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‘Inside Out’ Thinks Up Record-Breaking $3.7 Million at Thursday Box Office

The well-reviewed 3D family film posts the best early show gross of any Pixar film but remains underdog going into weekend

“Inside Out,” the animated family film set inside the brain of a young girl, brought in $3.7 million at the box office in Thursday night showings for Disney. That’s the best early show performance ever by a Pixar release.

The strong showing by “Inside Out” was easily the biggest for a Pixar or Disney Animation release, ahead of the early show numbers of “Monsters University” ($2.6 million), “Big Hero 6” ($1.4 million), “Frozen” ($1.2 million on a Tuesday) and “Wreck It Ralph” ($400,000).

Most of those films, and all 14 of Pixar’s previous releases, opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office. But barring a major upset, that streak will end with “Inside Out.”  That’s despite a 99 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes after 152 reviews, momentum from a well-received Cannes Film Festival screening and now, an impressive Thursday night debut.

Universal’s blockbuster sci-fi sequel “Jurassic World” is expected to pull in around $100 million in its second weekend, analysts say, a little less than half of its record-breaking three-day $208 million debut. They have the PG-rated “Inside Out,” which by Friday will be in 3,946 theaters, finishing north of $60 million.

The weekend’s other wide opener, the Sundance hit “Dope,” will be in 2,002 theaters and is expected to come in at around $8 million for three days. Written and directed by Rick Famuyima, the comedy about an inner-city teen (Shameik Moore) trying to get into college against all odds brought in $425,000 in early shows Thursday night for Open Road Films.

Open Road won a Sundance bidding war for “Dope,” acquiring it along with Sony, which will handle foreign distribution, for $7 million plus $20 million in marketing. Forest Whitaker is the producer and Sean Combs and Pharrell Williams are executive producers. “Dope” has an ensemble cast that includes Tony Revolori (“Grand Budapest Hotel”), Kiersey Clemons (“Transparent), Blake Anderson (“Workaholics”), Zoë Kravitz (“Mad Max”), rapper A$AP Rocky, Tyga, Keith Stanfield and Chanel Iman.

“Inside Out” is set in a young girl’s mind, where five emotions — Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness — battle it out. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kahling, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black top the voice cast. The idea came from Pete Doctor, who directs along Ronnie del Carmen and producer Jonas Rivera. He also wrote the screenplay with Josh Cooley and Meg LaFauve. The production budget was $175 million.

“Monsters University” debuted at No. 1 on this weekend two years ago with $82.6 million. It held the top spot the following weekend, and went on to take in $268 million domestically and $744 million worldwide for Disney.

Pixar typically debuts at least one film a year, but “Inside Out” is the first to be released since “Monsters U” in 2013. That’s because Disney pushed “The Good Dinosaur,” which had been set for last year, to November of this year.

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