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Disney's ‘Inside Out 2' could be the first billion-dollar movie of 2024

Disney | Pixar
  • Disney and Pixar's "Inside Out 2" has tallied $724.4 million at the box office worldwide as of Sunday, making it the highest-grossing film of 2024.
  • Box-office experts expect the film will soon surpass $1 billion globally, becoming the first film since Warner Bros.' "Barbie" to reach that milestone.
  • The animated sequel is also one of only seven titles to cross $100 million in its second domestic weekend in theaters.

Disney and Pixar's "Inside Out 2" could be the first film since Warner Bros.' "Barbie" to top $1 billion at the global box office.

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The animated feature has tallied $724.4 million worldwide as of Sunday, making it the highest-grossing film of 2024. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment's "Dune: Part Two" previously held this year's record with $711.8 million.

"Inside Out 2" has yet to open in Japan, which contributed nearly $33 million to the $850.5 million global total of "Inside Out" in 2015.

"As a global phenomenon attracting moviegoers well beyond families and kids and a message that resonates and is relatable across all cultures and languages, 'Inside Out 2' is the rare film that is both a box-office sprinter and a marathon runner," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. "It is the perfect candidate for admission to the billion-dollar club."

While Disney's 2022 film "Avatar: The Way of Water" surpassed the billion-dollar mark on its way to a more than $2 billion haul, the company's Pixar studio hasn't seen a movie reach the benchmark since 2019's "Toy Story 4."

After the pandemic, both Walt Disney Animation and Pixar struggled to regain a foothold at the box office. The difficulties occurred in part because Disney opted to debut a handful of animated features directly on streaming service Disney+ during theatrical closures and even once cinemas had reopened.

Before "Inside Out 2," no Disney animated feature from Pixar or Walt Disney Animation had generated more than $480 million at the global box office since 2019.

The film snared another $100 million domestically over the weekend, an untypical 35% drop from its opening weekend. Films typically see a 50% to 70% drop in ticket sales from their debut weekend to their second weekend.

With this feat, "Inside Out 2" becomes one of only seven titles to cross $100 million in its second weekend. The others are five Disney films — "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Avengers: Endgame," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Black Panther" and "The Avengers" — and Universal's "Jurassic World."

"Inside Out 2" added $100 million from weekday showings on the previous Monday through Thursday.

"'Inside Out 2's' performance is the culmination of many things," said Shawn Robbins, founder and owner of Box Office Theory. "A meaningful story that people of all ages and backgrounds can relate to, beloved goodwill toward the original film, Disney and Pixar's legacy brand appeal, pent-up demand for a family movie, a very consumer-friendly runtime under two hours, school breaks, and oppressive heat waves driving many people indoors for air-conditioned entertainment can all be pointed to as ingredients in the recipe for this box-office storm."

The film has over-indexed with family audiences, which accounted for more than 70% of those in attendance during the film's domestic debut, according to data from EntTelligence. This moviegoing crowd has been underserved after the pandemic, as many family-friendly titles headed straight to streaming or were displaced from the calendar due to theater closures or production shutdowns.

Last year, that audience came out in droves for Universal's "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," which generated more than $1.36 billion at the global box office.

"Inside Out 2" also drove the coveted teen demographic to cinemas, with 14% of foot traffic coming from those aged 13 to 17. This younger generation has been largely absent from the market in recent years.

As the future of moviegoing, this group is particularly important to the industry. Getting them back to the big screen has become a top priority for studios and movie theater operators.

"A blockbuster run is just what the doctor ordered for theater owners as well," said Robbins. "They were starved of event-level releases to begin the summer season in May, thanks largely to release delays caused by last year's labor strikes. It typically does not take until the middle of June to see a box-office performer of this stature, but alongside the continued health of 'Bad Boys: Ride or Die,' it may well beckon the kind of avalanche of success which the industry hopes for out of several high-potential releases to begin the second half of the year." 

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of "Jurassic World" and "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

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