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How Much Does it Cost to Make an Animated Film?

Animations are gaining popularity and with changes in production recently causing a shift in the scheduling of live-action films, many have considered shifting gears and producing animated films. But how much does it cost to make an animated film? That’s a great question, but the answer is less than simple to provide. The truth is, animated films are typically rather expensive to produce but the prices can range very dramatically.

Animated film costs are often expressed in a per minute rate or a per second rate. This is the total cost of the animation for a finished minute or finished second of video and includes everything from the graphics and animations to the software used to produce the animations and the final video rendering. In terms of per finished minute, we hear animated films announced at rates of anywhere from $10,000 to more than $200,000. Likewise, animated films can cost anywhere from $50 to nearly $50,000 per finished second. Most fall somewhere in between.

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First, let’s take a look at some of the factors that an animation studio will present in relation to the total cost. For example, basic things like the length of the film and the style of animation are going to play a very important role in budgeting out the answer to your question, ‘How much does it cost to make an animated film?” Typically, animated films are between 30 and 90 minutes in total length. This is the first thing that the animation production team will consider when quoting your price because they are immediately thinking about turnaround time and how they can fit the project into their production schedules.

The type of animation is also considered. A 2D cutout animation is certainly going to be less invasive and probably less expensive than a 3D advanced render. When considering the price of an animated film there are also frame-by-frame animations, motion graphics, stop motion, and kinetic typeset animations — each has its own expected costs per finished minute. If you’re looking for maximum affordability, whiteboard animation or a motion graphic project will most likely be first on the list!


Animated films are almost certainly going to fluctuate on price based on the complexity of the project. Do you have a script or do you need to hire a scriptwriter? Does your story have 15 characters or 1 (or none)? Will there be multiple voiceovers or can a single voice artist do the trick? All of this will play a role in the final overall cost per finished minute of your animated film.

Additionally, as previously mentioned, the type of animation will play into the complexity of the project. 3D animations require significantly more hardware and software to produce than a basic frame-by-frame production. However, if you create a series of 3D animated films there’s a chance you can save yourself a little bit of money as the animators can reuse many of the initial graphics that are created.


So knowing that an animated film can really cost anywhere from about $1,000 per finished minute for the most bare-bones and basic animations such as a whiteboard animation and up to $200,000 per finished minute for complex animations such as those in many Disney movies, let’s take a look at some past animated films and their costs:

  • Tangled – This Disney film cost $260M to create.
  • Tarzan – Another Disney film, this one cost $130M to create.
  • Lilo & Stitch – A Disney film produced in 2002, this one cost $80M.
  • The Spongebob Movie – Produced by Nickelodeon Movies for $74M.
  • The Jungle Book 2 – A Disneytoons production that cost $20M.

Still, wondering how much it will cost to make an animated film? Give Beverly Boy Productions a call to discuss your film project.

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