‘Inside Out 2’ scores massive $155-M opening

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2."
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." Disney/Pixar via AP

Hollywood’s summer movie anxieties gave way to joy this weekend with the massive debut of Disney and Pixar’s “ Inside Out 2.” The animated sequel earned $155 million in ticket sales from 4,440 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Not only is it the second-highest opening weekend in Pixar’s 29 years of making films and the second-biggest animated opening ever (behind only the $182.7 million launch of “Incredibles 2” in 2018); It’s also the biggest of 2024, and since “Barbie.” With an estimated $140 million from international showings, “Inside Out 2” had a staggering, and record-breaking, $295 million global start.

Tony Chambers, who heads theatrical distribution for Disney, was confident that the film would do “extremely well.” But even he was surprised at how much it exceeded already high expectations.

“People go to the theaters for great movies,” Chambers said. “The reviews, the word of mouth just helped build this momentum … It’s becoming a bit of a phenomenon.”

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows, from left, Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, background left, Anger, voiced by Lewis Black, Disgust, voiced by Liza Lapira, Envy, voiced by Ayo Edebiri, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2."
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows, from left, Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, background left, Anger, voiced by Lewis Black, Disgust, voiced by Liza Lapira, Envy, voiced by Ayo Edebiri, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." Disney/Pixar via AP

Importantly, “Inside Out 2” audiences spanned ages and all demographics. Post-Covid, he said, breakout successes depend on attracting multicultural audiences.

The success is significant for Pixar, marking a much-needed return to form for a studio that has had a string of underwhelming launches including “ Elemental,” which did eventually become a success, and “ Lightyear,” which didn’t. It’s also vitally important for the greater Hollywood ecosystem and the health of theatrical exhibition, which had been running at a 26% deficit.

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows, from left, Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith, Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, Disgust, voiced by Liza Lapira, Fear, voiced by Tony Hale and Anger, voiced by Lewis Black, in a scene from "Inside Out 2."
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows, from left, Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith, Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, Disgust, voiced by Liza Lapira, Fear, voiced by Tony Hale and Anger, voiced by Lewis Black, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." Disney/Pixar via AP

Disney was already having a good summer, with “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” which this weekend was in third place in its sixth weekend with $5.2 million (bringing its global total to $374.5 million). And next up is “ Deadpool & Wolverine ” (July 26).

Kelsey Mann directed “Inside Out 2,” which picks up with Riley as she turns 13. That means the arrival of new emotions like Anxiety (Maya Hawke) and Envy ( Ayo Edebiri ) to Joy's (Amy Poehler) party. It got glowing reviews from critics (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) and polled audiences who gave it an A CinemaScore, suggesting that this won’t be a first-weekend wonder. With kids out of school and an open market until “Despicable Me 4” enters the ring over the Fourth of July, “Inside Out 2” is just getting started.

“Inside Out 2” is estimated to have cost around $200 million to produce, which does not account for the millions spent on marketing. Going into the weekend, it was tracking for a debut in the $90 million range, which would have been in line with “Inside Out’s” first weekend in June 2019. Even that would have been considered a terrific achievement, and enough to claim the biggest opening of the year — finally unseating March releases like “ Dune: Part Two ” and “ Godzilla x Kong.”

Second place went to Sony's “ Bad Boys: Ride or Die, ” now in its second weekend with $33 million, down only 42% from its opening. In just 12 days, it's already earned over $112 million domestically and $214 million globally. As of Friday, the four-film franchise had crossed the $1 billion mark.

“Bad Boys'” success last weekend was the start of a higher-earning turnaround for the lagging summer movie season. For Hollywood, the summer season, which runs from the first weekend in May through Labor Day, usually represents about 40% of the yearly box office. PR

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