So, uh, maybe we’ve been a bit spoiled.
By Tim Briody
June 23, 2019
With the exception of the unabashed cash grab that was the Cars sequels, Pixar’s sequels have been pretty special. 2016’s Finding Dory and last year’s Incredibles 2 are the two biggest films they’ve ever made, and in this era of mega box office, another Toy Story sequel seemed obvious to match that. Finding Dory opened with $135 million while The Incredibles 2 launched with a ridiculous $182.6 million. Toy Story 4 (the third was the first time Pixar had ever cracked $100 million opening weekend) seemed primed to land in the middle somewhere, perhaps closer to The Incredibles’ weekend rather than Dory’s.
Um, maybe we got a little bit ahead of ourselves.
Toy Story 4 does indeed win the weekend with $118 million, a great figure for what’s been a pretty sad June, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that this could’ve been a lot more. In fact, it’s just barely ahead of the $110 million weekend of Toy Story 3 from June 2010. Adjust for inflation, and it’s actually a decrease in opening.
So, uh, yay. At least $118 million is way more than the rest of the top ten combined this weekend, so it’s got that going for it. And it might have been underestimated, because Disney tends to do that. And uh, Pixar films tend to show above average legs in theaters?
I’m not calling this opening weekend bad, but it’s sure not what we were expecting to happen. All the pieces were in the right place for it to make a run at The Incredibles 2’s opening weekend. Beloved franchise, great reviews (98% Fresh, the best reviewed wide release of 2019), and nine year gap between films, so there was certainly some anticipation. But times have changed, as we’ve seen this year, and a fourth Toy Story film is not the event that the third was, it seems.
When we look at Toy Story 4’s performance over the next few weeks, we’re not going to look at The Incredibles or Finding Dory, we’re going to see if it can match the $415 million that Toy Story 3 earned in its run, failing that, there’s also 2015’s Inside Out which earned $356.4 million after a $90.4 million start, and while it’s essentially a different box office era, Finding Nemo earned $380 million after a $70.2 million opening weekend in 2003. The road is pretty tough, and while Disney has been singlehandedly keeping this from being one of the most depressing box office years ever, it’s a frightening thought that even Pixar isn’t immune to what’s been happening in 2019.
Second place goes to our other opener this weekend, a reboot of Child’s Play. The horror franchise began in 1988 and spawned four theatrical sequels and two straight to DVD entries as the series descended into campy absurdity. At one point, Chucky even cut a promo on a professional wrestler on television. Yes, really.
A straightforward reboot with some modern updates (it’s a rogue AI essentially, no voodoo ritual necessary), Child’s Play earned $14 million for the weekend, against a $10 million budget. That’s a decent enough weekend so United Artists/Orion should be satisfied. The reviews were marginal (60% Fresh) but the marketing was clever, with posters taking advantage of the fact that Toy Story would come out the same weekend. I expect a quick trip out of theaters, but it’s rarely a bad thing when you make back your budget on opening weekend.
Aladdin continues to hold well, staying in third place with $12.2 million (down 30%) with $12.2 million and giving it $287.5 million in five weekends. While Toy Story 4’s weekend is a little disappointing, the legs here continue to bode well for next month’s Lion King update.
There’s much less good news for last weekend’s champ, Men in Black: International. After a mediocre opening, things just fall apart completely, as it falls 64% to $10.7 million and has $52.6 million to date. So that’s right around where the other three movies opened to, which is bad.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 gets completely kneecapped by Toy Story 4 as it takes a 58% hit to $10.2 million and has $117.5 million after three weekends. It finally matched the opening weekend of the first one on Thursday, its 14th day in theaters. That’s also bad. It’s headed to about $155 million, which is much less than half of The Secret Life of Pets’ $368.3 million.
Rocketman adds $5.6 million in its fourth weekend (down 40%) and has $77.3 million to date. Right now it looks to fall just a little bit short of $100 million, but it’s going to be pretty close.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum is now the oldest film in the top ten as it earns $4 million in its sixth weekend, giving it $156 million in six weekends. The Summer of Keanu continues to roll on.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters crosses $100 million in its fourth weekend with $3.7 million (down 58%) and $102.3 million to date. The bad news here is 2014’s Godzilla did that in four days. Next year’s Godzilla vs. Kong might be the last hurrah for the MonsterVerse.
Dark Phoenix continues to crater, earning $3.6 million (down 62%) and giving it $60.1 million in three weekends, which is an amount a n MCU connected X-Men film could probably earn in one day.
Another disappointment wraps up the top ten this weekend as Shaft falls 60% to $3.5 million and has just $15.9 million in two weekends. That’s still short of the opening weekend that the 2000 Shaft film had, which was $21.7 million. This one might not get there at all.
Thanks to the power of Toy Story 4, this weekend’s top films earned $191.9 million. That pales in comparison to last year’s $271.2 million, when in addition to having to deal with the $148 million opening of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, there was also the second weekend of The Incredibles 2, which took in $80.3 million.
Next weekend the studios once again decided to let a big release breathe for a weekend, which in hindsight has proven unnecessary. We get a couple of mid-tier releases, horror three-quel Annabelle Comes Home, and fantasy comedy Yesterday.