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‘Incredibles 2’ Broke the Opening-Weekend Box Office Record for Animated Features

Pixar had another super debut with its latest release. 
By  · Published on June 18th, 2018

Pixar had another super debut with its latest release.

After 14 years, fans really wanted to see another Incredibles movie. Over the weekend, Incredibles 2 leaped to a new height for animated features by selling about 19.9 million tickets in its first few days. The new movie, which sees the return of a family of superheroes, overpowered Pixar’s previous best, the sequel Finding Dory, which brought in a crowd of 15.5 million people exactly two years ago.

In terms of non-adjusted grosses, Finding Dory had been the box office champ for animation until now, but as far as ticket sales go, the much older DreamWorks sequels Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third had bigger openings in 2004 and 2007, respectively. The former’s debut attendance was 17.4 million while the latter surpassed its predecessor with 17.7 million. Incredibles 2 blew both away with its new attendance record.

Why this particular animated feature came out on top seems obvious. Superheroes continue to be a big seller at the box office, and the original Incredibles from 2005 has remained one of the best entries in the genre. But it’s also a Pixar movie, which draws in the family crowds. So it gets that same audience as Finding Dory — despite its content skewing a little more violent (yet not nearly as much as the first film) — but then it also adds the older kids who might have seen the Finding Nemo sequel as being too kiddy for them.

And just about everyone seems to love it. Critical reception has been slightly less favorable than it was for The Incredibles but is still very positive (the sequel’s Rotten Tomatoes score is 94% versus the original’s 97%). And the fans attending on opening night gave the movie an ‘A+’ grade via CinemaScore polling, just as they did with the first movie. Incredibles 2 is the seventh Pixar movie to earn the perfect grade (see them all here) but only the first Pixar sequel since Toy Story 2Finding Dory did not similarly match Nemo‘s grade.

Incredibles 2 is also only the fourth superhero movie to earn an ‘A+’ from moviegoers. The others are the first IncrediblesThe Avengers, and Black Panther (see what kinds of movies get perfect grades here). Speaking of which, it should be noted that Incredibles 2 is Disney’s third superhero release of the year, following the Marvel productions Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. And these three movies have had the three best opening weekends of 2018 so far.

Incredibles 2 was only expected to sell about 16.6 million tickets in its debut, as forecast by Box Office Pro. And that prediction from last week was viewed as a “massive” figure and was up from the 12 million tickets the movie was being tracked for back in April. The success is great news for Disney after the disappointing attendance from the start for Solo: A Star Wars Story (this maybe goes to show that even with Star Wars movies, audiences want super-powered heroes).

Not that Disney has been hurting. With Incredibles 2, the studio can now boast having 10 of the top domestic openings of all time (Jurassic World is the only outlier) — monetarily that is; attendance-wise, they have seven of the top 11, and Incredibles 2 isn’t one of them (it’s 17th). Most of their biggest successes, though, have been Marvel and Star Wars installments. Now Pixar, while always a power player at the box office in general, is in the big leagues. We can now expect Incredibles 3 soonish, right? With even more Jack-Jack, of course.

The first Incredibles drew only 11.3 million people in its debut 14 years ago. Incredibles 2 increased opening weekend attendance by 75%. Comparatively, Finding Dory only went up 32% from Finding Nemo‘s attendance. Sequels to Cars and Monsters, Inc. meanwhile each sold fewer tickets than their predecessors. The Toy Story series has been the most dependable, with Toy Story 3 drawing more than double the original’s numbers, while Toy Story 2‘s first wide release weekend was in between their debuts.

Not all future Pixar movies, especially sequels, can expect the sort of success Incredibles 2 had this past weekend. Like Marvel and Star Wars, Pixar can go up and down in appeal (not that Pixar is a franchise unless you believe in the shared-universe theory). But if any other sequels are to be made by the studio (besides Toy Story 4, which is already in the works), Incredibles 3 needs to be at the top of the plans. It’s surprising Incredible 2 took as long as it did, given its popularity.

But that popularity wasn’t the easiest to see, really. Back in 2005, The Incredibles posted the second-best opening-weekend attendance for Pixar and held that honor for the better part of a decade until Toy Story 3 came out. Up until the release of its sequel, The Incredibles still had the fourth best opening for the studio ever. And yet it’s only in eighth place for total domestic ticket sales. The Incredibles had relatively short legs for an original Pixar movie, the sort of frontloaded percentage typically reserved for their sequels.

Incredibles 2, being a sequel, could wind up with even shorter legs. Despite having the greatest opening for a Pixar movie, the new movie could very well fall short of being the best-selling movie of the brand overall (Finding Nemo still holds onto that record, at least for now). We’ll see how far the sequel goes, but remarkably after just three days it’s already sold more tickets than both Cars 3 and The Good Dinosaur sold in their entire runs and will top Coco‘s domestic gross within the next week for sure.

Here are the weekend’s top 20 titles by the number of tickets sold with new titles in bold and totals in parentheses:

1. Incredibles 2 – 19.9 million (19.9 million)
2. Ocean’s 8 – 2.1 million (8.6 million)
3. Tag – 1.6 million (1.6 million)
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story – 1.1 million (21.2 million)
5. Deadpool 2 – 0.9 million (32.2 million)
6. Superfly – 0.8 million (1 million)
7. Hereditary – 0.7 million (2.9 million)
8. Avengers: Infinity War – 0.6 million (72.5 million)
9. Adrift – 0.24 million (2.9 million)
10. The Book Club – 0.2 million (6.8 million)
11. Gotti – 0.19 million (0.2 million)
12. Race 3 – 0.185 million (0.2 million)
13. A Wrinkle in Time – 0.183 million (10.9 million)
14. Hotel Artemis – 0.11 million (0.6 million)
14. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – 0.11 million (0.2 million)
16. Upgrade – 0.057 million (1.2 million)
17. RBG – 0.054 million (1.1 million)
18. Life of the Party – 0.049 million (5.7 million)
19. Overboard – 0.048 million (5.3 million)
20. Breaking In – 0.047 million (4.9 million)

All non-forecast box office figures via Box Office Mojo.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.