When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament for 2019, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
Pixar is keen to space its sequels out years apart, with Toy Story 4 arriving nearly a decade after 2010’s Toy Story 3. It’s a fail-safe recipe for box office success: Rather than just pump out sequels, Disney-Pixar creates demand with fans continually waiting, capitalizing on those who’ve grown up along with a new generation of kids. The town knew Toy Story 4 was another notch in Disney’s multibillion-dollar-grossing, summer-blockbuster belt, they just didn’t know how high it would go. Many analysts forecast that the money to be made by Toy Story 4, at least stateside, would approach Incredibles 2‘s animated domestic debut record of $182.6 million or $20M less. That didn’t happen, and Toy Story 4 came in even below Disney’s hoped-for $140M stateside start with $120.9M. Some box office analysts blamed that on Disney failing to open Toy Story 4 over the traditional Pixar launch period of Father’s Day weekend. However, Disney was looking at the global play; including overseas, Toy Story 4 turned out to be the biggest global opening ever for an animated movie at $238M (now the second best ever after Frozen 2‘s $358.5M). Toy Story 4 ultimately surprised at the Oscars, taking the trophy for Best Animated Feature. A beloved sequel indeed, as the Toy Story franchise now counts $3.04 billion.
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Disney didn’t go cheap on this long-awaited sequel, this time directed by Josh Cooley, spending well over $500 million in global costs. After $1.073 billion in box office (lower than Incredibles 2‘s $1.2 billion WW, yet higher than Toy Story 3‘s $1.066B), global theatrical rentals were also over a half billion, fueling total worldwide revenues of $871M. Talent participations are typically lower for voice-over actors on animated pics versus live-action, but there’s some legacy talent here with stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, plus Keanu Reeves in the mix, who shared in $45M. Total net profit wound up at a sweet $368M.