Pixar vs. DreamWorks: Which Is The Better Animation Studio?

Animated movies and TV shows have been extremely popular among viewers of all ages for plenty of years, filled with tons of humor and loveable characters that can be appreciated by just about anyone. But, while many fans can easily single out their favorite titles, deciding between animation studios isn’t as easy – plenty of people wonder whether Pixar or Dreamworks is better as a result.

Pixar is the most popular amongst animation movie fans, mainly since their movies usually play on lighthearted humor and emotions which can lead to better reliability and connections. While DreamWorks has loads of fans, they generally focus more on comedic elements and themes that do not always capture viewers in the same way.

While it is quite tricky to choose which is better since the studios are still different in some ways, there are quite a few factors that make one better than the other overall. Stick around as we discuss both Pixar and Dreamworks in detail, and outline their biggest strengths and weaknesses.

Pixar vs. DreamWorks

Pixar and DreamWorks are giants in the animation industry, and both studios have been dedicated to creating movies that captivate their audiences for many, many years. With the companies seeing so many massive successes, the debate about which studio is better has been going on for quite some time.

Before going any further, it’s worth pointing out that although one may outweigh the other in some aspects, both of these animation studios are iconic. They are definitely worthy of respect since they have had a massive influence on the industry as a whole, have accomplished some infamous masterpieces, have both been founded by some incredibly talented individuals, and have amassed substantial followings over time.

Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar is now owned by Disney, after it was purchased by Disney for a whopping $7.4 billion in 2006, but it was once a brainchild of the infamous Apple’s Steve Jobs. This animation studio has revolutionized the way that animation movies are made and perceived by the audience – including critics!

At the time of writing, Pixar has made quite a few movies, some of which have made it to the list of timeless classics – animation movies that just never seem to get old. One of the most iconic is Toy Story, starting its journey way back in 1995 after which it became one of the most well-loved animation movie sagas in history.

RELATED: Toy Story Movies in Order [Including Short Movie]

The animation studio has managed to get 26 Oscar Awards in its time so far, not to mention Golden Globes, Grammys, and various other awards for their work. Both Toy Story 3 and Up were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and Finding Nemo has been one of the Top 50 movies of all time for ages.

DreamWorks Animation SKG

DreamWorks was founded by Steven Spielberg himself, after which it was owned by Reliance ADA. The company makes both animation movies and TV programs, in addition to video games, which does diversify their creations quite a bit.

The company started back in 1994, but the animation sector was separated in 2004 when DreamWorks Animation SKG began. ‘SKG’ stands for the three letters of its founders – Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen.

Shrek is possibly the most iconic of DreamWorks creations, in addition to pieces like Kung Fu Panda, Megamind, How to Train Your Dragon, and Monsters vs. Aliens. The company has received numerous Academy Awards over the years – although, it wasn’t necessarily for family-friendly animation movies, but rather for American Beauty, A Beautiful Mind, and Gladiator.

Which Is The Better Animation Studio?

From a broad stance, Pixar seems to be more popular amongst fans, but DreamWorks is definitely loved as well – the studios are simply loved in different ways. Both studios are iconic for different reasons, and it’s more to do with how the companies’ creations connect with viewers than animation quality, voice castings, or budgets.

Considering that both Pixar and DreamWorks started their journey around the same time in the mid-90s, we can compare quite a lot of their success over time. Below are some outlined comparisons between Pixar and DreamWorks:

AwardsPixar has achieved more recognition due to its award-winning movies, and it has more Academy Awards in the animation genre than DreamWorks.
StoriesDreamWorks’s movies are made on large-scale stories, and the company uses a large canvas.
Pixar movies are mostly made with small subjects.
AudiencePixar movies have been well-known for using influences that can make the audience connect emotionally with the characters and story.
DreamWorks movies have never relied too heavily on emotional connection, rather relying on the magic and feel of the story itself.

However, there are still some factors that cannot necessarily be compared, being unique to each company. But, these factors do still influence how animated movies are perceived by the audience and by critics.

Story Style

The main differences include things like the style of their storylines, which can be left for debate and preference. Pixar generally focuses more on realistic situations and relative plots (although these often feature fantasy elements like talking animals, superheroes, and more).

On the other hand, DreamWorks relies more on classic fantasy-based stories for their animation pieces (such as magic, castles, and classic fairytale elements). They rely quite a lot on comedic elements, with humor often overshadowing the themes.

Technically, the difference in storyline style and overall atmosphere does not necessarily make one animation studio better than the other – it’s more up to what viewers prefer. But, in reality, it does have a impact on popularity – people are far more likely to warm up to a movie with touching relationships and heartfelt moments compared to whimsical characters and off-the-wall humor.

Of course, this is just a general comparison – it’s not always applicable to all Pixar and DreamWorks pieces. There are some times when either studio will touch on the opposing side, where Pixar shows more humor than emotion and DreamWorks gets deeper than one might expect.

Animation Style

The actual quality of animation between Pixar and DreamWorks can be difficult to compare in a fair way – it does not always boil down to how ‘good’ the animations are. For example, Pixar’s Finding Nemo was one of the most well-executed 3D animated movies at the time, while DreamWorks Prince of Egypt was one of the best 2D animated movies of the time.

RELATED: 60 Best & Most Popular 90s Cartoon Characters

Again, the animation is not necessarily a win-or-lose area, as this is also up for preference. What makes it work or not is how the animation style blends with the story being told, and how it’s all perceived by the audience.

Both Pixar and DreamWorks have had wins and losses in this area. But, from a broad perspective, it seems that DreamWorks is more willing to take chances on wild ideas purely out of dedication to the creative craft.

Revenue

Now, this area is not so much to consider the popularity of Pixar and DreamWorks amongst fans – fans rarely care too much about the company’s bottom line. But, the figures do still give some insight into how the companies are doing behind the scenes.

Below are the companies’ stats, average annual revenue, and company ratings according to Zippia:

PixarDreamWorks
Company
Rating
4.64.8
Peak Annual
Revenue
$770M
(2021)
$915.9M
(2021)
Number of
Employees
1,2332,700

It may seem that DreamWorks is making way more money than Pixar, but this may not necessarily mean that the company’s animation pieces bring in more revenue. DreamWorks does much more than animation movies, and the reported revenue per year will comprise various other activities.

Of course, when it comes to animation, the ultimate factor always comes down to preferences. Pixar and Dreamworks have still managed to come up with some timeless classics and beloved titles – there’s no harm in loving both animation studios!

  • Jeijei is an eccentric oddball obsessed with anime, sci-fi, and fantasy. She spends her free time enjoying movies and video games, especially MMOs & RPGs, whether it be PC, console, or mobile.