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‘Toy Story 4’s’ softer-than-expected opening delivers limited box office relief

‘Toy Story 4’s’ softer-than-expected opening delivers limited box office relief
Ducky and Bunny (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) join the crew of beloved toys including Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) in Disney Pixar's "Toy Story 4." (Pixar)

Dolls ruled the weekend as "Toy Story 4" and "Child’s Play" revived the box office after a three-week-long slump, but overall numbers continue to lag behind last year.

Disney and Pixar's latest entry in the two-decade-spanning "Toy Story" franchise raked in $118 million, well below studio predictions of $140 million to $150 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

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Internationally, the film earned $120 million for a global cumulative of $238 million.

"This is a huge debut," said Cathleen Taff, the studio's distribution chief. "It's the fourth biggest animated opening of all time, it's the third biggest opening of the year, and I think it shows that people have a love for these characters. We're in rare company, and I think the magnitude of the opening and the ongoing draw of 'Toy Story' shows that … we're set up for a really nice run for the summer."

Despite the superlatives, “Toy Story 4” grossed $30 million less than “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the No. 1 film a year ago. The total for all movies opening this weekend is 28.3% behind the same weekend in 2018 and the year-to-date comparison is now down 8.9%.

Directed by Josh Cooley, the computer-animated sequel cost an estimated $175 million to $200 million to produce. It was well-received by audiences and critics with an A CinemaScore and a 98% "fresh" rating from review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

The original "Toy Story" hit theaters in 1995, ushering in an era of computer-generated animation. That film opened with $29 million before grossing $373 million worldwide.

In the intervening years, the series' popularity only grew, as 1999's "Toy Story 2" opened with $57.4 million (before earning $497.4 million worldwide) and 2010's "Toy Story 3" opened with $110.3 million before amassing $1.07 billion in global receipts.

In second place, Orion's "Child’s Play" opened with $14 million, slightly below analysts' projections of $16 million to $18 million.

A modern take on the classic ’80s slasher flick, "Child’s Play" features "Star Wars" star Mark Hamill as the voice of the killer doll, re-imagined as a Siri-like AI smart toy rather than the reincarnated serial killer of the original. Brian Tyree Henry and Aubrey Plaza round out the cast.

"Child’s Play" earned a tepid response with a C-plus CinemaScore and a 58% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

At No. 3, Disney's "Aladdin" stayed strong in its fifth weekend, adding $12.2 million, a modest 30% drop, for a cumulative $287.5 million.

In fourth place, Sony's "Men in Black: International" added $10.7 million in its second weekend — a 64% drop — for a cumulative $52.7 million. Internationally, the film earned $30.2 million for a global cumulative of $182.1 million.

Rounding out the top five, Universal's "The Secret Life of Pets 2" added $10.3 million in its third weekend (a 58% drop) for a cumulative $117.6 million.

At No. 6, Paramount's "Rocketman" added $5.6 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $77.3 million.

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In seventh place, Lionsgate's "John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum" added $4 million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative $156 million.

At No. 8, Warner Bros.' "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" added $3.7 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $102.3 million.

In ninth place, Fox's "Dark Phoenix" added $3.6 million in its third weekend, a 62% drop, for a cumulative $60.1 million.

Warner Bros.' "Shaft" finished 10th, adding $3.5 million in its second weekend, a 60% drop, for a cumulative $16 million.

The final new wide release of the weekend, Lionsgate and Summit's "Anna" opened outside the top 10, earning $3.5 million, in line with analyst predictions of $5 million or less.

The female-led action thriller, starring Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy and Helen Mirren, was shrouded in controversy after an actress accused its director, Luc Besson, of rape in 2018. The case was eventually dropped because of a lack of evidence.

The film earned a B-plus CinemaScore and dismal reviews with a 27% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In limited release, Neon opened "Wild Rose" in four locations with $56,183 for a per-screen average of $14,046.

Magnolia Pictures’ documentary "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am" opened in four locations with $44,000 for a per-screen average of $11,000.

Now in its second weekend, Focus Features expanded zombie comedy "The Dead Don't Die" into 77 additional locations for a total of 690, adding $1.1 million (a lackluster per-screen average of $1,631) for a cumulative $4.7 million.

A24 expanded "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" in its third weekend into a total of 72 locations and added $413,589 for a per-screen average of $5,744 and a cumulative $1.3 million.

CBS Films expanded the documentary "Pavarotti" into 135 locations and added $409,000 in its third weekend for a per-screen average of $3,030 and a cumulative $992,089.

The Film Arcade expanded "Being Frank" into 11 locations from its three last week, adding $13,208 in its second weekend for a per-screen average of $1,201 and a cumulative $31,859.

This week, Warner Bros. releases the horror sequel “Annabelle Comes Home” on Wednesday and Universal opens the comedy "Yesterday" on Friday,

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