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For movie studios, a film's success isn't entirely determined by its box office gross. You can generate all of the revenue you want, but if your movie costs the GDP of a small country, you may not be left with all that much profit. That cost to income ratio is the guiding philosophy for determining a film's final value, and now it seems that The Secret Life of Pets has turned out to be the most valuable film of 2016.
A new report from Deadline confirms that The Secret Life of Pets was actually the most valuable movie of 2016. The film pulled in $691 million in revenue, and after factoring in all total costs (which added up to roughly $316 million), it generated approximately $374 million for Universal -- more than any other film released in 2016. Although this doesn't qualify it as the highest grossing film of the last year, it's relatively high gross and low cost combined have made it the most valuable. This doesn't appear to be a one-off for Universal and Illumination, as their other animated offering, Sing, similarly ranked as the No. 7 most valuable film of 2016.
It goes without saying that everyone involved in The Secret Life of Pets is now fully invested in seeing if they can replicate the success of the original. A sequel was recently announced, and it's currently slated to hit theaters on July 3, 2019. No major plot details have been revealed about where The Secret Life of Pets 2 may end up taking this particular universe, but something tells us that Universal and Illumination are going to abide the old "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" adage.
We aren't even remotely surprised to see an animated film rank as the most valuable movie of 2016. Although last year was certainly characterized by some critical disappointments and box office flops, the fact of the matter is that animation has seemingly never been stronger. Last year saw a ton of family friendly (and genuinely good) animated films debut in theaters -- such as Finding Dory, Zootopia, and the aforementioned The Secret Life of Pets -- and we even saw the filmmaking format veer into R-rated territory with the release of the highly controversial Sausage Party. Animated storytelling continues to improve with each passing year, and as such we can only expect the value of animated films to increase as the technology advances.
With The Secret Life of Pets coming in as the most valuable film of 2016, it's clear that Illumination has developed a very powerful formula for success. We will have to wait and see it can keep this hot streak going Despicable Me 3 debuts on June 30, 2017. For more information concerning the rest of this year's major theatrical releases, make sure to take a look at our 2017 movie premiere guide and let us know which films you're most excited about in the comments section below.