Inside Out 2 c Disney Pixar

Source: Disney / Pixar

‘Inside Out 2’

Inside Out 2 was a litmus test for Pixar and it delivered, grossing a monster $155m estimated bow in North America for the highest opening of the year to date and the second highest three-day launch of all time by an animated film.

After a mighty $140m yield from international markets resulting in a $295m global debut, industry executives will be in a buoyant mood this week at CineEurope. Screen will post a full international report on Monday.

The latest escapades of Joy and her cohorts of core emotions inside the mind of the now adolescent Riley scored the highest North American opening weekend since Barbie arrived in July 2023 on $162m – and the first of the year to earn more than $100m in its opening weekend.

Inside Out 2 also powered combined box office for all releases in a single weekend past $200m for the first time this year, and ensured that Pixar films occupy three of the top four domestic animated launches of all time, led by Incredibles 2 on $182.7m. 

The Pixar release also delivered the fourth highest North American debut of all time by a PG film behind Disney stablemates The Lion King, Incredibles 2, and Beauty And The Beast. All comparisons are unadjusted for inflation.

The film reportedly cost $200m and Inside Out 2 will need strong word of mouth and repeat visits to carry it into the blockbuster echelons. Opening gross blew past expectations. Disney had been forecasting an arrival in the $80-85m range and revised it to $100m+ on Friday after Thursday night previews generated a 2024 high of $13m.

2015’s Inside Out opened to $90.4m and finished on $356.9m in North America. That would be a tremendous figure for the sequel to reach, let alone the original film’s $858.9m global tally.

Hollywood executives were watching the opening numbers closely, aware that audiences had grown accustomed to waiting for Pixar films to debut on Disney+ after the punishing pandemic period when Bob Chapek ran Disney and the studio released three Pixar titles – Turning Red, Soul and Luca – straight to Disney+.

That in turn led to lacklustre box office for subsequent theatrical releases of Pixar’s Lightyear in 2022 and Elemental in 2023, although the latter rallied after a slow start to finish close to $500m worldwide.

The debut has turned the tide for Pixar now, however current Disney CEO Bob Iger will know that his mandate for quality rather than quantity must continue to deliver the goods.

Heading into the weekend North American box office trailed the same stage in 2023 by 26.6%. Updated data from Comscore this week will reflect a narrowing of the gap, however the performance of anticipated tentpoles including Despicable Me 4 on July 3 and Deadpool & Wolverine July 26 and beyond are crucial to maintain momentum.

Sony’s Bad Boys: Ride For Life followed up its own stirring number one bow from last weekend with a solid $33m hold and pushed to $112.2m in North America after two weekends. It reportedly cost $100m to produce. Numerical milestones are merely cosmetic unless a film can at least break even. It stands at $214m worldwide.

Paramount’s IF has reached $100m after four weekends and cost around the same amount. It has earned $173.5m worldwide.