“To $118 million, not beyond!”
That’s not quite what Disney had wanted to hear after this weekend’s release of “Toy Story 4.” The studio had expected its latest animated blockbuster to debut with around $22 million more than that in domestic ticket sales — but $118 million is what it got.
Even the expected sales of at least $140 million wouldn’t have reached the $182.7 million that the previous Disney-Pixar movie, “Incredibles 2,” opened with last year. But the gulf between the two movies’ totals suggests that perhaps “Toy Story,” Pixar’s longest-running series, has limited power to convince families that they need to rush out for a fourth installment, which for many is a tougher sell than an initial sequel.
That being said, the franchise’s name recognition still counts for something. “Toy Story 4” made well over double the $50.8 million that “Coco” earned during its first weekend in domestic theaters in 2017. And it had the third-best opening North American theaters have seen so far this year, behind two other Disney releases: “Captain Marvel” ($153.4 million) and “Avengers: Endgame” ($357.1 million).
The studio said “Toy Story 4” brought in an additional $120 million internationally this weekend.
The new “Toy Story” received the critical love that’s expected of a Pixar film; it currently holds a 98 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In her review for The New York Times, though, Manohla Dargis showed limited enthusiasm. She wrote that much of “Toy Story 4” is “great-ish,” noting that “the movie is exactly what you expect — not more, not less — from an estimably well-oiled machine like Pixar.” It brings back Woody (the lanky toy cowboy voiced Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen’s spaceman) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts), and also introduces Forky, an insecure toy made out of a spork and voiced by Tony Hale, of “Veep” and “Arrested Development.”
There was only one other brand-new release in the top 10 this weekend, the horror movie “Child’s Play,” from Orion Pictures, which opened at No. 2 with $14 million in domestic ticket sales. The movie is a reimagining of the 1988 slasher film of the same name, which gave birth to the killer doll known as Chucky.
“Child’s Play” is a bit like “Toy Story,” but with less Randy Newman and more stabbing. It revolves around Andy (Gabriel Bateman), a boy who receives a robot version of Chucky, voiced in the new movie by Mark Hamill.
Third place went to Disney’s “Aladdin,” which made $12.2 million in its fifth weekend in American theaters, according to Comscore, which compiles box-office data. “Men in Black: International” dropped to fourth in its second weekend, bringing in $10.8 million and continuing to be a disappointment for Sony. The animated “Secret Life of Pets 2,” from Universal and Illumination, rounded out the top five with $10.3 million.