Dreamworks Animation shares surged more than 38% on their first day of trading on the New York stock exchange.
Animated films are true Hollywood productions, featuring big stars
The creator of box office money makers, such as Shrek and Shark Tale, sold 29 million shares and raised $812m (£443m) from its flotation on Wednesday.
Investors are now betting that the money from the sale will help it better challenge key rival Pixar Animation Studios, the firm behind Toy Story.
The stakes are high as animated films have become seriously big business.
Dreamworks' Shrek 2 movie has grossed almost $881m worldwide, putting it at number seven in the top 10 of all-time earners, according to industry tracker boxofficemojo.com.
That sort of earning power is hard to better and investors are hoping that the firm will keep its golden touch.
Hollywood moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen set up the Dreamworks Studios a decade ago.
Former Disney executive Mr Katzenberg will now lead Dreamworks Animation, which is based in Glendale, California, and the company has set itself the ambitious target of two animated features a year.
Its most recent success, Shark Tale, has already collected almost $140m at US and Canadian box offices.
Competition will be stiff, however, and Pixar is set to release its next feature film, The Incredibles, in November
Shares in Dreamworks were trading at $38.75 following the morning session in New York on Thursday, a huge jump from the launch price of $28, which was already at the top of the $23 -$25 range.
Money from the share sale will be used to pay off debt and fund future productions.