Incredibles 2 broke all the box office records for an animated movie this weekend. You can read an exhaustive detailing of the various records here. Heck, Incredibles 2’s $180 domestic debut is objectively amazing for any movie, animated or otherwise. Only five other movies have had bigger openings. Now would be the time for that victory lap, Brad Bird, Pixar and Disney marketing people. You’ve earned it.

How did this happen, though? How did Incredibles 2 not only defeat the prior record-holder for biggest animated opening (Finding Dory’s $135m) but blow it out of the water (pun clearly implied)?

Nostalgia?

People just love themselves a superhero movie?

The marriage of the Disney/Pixar brand with something more Marvel-like?

Built-up anticipation since the first Incredibles came out 14 years ago?

Euphoric word of mouth?

Pixar’s new resurgence after Coco?

Timing the release to Father’s Day weekend?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, oh most definitely yes, that’s at least a little bit of it, and a strong maybe.

But, also let’s not forget the following: It’s been 3 months since Hollywood put out a major animated movie – Paramount’s box office bomb Sherlock Gnomes. That’s so long ago Sherlock Gnomes is already available on home video. It’s not exactly like kids have been completely lacking for viewing options since then. See also: Ready Player One, Rampage, Avengers: Infinity War, Show Dogs, Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The animated film, however, is one of the leading currencies in all of Hollywood right now, along with superheroes and horror movies. As such, family traditions have taken hold and expectations have been formed. We expect there to be a new animated movie every couple of months, but because of school schedules Hollywood still prefers to bunch these things up in the summer movies or over holidays.

Still, last year gave families far more animated options:

  • LEGO Batman in February
  • Boss Baby in March
  • Smurfs: Lost Village in April
  • Captain Underpants in May
  • Cars 3 in June
  • Despicable Me 2 just two weeks later in June

The same was true in 2016:

  • Kung Fu Panda 3 in January
  • Zootopia in March
  • The Angry Birds Movie in May
  • Finding Dory in June
  • The Secret Life of Pets in July

Some of those films fared better than the others, but the point is they were readily available. If the kids weren’t interested in one there was another option around the corner.

Not so this year. Possibly as a result of Hollywood’s collective fear of Infinity War and thus run-and-hide game on the release schedule, families haven’t had a movie like this to go to in a long time. So, Disney’s marketing people didn’t have to build up demand for Incredibles 2 all on their own – the rest of Hollywood helped with that immensely.

Of course, this alone can’t explain Incredibles 2‘s historic performance, but just as audiences had to wait 14 years to see the Parr family again so too have 2018 audiences had to wait far too long for Hollywood to finally offer up a worthwhile animated movie.

Incidentally, next month will at least give us two of these things: Hotel Transylvania 3 (7/13) and Teen Titans Go to the Movies (7/27).

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

5 Comments

  1. Hi Mr. Konda, great post. Is there a review of this one coming soon?
    I was wanting to ask you if you could give me any tips for improving as a film writer/reviewer. Are there any particular critics you recommend reading, or any books on film theory? I want to write as well as I can and I thought I’d ask you for help. Thanks.

    Reply

    1. By now, obviously, the Incredibles 2 review has arrived. I saw this one while I was visiting Denver Comic Con over the weekend, and by the time I made it to an AMC to take in Incredibles 2 I was so worn out and tired I almost fell asleep during the movie. That’s why I ended up writing about the box office before writing an actual review. I felt I needed to see the film a second time with fresher eyes to give it a better review.

      I appreciate both asking me for help and simply wanting to improve your skills, in general. God knows I am still trying to improve my own skills. I come from an academic background, but not a film school one, which means I took a lot of film classes that were being taught through an English department. As such, the primary texts I learned from were two small textbooks, one specific to film and the other more general about grammar and writing. I can give you the names of those, but I’ll have to do so later when I’m somewhere where I can look up their actual names.

      But, film criticism, blogging, and entertainment journalism has changed so much since then. A lot of those old academic rules about how to write a scholarly review or analysis runs completely counter to blogging/YouTuber’s embrace of a far more casual language. As such, I’d recommend reading Devin Faraci’s tips for writing. When I first started, he was the king of film blogging. He’s since been disgraced by a sexual assault allegation and gone on PBS to directly discuss it with the woman he groped. So, you can go in knowing he’s now a disgraced figure, but before that he was one of the biggest bloggers in the game and those years of experience and advice can still be helpful:

      https://birthmoviesdeath.com/2013/01/13/5-obvious-tips-for-writing-about-for-the-movies

      I would also and always recommend reading old Roger Ebert reviews, paying special attention to how he structures his reviews. He’s the one we were taught on back when I took film classes in high school.

      Also, check out some of the bigger film critic YouTubers, like Chris Stuckmann. That won’t necessarily directly improve your writing, but it will be helpful in showing you the kind of analysis thousands if not millions of people are now used to receiving over the old standard written movie reviews.

      Reply

  2. Let’s take into account the fact that the original Incredibles was… INCREDIBLE. Add to the fact that this sequel is equally as good if not better. I submit those two things are as much or more the reason for its success as all those other things you listed.

    Reply

  3. –>”Incidentally, next month will at least give us two of these things: Hotel Transylvania 3 (7/13) and Teen Titans Go to the Movies (7/27).”

    I’m going on record as predicting neither of these movies will do even half as well as Incredibles 2. Hotel looks tired and rehashed. Titans looks feels like it belongs on Saturday morning TV.

    Reply

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