Although 2021 was filled with many challenges, several great animated movies were released in 2021. Over 28 animated movies were released, and even more animated TV shows were produced.
Many studios pushed movie release dates back and forth as they weighed the pros and cons of a digital release or a more traditional movie theaters-wide release. Several studios opted for a hybrid release with a traditional movie release at the theaters and a digital release.
Below is a list of all animated movies from 2021 and our editor’s top 10 picks with a trailer video and storyline.
Animated Movies 2021 List
- Earwig and the Witch – February 3, 2021
- Tom and Jerry – February 26, 2021
- Raya and the Last Dragon – March 3, 2021
- The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run – March 4, 2021
- Arlo the Alligator Boy – April 16, 2021
- The Mitchells vs. The Machines – April 22, 2021
- Spirit Untamed – June 4, 2021
- Wish Dragon – June 11, 2021
- Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway – June 11, 2021
- Luca – June 18, 2021
- Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One – June 22, 2021
- The Boss Baby: Family Business – July 2, 2021
- Space Jam: A New Legacy – July 16, 2021
- Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans – July 21, 2021
- Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two – July 27, 2021
- Vivo – July 31, 2021
- Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time – August 13, 2021
- Paw Patrol: The Movie – August 20, 2021
- The Loud House Movie – August 20, 2021
- The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf – August 23, 2021
- Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms – August 31, 2021
- Clifford the Big Red Dog – September 17, 2021
- Belle – September 25, 2021
- The Addams Family 2 – October 1, 2021
- Extinct – October 6, 2021
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Tsuzumi Mansion Arc – October 7, 2021
- Ron’s Gone Wrong – October 22, 2021
- Maya and the Three – October 22, 2021
- My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission – October 29, 2021
- Encanto – November 24, 2021
- The Summit of the Gods – November 24, 2021
- Robin Robin – November 24, 2021
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid – December 3, 2021
- Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas – December 3, 2021
- Flee – December 3, 2021
- Back to the Outback – December 10, 2021
- Rumble – December 15, 2021 (Paramount+)
- Sing 2 – December 22, 2021
Top 10 Animated Movies 2021
Here is a list of some of the best-animated movies of 2021. Which animated film makes your top list of 2021? These animated features are among the highest-rated animated movies on IMDb.
1. Maya and The Three
May and The Three Release Date: October 22, 2021
IMDb score ⭐️ 8.1
Maya and the Three Storyline
In a fantastical world where magic turns the world and four kingdoms rule the lands, a brave and rebellious warrior princess named Maya is about to celebrate her fifteenth birthday and coronation.
But everything changes when the underworld gods arrive and announce that Maya’s life is forfeit to the God of War, a price she must pay for her family’s secret past. If Maya refuses, the whole world will suffer the gods’ vengeance.
2. The Mitchells vs The Machines
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.6
The Mitchells vs The Machines Storyline
This feature film follows an ordinary family in the middle of their biggest family challenge yet…saving the world from the robot apocalypse. It all starts when creative outsider Katie Mitchell is accepted into the film school of her dreams and is eager to leave home.
Her dad insists on having the whole family drive her to school. But when the trip can’t get any worse, the family suddenly finds itself in the middle of the robot uprising. Now it’s up to the Mitchells and two friendly robots to save humanity.
Luca Release Date: June 18, 2021
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.4
A young boy experiences an unforgettable seaside summer on the Italian Riviera filled with gelato, pasta, and endless scooter rides.
Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by the deeply-held secret that he is a sea monster from another world just below the ocean’s surface. Can sea monsters and the townspeople get along?
4. Sing 2
Sing 2 Release Date: December 22, 2021
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.4
Sing 2 Storyline
Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show.
5. Raya and the Last Dragon
Raya and the Last Dragon Release Date: March 3, 2021
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.3
Raya and the Last Dragon Storyline
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity.
Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.
Encanto Release Date: November 24, 2021
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.2
Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains in a place called Encanto. The magic of Encanto has blessed all family members with a unique magical ability except one, Mirabel.
But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that as the only ordinary Madrigal, she might be her family’s last hope.
7. Wish Dragon
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.2
Wish Dragon Storyline
Determined teen Din longs to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.
8. Ron’s Gone Wrong
Ron’s Gone Wrong Release Date: October 22, 2021
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.0
Ron’s Gone Wrong Storyline
Barney is a socially awkward middle schooler, and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, is supposed to be his ‘Best Friend out of the Box.’
Ron’s hilarious malfunctions, set against the backdrop of the social media age, launch them into an action-packed journey in which the boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship.
9. Robin Robin
Robin Robin Release Date: November 24, 2021
IMDb score ⭐️ 7.0
Robin Robin Storyline
When her egg by chance rolls into a rubbish dump, Robin is raised by a loving family of mice. As she grows up, her differences become more apparent.
Robin sets off on the heist to end all heists to prove to her family that she can be a really good mouse but ends up discovering who she is. See our full list of animated bird movies.
IMDb score ⭐️ 6.7
Vivo follows a honey bear who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively square with his beloved owner Andrés. Though they may not speak the same language, Vivo and Andrés are the perfect duos through their common love of music.
But when tragedy strikes shortly after Andrés receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval, inviting her old partner to her farewell concert with the hope of reconnecting, it’s up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andrés never could.
To save her beloved family, her friends, and her own life, Maya embarks on a thrilling quest to fulfill an ancient prophecy that foretells the coming of three great warriors who will help her defeat the gods and save humankind.
Animated Movies 2021 Recap
Some digital releases were before the theatrical release, at the same time as the theatrical release, or even after the theatrical release. This will likely be an area of continuous improvement as the animation studio dials what viewers want and studios try to maximize profits.
Two studios stand out as having big years: Disney and Netflix. Disney always has a big year, and they are loading up again with more animated movies coming soon.
Netflix also had a big year, which was made even more successful by purchasing completed animated movies from Sony Pictures Animation to add to their library, such as Vivo, The Mitchells vs The Machines, and Wish Dragon.
Both of these studios bolstered their libraries and continued to grow with the help of their mega-streaming platforms. With more studios and media companies debuting streaming apps and new animation, the competition keeps growing year after year. This is great news for animation fans as the genre continues to expand.
There were many great animated movies in 2021. Which was your favorite movie? Please share your best movies of 2021 on our Facebook page, then sign up for our email list to get animation updates delivered to your email inbox.
Brandon is an animation enthusiast and animated film critic. He has been writing about animation since 2013 to celebrate animated movies, characters, and songs. His favorite animated movies include Finding Nemo, Aladdin, and The Lion King.