How many animated Hollywood blockbusters have been inspired by where you live?
This delightfully illustrated series of maps from Quickdraw guides you to where the top 150 children's animated movies are set, across all four corners of the world. The maps pinpoint the backdrops of classic big screen tales produced by the likes of Walt Disney, Pixar Studios, Dreamworks, Sony and Warner Brothers in the 20th and 21st century.
Beneath each map is a table that ranks all movies in each continent by movie revenue, movie rating and total social media posts. Regions included are:
- Central America
- North America
- South America
- Unknown locations
Children's animated movies set in Africa are few and far between when compared to Europe and North America. Of the five films listed below, the most widely recognised is The Lion King, one of Disney's all-time classic about the animal kingdom. Not only was it the highest earning African-themed box office movie but also the most popular for social media posts.
The Madagascar franchise has also proved to be a worldwide hit, spanning four movies including one spin-off for those adorable penguins.
Shifting across the Indian Ocean, Asia has played host to an abundance of animated movies made by both Hollywood and lesser-known production companies. Japan, particularly Tokyo, dominates for where films on this continent can call home.
Japan's Pokemon, rural China's Kung Fu Panda, India's The Jungle Book and Jordan's Aladdin each broke the 1 billion dollar revenue barrier, whilst Mulan, set is China also, scored highest for posts on social media and average user rating across movie websites.
Coco has been the most financially successful movie from the Caribbean district, despite its mediocre social media presence, according to Instagram. On the other end of the scale (no pun intended) The Little Mermaid fared modestly in movie earnings yet accrued an astonishingly high number of citations across social media.
Animated movies with a European flavour have come thick and fast in the 20th and 21st century; production companies like Pixar and Disney have based both classic tales and modern greats across the continent, with England and France featuring prominently.
Ranking this cluster of movies on revenue alone its clear to see Scotland's How To Train Your Dragon and Germany's Shrek franchises leading the charge; Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and Alice in Wonderland join this top tier with over 1 billion dollars in box office revenue. Listing movies by popularity on movie review websites tells a similar story with the aforementioned titles pushing for almost perfect scores.
Tracking social media posts gives an entirely different outlook with Disney female leads stealing the limelight; old-time favourite characters like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and Alice in Wonderland have each amassed more than 4 million hashtags on Instagram.
North American animated movies tend to take place in California or New York, according to the data. That makes sense when you consider the West Coast is home to Disney's Hollywood's Studios and Warner Brother Studios, whilst New York has emerged as a mecca for superhero characters like Spider-Man and busy city storylines seen in Boss Baby.
Despite this, the highest grossing animated movie franchise to date is Despicable Me and its Minions, with Toy Story a close second. Both take place outside of these epicentres. Alongside Cars and Zootopia, they all lay claim to multi-billion dollar sales and almost perfect movie ratings.
Whilst on social media Pixar's Toy Story, and Disney's Peter Pan and Dumbo feature most frequently in Instagram hashtags.
Finding Nemo is the jewell in the crown for Australasian move backdrops. The Eastern-Cost film rocketed to stardom in 2003 and has since racked up over 1 million social media posts. A modern entry, Moana, introduced animated movie fans to life in New Caledonia more than a decade later in 2016, and although falling short of Finding Nemo's box office takings it emerged as one of the world's most talked about Walt Disney films with over two and a half Instagram hashtags.
Akin to Africa and Oceana, South America has been largely overlooked as scenery for family-fuelled movies. The Rio franchise, based in Brazil, flies the flag for the continent with a blockbuster hit and sequel within the space of two years. However, neither have outshone Pixar's Venezuelan story of Up, which moved us all to tears in 2009 and cemented Carl and Russell as animated icons of the movie world.
There are a handful of movies that takes place in alternate universes that bear no resemblance to earth as we no it. Think Avatar. Or the plot was set so far back that the exact location of the movie is untraceable. Yes Croods, that's you. And for those irregular blockbuster hits, a separate table has been created using the same movie criteria as above.
