Toy Story 4 Is Actually Opening Below Estimates, And This May Explain Why

Toy Story 4 first trailer characters flailing in the sky with Forky

Let's be clear: Toy Story 4 is having a huge opening weekend. It's getting more screens for its opening than any other movie save Avengers: Endgame. Fans and critics all love it. It's a win.

And yet.

Toy Story 4 is projected to open lower than initial expectations, even lower than Disney's own projections never mind the lofty heights some prognosticators were calling.

It's currently looking like Toy Story 4 will open to just under $125 million for the three-day weekend. Nothing to sneeze at! But Disney had set its expectations at $140 million, and others in the industry were even pushing as high as $200 million.

So this is a story of high expectations leading to mild disappointment.

A couple of months ago, Box Office Pro was looking at Toy Story 4 for an opening between $105M-$130M. Based on that, this weekend's opening would be toward the higher end of that very wide scale. But then Toy Story 4 started breaking pre-sale records, and the projections adjusted upward.

After that, some industry folks were pushing the Toy Story 4 opening as high as $160M-$200M.

What went "wrong," if we can even call a roughly $125 million opening "wrong"?

OK, well, part of the reason why Toy Story 4 is opening below estimates is some of those revised estimates were just too darn high. They weren't realistic. Also, there's too much competition in general so far this year, which is one reason why so many major franchise movies have "underperformed" in 2019.

But also, as Box Office Mojo noted, Pixar often schedules its summer movies around Father's Day weekend -- see Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory -- and that tends to give those movies stronger-than-usual Sunday performances at the theater.

Toy Story 4 didn't take advantage of Father's Day weekend this year. To Deadline, that suggests Disney left money on the table, since that site's own high Toy Story 4 projections were based off the model for last year's Incredibles 2. Box Office Mojo went into this weekend with a forecast of $165 million and revised it on Saturday to $122-125 million.

It's true that release dates matter, even for major blockbusters, and I suspect The Secret Life of Pets 2 would've done better in a world without Toy Story 4 opening in the same month. How much better would Toy Story 4 have done if it opened over last weekend for Father's Day? It would've obviously crushed Men in Black International, assuming MIB stuck with its release date, but otherwise I wonder how many millions we're talking.

It may seem like a moot point to wonder how much MORE money a blockbuster could've made, but you can be certain Disney suits will be crunching those numbers and asking themselves that question. This is a business, after all.

Toy Story 4 has an "A" CinemaScore from polled moviegoers, and it's playing right now in theaters, as one of the many Disney movies owning 2019 so far.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.