Ant-Man Inspired: The 10 Biggest Movies With the Smallest Characters

Ant-Man may be the first movie about a tiny superhero, but it's certainly not the first time Hollywood told a story from an ant-size point of view. Whether the characters are bugs, rodents, toys or on the wrong end of the shrink-ray, it's clear that big money can come from moviegoers' fascination with seeing things from an itty bitty perspective. The concept works best with family films because children, of course, relate to existing in a world where everything is taller than them (as proof, click on the movie title to see how kids reviewed these films). Here are the 10 highest-grossing feature films with pint-size characters*:

  1. Toy Story franchise (1995, 1999, 2010), $1.9 million

Toys don't need food, water or even shelter: they need love and attention. All three films put Woody, Buzz and the gang out in the real world, shimmying up garden hoses and hiding cell phones - whatever it takes - to stay with Andy and, ultimately, to stay together.

It can be hard to work in a kitchen if you don't have hands. It's even harder if you are a rat, the creature guaranteed to get a dining establishment a health grade of F. Young moviegoers understand they should pursue their passion no matter the obstacles and this film may very well have led to today's creative "foodie" movement.

  • Stuart Little (1999) and Stuart Little 2 (2002), $470 million
  • Mixing the classic E.B. White children's novel with Lion King director Rob Minkoff and the actor who gives us all the warm and fuzzies, Michael J. Fox, made for giant profits. Of course, seeing a mouse drive a tiny convertible? Priceless.

    Coming from what writer-directors Phil Miller and Chris Lord called "a terrible idea," one of the most creative scripts in animated film history emerged. After all, if reality is based in a child's imagination, well, then, anything is possible. The mini figure comedy led to more than just great success at the multiplex, it made Miller and Lord one of the most in demand directing teams, demand for interlocking bricks surge, and Chris Pratt Hollywood's most bankable movie star.

    Jerry Seinfeld's schtick of questioning the norm was pollinated into this film about a bee who sues the human race for stealing honey. The celebrity buzz of Seinfeld and co-star Renee Zellweger led to this film's success and provided viewers with an unforgettable visual explanation of why bees are crucial to the existence of the human race.

  • Epic (2013), $268 million
  • The studio behind the Ice Age films delivered this animated adventure about a teen girl who is miniaturized and given a mission by a dying fairy queen. Some colossal competition was also released in 2013 (Despicable Me 2, Frozen, Monsters University), but Epic proves that an original story doesn't have to diminish profits...especially if Beyoncé is in it.

    Jack Black is a big talent, especially when he's surrounded by thousands of Lilliputians. The adaptation of the Jonathan Swift novel combined the mythology of the Bermuda Triangle to critical disapproval, but kids found it to be towering comedy.

  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), $222.7 million.
  • The first film in the franchise shrunk the kids to a size smaller than a blade of grass, but it enlarged their fascination with science, even if it wasn't at all accurate. The Rick Moranis-starrer is one of Disney's most successful franchises and led to its own attraction at Disney theme parks across the world.

  • The Secret World of Arrietty (2010 in Japan, 2012 in the U.S.), $145 million.
  • Anime giant Hayao Miyazaki co-wrote this adaptation of "The Borrowers," about a community of people smaller than a mouse who "borrow" items from the humans to survive. It was the highest grossing Japanese film at the Japanese box office in 2010 and scored the largest opening ever for a Studio Ghibli film in the U.S. in 2012.

    While no reliable box office information is available for this 47-year old film, it won two Academy Awards and there's no measuring the reach of its influence. The story about a medical team made microscopic to travel through the body of a dying VIP to repair his brain inspired
    (1987) and The Farrelly Brothers'
    (2001), not to mention the
    that's currently in the works. Moreover, the film known for its groundbreaking special effects seems to have instigated
    as well.

    *Only films that portray small characters in the same universe as human-size characters were considered.