Armed with a super-powered family in form-fitting spandex, Pixar’s Incredibles 2 soared straight to the top of the box-office this weekend earning a staggering $180.2 million, a record-breaking total for an animated release. The film rolled out a healthy performance abroad as well, taking in an additional $51 million overseas.
The animated film about family super heroics directed by Brad Bird has already out-performed its predecessor, 2004’s The Incredibles (also directed by Bird), which opened at $70 million, and previous box-office champion, DreamWorks’ Shrek the Third, which held the record at $151 million since 2007. Even with inflation taken into account, Incredibles 2 has the highest opening of any animated film. A few factors account for this success.
According to box-office analyst Paul Dergarbedian, audiences have not grown tired of superheroes. “The film shows the drawing power of the superhero genre whether in the live-action or animated realm,” Dergarbedian told Variety.
The performance of the last cape-centered releases seems to prove his point. Recently Disney, this time with Marvel, struck gold with Black Panther, The Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok, and Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. Meanwhile, DC, Sony, and 20th Century Fox were rewarded for their efforts on Wonder Woman, The Amazing Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Deadpool 2 respectively.
Additionally, audience attendance may have been boosted by the dearth in family films released this year, as families eager for an outing to the movies together have had to wait since the release of Peter Rabbit in February.
The 14-year gap since the last Incredibles release created a unique viewing opportunity as well. Families accounted for 57 percent of viewers this weekend, and the younger parents within those families may have seen the first Incredibles when they were kids themselves. Incredibles 2, then, was a chance to share a piece of their childhood with their children.
Trust in the Pixar brand also went a long way. Since it released Toy Story in 1995, Pixar Animation Studios has maintained a reputation for producing consistently good work with hits like Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and Coco under its belt.
In a talk with Variety, box-office analyst Eric Handler said “When Pixar comes out with a movie, you know you’re going to get a high-quality film,” and continued, “The bottom line is, it always helps when the movie is really good. And this movie was really good.”
Because of this weekend’s success, speculation of a third installment has already begun. Incredibles 2 is currently in theaters.