Toy Story 4 had been projected for the second-best opening weekend ever for an animated feature. But the newest estimates have it missing the podium altogether with $120 million, fourth place in this category.
Though a $120 million domestic open would be manna to any producer slogging through an anticlimatic blockbuster season burdened by underperformers like Dark Phoenix, according to Deadline that total only highlights what Disney gave up by not launching the film on Father’s Day weekend. Both Disney and industry watchers had expected Toy Story 4 to come in somewhere short of last year’s Incredibles 2 debut, whose $182.6 million open is the best ever for a cartoon.
Incredibles 2, however, premiered over a Father’s Day weekend, and so did the No. 2 animated flick, 2016’s Finding Dory. The $160 million box office watchers expected for Toy Story 4 may have been based on an advantage Toy Story 4 didn’t have as Disney prioritized a globally coordinated premiere. But if the film didn’t even meet internal projections, you have the nearly unthinkable — a Toy Story film being called a bust, or at least a disappointment.
Some projections call for a 20 percent drop-off in ticket sales for Toy Story 4’s next weekend. Overseas revenue is increasingly important, of course, but nothing drives the perception that something is a hit like a dramatic U.S. total.
Toy Story 4 will still bring in at least the fourth $100 million opening for a Disney animated feature, ahead of Toy Story 3’s $110 million in 2010 (also a Father’s Day!) Shrek the Third did $121.6 million for Paramount and Dreamworks in its 2007 opening weekend, so it’s possible that Toy Story 4 could move up to a bronze medal on this leaderboard. The other $100 million premieres for animated movies are Minions in 2015 ($115 million for Universal), Shrek 2 in 2004 ($108 million, Dreamworks) and The Secret Life of Pets in 2016 ($106 million, Universal).