5 Ways to Prep: The Incredibles 2
By George Rose
June 14, 2018
As of the time of this writing there are only two dozen reviews available for Incredibles 2. Although the general consensus won’t be determined until at least a hundred are considered, early word has it pegged at 95% positive. It’s official: the best movie of the summer is upon us. Sure, nothing wets my whistle quiet like a Marvel movie but Incredibles has a few things going in its favor. It’s still a superhero movie, still has Disney footing the bill and it has the golden touch of the Pixar brand. Incredibles 2 is the sequel to one of the greatest superhero and/or Pixar movies, and it’s been 14 years since the first blew our minds. A lot has changed since then, with great leaps in computer animation and 3D effects breathing new life back into this should-be franchise. My eyes are ready to feast on the breathtaking imagery the Pixar brand promises, even if they have fallen a bit short on storytelling in recent years.
Early tracking says I’m not alone in my excitement as we are expecting an opening weekend between $135 and $150 million. For animation, that’s huge. For expectations, that’s fairly common these days but we all know how expectations work out. Just ask Deadpool 2 and Solo, both of which hoped for similar numbers. Deadpool 2 came close with $125 million but Solo barely had a $100 million long Memorial Day weekend. Will Incredibles 2 suffer the same fate? It seems doubtful. Deadpool 2 was a superhero movie released just weeks after Avengers while Solo was the second Star Wars movie in six months. There hasn’t been a $100 million animated movie all year, which is strange since Spring is notorious for a hit cartoon or two. Schools are about to let out, kids are thirsty for entertainment and heroes are the only hot property left in Hollywood. Since Avengers technically became a Spring release when it moved to April, Incredibles 2 has the potential to become the biggest blockbuster of the Summer.
But by how much? Opening weekends are only a fraction of the story. Blockbuster status now has to battle the long fight and victory status can’t be obtained until the worldwide numbers are in. Animated movies tend to have long runs in theaters but superhero movies open strong then fade fast. Where will Incredibles 2 land? Considering this movie falls into a number of categories, there are several movies we need to consider when predicting where this new release will land. Here are a few movies you can watch to help you prepare for Incredibles 2 and a few ideas for what we can expect from its box office totals.
#1) THE INCREDIBLES (2004)
Original: $70.4 million opening, $261.4 million domestic and $633.0 million worldwide
Adjusted: $103.9 million opening, $384.9 million domestic and $932.0 million worldwide
The first movie tells the story about the Parr family. Once upon a time heroes saved the city on the regular, with Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl falling in love along the way. They decide to get married, then superheroes became the target of the ungrateful and spoiled citizens of America, and they are forced into hiding. It is in this “normal life” that the Incredible couple becomes middle-class parents of three children, two of which have shown super powers of their own. Someone from the past then returns up to threaten their bond and they team up to save the day as a family. Honestly, the quality of the film is truthfully labeled right there in the title. It’s great.
By now you’ve likely seen the movie, either as a kid yourself from 10+ years ago or by watching it with kids of your own. It’s a Disney classic, a Pixar classic, an animation classic and just an all around wonderful film for the whole family. It never tires with repeat viewings and I’m very excited to see this family enhanced by the 3D effect since animation utilizes it the best. As for what we can expect from the box office, I’d say the adjusted amounts of the original are a low bar. This family and the interest in them has only grown with time, and anything less than a $100 million opening will have everyone in the world (except Marvel) wondering why nobody goes to the movies anymore. Even a smidge more interest than before has this opening closer to $115 million with a $400 million domestic and $1 billion worldwide as final totals. Although we can’t seem to count on America these days, the worldwide box office has grown tremendously since the first film was released so I’d be a bit sad with anything less than $1 billion worldwide.
