Despite unanimous critical acclaim and a Cannes Film Festival premiere that drew raves, “Inside Out” will be the first of 15 Pixar Animation features not to open No. 1 at the box office.
Blame that on the big lizards of “Jurassic World,” the Universal sci-fi sequel that is expected to pull in around $100 million in its second weekend, a little less than half of its record-breaking three-day $208 million debut. The PG-rated family film “Inside Out” will come in with a very solid $60 million, analysts say. The Sundance hit “Dope” also opens Friday, and distributor Open Road Films would be happy to see it hit $10 million.
While “Inside Out” may not be the favorite this weekend, the 3D computer-animated film has a lot going for it, not the least of which is the story from Pete Doctor, who directs along Ronnie del Carmen, and producer Jonas Rivera. He also wrote the screenplay with Josh Cooley and Meg LaFauve.
“Inside Out” is the story of young Riley and is set in her mind, where five emotions — Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness — battle it out. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kahling, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black have lent their voices to “Inside Out,” along with Paula Poundstone and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
It will be the summer’s first animated movie and the first to hit the market since DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” in March. It’s also the first Pixar movie in two years, since 2014’s “The Good Dinosaur” was shifted from 2014 to a launch this November.
The critics are sold: It’s at a sterling 100 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes after 44 reviews, and it is well ahead of Disney’s “Big Hero 6” on Twitter. That one opened to $56 million last November, so the vital signs are strong. But they’re not as strong as those of “Jurassic World.”
“Finishing first or second is not what matters most to us,” said Dave Hollis, distribution chief at Disney, which also saw “Jurassic World” take away the record for the best domestic opening held by Marvel’s “The Avengers.”
“This movie really is special and it’s about delivering it to the very faithful fans of this brand,” Hollis said. The most faithful will be served by Tuesday night’s special screenings of the “Inside Out” in about 660 theaters nationwide. Presented by Fathom Events, Disney and Pixar, they’ll also feature Amy Poehler and the filmmakers beamed in for a Q&A session and short documentary film about Pixar.
“Running into competition isn’t unique to our business,” Hollis added, noting that the last Pixar film, “Monsters University,” rolled out against a debuting “World War Z” and “Man of Steel” in its second week in 2013. It opened to $82 million and wound up taking $745 million in global grosses, plenty to fuel Disney revenue-driving licensing and merchandising efforts. “Inside Out” is a good bet to match that performance.
“Not to get ahead of ourselves, but I’m pretty sure that by the end of summer, this one will be among the top films,” he said. History says he’s right: The 14 preceding Pixar films — the first was 1995’s “Toy Story” — have taken in $8.5 billion at the worldwide box office and averaged more than $600 million globally.
“Inside Out,” which has a $175 million production budget, will be in 3,946 theaters in the United States and Canada by Friday, of which roughly 3,100 will be 3D.