‘Inside Out 2’ hits record $155m on opening weekend in dire year for the movie industry

‘Inside Out 2’ hits record $155m on opening weekend in dire year for the movie industry

Inside Out 2, the sequel to Pixar’s 2015 movie set inside a child’s head and centered on animated emotions, earned $155million on US opening weekend, making it the best box office debut for a film in 2024.

The movie also managed to produce the second-best domestic opening weekend in Pixar history as well as the second-strongest opening for an animated film ever, Comscore reported. The top spot in both categories is held by 2018’s Incredible’s 2 which earned $182.7m.

Inside Out 2 took in about $140m internationally, totaling about $295m in ticket sales, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The story follows 13-year-old Riley as she takes on new emotions - Anxiety, Envy, Ennui, and Embarrassment which go up against the feelings from the first film, Joy, Fear, and Anger.

Inside Out 2 had the strongest opening weekend this year (AP)
Inside Out 2 had the strongest opening weekend this year (AP)

The strong start for Inside Out 2 comes the week after the debut of Bad Boys: Ride or Die also performed well, showing that sequels to well-known films can pull people to theaters. Several large Hollywood studios are focusing on sequels this year.

Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told The Journal that Pixar has had it tough in the last few years even as it’s one of the most “bulletproof brands in the business,” adding that the ticket sales for Inside Out are “huge” for the studio.

Elemental released in 2023 struggled at the box office but later did well on the Disney+ streaming service, while 2022’s Lightyear, Buzz Lightyear’s origin story and the first film from the studio to be shown in theaters in over two years, didn’t live up to expectations.

Three Pixar films released on Disney+ during the pandemic saw theatrical releases this year – Turning Red, Soul, and Luca.

‘Inside Out 2’ grossed $155m during its opening weekend (AP)
‘Inside Out 2’ grossed $155m during its opening weekend (AP)

The US box office is down 24 per cent between January and 16 June compared to 2023. By this time last year, four films had surpassed $100m, but so far only Inside Out 2 has managed to do so, according to Comscore.

Inside Out 2 easily beat other blockbuster movies released this year - Dune: Part Two, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

Box office trackers had expected Inside Out 2 to gross around $90m during opening weekend.

Hollywood writers’ strikes last year and subsequent changes to move release schedules have added to this year’s dire figures.

The 2023 strikes by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild halted film projects for months and have led to holes in schedules after movies were pushed back.

However it does mean that 2025 could be a great year for cinema, John Smith, senior film programmer at Alamo Drafthouse told CNN in April.

The ubiquity of streaming and early digital on-demand releases during the pandemic have taken a bite out of the margins for movie theaters. Some of those who used to go to theaters may now wait for the film to be available online.

Some chains of theatre, such as Cineworld and Alamo Drafthouse have ended up in bankruptcy following problems at the box office, The Washington Post noted. The largest theatre chain in the world, AMC, has focused on branded popcorn buckets that go viral and event films, like Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concert film, to tide itself over during rough times.

“People are seeing a trip to the theater as a special treat, so enhancing these premium experiences could be a key differentiator for theaters in today’s landscape,” Ray Subers, the senior vice president and head of film at the National Research Group, told CNN.