The Pixar superhero movie "Incredibles 2" made 14 years of anticipation worth the wait for Disney, as the follow-up to 2004's "The Incredibles" smashed the record for highest animation debut of all time with an estimated $180 million in ticket sales for the U.S. and Canada, according to the measurement firm ComScore.
"Pixar has set the bar so incredibly high for over two decades that, to be sitting here in the summer of 2018 with their biggest debut ever is most impressive," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. He attributed the new film’s success to the "huge longevity and consistency of the brand that few can rival."
He said it was “staggering” that an animated film could perform so strongly, especially since a substantial number of tickets were for children. “That means an even greater number of people were in theaters this weekend than $180 million would imply because of lowered ticket pricing for kids," Dergarabedian said.
The film handily surpassed the previous record holder, Pixar’s "Finding Dory," which opened with $135 million in 2016. “Incredibles 2” also posted the No. 1 debut for a PG-rated film, another record previously held by "Finding Dory."
"Incredibles 2" opened above analysts' domestic predictions of $120 million to $140 million and also has amassed $51.5 million in international receipts. The film was a hit with audiences and critics, earning an A-plus rating on CinemaScore and a 94% "fresh" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Of Pixar's 20 films, "Incredibles 2" is the seventh to earn an A-plus CinemaScore rating.
"You don’t get to numbers this big without getting everyone, but we were really pleased with all of the demos," said Cathleen Taff, Disney's distribution chief. "It’s a multigenerational crossover event where adults are just as excited to see it themselves as they are to introduce their kids to it.”
Warner Bros.' "Ocean's 8," now in its second weekend, finished in second place, adding $19.5 million in ticket sales (a 53% drop) for a cumulative $79.2 million.
The studio also debuted "Tag" in third place. It earned $14.6 million, on par with analysts' predictions of $13 million to $15 million.
"Tag," released under Warner Bros.' New Line Cinema division, is an R-rated comedy about a group of friends who play an extreme version of the classic schoolyard game. The film received mixed reviews from audiences and critics, earning a B-plus on CinemaScore and 56% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Featuring Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, the film cost an estimated $28 million to make.
In fourth place: Disney's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," now in its fourth weekend. It added $9 million in earnings — a moderate 42% drop despite losing more than 1,100 locations — for a to-date total of $192.8 million. The record numbers for “Incredibles 2” alleviate some of the sting the studio is still feeling over “Solo”; Taff did not respond to questions about the “Star Wars” film’s disappointing performance.
Rounding out the top five, Fox's "Deadpool 2," now in its fifth week, added $8.8 million for a cumulative $294.7 million.
A24's "Hereditary," the horror film starring Toni Collette that has sharply divided critics and moviegoers, was bumped from the top five to No. 6 in its second weekend. The low-budget film, written and directed by Ari Aster, added $7 million in ticket sales (a 48% drop, respectable for the horror genre) to reach a cumulative $27.2 million.
Sony's "Superfly" remake opened at No. 7 with $6.3 million after debuting Wednesday for a cumulative $8.4 million.
A modern update to the 1972 blaxploitation film, "Superfly" cost an estimated $16 million to make but failed to meet analysts' predictions of $10 million to $12 million. The film earned a B-plus rating on CinemaScore and a 54% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Vertical Entertainment premiered "Gotti" to disappointing results. The film, directed by Kevin Connolly and starring John Travolta as the mobster, gets a 0% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earned just $1.7 million across 503 locations.
In limited release, Focus Features' breakout Mr. Rogers documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" earned $985,000 in 96 locations in its second weekend, for a total gross of $1.7 million.