixar the edge in winning over 54.7% of America’s hearts. In addition, these features make Pixar the ultimate go-to for any occasion: from first dates to road trips.
No matter your preference, there’s no denying that both of these incredible studios have given us some of the best movies. From “Cinderella” to “Encanto,” “Toy Story” to “Turning Red” — you really can’t go wrong with watching a movie from Disney or Pixar!