The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a drought of family-friendly films helped “Incredibles 2” to become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the eighth-highest film launch overall.
Disney estimated Sunday that the film earned $180 million in its first weekend in North American theaters — far surpassing industry analysts’ loftiest expectations, which had the film pegged for a $120 million to $140 million debut.
The previous animation record holder was another Pixar sequel, “Finding Dory,” which had a $135 million launch in 2016. Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” had held the record for a PG debut, with $174.8 million in 2017.
“You don’t get to this level of opening without appealing to everyone, whether you’re a fan of animation, superheroes or just out to have a good time and want to see a good movie,” said Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Walt Disney Studios. “We had a film that had something for all ages.”
According to Disney, adults made up 31 percent of the audience, while families accounted for 57 percent and teens made up 11 percent.
The blockbuster’s mammoth success also came with a warning to viewers on Friday that the film could trigger seizures in people with epilepsy and other chronic illnesses, a USA Today report said. The Epilepsy Foundation even issued a statement expressing concern for those with “photosensitive epilepsy” or a sensitivity to flashing lights, saying viewers may be affected by certain scenes in the movie.
“Members of our community have expressed concerns about flashing lights in the new Disney Pixar movie ‘Incredibles 2,’ and, in certain instances, people having experienced a seizure during the movie,” the statement said.
“Incredibles 2” comes 14 years after “The Incredibles,” which at the time boasted one of the biggest animated openings ever, and it picks up right where the first film left off with the superhero family. Brad Bird returned to write and direct the sequel, which has been overwhelmingly well-received by critics and audiences.
“This is one of the biggest over-performances I’ve ever seen,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “To over-perform by $40 million means everyone underestimated the power of animation to draw huge audiences.”
“Incredibles 2” is also the second-biggest June debut ever, behind only “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million), which has its own sequel preparing to take a bite out of the box office when its opens in North America next weekend.
It knocked “Ocean’s 8” to a distant second in its second weekend in theaters, with $19.6 million. “Ocean’s 8” still managed to outdo the non-“Incredibles” newcomers, like the R-rated comedy “Tag,” also a Warner Bros. release, which opened in third place, with $14.6 million.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” fell to fourth place, with $9.1 million, and “Deadpool 2” rounded out the top five, with an additional $8.8 million.
Sony’s “Superfly” remake landed in seventh place in its first weekend, with $6.3 million, and Vertical Entertainment’s “Gotti,” starring John Travolta, opened outside the top 10. Playing in 503 locations, the long-delayed film, which boasts a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, took in $1.7 million.
After a slow early June, the box office overall is now running about 6 percent ahead of where it was last year, and it will likely continue that growth next weekend when “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” launches stateside.