Pixar Saved by Unbelievable ‘Inside Out 2’ Performance

Inside Out 2
Credit: Disney/Pixar

To say it has not been easy for Disney and Pixar when it comes to theatrical releases would be an understatement. Both studio giants have been struggling to find a box office hit, with Disney’s only real success last year coming from its release of the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Sadly, its other 2023 releases — Indiana Jones and the Dial of DestinyHaunted Mansion, and Wish — were all box office flops. On the Marvel side, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was also a disaster.

Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, and Owen Wilson in The Haunted Mansion

Credit: Disney

Unfortunately, things for Pixar have not been much better. The animation studio has been struggling since the pandemic. Onward (2020) was only in movie theaters for a couple of weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic forced theaters to close. Pixar’s next three films — Soul (2020), Luca (2021), and Turning Red (2022) — were not even released in theaters. And sadly, when Lightyear was released in theaters in 2023, it was a massive failure, losing the studio more than $100 million.

Pixar did see some success with Elemental (2023), but it was not in theaters. The movie received rave reviews but didn’t get a ton of traction in the US until it hit Disney+.

Ember and Wade from Elemental eating snacks together.

Credit: Pixar

Related: ‘Toy Story 5’ Update: Pixar Unveils Big Announcement Amid Studio Struggles

Those struggles left Pixar hanging on for dear life, with some reports stating that the studio was “on life support.” The studio also suffered a big hit in May when 175 employees were laid off. It was the largest cut in staff that Pixar had seen since it was purchased by The Walt Disney Company all the way back in 2006.

However, Disney and Pixar’s most recent animated release may have just saved the studio.

The animated characters Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger from Disney's

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Related: ‘Inside Out 2’ Is a Marvelous Bag of Mixed Emotions

On June 14, Inside Out 2 was released in theaters nationwide. The highly anticipated sequel brought back Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira), the emotions in Riley’s mind. Since Riley is going through puberty, there are a slew of whole new emotions Riley (and her emotions) has to deal with.

Inside Out 2 also featured Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), and Nostalgia (June Squibb).

Four animated characters are in a colorful, whimsical room. A large, pink character in a hoodie stands next to a small, orange character with wild hair, and a tiny, green character, both sitting at a control panel. A tall, blue character lounges on an orange sofa.

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Initial estimates reported that Inside Out 2 was expected to pass $100 million at the box office during its opening weekend. But the Pixar sequel film has absolutely soared past those expectations and has shattered the box office!

According to TheWrap, Inside Out 2 reached nearly $300 million in its opening debut! It is the second-most successful film to be released in the last 18 months, being beaten out by the hit film Barbie (2023).

In fact, it’s the second highest 3-day box office opening for almost any film in the last 18 months, behind only the $162 million opening of “Barbie.” Among animated films, it ranks just behind the $182.6 million start of fellow Pixar film “Incredibles 2” as the second highest animated film opening ever before inflation adjustment (or third highest, depending on whether you consider the 2019 CGI “Lion King” remake to be an animated film).

Joy (Amy Poehler) and Anxiety (Maya Hawke) Inside Out 2

Credit: Disney/Pixar

Inside Out 2 raked in $155 million during its opening weekend at the domestic box office, with the rest of the $140 million coming from the international box office. That makes Inside Out 2’s opening weekend the most successful for an animated film in history!

Inside Out 2 is not the only major movie Disney and Disney fans have to look forward to this year. On November 27, Disney will release another highly anticipated sequel, Moana 2Moana 2 was originally supposed to be a series created for Disney+, but Disney CEO Bob Iger was reportedly so impressed with the footage that they decided to make it into a feature-length film.

Moana holding an oar, standing in a ready position on a ship

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Shares New Exclusive First Look at ‘Moana 2’!

Moana 2 will see the return of Auli’i Cravalho as the voice of the Polynesian princess and Dwayne Johnson as the demigod Maui. We do not know much about the movie, but according to Disney, Moana will receive a calling from her “wayfinding ancestors.” She must then journey “to the far seas of Oceania and into dangerous, long-lost waters for an adventure unlike anything she’s ever faced.”

Moana 2 will take place 3 years after the events of the first movie. It is expected to be one of the biggest hits of the year, possibly surpassing the incredible success of Inside Out 2.

Did you see Inside Out 2 on its opening weekend? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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