Avatar, The Lego Movie and Dragon Ball share the spoils of user ratings and social media engagement - it's hard to believe the latter has generated over 13 million hashtags on Instagram alone! But with a top scoring rating of 4.9/5, it's no wonder.
About this research
The movies included in this research were selected across three criteria: popularity across social media, in the number of hashtags that were posted on Instagram; global box office revenue, not including revenue earned from TV production or DVD distribution that meets or exceeds $1,000,000 USD; and a minimum aggregate user rating on movie review platforms IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and Common Sense Media of 4/5.
Movie locations were tracked by cross-referencing entries on Wikipedia, movie forums, and individual movie production websites. Those movies with no confirmed location on earth were allocated to the 'unknown' category. Examples of this are Avatar and The Croods.
The data for movies with sequels (example: Toy Story) or franchises (example: Despicable Me and Minions) has been condensed as a single entry to avoid dilution and repetition.
Movie location FAQ's
Where does frozen take place?
While Frozen takes place in the fictional kingdom Arendelle, the kingdom was based on multiple locations in Norway. The team behind Frozen even visited Norway to gain inspiration, and you can see Nordic influence all throughout the movie.
Where does sleeping beauty take place?
Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't expressly state that it's set in France; however, there are several clues throughout that allude to that fact, including the playing of the French national anthem and the presence of the French symbol fleur-de-lis.
Where is beauty and the beast set?
Beauty and the Beast took place in mid-1700s France. As we all know, Belle and her father lived in a “provincial town” on the coast of France before the French Revolution. So, what was France like during this time? Well, mid-1700s France was, basically, at the peak of its power.
Where do the Simpsons live?
Springfield In 'Simpsons' Was Based On Town In Oregon All Along : The Two-Way Matt Groening tells Smithsonian magazine that the show's location is based on Springfield, Ore.
Where does despicable me take place?
It is not clearly signposted where this movie is set, however, there are strong suggestions that the scenes have roots set in New Mexico.
Where does finding dory take place?
Finding Dory, the 2016 sequel, finds everyone's favourite amnesiac fish swimming “for the jewel of Monterey.” In search of her family, Dory's destination is California's Central Coast city and the peninsula of Monterey, a little over 100 miles south of San Francisco.
Where is Moana from?
The 2016 Disney film Moana is set on the fictional island of Motunui, located in Polynesia. Although the film is not explicitly set in any real-world location, the island and its culture are based on those of Polynesia, specifically Samoa and Fiji.
Where is Nemo from?
In the colourful and warm tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef, a Clown Fish named Marlin lives safe and secluded in his anemone home with his only son, Nemo.
Where does the lion king take place?
The setting, with its tall grass and quadrupedal wildlife, resembles the African savanna pretty closely. The opening song and the phrase "Hakuna Matata" are in Swahili, which is a language spoken in a number of East African countries, including Kenya and Tanzania.
Where does the little mermaid take place?
In the original fairy tale it is heavily implied that the story takes place somewhere in the Mediterranean, and the Disney version also leans heavily toward the Mediterranean with its flora, fauna, tropical atmosphere and the lyrics of "Under the Sea".
Where is Aladdin set?
In the original movie and derived productions, Agrabah is in the middle of the desert. In the live-action adaptation, its location is moved on the shore, partially filmed in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan.
Where does the jungle book take place?
The stories are set in a forest in India; one place mentioned repeatedly is "Seonee" (Seoni), in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. A major theme in the book is abandonment followed by fostering, as in the life of Mowgli.
What country is rio in?
The Rio franchise is set in the rainforests of South Africa. Rio is the capital of the Brazilian state of the same name (Rio de Janeiro) and is the chief port of Brazil.
Is Paradise Falls from Up real?
Many Disney animated film locations are based on or inspired by real-life destinations. Paradise Falls from Pixar's "Up" was based on the real Angel Falls in Venezuela.