The Mexican animation industry is a part of Mexico's domestic film industry. It utilizes primarily the flash, CG, and traditional animation formats, typically produced on a small budget. It began in the 1960s and continues decades later.
In the early 1960s, animation in Mexico was restricted to short formats. In 1972, La familia Telemiau ("The Telemiau family") was the first animated television series to be created in Mexico. It received poor ratings due to competition with more popular American animated shows, such as those of Hanna-Barbera. The country's first feature film, Los tres Reyes Magos ("The Three Wise Men"), was released in 1974, directed by Fernando Ruiz. It was a Mexican adaptation of the Biblical Magi story.
In 1981, the country released its first successful animated film, Katy La Oruga ("Katy the Caterpillar"). It was followed by a made-for-television sequel, Katy, Kiki y Koko. In 1987, Mexico released Las Aventuras de Oliver Twist ("The adventures of Oliver Twist"), a Mexican film adaptation of Charles Dickens Oliver Twist book. It was the second animated film directed by Fernando Ruiz.
After 1987, the creation of animation paused and did not restart until 2003, when Mexico City-based animation studio, Ánima Estudios, released Magos y Gigantes (Wizards and giants). The company later released Imaginum, in 2005. Since then, Ánima Estudios has produced more films and animated content for television.
In 2006, Huevocartoon, a popular multimedia brand focused on eggs, released its first feature film, Una pelicula de huevos. It proved to be a box-office success, grossing $142.3 million pesos. It held the record as the highest-grossing Mexican animated film of all time for nine years. It was followed by two sequels. Founded in 2001, Huevocartoon has produced a lot of animated internet content, funded by its advertising campaign.
In 2007, Animex Producciones released La leyenda de la Nahuala, directed by Ricardo Arnaiz. It grossed $42.2 million pesos and was one of Mexico's highest-grossing animated films at the time. It was followed by even more successful sequels and a television series.
In 2011, Don gato y su pandilla, an animated film based on Hanna-Barbera's Top Cat series was released successfully, earning $112.25 million pesos in its theatrical run. It was followed by a computer animated prequel. Both films were produced by Ánima Estudios.
Un gallo con muchos huevos ("A rooster with many eggs"), a computer animated film, was released in 2015. It grossed $167.8 million pesos, breaking box-office records in Mexico, overtaking the original Huevos film as Mexico's highest-grossing animated film.
In 2012, Villainous, a comedy web series created by Alan Ituriel, premiered on internet platforms. The series gained unexpected popularity and was picked up for television by the Latin American branch of Cartoon Network. It was shown on the network's Anything application on digital devices in 2016.
In 2020, Ánima Estudios has released the superhero film, La liga de los 5, which is a first for the Mexican cinema industry. Marvick Núñez, first time director and an experienced animator since 1996, explained the entire process of the country's animation industry which he calls it "very small". "Let's say I had to see the birth of modern industry, the way we perceive animation now[.] [Y]ou didn't even think about dreams that a studio would make an animated movie in Mexico," said Núñez. He also stated that despite the frequent successes of the films, the industry has not gained global attention, adding that it "is emerging and is gradually gaining ground." He later adds that one of the reasons the industry lacks sufficient quality is due to a few amount of universities dedicated to animation and gaming, as well as focusing on one animation element over multiples. "Here in Mexico it seems to me that there are hardly two or three universities focused entirely on it," he said. “More people need to know how to make animation with all the departments they need: character design, art design, backgrounds… not only to animate the character, that's just one of the departments."