Lets debate: Best Cartoon movie franchises

Alright, I’m not going to budge and neither are you. We’ve fussed about this for half the weekend and we’re in desperate need of water to hydrate our dry whistles. You, mistakenly, suggested “Zootopia” is easily one of the greatest films of all-time. Of course, I lost my stuff. I mean, recency bias aside its only one movie. Truly elite cartoon movie franchises can carryover at least a respectable sequel/prequel. We might as well call “Moana” one of the greatest too, while we’re at it. Look, all I’m asking is can we apply standard criterion to each candidate for best cartoon movie franchises?

  • At least 2 animated films in the series
  • A timeless classic
  • Did the film even influence your emotions and call you to reflect?
  • Was the film more of a sing-along or is there an actual plot going on?
  • How did the film perform in theaters? Can’t be a flop in box office

Now, let’s have a look at some of the nominations:

Hoodwinked, Ice age, Hunchback of notre dame, nightmare before christmas, shrek, little mermaid, Madagascar, 101 Dalmatians, lion king, toy story, cars, monster’s inc, the incredibles, the rescuers & rescuers down under, Peter pan, bambi, pocahontas, Aladdin, emperor’s new groove, finding Nemo & finding dory.

Lets talk about a couple honorable mentions before we craft a “best of” list. Nightmare before Christmas is so good one might even scratch and claw to bring it into the debate despite the listed criterion. In fact, if we wanted to bend the rules we could even argue that James and the Giant Peach is part of Tim Burtons movie franchise as well and therefore should be considered. Nonetheless, this isn’t the only great cartoon movie unfitting of the conditions to compete in our “best of” list.

  • Hoodwinked – I enjoyed the sequel best but bickering in Hollywood over a release date really dulled this knife. These guys actually lost money on this sequel after earning upwards of 90+ million for the original.
  • Nightmare before Christmas – 🤩🤩
  • The little mermaid – the original is an absolutely awesome film but there’s a drop-off in the sequel. Its really hard to rattle off sequel(s).
  • Pocahontas – the same story is true here too, the original alone can carry the weight to make this franchise rank as one of the greatest. But this list has some sure fire elites. Close but no cigar.
  • Emperor’s new groove – great frigging film, but the sequel to this is really equivalent to a re-narration of the same story from a new perspective. Its a lion king 1 1/2 attempt. If not for true heavy hitters this one may have also made the “best of” list.

Really? So you’re just going to toss chairs everywhe… Well, if Kronks new groove is so dang special how come the emperor’s cameos remind us its the same story huh? …… OK but who cares, I mean Ursula was the best thing about the original and you won’t change my mind. You’re insane, 90% of people would take “The great mouse detective” over the entire Cinderella franchise. Oh you’re mad? So…. hold on a sec. Hold on just one sec, (*sigh*). So you’re saying Hoodwinked sucked but you really just pounded the table for jungle book 2? Look, can I just give you my list already? We barely made it past honorable mentions hahaha.

I promise you’ll forgive me for leaving brother bear, and Mulan off the list. I get it, you want answers and as captain of the fan base for each franchise you’ve taken umbrage with me. Only a solid list will save me and you’re in luck. Without numbering here are my best cartoon movie franchises:

  • Madagascar – arguably in everyone’s top 10. The sheer laughs and the range of mischief these guys get into is enough to give ya belly aches. Also, this cast holds their own. No character pulls another along, they all slap.
  • Shrek – easily, again easily in everyone’s top 10. Sheer laughs, creativity in the plot and the twists associated. The characters in Shrek all hold their own much like in Madagascar. Catch phrases, so many sub-plots. Who am I kidding, everyone loves Shrek.
  • Lion king – Toy Story and Shrek are THE ONLY franchises who can even funk with this juggernaut in terms of mere sequels. Laughs, life lessons, timelessness, doing numbers in box office. Its all there with this one.
  • Toy story – much like Lion King and Shrek, there is literally no one To Story takes a back seat to. No one. I am genuinely amazed with how hip, current, and imaginative this franchise is in its films. Can’t say enough about these guys, and talk about characters holding their own, they all slap.
  • The incredibles – it almost feels like if Incredibles could put out a new one that slaps just like the first 2 without waiting 2 decades to release it might solidify a number #1 spot. Everyones new crush “Elastigirl” is a hit. The kids picked up right where they left off and instead of stagnancy prevalent in characters of lots of cartoon films and shows, these guys actually picked up the pieces and showed how the kids are becoming supers too.
  • Monsters Inc – I’ll certainly be in the minority here, especially with only 2 films, but I cannot leave Monsters Inc off. The first one is a frigging classic but I tell you what the 2nd one is one of the few times a sequel is infinitely better than a really good original. Too bad there’s only 2 movies or it could lead the way.
  • Bambi – wash, rinse, repeat. Both films are really good.
  • Cars – If I’m being honest, Cars is up there with toy story in terms of number of sequels and how good the movies are. I wish they’d have kept the main characters in tact. I don’t know why writers always feel the need to kill off a prominent character to “shake things up”. Doc dying is literally why my guy lost his mojo and darn near had to retire too soon, smh.

Oh, here we go, don’t be so dramatic. Really? You’re huffing and puffing because I didn’t include Aladdin or Peter Pan? Wait, did you just argue Aladdin is better than “The Rescuers” and “The rescuers down under” with a straight face? Oh now yall want to throw things too? I’m irrational? *sigh* Of course I love dogs.. whats that got to do with… geeze Louise. Since when does leaving Dalmatians off my list mean I have a vendetta against dogs? I’m drawing the line right there, “Beauty & the Beast” is not better than Bambi… you clearly… no, you listen because you clearly lost your marbles. Shoot, “All dogs go to Heaven” is head and shoulders better than both of them and it didn’t even make my list so tough grits. Well…. ok, ill allow some arguing over those 2 but I still stand by my list. If you’re so smart then how about you make a list and let’s debate in the comments. What say you?


  1. To be fair, The Emperor’s New Groove was underrated as far as Disney movies are concerned. There were plenty of funny moments and some good voice acting. Fun Fact: The main character is named after a real city in Peru.

    I used to really like The Lion King, but I despise it as an adult given how it ripped off so much stuff (mainly characters and scenes) from the 60s anime Kimba the White Lion, trademarked the phrase “Hakuna Matata” which is cultural appropriation as well as a slap in the face to several Africans, plagiarized “Mbube” with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (see the Netflix documentary The Lion’s Share), or the racist undertones of the hyenas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is absolutely fair sir. Emperors new groove is arguably very underrated even by me. I had no idea he was named after a city in Peru, thanks for that tidbit.

      I’m appalled that the lion king was stolen from several other productions. I need to research this.

      Thanks for chiming in, hopefully more do also.

      Liked by 1 person

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