The Toys Are Back In Theaters

It was the Return of the Toys this weekend to theaters across North America as the acclaimed Disney/Pixar cartoon Toy Story 4 led the pack by a wide margin. The beloved Pixar toys were followed by the reboot of 1988’s Child’s Play, which scared up mild numbers way back in second place. Anna, the weekend’s third wide release, bombed in its debut outside the top ten.

The massive opening for Toy Story 4 gave the movie business a bit of a needed boost following several weeks of dismal business from sequels no one wanted to see. The next uptick in business should arrive on July 2ndwhen Sony releases the much anticipated Spider-Man: Far From Home.

The dominating box office power of the Mouse House remained unchallenged this weekend as their latest blockbuster Toy Story 4 opened on 4,575 screens to the tune of $118 million. The debut for the acclaimed animated comedy –once again featuring the voice talents of Tom Hanks as Woody the Cowboy and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear- was the third biggest of 2019 so far following Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel. It was also the 24-year old franchise’s biggest opener to date, pre-inflation.

Story 4‘s start was also the third biggest ever for Pixar Studios, surpassed only by Incredibles 2’s $182 million one year ago and the $135 million earned by Finding Dory back in 2016. Unlike the latest Toy Story sequel, both Incredibles 2 and Dory were long-awaited sequels to their beloved originals. They also benefitted from opening over Father’s Day weekend, a holiday that may have boosted Toy Story 4‘s opening numbers had the film opened a week earlier. Forecasts had pegged Toy Story 4 to open north of $150 million. But as we all know, box office forecasting is one thing and reality is another.

Despite opening slightly lower than expected, Toy Story 4 should have no problem becoming a summer box office powerhouse. One factor that will keep the movie rolling right along through the summer months will be feedback from the public and critics, both of which proved to be quite strong this weekend: 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, an 84/100 on Metacritic and an “A” from ticket buyers polled on CinemaScore.

Overseas, Toy Story 4 began its international campaign with $120 million.

The second film to open this weekend involving a toy –albeit a demonic, murderous one- was UA/Orion’s reboot of Child’s Play. The $10 million remake of the 1988 horror flick opened on 3,007 screens Friday to land in second place with a mild $14 million.

Reviews were mixed for the new take on Chucky, which stars Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry and features Mark Hamill as the voice of the possessed doll. Child’s Play earned a 59% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 48/100 on Metacritic. Ticket buyers were a bit more guarded with their praise for Chucky’s rebirth. They gave it a “C+” on CinemaScore.

Families continued to flock to Aladdin in its fifth weekend despite the arrival of Toy Story 4. The late spring hit was down only 30%, earning an estimated $12.2 million from 3,435 theaters. Aladdin has conjured up a great $287.5 million so far domestically and an additional $522 million from overseas.

Bad word of mouth took its toll on Sony’s Men In Black: International, which fell a steep 64% in its second weekend on 4,224 screens to gross an estimated $10.7 million. The ten-day total for International is a terrible $52.6million. If it’s lucky, it might hit the $70 million mark in North America. Overseas, the Chris Hemsworth/Tessa Thompson headliner has brought in $129 million.

Rounding out the top five was Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2, which took it on the chin thanks to the arrival of Toy Story 4. In its third round on 3,804 screens, Pets 2 fell 58%to an estimated $10.3million. The domestic total now stands at $117.6 million.  Internationally, the pets have collected $78 million.

  1. Rocketman (Paramount) $5.6 million (-40%); $77 million
  2. John Wick 3 (Lionsgate) $4.1 million (-36%); $156 million
  3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Warner) $3.7 million (-58%); $102 million
  4. Dark Phoenix (Fox) $3.6 million (-62%); $60 million
  5. Shaft (2019) (Warner) $3.55 million (-60%); $16 million

Last, but not least, there is Anna. The Lionsgate/Summit release wound up shooting blanks in eleventh place with a bloodless $3.4 million from 2,114 theaters. A combination of awful reviews, a near-complete lack of marketing support and the fact that this is the umpteenth female assassin film filmmaker Luc Besson helped the $30 million production sink without a trace.

This upcoming week sees the arrival of Warner’s Annabelle Comes Home on Wednesday, followed by the debut of Universal’s Yesterday on Friday. Look for Toy Story 4 to remain in the top spot next weekend.

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