Nine Amazing Tomatometer Stats About Pixar Animation Studios

When was Pixar's hottest streak? Who is Pixar's most critically lauded director? Do human-led movies outperform toys, animals, cars, and monsters? The Tomatometer decides.

by | June 20, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Almost 23 years ago, Pixar released their game-changing computer animated masterpiece, Toy Story, which sits at 100% on the Tomatometer. Since then, they’ve released 18 Certified Fresh films, from a total of 20 movies – with just one Rotten flick (sorry Cars 2) along the way, and an average Tomatometer score for their films of 88% (not including the score for Incredibles 2, which released last week). Oh, and they’ve won 15 Academy Awards and collected billions of dollars at the box office. With Incredibles 2 already breaking box office records in its first week of release, and Pixar celebrating another critical hit (94% right now), we’re looking back to 1995 (and beyond) to bring you nine incredible number-based facts about the animation giant.

*Note: Incredibles 2 isn’t featured in the data below because the reviews and audience reviews are still rolling in.

1. Pixar films released before the Disney merger in 2006 have a Higher Tomatometer Average (94%) Than the Post-Merger Releases (84.8%).

The 9% gap is totally understandable when considering Pixar’s first six films each scored at least 92% on the Tomatometer. Also, any concerns from fans following the 2006 buyout were erased when Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, and, Toy Story 3 were released between 2007 and 2010. Solo Pixar and Disney Pixar were one and the same. Cars 2 and a few other lower-scoring movies would go on to bring the post-merger average down. Sans Cars 2, post-merger Disney-Pixar would have an average of 89%.

2. The Average Tomatometer for Original Pixar Movies is 92%.

Whew: 92% is an insanely high average Tomatometer for Pixar’s 12 original films (that is, non-sequels or prequels), which are bookended nicely by 1995’s Toy Story and last year’s Academy Award winning Coco (97%). And speaking of originality, here’s a fun complementary stat: Pixar has picked up seven Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay.

3. The Average Tomatometer for Sequels and Prequels is 79.8%.

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Some context first: an ~80% Tomatometer average is still better than most filmmakers and studios could hope for. But it feels surprisingly low for Pixar, which boasts such critically acclaimed sequels as Toy Story 2 (100%) and Finding Dory (94%). It’s the sequel missteps that hurt the average, though, especially the closest the studio has come to crashing and burning: Cars 2 (39%). Without Cars 2, the sequel/prequel average jumps to 88%. The good news is every sequel since the 2011 film has a Fresh Tomatometer score and the Cars franchise redeemed itself with Cars 3, which scored a solid, if not soaring, 68%.

4. Pixar’s hottest streak was between 1995 and 2004

Pixar kicked off with one of the greatest streaks of film history, releasing Toy Story (100%), A Bug’s Life (92%), Toy Story 2 (100%), Monsters Inc. (96%), Finding Nemo (99%), and The Incredibles (97%) between 1995 and 2004. Each film is Certified Fresh and has a Tomatometer score above 90%, which beats Walt Disney’s five-film run of films scoring 90% or more from 1937 to 1952.

5. Lee Unkrich Has the Highest Tomatometer Average (98.2%) Of All Pixar Directors Who Have Directed/Co-Directed at Least Three Movies

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Lee Unkrich has pulled off an amazing feat with a near perfect 98.2% average for the five Pixar movies he has directed/co-directed. Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, and Coco are masterpieces with Tomatometer scores of at least 96% – and they’ve won three Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature. Pete Docter (average Tomatometer of 97.3%) and Andrew Stanton (95%) come in second and third.

6. Human-Centered Movies Have a Higher Tomatometer Average (92.5%) Than Non-Human Centered Movies (87%).

Pixar has managed to find drama and humor in toys, fish, monsters, and robots, but they’ve really excelled when telling human stories. The Incredibles, Up, Brave, and Coco all won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature (four of Pixar’s nine wins in the category), and – all emotional, non-data-based factors aside – few things get us quite like the opening moments of Up. It’s worth noting that without the Cars movies, the non-human average would climb to 90.5%.

7. Female-led Pixar Movies Have a Higher Tomatometer Average (90%) Than Male-led Movies (87.8%)

It took 17 years for Pixar to release their first female-led film with 2013’s Brave, and the end result was an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and a $600 million international box office, adjusted for inflation. Inside Out and Finding Dory followed quickly and, in total, the three female-led films have collected critical accolades (including a 90% Tomatometer average), $2.5 billion in box office receipts, and two Academy Awards.

8. Coco Has the Highest Audience Score (94%)

The most recent Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature also boasts the highest Audience score for a Pixar movie, at 94% – unsurprising, given that it was a crowd-pleasing, heartbreaking musical feast. It’s worth noting, however, that Audience Scores tend to dip over time as more and more users file their score. Toy Story, released some 22 years prior to Coco, has more than a million user ratings, whereas Coco currently has about 25,000. Will its score stay in the mid-90s in a few decades’ time? We wouldn’t bet against it.

9. The Toy Story Trilogy Has the Highest Tomatometer Average (99.6%) AND Audience Score Average (89%) of Any Pixar Franchise

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The Toy Story franchise is not only Pixar’s freshest trilogy, it is one of the highest-rated trilogies ever made (until Toy Story 4 comes out in 2019, when it could be the highest-rated tetralogy – that’s a series of four movies!). The lowest Tomatometer-rated film in the series is Toy Story 3 with a paltry 99%, ringing up the only four Rotten reviews of the total 537 reviews the franchise currently has on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s impressive that directors John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, and Lee Unkrich found a way to keep a story about a group of toys timely, creative, and heartbreaking. It’s worth noting too that the first Toy Story has the highest Tomatometer and Audience score average (96%) of Pixar’s catalog.

Seen Incredibles 2 and want to dive into all the secret breadcrumbs and Easter Eggs you might have missed? Check out the video below. 

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