What does the success of Incredibles 2 mean for Pixar, Disney, and everyone else? Especially if they didn’t love the studio’s latest sequel?
From Jessica Rawden at Cinemablend:
Previously, that accolade went to Finding Dory, a movie that grossed a little bit over $486 million domestically and a little over a billion worldwide. Incredibles 2 has been a much bigger winner domestically, making more than $602 million in North America and another $562.5 million worldwide. It’s current total has it at $1,164,826,913 (via Box Office Mojo), which means it has topped the movie that just kept swimming to become Pixar’s highest grosser. It’s also notable because a few weeks ago, the sequel was already the first animated movie to gross over $500 million domestically, and now it’s north of $600 million.
As Rawden mentions, Frozen is still the highest grossing animated film of all time, but Incredibles 2 is hot on its heels, just recently surpassing Minions.
Now, box office only says so much about the quality of a film, but it does paint a compelling picture, one that at this point can’t be denied. In order for Pixar to maintain their high standards with original content, they made the controversial decision to bank on sequels over a decade back. We now see Finding Dory and Incredibles 2 to be among the most profitable films of all time, animated or otherwise, and on the horizon there’s Toy Story 4 and a slew of original stories essentially funded by this box office success.
The entertainment industry lives and dies on narratives. Pixar is combating two of them right now, whether you like it or not. The most pressing is the John Lasseter scandal, one that Disney and Pixar are handling only somewhat competently depending on who you ask. If you ask me, they’ve made good and bad moves on this, but where it counts, they’ve likely curtailed disaster by promoting Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee.
The second narrative is that Pixar’s best days are behind them, and from a quality standpoint that argument still holds merit with some who consider Coco a momentary fluke and Inside Out too long ago in memory (three years) to serve as a counter argument. We’ve known for a while that Pixar still has box office power, however, thanks in large point to the clout of their brand and more hits than misses over the decades. At one point, the “Pixar is doomed” narrative was coupled with the prediction that Walt Disney Animation would soon overtake the studio’s prestigious reputation, and I too found this compelling to believe thanks to some repetitive landmark films in Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Zootopia, and Moana.
This year, Disney and Pixar eschewed original animated films for sequels (Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet). Expect an Oscars showdown similar to 2016’s Moana vs. Zootopia (sorry Finding Dory fans, that film was never expected to compete for the Academy Award), but this time it’s two sequels, two symbols of a parent company dishing out increasing returns for two beloved IPs.
For fans of Disney and Pixar and animated films in general, this is all great news. But for some who don’t want Pixar rewarded for turning to what they consider the dark side of “franchising,” it can be perceived as less than helpful. All of us want groundbreaking movies, original or sequel, released year after year. Disney and Pixar have the resources to do this in lockstep, sharing brain power and creativity unique to their respective brands. I, for one, champion the spirit of friendly competition. Which of course means I’m also clamoring for DreamWorks to come in for their biggest wave ever.