The 101 animated films released from 2002 through 2011 more than doubled their investment, with average revenues running 108.4% higher than costs.
That’s the conclusion of a study by business researcher SNL Financial, which found that animation has been the most profitable genre among the 1,444 films released in the past decade.
In the animation category, DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek 2 was the winner, with a 462% return on its investment.
Among all films, the best investments came from animated movies budgeted at $90 million to $100 million. The five films in that category had a 292% margin.
SNL Kagan considers a film definititely profitable if estimated revenues from all sources exceed costs by at least 75%. Analysts are unable to assess studio expenditures on such items as negatives, marketing and DVD reproduction. The research firm believes that films with margins under 40% probably lost money.
In the past decade, average worldwide revenues per film were $216.6 million on costs of $133.3 million, prompting a 63% margin.
The second most successful genre — after animation — was science-fiction/fantasy. It was a close race, with the 71 films getting a profit margin of 108.1%. Fox’s Avatar was the most successful, with revenues exceeding costs by 554%.
The 84 family films released over the decade were profitable, making 99% more than costs. Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 was the most successful, with a 444% margin.
Horror, thriller and Western films were, on average, the least successful. Revenues ran only 33% or less ahead of costs.
Worst-off financially were two Westerns budgeted at $50 million or less. Their costs exceeded revenues by 80%.