‘Toy Story 4’ brought the box office to life with a $118 million opening weekend after a three-week slump of underperforming sequels, but the Pixar film’s below-expectations debut didn’t quell continuing concerns about a rocky summer movie season.
The ‘Toy Story 4’ opening, according to studio estimates on Sunday, ranks as the fourth highest animated film opening ever, not accounting for inflation.
Above it are 2018’s ‘Incredibles 2’, 2016’s ‘Finding Dory’ and 2007’s ‘Shrek the Third’. It’s the year’s third largest debut, trailing only a pair of other Disney releases: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and ‘Captain Marvel’.
But heading into the weekend, a $140-150 million opening had seemed assured for ‘Toy Story 4’, which played in 4,575 North American theatres. Adjusted for inflation, the film came in shy of the $110.3 million, or about $129 million in today’s dollars, ‘Toy Story 3’ made nine years ago.
The opening for ‘Toy Story 4’ followed a string of disappointing sequels including ‘Dark Phoenix’, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ and ‘Men in Black: International’. But ‘Toy Story 4’ had something those films didn’t: great reviews. It rates 98 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave it an A CinemaScore.
The sequel, which introduces the child-made plaything Forky to the voice cast including Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, also grossed $120 million internationally, including a modest $13.4 million in China, the world’s second largest film market.
It was trounced there by the rerelease of Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 animated classic ‘Spirited Away’ from Studio Ghibli, the Japan animation studio that has often served as an inspiration to Pixar.
Cathleen Taff, distribution chief for Disney, said the company was thrilled with the opening and praised Pixar’s high standards.
The No 2 film, Orion Pictures’ horror remake ‘Child’s Play’ also opened below expectations with $14.1 million. A remake of the 1988 original, the film stars Aubrey Plaza with Mark Hamill voicing the knife-wielding doll Chucky.