BOX OFFICE: TOY STORY 4 turns things around for the summer with $118 million opening

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!
On Friday, it looked like Walt Disney Pictures would continue its strong summer, evading the “sequelitis” that has afflicted so many other movies over the past couple weekends. Fearlessly, Disney opened Pixar Animation’s latest, Toy Story 4, into 4,575 theaters, the second widest release of all time after Avengers: Endgame earlier in the summer.
Weeks ago, it was projected that Toy Story 4 was tracking in the $180 to 200 million range, but that always seemed high to me. Back in April, I thought it might open closer to $125 million, but by last week, I had seen the movie and had bought into the hype that it might open bigger.
After making a conservative $12 million in Thursday previews, the numbers for Toy Story 4 were far more moderate with $47.4 million on Friday (including those previews) and an estimated $118 million for the three-day weekend. That has to be seen as a relative disappointment when compared to the $182.7 million opening for Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 last year and Finding Dory‘s $135 million three years ago. It’s also only $8 million more than the opening of Toy Story 3 back in 2010 despite there being eight years of box office ticket price inflation.
Toy Story 4 actually made slightly more  moneyoverseas with $120 million, $23.4 million of that from Mexico, $15 million from the UK and $13.4 million in China. That means it opened with $238 million globally, which will be considered a decent start.
As expected, the well-reviewed movie also scored with moviegoers who awarded it with an “A” CinemaScore, but it has less than two weeks to bring in business before Sony’s Spider-Man: Far from Home opens and then less than a month before Disney’s The Lion King takes over.
It’s also probably worth noting that Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame is now at $2.75 billion worldwide, just $38 million behind Avatar‘s global box office record with Disney planning to rerelease the movie next weekend with new footage. Will that be enough to close that gap and maybe set a new global record? We’ll see.
Orion Pictures (a division of U.A. Releasing) opened the reboot of Child’s Play into 3,007 theaters Friday after Thursday previews that took in $1.6 million that was merged into a $6.1 million opening day. As with most horror films, it was frontloaded so that it only ended up with an estimated $14.1 million for the weekend or $4,674 per theater. That isn’t so bad when you realize the horror film starring Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey PlazaBrian Tyree Henry and the voice of Mark Hamill only cost $10 million to make. Even so, the movie’s “C+” CinemaScore does not bode well for positive word-of-mouth or long term legs, especially with New Line’s Annabelle Comes Home opening for previews on Tuesday night.
Walt Disney Pictures’ biggest surprise hit of the summer is Guy Ritchie‘s Aladdin, starring Will Smith, which is slowly making its way to $300 million domestic. This weekend, it managed to remain in third place with $12.2 million, a relatively small drop of less than 30% from last week. It has now grossed $287.5 million in North America and is the third highest-grossing movie of the year after Disney’s two Marvel Studios releases. Aladdin continues to do well internationally with another $32.9 million grossed overseas, which puts its worldwide total at $810 million.
After a disappointing opening of $30 million, Sony Pictures’ spin-off reboot Men in Black International, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, plummeted to fourth place with $10.7 million, down 64% from last week with a 10-day domestic take of $52.7 million. MiBI added another $30 million internationally to bring its global total to $182 million globally with more territories still to open.
In most cases, the $117.5 million grossed by Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 wouldn’t be seen as awful, although that’s only about $13 million more than the first movie made in its opening weekend three years ago. This weekend, it dropped three places to #5 with $10.3 million, losing 58% of its business with the competition from Toy Story 4.
The Elton John musical biopic Rocketman, starring Taron Egertoncontinues to do okay if not spectacular business, taking sixth place with $5.6 million (down 40%) with $77.4 million made domestically in its first month. It has made around the same amount overseas and with a $40 million budget, it’s already considered profitable.
By comparison, Keanu Reeves‘ John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum from Lionsgate is one of the few summer sequels other than Avengers: Endgame to surpass expectations. It made another $4.1 million this weekend to move up one spot to seventh place (unheard of in the summer!) with $156 million grossed in North America so far. It’s certainly a strong basis for the planned fourth movie coming out in 2021. The movie is also doing well overseas where it’s grossed $133.1 million, so that’s $289.2 million globally.
At least Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla: King of the Monsters passed the $100 million mark domestically this weekend as it took eighth place with $5.6 million (down 58%), so maybe it won’t be seen as a complete failure even if (like Secret Life of Pets) its predecessor made nearly that amount its opening weekend.
Fox’s Dark Phoenix looks to end its run in the top 10 in ninth place with $3.6 million after losing 1,667 theaters in its third weekend. Most theaters just couldn’t get rid of it fast enough, and its $60.2 million domestic gross so far is fairly pathetic when compared to even X-Men: Apocalypse. The much-maligned superhero film opened with $1.8 million in Japan this weekend, bringing its global total to $233 million.
Samuel L. Jackson‘s return as Shaft (New Line/WB) also is flailing to stay alive with a second weekend take of $3.5 million (a 60% drop from its opening week) and just $15.9 million grossed so far.
Luc Besson‘s latest spy action-thriller Anna, starring Sasha Luss, did even worse than expected with just $3.5 million in 2,114 theaters or about $1,700 per theater, not even enough to squeak into the top 10. It probably isn’t too big a surprise as distributor Lionsgate didn’t do very much to promote the movie and awareness was not particularly high. That also makes it Luc Besson’s worst opening for a wide release since 1988’s The Big Blue, but critics weren’t going to be kind knowing that Lionsgate was hiding it from them.
NEON’s country music drama Wild Rose, starring breakout star Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl), opened in four theaters in New York and L.A. with $56,183, a per-theater average of $14,000, which is less than Late Night‘s opening a few weeks back. It might not be enough for the Tom Harper-directed movie which premiered in Toronto last year to get a nationwide expansion but one expects NEON will keep pushing away to raise awareness. (The movie was shown at CinemaCon a few months back as well as being the theme of a giant party for exhibitors, so one expects it has their backing.)
Magnolia’s biographical doc Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am opened in the same number of theaters and took in $44,000, and it already has expansion plans for the next few weeks.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 New Toy Story 4 Sony $118 million N/A $118 million
2 New Child’s Play Orion/UA $14.1 million N/A $14.1 million
3 3 Aladdin Disney $12.2 million -30% $287.5 million
4 1 Men in Black International Sony $10.7 million -64% $52.7 million
5 2 The Secret Life of Pets 2 Universal $10.3 million -58% $117.5 million
6 4 Rocketman Paramount $5.6 million -40% $77.3 million
7 8 John Wick Chapter 3 Lionsgate $4.1 million -36% $156.1 million
8 7 Godzilla: King of the Monsters Warner Bros. $3.7 million -58% $102.3 million
9 5 Dark Phoenix Fox $3.6 million -62% $60.2 million
10 6 Shaft New Line/WB $3.5 million -60% $15.9 million

Considering that this weekend last year saw the release of the sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as well as the second weekend of The Incredibles 2, this weekend didn’t stand much of a chance, the top 10 making almost $85 million less. The Jurassic World sequel opened with $148 million by comparison, while that Pixar sequel took in $80 million behind it.
Check back on Wednesday for The Beat‘s Box Office Preview looking at another sequel, New Line’s Annabelle Comes Home, as well as Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis’ high-concept Beatles rom-com Yesterday.


  1. Maybe, just maybe, people want to see something that isn’t a sequel or a remake?
    There have been sequels and remakes since the silent era, but they’ve never been this dominant. I recently drove past a theater marquee, and with one exception, every movie showing there was a sequel. The lone non-sequel was a remake (Aladdin).

Comments are closed.