If you’re looking for wholesome fun and humor that is appropriate for the whole family, you don’t have to look further than this guide on how to watch the Ice Age movies in order. This franchise is delightful fun with moments that will pull at your heartstrings before making you laugh out loud.
Whether you’re looking to rewatch the franchise, which began 20 years ago, for a dose of nostalgia or to introduce new fans to the series, keep reading to find out how to watch the Ice Age movies in order. You may even find the answer to Scrat’s arduous quest for the elusive acorn.
About the Ice Age Franchise
The Ice Age franchise began two decades ago now with the premiere of the first movie in 2002. It was the first feature-length production by Blue Sky Studios in collaboration with 20th Century Fox Studios for distribution. It also became a massive financial and critical success.
Ice Age winds the clock back to 20,000 years ago and follows the adventures of a gang of prehistoric animals. The computer-animated production was a critical and box office success, and was also a hit with families.
What has now become an iconic character for the franchise, a bizarre amalgamation of a squirrel and a rat, first began as merely a way to introduce a wintery setting to a movie titled Ice Age. If the creative team hadn’t included that snippet of Scrat and his elusive acorn, ice and snow wouldn’t have appeared in the movie until much later. As it is, the scene introduces the franchise perfectly and Scrat has become one of its most recognizable characters.
While the role of Scrat is silent, original director Chris Wedge is credited for the role in all Ice Age movies.
It’s always hard to live up to the first installment of a series, which may be true for Ice Age as positive critical reception did decrease slightly as the series progressed. However, it has been an incredible financial success with the five theatrical releases grossing more than $3 billion.
In total there are now six feature-length films, eight animated shorts, two TV specials, and one animated series.
In recent years, there has been a big change to affect the franchise. That is because in 2019 Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, which included 20th Century Fox Studios and consequently Blue Sky Studios. Until the acquisition Blue Sky Studios had produced all Ice Age films and the hit Rio.
While the fate of Blue Sky wasn’t immediately certain, in February 2021 the announcement came that Disney would be shutting down the studio in April of that year.
In 2022 the final Ice Age productions from Blue Sky, one short and one animated series, were released. Also in 2022, came the first Ice Age contribution from Disney with a brand new creative team at the helm: The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild.
Ice Age Movies in Order
Ice Age Feature-Length Films in Order
While you could ostensibly watch the Ice Age movies in any order, your best bet is to watch the movies in order of release. That’s because each movie picks up with the same cast of characters amidst new shenanigans. Therefore, if you want to watch the chronological order of things and stay up-to-date with the development and exchanges between the characters, it is important to watch the Ice Age movies in order.
- Ice Age (2002)
- Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
- Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)
- Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)
- The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild (2022)
Ice Age Short Films in Order
In addition to the feature-length films, there are also a whole host of short films. Many of these shorts were created to be included with the DVD releases, many tie into Scrat’s adventures with his elusive acorn, and some are even added in at the beginning of the next movie upon release.
While it is not necessary to watch these short films, the quick little videos set within this world aim for a quick laugh and deliver.
If you are only to watch one short film from this list, however, The End is particularly poignant. This should not be watched until after you have watched the feature-length films, although it could be watched after the fifth film, Ice Age: Collision Course.
That’s because this was an adieu from the creative team at Blue Sky Studios and the closing of a chapter. It is the final episode in the animated series: Scrat Tales. The short, like many others, follows Scrat and offers up an answer to the decades long question: Will Scrat ever get his acorn?
- Gone Nutty (2002)
- No Time for Nuts (2006)
- Surviving Sid (2008)
- Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up (2010)
- Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up: Part 2 (2011)
- Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe (2015)
- Scrat: Spaced Out (2016)
- The End (2022)
Ice Age TV Specials in Order
During the lifetime of the franchise, there have also been two television specials for the holidays. These occur tangential to the main films, so will not spoil anything, but should be watched in order of release.
Ice Age Animated Series
Finally, there is also an animated series. This, alongside the short The End, was the final adieu from Blue Sky Studios before a new creative team took the helm with the Disney acquisition. There are six episodes in the series that follows the loveable Scat through the ups and downs of fatherhood as he bonds with a mischievous little Baby Scrat.
- Scrat Tales (2022)
Will there be more Ice Age movies?
While that is everything within the Ice Age franchise for now, there are rumors swirling that Disney is planning on producing another Ice Age installment.
Allegedly, as of January 2022, the co-screenwriter from The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is working on the next installment, which could be another movie or a TV series.
It’s uncertain if the critical reviews of Disney’s first Ice Age venture will impact any future installments. However, if the project continues to go ahead, fans can expect to wait until 2025 or 2026 to see it with the long lead-time on animated productions.
Summary of the Ice Age Movies in Order
So, now that you know the order of everything that makes up the Ice Age franchise, it’s time to properly plan your next movie night. At the top of the bill should be the six feature-length films, which all have a runtime of about an hour and a half.
Again, it is recommended to watch these Ice Age movies in order of release; therefore, below you will find summaries for all six movies in order. There may be small spoilers for character development in the summaries as the series progresses.
1. Ice Age
The movie that began the franchise is undoubtedly where you should begin any Ice Age movie marathon.
The first installment in the franchise sets the scene of Earth 20,000 years ago. It is a wondrous, prehistoric world filled with great danger, not the least of which is the beginning of the Ice Age. To avoid a really bad frostbite, the planet’s majestic creatures — and a few small, slothful ones — begin migrating south.
The story introduces its sub-zero heroes: A woolly mammoth, a sabre-toothed tiger, a sloth, and a prehistoric combination of a squirrel and a rat that is known as Scrat.
As previously mentioned, Ice Age was a tremendous success among children, adults, and critics alike. It grossed $383 billion at box offices worldwide.
