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'Toy Story 4's' softer-than-expected opening delivers limited box office relief

Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

LOS ANGELES -- Dolls ruled the weekend as "Toy Story 4" and "Child's Play" revived the box office after a three-week-long slump, but overall numbers continue to lag behind last year.

Disney and Pixar's latest entry in the two-decade-spanning "Toy Story" franchise raked in $118 million, well below studio predictions of $140 million to $150 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Internationally, the film earned $120 million for a global cumulative of $238 million.

"This is a huge debut," said Cathleen Taff, the studio's distribution chief. "It's the fourth biggest animated opening of all time, it's the third biggest opening of the year, and I think it shows that people have a love for these characters. We're in rare company, and I think the magnitude of the opening and the ongoing draw of 'Toy Story' shows that ... we're set up for a really nice run for the summer."

Despite the superlatives, "Toy Story 4" grossed $30 million less than "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the No. 1 film a year ago. The total for all movies opening this weekend is 28.3% behind the same weekend in 2018 and the year-to-date comparison is now down 8.9%.

Directed by Josh Cooley, the computer-animated sequel cost an estimated $175 million to $200 million to produce. It was well-received by audiences and critics with an A CinemaScore and a 98% "fresh" rating from review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

 

The original "Toy Story" hit theaters in 1995, ushering in an era of computer-generated animation. That film opened with $29 million before grossing $373 million worldwide.

In the intervening years, the series' popularity only grew, as 1999's "Toy Story 2" opened with $57.4 million (before earning $497.4 million worldwide) and 2010's "Toy Story 3" opened with $110.3 million before amassing $1.07 billion in global receipts.

In second place, Orion's "Child's Play" opened with $14 million, slightly below analysts' projections of $16 million to $18 million.

A modern take on the classic '80s slasher flick, "Child's Play" features "Star Wars" star Mark Hamill as the voice of the killer doll, re-imagined as a Siri-like AI smart toy rather than the reincarnated serial killer of the original. Brian Tyree Henry and Aubrey Plaza round out the cast.

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