70. Toei Animation
This Japanese studio began way back in 1948, making it one of the oldest animation companies still in business. There was a period during the 1990s when their Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series were so widely successful that DBZ was one of the first Japanese anime shows to ever jump across the Pacific Ocean and become widely praised by mainstream American audiences, which broke open the flood gates for the entire industry to follow after them in a trend that’s only accelerated thanks to the spread of the Internet. Unsurprisingly, they haven’t been able to recreate that level of global dominance in the industry, but they continue to work on several notable projects to this day, with their recent titles including Toriko, Kyousogiga, Tanken Driland, Robot Girls Z, Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, Majin Bone, Abarenbo Rikishi!! Matsutaro, World Trigger, Doki Doki! PreCure, Expelled From Paradise, Buddha, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, and Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary.
69. Floyd County Productions
Radical Axis was the Atlanta animation studio that was founded in 2000 by Scott Fry, the original animator of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They worked on commercials for Kellogg’s, Cheetos, Wal-Mart, and other large name brands, but they’re far and away most known for their work on television series like Squidbillies, Perfect Hair Fever, 12 oz. Mouse, Robot Chicken, Sealab 2021, and Freak Show. Then, in late 2009, they helped Adam Reed release the 2D spy show, Archer. The original group of artists behind Archer then formed Floyd County Productions, which has also created the shows Unsupervised and Chozen. Archer remains their biggest success with over a million people still watching the show after five hilarious and action packed seasons including this year’s Archer Vice. Season six is currently in development.
This animation studio began back in 1971, and as they grew they were one of the pioneers in outsourcing animations oversees and buying rights to popular new cartoons of their time. All in all, they had heavy hands in introducing the world the popular television series like Babar, Rupert, The Adventures of Tintin, Care Bears, The Magic School Bus, Pippi Longstocking, and Little Bear. Nowadays it’s hard to tell if they’ve fallen from their massive influence, or simply that we don’t yet know what will become the most nostalgic cartoon titles that we look back on in 2020. Some of their recent and ongoing projects include Max & Ruby, Mike the Knight, Truck Town, Detentionaire, Scaredy Squirrel, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, Franklin and Friends, and The Day My Butt Went Psycho!
67. Arc Productions
Formerly Starz Animation Toronto, this animation and visual effects studio in Ontario helped popularize the VeggieTales series about a decade ago. Back in 2011, they were on fire with several successful films such as Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil, Gnomeo & Juliet, Camelot, and Dolphin Tale. More recently they’ve worked on Robosapien: Rebooted, Thomas & Friends, Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway, Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave, Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, and are currently working on an unannounced Wizard of Oz project!
This post production studio has created commercials for a variety of industries including beer advertisements, Samsung products, Xbox One gamers, and the list goes on. Last year they launched Mill+, but what really made them influential in recent years is that while they didn’t work on feature films, they were asked to create several cinematic collaboration videos for the Academy Award ceremonies while presenting nominations and awards. They’ve been doing it since 2012 and the next time you’re watching the Oscars with 43+ million other people in their living rooms, be sure to remember this highly influential studio!
65. Frederator Studios
This animation studio was started in 1997 by Fred Seibert, who was once the president of the famous Hanna-Barbera company. The new studio lived up to its high expectations when in 2001 it was integral to the launch of The Fairly OddParents, which is the third longest running NickToon of all time. They continue to work on the show to this day alongside Billionfold Inc., and in 2010 they helped Pendleton Ward launch Adventure Time, which they also still work on to this day. Frederator Studios recently finished up the show Fanboy & Chum Chum, and also created ten animation shorts.
64. Studio Ghibli
I know. I know. I don’t like it either. Making any sort of animation list with Studio Ghibli ranked so low just doesn’t feel right, but there’s no debating that the golden era of Studio Ghibli has long since passed. The animation world is far larger and demanding than it once was, and Ghibli released all of its best animations and stories back when there was far less competition, making it inevitable that this legendary studio would start to fall from its influential throne. Despite the sadness, they still released three full films recently: The Wind Rises, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There. While it’s true that some of the influences of its earlier works are still being felt to this day in the animations of others and the minds of millions, I must remain unbiased and admit that they don’t deserve a higher ranking in today’s competitive and fast paced world. I’m also worried for the studio’s future since Hayao Miyazaki seems to have retired for good this time, and they’re on a temporary hiatus while figuring out a plan for moving forward. Sadly, it’s likely that this studio will slip much, much farther in next year’s rankings, but I sure do hope I’m wrong.
63. Marvel Animation
In one of the most amusing hierarchies of the animation industry, Marvel Animation is a subsidiary of Marvel Studios, which is a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company after they were acquired for $4.64 billion in 2009 . . . and Marvel Studios uses heavy amounts of 3D animation in their films, yet almost none of it ever comes from their own Marvel Animation subsidiary, which instead focuses on superhero television series. Makes total sense, right? As convoluted as it is, there’s no denying Marvel Animation is greatly influencing the next generation of geeky children and nostalgic geek adults like myself. They worked on half a dozen animated shows including Ultimate Spider-Man, Iron Man, and other Avengers series recently, and they have plenty of more projects planned for the coming years.
62. A-1 Pictures
Our list would be severely flawed if it didn’t have A-1 Pictures on it! This studio was founded by ex-Sunrise producer Mikihiro Iwata in 2005, and their numerous successes have already overshadowed some of the oldest anime studios in the world. In 2012 their Sword Art Online anime took the industry by storm, and in the past two years combined they’ve worked on an impressive two dozen different animation projects, many of which were entire televised anime series. When it comes to high quality and high quantity in the anime industry these days, A-1 Pictures is one of the first studios that come to mind.
61. Spin VFX
After working on the Twilight series, in recent years they’ve contributed to films such as The Signal, After Earth, The Interview, All is Lost, Pompeii, Ghosts of the Pacific, R U Agitated, 22 Jump Street, John Wick, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and even the television series Reign, Houdini, and Game of Thrones. Fun fact: the founder of Spin VFX, Nigel McGrath, was a cofounder of Alias Research in 1984, which was the company that created the world famous Maya software that was later acquired by Autodesk!