Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

June 23, 2015

I feel like there's a lot more crazy things than that running around in my head.

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Kim Hollis: Inside Out, the latest release from Disney and Pixar, debuted with $90.4 million. That's the second-biggest opener for the studio ever behind Toy Story 3. How did the studio achieve such a stellar result?

Matthew Huntley: I think it was Inside Out's universally recognizable premise, both for adults and kids, that made it such an easy sell at the box-office. Who among us hasn't wondered, from time to time, or perhaps daily, just what the heck goes on inside our heads? It's practically human nature, and Disney/Pixar took the liberty of providing one possible answer, which they also shaped into a bright, rich, energetic story that's also intelligent and emotional. Viewers were clearly excited about this one and it's obvious, based on the reviews, the filmmakers did it right.

A $90 million opening is a stellar result, yes, but to me, it's also not a very surprising one. I think a lot of people have been waiting eagerly for Inside Out, and the fact that it made such a big impact is great, but it was also something I expected. What can we say, but Disney/Pixar just has a way of making movies that appeal to a lot of people, and I mean a lot of people, without cutting creative corners. They've done it yet again, and their track record is sort of remarkable.


Felix Quinonez: I think at least a little of Inside Out's amazing opening weekend can be attributed to the fact that we didn't get a Pixar movie last year. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and perhaps we started taking Pixar for granted. I think that this helped raise the level of excitement a bit. But I believe the real reason why Inside Out broke out the way it did is because of the amazing reviews. The last couple of Pixar releases (Monsters University, Brave) got good but not great reviews and Cars 2 was actually labeled "rotten" at Rotten Tomatoes. (I believe that's their only movie to receive that dishonor.) In fact, you have to go all the way back to Toy Story 3 (2010) for Pixar's last movie that was met with the universal acclaim they built their reputation on.

So when it became clear that Inside Out was Pixar back at the top of its game it got audiences dying to reunite the studio responsible for some of the best movies in the last two decades.

Ben Gruchow: It's the first Pixar film in two years, it's the first Pixar original in three years, and it's the best Pixar film in six years. This is kind of old news, and all three of those facts were known last Thursday; I think the degree to which it's the best Pixar film is what moved the needle the extra $20 to $25 million. Monsters, Inc. and Up (the director's last two projects) were movies that I appreciated more for their formal accomplishments than for how they affected me emotionally, and I was surprised by how thoroughly Inside Out got to me. It's the first movie this year for which I know a second viewing is happening.

The other factor in this movie's breakout has to do with the market being primed for it. If you look at Brave, Up, or WALL-E (the last three non-sequel Pixar movies), each of them was released in relatively close proximity to another family-oriented film; Brave had Madagascar 3, Up had Night at the Museum, and WALL-E had Kung Fu Panda. This year, the closest we've had was Home (three months old) and Cinderella (three and a half months old). Just like with Jurassic World last weekend, the failure of Tomorrowland paved the way for this film opening the way it did.

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