#2) FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER (2007)
Original: $58.0 million opening, $131.9 million domestic and $289.9 million worldwide
Adjusted: It’s not important. What we care about is the 2.27 opening-to-domestic multiplier
Of all the superheroes that Marvel (and DC, I guess) have created, there is one team that most closely resembles the Incredible family. In the Pixar flick we have the strong guy (Mr. Incredible), the stretchy one (Elastigirl), the invisible force field creator (Violet), the really fast runner (Dash), and one that catches on fire (Jack Jack, who also has other powers). Since most people don’t read ancient comics and the first Fantastic Four movie didn’t came out until 2005, many who saw 2004’s Incredibles were not aware of their resemblance to this first family foursome (technically Jack-Jack is a baby and not yet part of the Incredible team). Marvel’s Four seemingly ripped off Incredibles with their similar characters: a stretchy guy (Mr. Fantastic), a force field creator with clear skin (Invisible Woman), the strong one (Thing) and the boy on fire (Human Torch). Despite the rosters that resemble one another, the plots are quite different.
The Fantastic Four are the products of space explorations gone wrong, whereas the Incredibles are born with powers (like the X-Men). There are just enough differences and just enough additions of children to the Incredibles to allow it to be an original property. Really, though, how many different powers could there be in the world? A few of them are bound to get reused. The reasons the Fantastic Four make a good recommendation isn’t because of the similar superpowers but, rather, the potentially similar box office results. First of all, you can see superheroes open strong and then crash before hitting a 3x multiplier. That’s standard for heroic action. Animation tends to go higher, as we’ll explore that in a bit. For now, what’s worth noting is that the first Fantastic film opened to $56.0 million while ending with $154.7 million domestic and $330.5 million worldwide. With that being said, let’s play with some numbers.
The sequel opened 3.6% higher, ended 14.7% less domestically and 12.3% less worldwide. There wasn’t time between sequels to allow for the international boom to carry it higher with the lower quality ultimately hurting the final numbers, so let’s hold off on worldwide for a second. Let’s focus on domestic. Adjusted, Incredibles is at $103.9 million opening and $384.9 million domestic. If we give Incredibles 2 the same changes Fantastic Four 2 experienced, we’re looking at a $107.6 million opening and a $328.3 million domestic. Again, these seem like “worse case scenario” numbers but it’s a superhero sequel so we can’t rule them out. Then again, Incredibles had a 3.71x opening-to-domestic multiplier so maybe we should be focusing more on animation models for comparison.
#3) TOY STORY 3 (2010)
Original: $110.3 million opening, $415.0 million domestic and $1.06 billion worldwide
Adjusted: $128.2 million opening, $488.6 million domestic and $1.25 billion worldwide
Pixar had a surprise smash hit with their first release, 1995’s Toy Story, and then had a fantastic run of original blockbusters until 2009’s Up. Within that time, they only had one sequel, Toy Story 2, and that came out in 1999. Hollywood in the 90’s was a different beast entirely so discussing the jump from then to 2010 is a tough comparison. Up until then, Pixar pretty much only did original content. Toy Story 2 was Pixar’s third movie, so the sequel is almost an accidental blip before their stretch of new IPs. So, basically, Pixar had their way with creative freedom until 2010 after Disney officially purchased the company and demanded they start doing sequels to older Pixar classics. That’s where Toy Story 3 comes in. As the first in this new Disney-owned era, Toy Story 3 rode the wave of great reviews and pent-up nostalgia all the way to a $100+ million opening, $400+ million domestic and $1+ billion worldwide. Eight years of inflation don’t add a whole heck of a lot but these numbers are certainly attainable.