It features a star-studded voice-acting cast with Ray Romano as Manny, Denis Leary as Diego, and John Leguizamo as Sid. Also lending their voices to the movie were Jack Black, Alan Tudyk, Jane Krakowski, Cedric the Entertainer, and more. The directors were Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha, and the writers were Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg, and Peter Ackerman.
Ice Age also received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2003.
2. Ice Age: The Meltdown
The next feature-length installment in the Ice Age franchise is The Meltdown. In this movie the main characters are facing the threat of widespread flooding across their once-icy domain due to global warming. So, Manny, Sid, and Diego set out to find a new safe haven.
Along the way, Manny’s world abruptly changes. He has always thought he was the last woolly mammoth, but during their travels the gang meets another mammoth. Unfortunately, Ellie believes she is an opossum, not a woolly mammoth, which adds to the confusion on their perilous quest.
Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary all return to reprise their roles. Joining them were Seann William Scott as Crash, Josh Peck as Eddie, and Queen Latifah as Ellie. Also joining the voice cast were Will Arnett and Jay Leno.
This was another success grossing $667 million at the box office worldwide. It was the third highest grossing film in 2006, and the highest grossing animated film of that year. The director was Carlos Saldanha, and the writers were Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow, and Jim Hecht.
3. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
The next movie continues with the shenanigans by our main group of characters and themes of family, friendship, and love.
Sid is overwhelmed by the desire to be a father, so when he sees three unattended eggs, he pilfers them. Unfortunately, the eggs hatch to reveal three baby Tyrannosaurus rexes. Sid consequently gets swiped by the Mama T-rex when she returns for her babies.
Which results in Manny the woolly mammoth, Diego the sabre-toothed tiger, and the rest of their prehistoric pals entering a mysterious, underground world to rescue the hapless sloth.
During the course of their mission, the gang encounters many creatures great and small, including hungry carnivores and a relentless, dinosaur-hunting weasel named Buck.
Romano, Leguizamo, and Leary return as Manny, Sid, and Diego respectively. Also reprising their roles were Queen Latifah, Josh Peck, Seann William Scott, and more. Joining them were Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, and Simon Pegg.
The directors were Carlos Saldanha and Michael Thurmeier, and the writers were Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, and Mike Reiss. At its time, this was the highest grossing installment, grossing more than $886 million at box offices worldwide.
4. Ice Age: Continental Drift
A decade after the first installment saw the fourth Ice Age movie premiere in theatres. By this point, Scat’s continuous pursuit of his infernal acorn was iconic. But it also spells trouble.
That’s because Scrat has, inadvertently, caused the continents to split apart, which brings with it world-changing consequences for Manny, Sid, and Diego. The continental divide separates Manny and his friends from the rest of the herd, including Manny’s mate, Ellie, and their rebellious daughter, Peaches.
The pals are desperate to return home, but a pirate and his ragtag crew stand in their way.
The main ensemble of actors all reprised their roles. Peter Dinklage voices the pirate Captain Gutt, while Keke Palmer voices Peaches, Jennifer Lopez voices Shira, and Nicki Minaj voices Steffie. Also joining the voice cast for this production in various roles were Aziz Ansari, Joy Behar, Drake, Josh Gad, Patrick Stewart, Wanda Sykes, and many more.
The directors were Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier, and the writers were Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs, and Lori Forte. It was another success grossing more than $877 million worldwide.
5. Ice Age: Collision Course
The fifth Ice Age movie was the last feature-length film by the original production company: Blue Sky Studios. It continues with the franchise’s recurring themes of family, friendship, love, and humor.
It begins with Manny worrying when his daughter Peaches announces her engagement. Meanwhile, still unlucky in love, Sid volunteers to plan the couple’s wedding. To Manny’s dismay, nothing can stop the upcoming nuptials, except maybe the end of the world.
When Scrat accidentally launches himself into outer space, he sets off a chain reaction that sends an asteroid hurtling toward Earth. Now, the entire herd must leave home to explore new lands and save itself from Scrat’s cosmic blunder.
Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, and Keke Palmer all reprise their voice roles. As do Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, and many others. Joining the cast were Stephanie Beatriz as Gertie, Neil deGrasse Tyson as Neil deBuck Weasel, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the Shangri Llama, and many more.
The directors were Michael J. Wilson and Galen T. Chu, and the writers were Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg, and Yoni Brenner. While this film received criticism from both critics and fans, it did still gross more than $409 million worldwide.
6. The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild
Finally, the most recent Ice Age movie is the first with Disney at the helm of the franchise, which means there was a big shift in direction and creative team. This installment is a shift away from the main cast of characters throughout the previous five films to shine a spotlight on Buck.
The narrative is that Crash and Eddie are desperate for some distance from their old sister Ellie. So they set out to find a place of their own, but quickly find themselves trapped in a massive cave underground. Luckily, they are rescued by the one-eyed, adventure-loving, dinosaur-hunting weasel, Buck Wild. Together they must face the dinosaurs who inhabit the Lost World.
Simon Pegg was the only original Ice Age cast member to reprise his role; all other roles were recast. Vincent Tong was the voice of Crash and Aaron Harris the voice of Eddie. While they only had small appearances, Dominque Jennings was the voice of Ellie, Sean Kenin as Manny, Jake Green as Sid, and Skyler Stone as Diego.
The director was John C. Donkin, and the writers were Jim Hecht, William Schifrin, and Ray DeLaurentis. This was the first Ice Age film not to have a theatrical release as it went straight to streaming services.
Final thoughts on Ice Age movies in order
That is absolutely everything you need to know about the franchise and the Ice Age movies in order to plan your next epic movie night. These films are great fun for children and adults with laugh-out-loud humor and fun for all ages.
Looking for more movies in order?
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