Domestic gross (adjusted): $230 million
Domestic gross (actual): $224 million
Distributor: Buena Vista
2008’s Wall-E could easily have been a very expensive disaster. An animated film set 700 years in the future, it depicts a maintenance robot left behind to clean up a Planet Earth that’s been rendered uninhabitable by the waste and pollution of the human beings who have deserted it. While he’s there, he meets another robot and the two fall in love. The storyline was last attempted in the 1981 Andy Kaufman film Heartbeeps, to financially ruinous effect for the film’s backers.
The environmentally conscious and almost dialogue-free androids-in-love movie could have alienated audiences and lost millions of dollars at the box office. However, Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton handled the film in expert fashion, and it connected with both critics and audiences alike, making Wall-E the all-too-rare example of a children’s movie with adult themes that manages to captivate both audiences.