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So much for the Pixar slump. ‘Inside Out 2’ just achieved a huge box office milestone

Anxiety waves in "Inside Out 2."
A scene from “Inside Out 2.”
(Disney/Pixar)
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Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” has achieved a major box office milestone, going a long way toward easing anxiety (pun intended) surrounding the Disney-owned computer animation studio’s prospects.

The summer family blockbuster sequel on Tuesday passed the $1.25-billion mark at the global box office, passing 2018’s “Incredibles 2” to become Pixar’s highest grossing movie to date on a non-inflation-adjusted basis, according to Disney estimates.

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The animation business is facing a question that ‘Inside Out 2,’ ‘Moana 2,’ the Minions and Garfield can’t answer: What’s going on with animated originals at the box office?

June 25, 2024

“Inside Out 2,” the sequel to the beloved 2015 original that personified a young girl’s emotions such as Joy and Anger, has generated $543.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, still shy of Pixar’s non-inflation-adjusted domestic record of nearly $609 million for the “Incredibles” follow-up.

In today’s dollars, “Incredibles 2’s” U.S.-Canada total is $758.5 million.

Pixar had been having a rough time since the COVID-19 pandemic, which cut the legs off the box office of its largely forgotten 2020 title “Onward.”

The next three Pixar titles — all originals — went straight to the Disney+ streaming service: “Soul,” “Luca” and “Turning Red.” The Emeryville, Calif.-based animation pioneer’s next effort, “Lightyear,” bombed amid middling reviews and political backlash for including a same-sex kiss.

The struggles led some to question whether Pixar has lost a step in terms of quality, and whether Disney had trained its audience of kids and parents to wait to watch its movies at home instead of going to the multiplex.

Against all odds, the beloved Minions of the “Despicable Me” franchise evolved from a childhood staple to a favorite of online moms to a Gen Z icon.

July 3, 2024

But “Inside Out 2” has helped assuage those concerns. Family films have performed well at the box office as of late, especially franchises. Universal and Illumination’s “Despicable Me 4,” powered by the yellow, gibberish-spewing Minions, debuted with $123 million domestically over the long Fourth of July weekend.

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Pixar’s next effort, slated for 2025, is “Elio,” an original about a boy who becomes Earth’s intergalactic ambassador.

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