Despite glowing reviews , Toy Story 4 and its new friend Forky barely cleared the box office total of its predecessor this weekend. The Disney and Pixar franchise’s fourth entry took in a healthy $118 million in North American ticket sales by the end of opening weekend—still enough to claim the third-best weekend opening of 2019 thus far, but below the $140 million Disney projected.
More alarmingly, Toy Story 4 scarcely overtook the Toy Story 3 opening haul of $110 million, and falls well-short of the Incredibles sequel’s $182 million domestic opening last year. It’s enough to wonder if sequel burnout has begun putting a damper on the summer holidays box office, following a string of high-profile under-performers like Dark Phoenix , Men in Black: International , and Godzilla: King of Monsters . Some have even speculated the monstrous hype and performance of Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame is to blame for a little box-office burnout—a theory that next week’s Spider-Man: Far From Home will surely test.
Per Fortune , the 2019 summer box office to date is less than 1% above the same point last year, capping out around $1.59 billion. CNBC counters that while some audiences may have tired of endless sequels and remakes (Disney’s Aladdin performed modestly against expectations as well), the staggered performance has more to do with the quality of the films themselves, rather than their roots in larger franchises. That certainly should work in Toy Story 4 ’s favor, given positive word-of-mouth and a 98% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score—and most analysts expect the movie to perform well in the coming weeks, unlike, say, Dark Phoenix .
Paul Dergarabedian , senior media analyst at Comscore, suggested the box office uncertainty was likely to continue when speaking to CNBC. “Within the very small ecosystem of the first weeks of summer every weekend can have a huge impact on the bottom line and, thus, the nausea inducing up and downs of the summer of 2019 will continue week after week along with the percentage change tug-of-war versus summer 2018,” he projected.
Toy Story 4 did at least easily overtake Chucky remake Child’s Play at $14 million domestic and Liongate’s Anna at $3.5 million. For now, anyway, Disney isn’t sweating a modest performance. “Looking at these four hugely popular Toy Story films in 25 years, there’s remarkable consistency to what Pixar puts out,” said Cathleen Taff , Disney’s president of global distribution. “It’s a testament to the team’s commitment to excellence.”