The Number One Movie in America: Incredibles 2
By Sean Collier
June 13, 2019
“The Incredibles 2” was a staggeringly big hit.
If you read this website regularly, you certainly were aware of that at the time of its release. Its $182.7 million opening weekend is the ninth-biggest of all time; the only movies which brought in more in the first frame are a smattering of “Star Wars” films, some core “Avengers” movies, “Jurassic World” and “Black Panther.”
You’d be forgiven, though, for not noticing just how much money the animated superhero sequel pulled in last year. “The Incredibles 2” was far from the biggest box-office story of the year (that was probably “Black Panther,”) and the awards-season hype switched to the far less profitable “Into the Spider-Verse,” which took the Oscar away from Brad Bird and company. In fact, “The Incredibles 2” only spent one weekend at number one; “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” took the spot a week later.
So, in case you hadn’t caught all of this at the time: “The Incredibles 2” is the biggest animated film of all time. By a margin of more than $100 million. It’s $608.5 million haul dwarfs that of the number-two entry on the cartoon money list, “Finding Dory,” which amassed a still-impressive $486 million. Globally, it raked in more than $1.2 million.
It is the tenth-highest grossing film of all time. It is the most successful Pixar movie, obviously, but also the most successful PG-rated film ever made.
It made an absolutely stunning amount of money.
The reason, perhaps, is the anticipation. While many decade-long waits for sequels can dampen affection — the original “Incredibles” was released in 2004 — the audience for Bird’s satirical treatment of (and simultaneous ode to) comic-book cinema remained true during the interim. Many immediately ranked the original film as Pixar’s best, producing a devoted fanbase that remained loyal even as Pixar continued to produce hits.
It’s also a case of excellent timing in the overall cinema landscape. It’s hard to overstate how superhero crazy we were in 2018; “Infinity War” had set into motion a solid year of breathless anticipation. While this cape-crazed climate doesn’t extend to every comic-book adaptation — “Hellboy” version two, we hardly knew ye — the return of Elastigirl and family fit nicely into the moment.
Obviously, “Incredibles 2” is an enjoyable picture. The art is gorgeous, and the benefits of another decade-plus of technology were brought to bear in a kinetic, action-filled movie. The pitch-perfect voice cast returns, in fine form. And the sequel somehow makes the already-popular Jack Jack a breakout star, crafting numerous moments of gut-busting physical comedy for the infant hero.
Personally, though, I must admit that “Incredibles 2” leaves me a little cold. I enjoy watching it, and there’s certainly little there to criticize. But the story hews too close to “Captain America: Civil War” to feel fresh; the debate over the legality of superheroes is well-trod territory after ten-plus years of the MCU. (Even in the original, I found the philosophical musings about who is special to be store-brand Vonnegut.)
For a summer hit, though, there’s plenty to like. There are plenty of reasons these characters have endured, but I think the main one is the obvious care and love that Bird and his team have for them. No one is sparing a moment of effort on an “Incredibles” film; they’re beautiful and, now, iconic works of entertainment-slash-commentary.
The reward for that? Six dang hundred dang million dang dollars, apparently.
“The Incredibles 2” is the subject of the latest episode of The Number One Movie in America, a look back at past box-office champions. Each episode’s film is drawn at random from a list of every number-one movie since 1982. Please listen and subscribe!
Next time: Don’t you love movie titles https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103241/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1?