Box Office Preview: Pixar’s ‘Inside Out 2’ Jumps on Tracking, Now Eyeing $90M U.S. Opening

Emotions are running high at Pixar and Disney as they open Inside Out 2 at the global box office this weekend, including a jolt of excitement over a last-minute bump in tracking.

On Thursday, Hollywood’s leading tracking service the National Research Group upped its domestic opening forecast for the summer’s first animated tentpole from $85 million to $90 million. Tracking has been notoriously off this year, and especially this summer, so the decision to go out with a higher number is significant. (For its part, Disney is sticking with $80 million to $85 million.)

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At this pace, Inside Out 2 has a strong shot of scoring the top domestic opening of the year to date, supplanting Dune: Part II ($82.5 million).

Skies are also looking sunny overseas, where Inside Out 2 rolled out in its first eight international markets on Wednesday to the tune of $4.9 million.

Inside Out 2, with help from holdover Bad Boys: Ride or Die, hopes to chase away the gloomy weather that has plagued the box office for weeks, sending year-over-year revenue down by more than 24 percent. Illumination and Universal’s Despicable Me 4 and Disney and Marvel Studios’ Deadpool & Wolverine are two other summer tenptoles expected to do substantial business.

And if early predictions are correct, Despicable Me 4 will cross $100 million in its five-day debut over the Fourth of July holiday (it opens July 3). The family pic came on tracking Thursday, with one service suggesting a five-day haul of $110 million.

If Inside Out 2 works, it will be a needed boost for Pixar, which has endured several years of strife, including when the former Disney regime decided to send a trio of Pixar films straight to streaming.

Inside Out 2 is earning glowing reviews, and is presently among the five best-rated Pixar films on Rotten Tomatoes with a critics’ score of 92 percent. Directed by Kelsey Mann, the sequel introduces a whole new cast of emotions who are brought into “head”-quarters when the story’s young heroine, Riley, becomes a teenager. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust aren’t so sure how to feel about the arrival of Anxiety, Envy, Ennui and Embarrassment. Amy Poehler leads a voice cast that also includes Maya Hawke, Kensington Tallman, Liza Lapira, Tony Hale, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Ayo Edebiri, Lilimar, Grace Lu, Sumayyah Nuriddin-Green, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Paul Walter Hauser and Yvette Nicole Brown.

Mann directed Inside Out 2 from a script by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein that’s based on a story by Mann and LeFavuve.

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