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Animated Box Office Flops That I Enjoyed

In my youth I leaned more toward animation than live action when it came to full length movies, and being a kid of the 1990s I was that sibling that loved a movie whether it had rough criticism or just didn't do well in sales. Maybe I saw what others didn't, or, I just had my own fascination with them. These are animated box office flops that I enjoyed.

Rock-A-Doodle (1991)

Critics and viewers alike didn't get the expectations they wanted once animator Don Bluth decided to direct and write his own movies, lacking the punch of his previous films like The Secret of NIMH and The Land Before Time, it combined animation with live action as young boy Edmond gets transformed into a cat on a journey with other talking animals to help the rooster Chanticleer to raise the sun, and defeat the Grand Duke of Owls. While others were turned off by the pacing and concept, I felt that the "magic" of the story made it very unique and underrated.

Ferngully (1992)

While its environmental message didn't exactly leave a good taste for the box office, Ferngully was an ambitious effort as the film crew did their homework by flying out to a real rainforest to understand how the landscape looked, and using early CG technology to help tell the tale of how a mere human had to right the wrong of unleashing a gas-fueled being named Hexxus that plans to destroy the paradise of Ferngully residing with fairies, animals and other wildlife. Even if the movie didn't do that well in theaters, having the superb performances of Robin Williams and Tim Curry really helped make the film worth a watch.

The Pagemaster (1994)

Young Richard Tyler (played by Macaulay Culkin) heads to his local library during a heavy storm and becomes a cartoon as he goes through different novel stories that focus on fantasy, adventure and horror. Hollywood greats like Patrick Stewart and Christopher Lloyd also star in the movie along with cartoon voice actor Frank Welker to liven up the story. The concept sounds great, but in execution the different stories that Richard jumps into are done before you even get to enjoy them as they're introduced. Despite those shortcomings though, I still found it to be a fun movie for what it was.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

To me, it seemed like the reason why this film didn't get the recognition it deserved during its theater debut was from the title alone. Just calling it "A Goofy Movie" did seem like a lot left to be desired, what if it had a subtitle on the bottom to give more of an idea of what it was about? The film focused on Goofy's son, Max as he falls in love with a girl he knows from school, and to impress her he makes up a lie that he's going with his dad to Los Angeles to meet up with his favorite singer, Powerline but the father and son bonding comes at a catastrophic turn when Goofy learns that Max takes advantage of him by changing the travel map after dubbing him as the trip navigator. The film did get a cult following after its home video release and has been known as an underrated animated Disney movie ever since.

Balto (1995)

Loosely based on the real events of the story, Balto, the wolf-dog races to get a medicine for the sick children in Alaska when they're suffering from diphtheria as he has a team of other sled dogs to back him up during a heavy snowstorm. Kevin Bacon provides the voice of Balto and Jim Cummings gives a sinister voice to Balto's rival, Steele making for a neat voice performance all around. Unfortunately with the groundbreaking release of Toy Story it was overshadowed from box office sales and released around the same time. A bummer too, because I was a big fan of the art style.

Cats Don't Dance (1997)

Combining the jumpy animation from Warner Bros. with a visual flair that you'd see out of a Disney movie, Cats Don't Dance sadly underperformed with a recent merger between Warner Bros. and Turner Animation, alongside Disney still pushing out animated hits in the 1990s (except Pocahontas) the movie was left with barely any fanfare upon its release. Taking place in the late 1930s, an anthropomorphic dancing cat named Danny seeks to gain a following in Hollywood, but he has his luck out for him as he finds out that other animals that have tried to get a gig in Hollywood became nothing more than regular stage animals in the background and looked down upon by the human celebrities. It's only by his motivation that Danny brings the other animals together so they finally have their time in the spotlight while putting selfish child star Darla Dimple in her place.

Quest for Camelot (1998)

To my parents, Quest for Camelot had given the impression to them that it was one of those movies in the category of "wait for a home video release" as it looked like another barebones adventure movie to them, and, that's what it seemed like to the mixed reception of other parents that watched the movie. A headstrong adventurer named Kayley makes friends with a blind man named Garrett, and a two headed dragon named Devon and Cornwall as they team up to save King Arthur and Camelot. More fun Hollywood voicework is done here with Gary Oldman as the voice of the film's villain, Ruber, and the combined efforts of Monty Python star Eric Idle as Devon and Andy Rickles as Cornwall.

The Iron Giant (1999)

Based on "The Iron Man" novel by Ted Hughes, this version of the story takes a lighter tone from the giant's "consume everything on earth" motive from the book. A young boy named Hogarth Hughes finds an otherworldly giant robot and befriends him, but the government is quickly on the trail to destroy it by any means necessary while agent Kent Mansley stubbornly questions Hogarth about the giant's whereabouts. By the power of burping and voice effects, Vin Diesel provided the voice of the Iron Giant, making for a convincing voice for a towering robot. So why did such a promising movie fail to reach sales at the box office? The answers lie from the questionable marketing of the movie. Only a single teaser poster was made, and because of Quest for Camelot before it not reaching the sales goal that Warner Bros. was expecting, they didn't have high hopes that The Iron Giant would be a success, leading to a lot of mismanagement.


What are your favorite animated movies that didn't do well at the box office? Leave a message, and as always, see you next article!

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Mr Magic Posted on Sep 18, 2023 at 03:58 PM

Interesting fact, Flix. :)

RetroOtaku620 Posted on Sep 18, 2023 at 03:48 PM

I have seen all of these movies, but out of all of them, I love Cats Don't Dance the most. I even have most of these on either VHS or DVD.

FlixtheCatJr Posted on Sep 05, 2023 at 12:37 PM

@Mr Magic
Yep. Iron Giant didn't do well at all. It wasn't until it was shown a ton of times on the Cartoon Network where it built a huge fan base and earned its place as an animated classic. Cartoon Network airing it on a constant loop every year on the holidays helped it big time. Hell I must have watched it at least three times in a row, lol.

Mr Magic Posted on Sep 02, 2023 at 11:33 PM

Balto and Iron Giant were Box Office flops?!

Well, I guess just because a movie is popular, it doesn't mean it's going to gain a whole lotta money.

Benjanime Posted on Sep 02, 2023 at 03:26 PM


I guess because it didn't do well at the box office, Cats Don't Dance was also able to air on the Disney Channel, air dates went from 1998 to 2001 there. It's just so mindblowing though seeing a movie from a competing film company airing on that channel.

@Game Joy

And I thank you for reading, big brother :)

Game Joy Posted on Sep 02, 2023 at 03:17 PM

I remember them! And I completely agree with you, my so charismatic, all special little brother! Those movies are underrated gems of beauty and magic!

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 02, 2023 at 02:42 AM

This is a great list. I've never even heard of Cats Can't Dance. Iron Giant, however, eventually gained the following it should have had to begin with. I'm glad it finally started to be appreciated by a larger audience.

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