Many People Sit Inside to See 'Inside Out 2'

Pixar's box office results look less emo this time...
‘Inside Out 2’ Returns Pixar to Box Office Heights
The sequel was expected to collect at least $145 million in the United States and Canada over the weekend, about 60 percent more than anticipated.

The empire strikes back!

The Disney-owned animation studio’s 28th movie, “Inside Out 2,” arrived to roughly $145 million in estimated North American ticket sales from Thursday night to Sunday, ending a cold streak that began in March 2020, when theaters closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Legitimately great news for a great studio under a lot of pressure of late. Hollywood is obviously better when Pixar is strong. And Hollywood badly needed this outcome as well. Disney too! One big "phew" all around, right?

This is normally where I'd then go into a thousand-word rant about how this article completely and utterly fails to compare apples-to-apples as it touts the box office numbers (i.e. revenue) without taking into account inflation when comparing the performance to years past. It remains a beyond bullshitty way to tout these numbers, so yeah, I'll rant about that shortly in another post...

Anyway, for now, to play the game on the field:

Based on prerelease surveys that track audience interest, box office analysts had expected “Inside Out 2” to take in about $90 million in the United States and Canada over the weekend. That total would have been strong — on par with opening-weekend ticket sales for the first “Inside Out” in 2015.

“Inside Out 2” sold an additional $125 million in partial release overseas, bringing its worldwide opening total to around $270 million, analysts said. The PG-rated movie cost an estimated $200 million to make and at least another $100 million to market.

Again, good news, though it is a bit surprising how much it cost Pixar to make and market this movie. I'm not saying AI is coming to take these jobs – I'm truly not – but they probably need a way to bring these costs more under control. It used to be a big deal when a movie cost $100M to make. Now it feels like nearly all movies, aside from indies and perhaps horror films, eclipse that mark. Again, this is also a tale of inflation, to be sure – $100M in 1995 is roughly $250M in 2024 dollars – but it also isn't helping the overall issues within the industry.

“Elemental,” an original Pixar movie that rolled out in theaters last year, also received less-than-sterling reviews and, at least initially, sputtered at the box office. But “Elemental” ultimately recovered, collecting a respectable $500 million worldwide.

Pixar has since overhauled its pipeline, delaying another original movie, “Elio,” which had been planned for theatrical release this year, and pushing forward sequels, including “Toy Story 5.” Last month, Pixar said it would stop making original shows for Disney+ as part of its retrenchment, and laid off 175 employees, or about 14 percent of its work force. Disney had pushed Pixar to begin making TV series as part of a broader effort — since abandoned — to flood Disney+ with content.

For the record, I both saw Elemental in a movie theater (with my daughter) and really enjoyed it. But I agree that Disney's strategy to flood the Disney+ zone with Pixar content was a huge mistake, in hindsight. They seem to have a much better strategy now:

Disney notably used its streaming service as a sales tool for “Inside Out 2,” which was released exclusively in theaters. On Wednesday, Disney+ subscribers received an email alert for a promotion with Fandango, the online movie ticket seller: Get a $10 credit to use toward a ticket for “Inside Out 2.” The offer, which expires in July, subsequently received a splash of attention on Disney-oriented fan sites.

Using Disney+ as a channel to market Inside Out 2 (and other theatrical releases), makes a ton of sense. Use what you got – and what Disney has is millions of kids (and their parents) watching Disney+ on a regular basis. Disney remains uniquely positioned as the king of cross-promotion given all the aspects of their business.

Update June 18, 2024: And here's said rant...

Of Tadpoles and Tentpoles
A 10 step plan to save the movie theater business