ELEMENTAL In Danger Of Suffering Worst Opening Weekend In Pixar History After Pulling In $11.8M On Friday

ELEMENTAL In Danger Of Suffering Worst Opening Weekend In Pixar History After Pulling In $11.8M On Friday

After pulling in just $11.8 million on Friday, Elemental is shaping up to be the latest box office bomb from Disney and could suffer the worst ever opening for a Pixar film since 1995's Toy Story.

By MattIsForReal - Jun 17, 2023 04:06 PM EST
Filed Under: Pixar

Elemental rolled into theaters this weekend with the hope that it could reignite some box office success for the struggling House of Mouse. Unfortunately, it looks like Disney is due for another flop.

Friday's earnings are in with Elemental bringing in just $11.8 million. With just $2.4 million on Thursday, the latest Pixar feature film is now tracking for an opening weekend gross between $28 million and $32 million. Depending on how the weekend unfolds, Elemental could dethrone the original Toy Story for the lowest debut ever for a Pixar movie. 

According to Box Office Mojo, Toy Story had the worst opening weekend ever for Pixar with $29.1 million. But it's also worth noting that this was the world's first computer-animated feature film, and served as a launching point for the behemoth that Pixar and other CG-animated studios would later become. Also, when adjusted for inflation, Toy Story's opening weekend gross comes to $58.1 million. 

Pixar's other two worst-performing box office openings were 2020's Onward with $39.1 million -- although this was also impacted by theater closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic --  and 2015's The Good Dinosaur with $39.1 million.

Should the box office estimates hold, Elemental would be the latest disappointment for Disney which has struggled to recapture audiences at the theater since Covid-19. The company's animation studios, in particular, have had difficulty drawing families back to theaters.

Elemental would be Pixar's second major box office flop in a row, following 2022's Lightyear. The Toy Story spin-off and origin story of the famed space ranger grossed over $226.4 million worldwide against a $200 million production budget, losing the studio a whopping $106 million.

Before Lightyear, Disney released Pixar's three previous movies -- Soul, Luca, and Turning Red -- directly on Disney+. These moves were made in an attempt to bolster subscriber numbers for the streaming service, while also dealing with the pandemic, but many believe this conditioned many to skip going to theaters and just wait for Pixar films until they arrive on Disney+. 

Of course, this wouldn't explain how other CG-animated movies like The Super Mario Bros. and Minions: The Rise of Gru have thrived in theaters. Illumination's The Super Mario Bros. Movie -- which is based on the iconic Nintendo video game franchise -- has grossed under $1.328 billion worldwide and is now the second-highest-grossing animated movie of all time, trailing only Frozen 2. Meanwhile, Minions: The Rise of Gru grossed $939M.

Clearly, audiences are willing to see animated movies in theaters, but it seems they are being selective in what they choose to pay for. Is it that Elemental is an original concept not based on previously existing IP, or is there a bigger problem at Disney and its animation studios?

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