#4) FINDING DORY (2016)
Opening: $135.0 million opening, $486.3 million domestic and $1.03 billion worldwide
Adjusted: $141.7 million opening, $514.4 million domestic and $1.09 billion worldwide
Starting in 2010, Pixar was instructed by Disney to release roughly three movies every two years, with one of the three to be a Pixar sequel. 2010 was Toy Story 3, 2011 was Cars 2, 2013 was Monsters University, then The Good Dinosaur messed up the schedule in 2015, 2016 gave us Finding Dory and 2017 dumped Cars 3 onto the world. We all know Cars is Pixar’s only joke of a franchise and Monsters University was technically a prequel. That leaves Finding Dory as the only true sequel worth comparing Incredibles 2 to since Toy Story 1 and 2 are from so long ago that they make comparing the numbers jump to the post 2010 Disney era too complicated. I like where Toy Story 3’s numbers are at as a reference but we need an original to compare it to. Dory is the sequel to Finding Nemo, which opened to $70.3 million (exactly like Incredibles) but ended with $339.7 million (before future 3D re-releases). That’s a 4.83x multiplier, with inflation taking these totals up to a $106.7 million opening and $516.0 million domestic.
Ok, let’s play with the numbers. Per 2018, Nemo went from $106.7 million opening to Dory’s $141.7 opening, while the domestic total went from $516.0 for Nemo to $514.4 million for Dory. That means people rushed out to see it opening weekend, as the sequel started 32.8% stronger, while the final number was basically dead even. By this logic and due to inflation, that means Incredibles 2 will earn 32.8% more than Incredibles’ inflated opening ($138 million) and will earn about the same as the inflated total ($385 million). Let’s also take into consideration that Finding Nemo had a 3D re-release back when such things occurred, so that could have helped or hurt Dory’s numbers. But if we’re sticking with Dory’s numbers as a baseline and remembering that Disney is a whore for blockbuster benchmarks, I imagine we’ll see Incredibles 2 at least hit that $400 million barrier. Again, this is all assuming that we don’t see the Solo effect take down Incredibles 2 and knock it well below expectations. Anything is possible.
#5) BIG HERO 6 (2014)
Original: $56.2 million opening, $222.5 million domestic and $657.8 million worldwide
Adjusted: $62.0 million opening, $246.2 million domestic and $727.9 million worldwide
Disney owns a lot of things. They own Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel. One of Marvel’s most unknown and obscure properties is Big Hero 6, which is basically an anime nobody knew about. They borrowed the concept, modernized it for worldwide audiences and then dropped the Marvel brand title. Basically, Big Hero 6 is Disney’s version of an animated superhero movie. It was pretty successful and even won the Best Animated Film Oscar. For all the reasons I love the movie, it really represents the true low bar for where Incredibles 2 could land. At this point, anything less than $100 million opening and a $350 million total would be shocking and they’d have to hire that perv John Lasseter back so they can fire him again for the sequel’s failure. I really don’t see this happening, though. Then again, I didn’t see it happening to Solo. Solo showed that Star Wars has some flaws, while Cars 3 and The Good Dinosaur proved Pixar isn’t impervious either. Big Hero 6 shows what happens when you drop Marvel from the marquee, something I bet Disney regrets. Should the world collapse on itself, Incredibles 2 could make money closer to Big Hero 6 which itself is not that far off of the original, unadjusted Incredibles film. In a few weeks time we’ll have the answers.
Until then, all we can hope for is good news. Nobody wins when the box office fails. These days, no brand is safe and I’d hate to see the villains finally take down Pixar’s fiercest fighters. The Incredibles are Pixar’s best chance at an extended franchise outside of Toy Story and I’d go crazy for the chance to see these characters continue their story every few years. With Marvel dominating the superhero game I don’t imagine Disney will bankroll two heroic brands at once, but I sure am glad they are giving it the 3D update the series deserves. Marvel is one of the few brands left that do 3D well and animation has always been at the top of that game, so Incredibles 2 has the potential to be more than just another creative Pixar triumph; it has the potential to be the big screen experience the world needs and deserves. It’s clear 3D isn’t a big priority anymore but it seems moviegoing isn’t either. If brands outside of Marvel can’t break $1+ billion at the box office, you may find Netflix ruling the world from home while theaters exclusively release Marvel movies. We can’t let that happen. It’s time we fight for the big screen experience. If we don’t, there may not be a Hollywood left to save.