Disney's domination over the box office only seemed to strengthen this weekend as Toy Story 4 easily topped box office charts.
The fourth entry in Pixar's animated series collected US$118 million (S$160 million) in ticket sales when it debuted in 4,575 North American theatres. While that haul is significantly below expectations, which anticipated a start near US$140 million (S$190 million), it's hardly a disappointment for the critically acclaimed movie.
Despite glowing reviews, box office prognosticators suggest that Toy Story 4 underperformed because audiences were wary about the need for another chapter after Toy Story 3 wrapped up the series so perfectly. The domestic debut is only a slight jump on that entry, which bowed nearly a decade ago with US$110 million. However, strong word of mouth will likely keep Toy Story 4 in theatres long throughout the summer.
Toy Story 4's bow ranks as the fourth-biggest launch for an animated movie behind Incredibles 2 (US$182 million), Finding Dory (US$135 million), and Shrek the Third (US$121 million). It's also only the third movie this year to cross US$100 million in receipts during its opening weekend. The other two – Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame – were both Disney releases as well.
Overseas, Toy Story 4 picked up US$120 million from 37 international territories for a global start of US$238 million.
Directed by Josh Cooley, Toy Story 4 reunites Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts) with a band of plastic heroes. New to the gang is Forky, an anxiety-ridden spork voiced by Tony Hale, who helps teach them what it means to be a toy. The story was written by Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, Martin Hynes, and now-ousted Pixar chief John Lasseter.
In a very distant second place, United Artists' Child's Play earned US$14 million when it opened in 3,007 venues. That represents a solid start for the modestly budgeted horror film, which is a remake of the 1988 thriller about an evil Chucky doll. Aubrey Plaza stars in Child's Play, which Mark Hamill voices the creepy voodoo doll. It cost US$10 million to produce.
This weekend's other new release didn't fare as well. Liongate's Anna launched with a dismal US$3.5 million from 2,114 screens. Males accounted for 61 per cent of ticket buyers, with 88 per cent of that group over the age of 25. Sasha Luss, Luke Evans and Helen Mirren star.
Falling not far behind Child's Play on box office charts is another reboot, Disney's Aladdin. The live-action musical pocketed US$12 million in its fifth weekend of release, boosting its domestic total to US$288 million.
In fourth place, Sony's Men in Black: International made US$10 million during its second weekend in theatres, marking a steep 65 per cent decline from its inaugural run. The fourth MIB film, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, has generated US$52 million to date.
Rounding out the top five is Universal and Illumination's The Secret Life of Pets 2, which added US$10.2 million to its North American tally. The animated sequel has grossed US$117 million since debuting three weeks ago.
Overall, ticket sales continue to pace well behind last year's strong summer season. As big-budget sequels like Dark Phoenix, Men in Black: International and Godzilla: King of the Monsters bring back disappointing receipts, the box office has dropped 6 per cent below 2018's record, according to Comscore.