After 2 weekends of misery for a group of poorly-received sequels, in steps Disney to correct the forming groove in the quickening river of follow-ups. This weekend, the studio drops the highly-anticipated ‘Toy Story 4’, which aims to open to a franchise (and animated) record, but will find itself playing with 2 other competitors in horror-remake ‘Child’s Play’, and action-thriller ‘Anna’. Whether ‘Toy Story’ can bring it’s A-game will remain to be seen.
So, what’s opening this weekend?
‘Toy Story 4’ brings together the loveable cast for a final (yes, final) time on Friday, with Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts and more being joined by newbies Keanu Reeves, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks amongst others. Directed by debutant Josh Cooley (writer of ‘Inside Out’), the film follows the adventures of Woody, Buzz and co. with new owner Bonnie, as they go on an adventure and find some familiar faces.
While the 4th installment for most franchises becomes a drawn-out, sticky mess that inevitably under-delivers, ‘Toy Story’s Teflon-like immunity to ‘becoming stale’ (the franchise has grossed $2bn) leaves barely anybody questioning Disney’s decision to produce this film, which is aiming to have the biggest domestic opening for an animated film ever.
While franchises such as ‘Shrek’ and ‘Ice Age’ faltered much earlier in their respective runs, whether due to audience fatigue or simply poor quality, ‘Toy Story’ played the patient game, and have now reaped the rewards by building an audience made up of multiple generations for its final release.
The result will be an opening close to ‘Incredibles 2’s magnificent $182.7m start from last June, with ‘Toy Story 4’ looking to hit $200m.
It certainly has the tools to do so, too. Armed with 99% on the Tomatometer (the joint-lowest in the franchise, mind you), and coming off the back of ‘Toy Story 3’s own $110.3m opening 9 years ago, ‘Toy Story 4’ will surely run the record close. The aforementioned predecessor, ‘Toy Story 3’, currently stands as the 5th biggest animated film in U.S. history (behind ‘Incredibles 2’, ‘Finding Dory’, ‘Shrek 2’, and ‘The Lion King’), and the 4th biggest worldwide (behind ‘Frozen’, ‘Incredibles 2’, and ‘Minions’), but will likely be trumped by ‘4’, whose forecasted $175m won’t quite hit the animated record, but will nonetheless truly kick off the blockbuster summer.
From loveable toys to deadly ones, the ‘Child’s Play’ reboot from Orion Pictures and United Artists Releasing drops into cinemas this weekend, hoping to kill it with audiences looking for some strong counter-programming to the $200m behemoth that is ‘Toy Story’. Step in murderous doll ‘Chucky’, who, voiced by Mark Hamill, looks to terrorise Andy and Karen (Gabriel Bateman and Aubrey Plaza) in their new home.
Neatly straddling the line of remake and reboot, ‘Child’s Play’ follows the ongoing trend of famous horror renditions, with last year’s ‘Halloween’, which opened to $76.2m, the ultimate goal. Yet, we see it performing more like the 1988 original ($6.6m opening); although its 65% on the Tomatometer is far from appalling, ‘Toy Story’s sheer size, coupled with UAR’s torrid time at the Box Office this year, means we don’t even see it hitting ‘Pet Sematary’s $24.5m. A $15m opening’s in store instead, a solid start regardless of the competition.
Finally, this weekend sees the release of the only original film of the weekend: Luc Besson’s ‘Anna’, starring Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Helen Mirren. The action-thriller enters into a little over 2,000 cinemas but will fail to make an impression, clocking in worse than Besson’s last effort (‘Valerian’, with a $17m opening) at just $5m.
What else is on?
Last weekend’s winner ‘Men in Black International’ will have to do with 2nd place this weekend, as its $13m gross will leave it just ahead of fellow competitors ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ and ‘Child’s Play’. By Sunday night, it’ll sit on a domestic total a little north of $50m, with a $75m finish the best it can truly hope for. Still, it’s better than ‘Shaft’, which will continue its struggle with just $4m, condemning it as a bonafide bomb.