Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar Animation came back swinging this weekend with “Incredibles 2,” leading the box office in a record-breaking debut for an animated film.
The sequel collected $71.5 million Friday in theaters in the U.S. and Canada, Disney estimated in an email Saturday. That includes $18.5 million from Thursday previews but is more than the first installment collected in its full opening weekend in 2004 when it rang up $70 million in receipts.
The movie was forecast to generate well over $150 million going into the weekend, surpassing the $135 million animated record set by Pixar’s own “Finding Dory” in 2016, according to data from the research firm Box Office Mojo. Disney had a more conservative estimate of $120 million to $140 million. Industry estimates now have $180 million as a target.
The film’s success will be a boost to executives and animators at Disney who learned this month that John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of their animation businesses, was leaving the company for good in December. Lasseter, the creative force behind hits like “Finding Nemo” and “Frozen,” had been on leave following complaints from colleagues of inappropriate touching and comments. Lasseter was an executive producer on “Incredibles 2.”
“Incredibles 2” has a chance to become Disney’s fourth film in seven months to surpass $600 million at the domestic box office, Gitesh Pandya, founder of BoxOfficeGuru.com, said on Twitter Saturday.
Disney’s most recent release, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” proved to be a box office disappointment, collecting $2.3 million Friday to boost its cumulative gross to $186 million, according to the company.
With “Incredibles 2,” Disney is bringing back the tale of the reluctant superhero family at a time when such characters are popular with movie fans. Disney didn’t disclose the cost of making the picture, but similar films have cost about $200 million to produce before marketing costs, according to Box Office Mojo. “Incredibles 2” received stellar reviews — 94 percent positive according to Rottentomatoes.com — drawing in excited fans over the Father’s Day weekend.