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Did ‘Toy Story 4’ Meet Disney’s High Expectations?

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Disney had high hopes for the success of Toy Story 4. With the success of the Aladdin remake and the high anticipation of The Lion King remake, the company expected that Toy Story 4 would make a big splash this summer as well. Disney clearly threw time, energy, and money into the promotion of the film with trailers, advertisements, and interviews with the cast. Executives were expecting that nostalgia and love for the franchise would bring people out in droves. However, while families have been coming out to watch the film, it appears that the sequel didn’t do quite as well as Disney expected on its opening weekend.

Bonnie’s Toys

The fourth installment of the franchise is said to be an emotional rollercoaster complete with reunions and goodbyes. After saying goodbye to Andy in 2010’s Toy Story 3, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and the rest of the gang have settled into life with their new owner, Bonnie. Woody, however, is often cast aside as other toys take precedence in Bonnie’s life. At school, Bonnie makes her own toy named Forky who becomes a part of the family. Everyone soon embarks on a road trip with Bonnie and her family, which takes an unexpected turn. While on a slight detour, Woody reunites with his long-lost love Bo Peep, who has certainly changed from the old days. During their adventure to get back to Bonnie, Woody contemplates what it is he wants from his life as a toy.

Unmet Expectations

The sequel received rave reviews from critics before it opened in theaters nationwide on June 21. It was even marked “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes with a 98% approval rating. Analysts predicted that the film would earn $200 million domestically during its opening weekend. Later, those estimates went down to $150 million. Disney’s lowest prediction for the film’s earnings was $140 million, but Toy Story 4 didn’t even hit that. In its first three days at the box office, it reached only $118 million in its first three days, which was a new high for the franchise but still well below initial expectations. It’s possible that the movie’s low box office performance can be attributed to diminished audience interest in the franchise itself, especially since the third movie seemed to wrap up the franchise perfectly for fans. However, Comscore’s senior media analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, still had high hopes for the film, stating that a record-setting opening weekend is less important than staying strong over a longer time period. “This is a movie that’s in it for the long haul, both in North America and worldwide,” he told CNN Business.

A Success Nonetheless

Dergarabedian’s words may be true. As of June 26, 2019, Toy Story 4 has grossed $167.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $123.6 million in other territories, equating to a worldwide total of $291.2 million. The film ultimately had a worldwide opening of $244.5 million, the 46th highest all-time and the biggest for an animated film. And, since there aren’t any other animated films coming out for a while, the movie may get stronger numbers in the weeks to come. In terms of the future, Pixar will be focusing on creating original films rather than sequels to beloved classics. However, the film’s producer Mark Nielsen did not rule out a possibility of a fifth film. “Every film we make, we treat it like it’s the first and the last film we’re ever going to make, so you force yourself to make it hold up,” he said. “You don’t get in over your skis. Whether there’s another one? I don’t know. If there is, it’s tomorrow’s problem.”

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