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)?
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).