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Box Office: ‘Toy Story 4’ Building to $140 Million-Plus Debut

After a lackluster few weeks at movie theaters, it’s Woody and Buzz Lightyear to the rescue. The dynamic duo is returning to multiplexes for Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4.”

The fourth installment in the CGI series is expected to earn north of $140 million when it opens in 4,500 theaters across North America. If it hits those numbers, it will rank among the best debuts for an animated movie. As it stands, the top three launches are “Incredibles 2” ($182 million), “Finding Dory” ($135 million) and “Shrek the Third” ($121 million). The upcoming entry comes nearly 10 years after “Toy Story 3,” which bowed with $110 million in 2010.

Sequels have been floundering at the box office as of late, with “Men in Black: International,” “Dark Phoenix,” and “Shaft” all failing to meet expectations. “Toy Story 4” looks to reverse that trend. Critics are high on the latest iteration, bestowing a near-perfect 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While other franchises have been chastised for churning out unnecessary follow-ups, movie reviewers have lauded “Toy Story 4” as a worthy addition to the decades-old series.

“Toy Story 4” sees a cornucopia of plastic heroes reunite on the big screen. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their voice roles as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, while Tony Hale joins the cast as Forky, an anxiety-ridden spork on the verge of an existential crisis. Also lending their vocals to the follow-up are Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Keanu Reeves. Annie Potts, whose character Bo Peep was absent from “Toy Story 3,” also returns for the latest adventure. The film picks up after Andy, the toy’s longtime owner, passes his revered collection on to a new child named Bonnie. As the gang settles into life with their new owner, they embark on a road trip that teaches them what it means to be a toy. Josh Cooley, who worked on Pixar’s “Inside Out,” directed the movie. It was written by Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, Martin Hynes, and now-ousted Pixar chief John Lasseter.

The “Toy Story” saga has been a reliable hit for Disney and Pixar, with the first three installments grossing a combined $2 billion in ticket sales globally. “Toy Story 3” was the most successful chapter, earning over $1 billion alone. The original 1995 movie collected $373 million globally, while its follow-up, 1999’s “Toy Story 2,” generated $497 million.

This weekend will play host to a number of nationwide releases. While “Toy Story 4” will be the de facto choice among families, Orion Picture is catering to a very different crowd with a different toy-based title, “Child’s Play.” The remake of the 1988 film about a ghastly voodoo doll named Chucky is expected to make between $16 million and $18 million from 3,007 locations. Mark Hamill voices Chucky in the R-rated horror reboot, which follows a mother (played by Aubrey Plaza), who gives her son (Gabriel Bateman) a doll for his birthday without knowing its creepy intentions. 

Elsewhere, Lionsgate’s “Anna,” a crime thriller written and directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson, should earn $4 million from 2,150 venues. Newcomer Sasha Luss portrays a strikingly beautiful woman who harbors a secret that allows her to become an unstoppable assassin. Luke Evans and Helen Mirren also star.

At the specialty box office, Neon’s “Wild Rose,” a musical drama about a country singer on the rise, will debut in four theaters. The movie, directed by Tom Harper and starring Jessie Buckley, garnered rave reviews after premiering at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival.

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