Saturday, July 20, 2024

‘Inside Out 2’ takes Pixar back to box office heights

Pixar is finally back in fighting form.

“Inside Out 2,” the 28th film from the Disney-owned animation studio, has reached $155 million in estimated North American ticket sales from Thursday night through Sunday, ending a cold streak that began in March 2020 when theaters were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was the second-biggest opening weekend in Pixar’s 29-year history, behind superhero sequel “Incredibles 2,” which came in at around $180 million in 2018.

“They’re back,” David A. Gross, a film consultant who publishes Newsletter On box office numbers, Pixar said. “It’s a sensational opening.”

Based on pre-release surveys that track audience interest, box office analysts expected “Inside Out 2” to gross about $90 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend. That total would have been strong, on par with opening weekend ticket sales for the first “Inside Out” in 2015.

“Inside Out 2” sold an additional $140 million in partial release overseas, bringing its global opening total to about $295 million, analysts said. A PG-rated movie costs $200 million to make and at least $100 million to market.

“Inside Out 2,” about a 13-year-old girl and the unique emotions inside her adolescent mind, received exceptional reviews. Ticket buyers gave the film an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls, the same score as the first film in the franchise.

In March 2020, when “Onward” hit theaters amid rising coronavirus infections, Pixar began to falter. Since then, Disney has ditched theaters entirely in favor of its Disney+ streaming service — releasing three Pixar films — “Soul,” “Turning Red” and “Luca” — online.

See also  Rosenthal: Will Shohei Ohtani play against USA in WBC final? Japan has not responded

All three received strong reviews from critics. Quality was never an issue. But Pixar’s connection with ticket buyers — its strength as a big-screen brand — began to fade.

“Lightyear,” a spinoff of Pixar’s “Toy Story” series, marks the studio’s return to theaters in 2022. It crashed and burned at the box office. Also, reviews were thin, at least for picture quality. Does the studio have a quality problem now too?

The original Pixar movie “Elemental,” which hit theaters last year, received less-than-sterling reviews and flopped at the box office, at least initially. But “Elemental” eventually bounced back, grossing $500 million worldwide.

Pixar has reshuffled its pipeline, delaying “Elio,” another original film slated to hit theaters this year, and pushing forward sequels, including “Toy Story 5.” Last month, Pixar said it would stop making original shows for Disney+ as part of its layoffs, and cut 175 employees, or 14 percent of its workforce. Disney pushed Pixar to make TV series as part of a broader effort that — since abandoned — has filled Disney+ content.

Disney used its streaming service as a marketing tool for “Inside Out 2,” which was released exclusively in theaters. On Wednesday, Disney+ subscribers received an email alert for a promotion with online movie ticket seller Fandango: Get a $10 credit to use on a ticket to “Inside Out 2.” The offer, which expires in July, has drawn attention on Disney-based fan sites.

Latest news
Related news