Pixar’s box office mojo is out of its element

Pixar’s oxygen supply runs thin.

The stakes were high for Elemental, Pixar’s 27th feature film, made on a $200m+ budget.

Pixar box office earnings

But if you’d taken a look at the TikTok consumer sentiment index — known more widely as the comments section — the outcome here might’ve seemed pretty obvious.

Top comments on Elemental’s recent TikTok ads, viewed by millions, include negative reactions like:

  • “The Disney magic is fading away.”
  • “Can’t wait to not watch this.”
  • “It’ll probably make, like, $20 at the box office. $21, if they’re lucky.”

By that measure, Pixar won the lottery this weekend — but by other measures, Elemental failed to build chemistry with audiences, opening to $29.5m at the box office, below analysts’ modest expectations.

Fizzling out

While other recent animated films, like Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Minions: The Rise of Gru, have posted record results — $1.33B and $939.6m worldwide, respectively — Pixar has struggled to heat up.

Elemental’s opening was Pixar’s second-lowest ever, after Toy Story’s $29.1m in 1995… until you adjust for inflation. Today, Toy Story’s opening would be worth ~$57.6m, 98% more than Elemental’s.

The studio hoped Elemental would be a rebound after Lightyear’s box office disappointment, and a momentary high note after Pixar laid off 75 people in May amid Disney’s wider cuts.

The good news: Across the industry, things are looking up for theaters. Per CNBC, this past weekend, movies grossed more at the domestic box office than during the same weekend in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Topics: Movies

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