Brave is the thirteenth film from critically acclaimed animated-movie giant Pixar. All twelve of its predecessors--Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3, and Cars 2--were among the ten highest grossers worldwide in the year of their release. Brave is currently #10 on this year's top ten list, but there is virtually no scenario in which The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will not outgross it.
Counting worldwide grosses not adjusted for inflation, Brave is the seventh highest grossing Pixar film of all time. Its $535 million total is nothing to be ashamed of, even if its $185 million budget is on the high side for an animated film. Still, it wasn't able to be the blockbuster Pixar and distributor Disney were hoping for. It was not even close to matching the grosses of Dreamworks' Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted or Blue Sky Studio's Ice Age: Continental Drift.
There are several possible reasons for Brave's somewhat disappointing turnout. The recession makes families think twice about going to the movies (though obviously that wasn't a problem for Madagascar 3 or Ice Age 4). Brave wasn't a sequel. Its reviews were high, but not quite at the level people had come to expect from Pixar. Furthermore, the negative reaction to Pixar's last film--Cars 2--has probably hurt the brand. The visuals were stunning, but not as flashy as those of a modern day Pixar film. Brave, unlike every other Pixar film, did not have a universally-known cast of voices. The commercials may have been unconvincing, mainly because the protagonist was found irritating to many. Finally, 3D may not have the drawing power it used to.
Pixar will certainly make more with its release for next year: Monsters University, a sequel to Monsters, Inc. Still, this isn't a good sign for what was even two years ago considered the premier animation studio.