The feeling over at Disney this morning is one of unmitigated joy. Once again proving that rank doesn’t matter, Walt Disney’s Inside Out didn’t need to top the weekend box office to be an unqualified winner. The Pixar masterpiece came in second place to the massive second weekend of Jurassic World, but it still debuted with an eye-popping $91.06 million. With all of the handwringing (or at least indifferent commentary) about how Inside Out would be the first Pixar film not to top the weekend box office, this has to feel pretty sweet for the Walt Disney and friends. Oh, and it nabbed $41m overseas for a $132.056m global cume, so it’s got that going for it.
That is the second-best Pixar ever (behind Toy Story 3), the biggest Pixar debut for an original film, and the biggest weekend ever for a film that didn’t top the box office, clobbering the $68m debut of The Day After Tomorrow. It wins that record even when adjusted for inflation, in case you were wondering. It’s also the biggest debut ever for a non-sequel/ It’s also the biggest debut ever for a non-sequel/not-based on anything animated feature and the fourth-biggest animated debut period, behind Shrek the Third ($122m), Toy Story 3 ($110m), and Shrek 2 ($108m). Actually, it’s the biggest opening ever for a pure “not based on anything” movie, meaning it was Inside Out, not Jurassic World, that was breaking Avatar box office records this weekend.
After four years of “slump” talk, I think we can safely assume that reports of Pixar’s demise were greatly exaggerated. What’s doubly impressive is that it pulled this off while Universal/Comcast Corp.’s Jurassic World was pulling a $102m second weekend. What’s astonishing is how both massive movies basically acted as if the other one didn’t exist. Yes, the marketplace can indeed support to mega-smash hit movies basically at the same time, and this weekend will indeed have the two biggest “#1 and #2″ films of all time by a healthy margin and one of the biggest cumulative weekend box office totals of all time.
So now, to the extent that it matters, is the part where we ask how big Jurassic World‘s second weekend would have been without Inside Out grabbing $91.06m worth of audience members. And we have to wonder, had Jurassic World only opened with $100m last weekend, would Inside Out have been able to best Shrek the Third‘s $122m debut weekend to become the biggest animated opener of all time? Inside Out is of course Pixar’s first original film since Brave back in 2012 and, due to a few sequels and a delayed The Good Dinosaur, their second original since 2009 out of six films. It is actually their second consecutive female-centric original to boot, although The Good Dinosaur was supposed to come out in May of 2014.
It is not a princess story and it’s actually a pretty complicated and explicitly internal narrative, so that it opened better than the easier-to-sell Monsters University is a huge testament to both the power of overwhelmingly positive reviews and the Pixar brand name. It’s a win for Disney, which has been watching pundits and writers take the piss out of the Marvel universe on account of Jurassic World‘s record run. It’s a win in the sense that is the biggest opening for a female-centric film outside of the three Hunger Games films and three of the five Twilight films and will likely end up, by default almost, as the biggest female-centric domestic grosser outside of Frozen and whichever Hunger Games movies it doesn’t top.
In terms of long term play, the Pixar mid-June originals tend have somewhat inconsistent weekend-to-final multipliers, depending on the breaks. A worst-case scenario Cars 2 performance gets it to $256m domestic, while a Monsters University performance gets it to $299m. A performance like Brave and Wall-E gets it to $321m domestic, which feels like the plausible best case scenario, although a Toy Story 3 gets it to $345m.
The 4x or more performances of Cars, Up, Ratatouille, and Finding Nemo, and even are likely a pipe dream, but you can certainly do the math if you wish. Okay fine, since you begged, such runs would get $366m, $385m, $385m, and $442m respectively. This all means that if it can magically avoid accidentally topping the box office it can become the biggest grossing movie never to top the weekend box office, well-ahead of My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($242m). So now the only question is whether Minions will hurt Inside Out or merely compliment it come July 10th. We’ll know more next weekend when we get a look at the film’s legs, so that’s enough for now. Inside Out is a massive smash, Pixar is “back,” and let’s just celebrate that a movie this good did this well this weekend.