Tag Archive: Toy Story 3


There’s nothing quite like the start of May. Yes, the movie release schedule has become much more varied in recent years, with blockbusters invading all parts of the calendar. But there’s nothing quite like the start of the summer movie season.

The moments before the summer movie season begins are among my most hopeful. The time when all the would-be blockbusters seem like they could surprise, entertain and wow us. When the hype, excitement and hope is at its highest point. When a quick look at the movie schedule over the next four months brings questions on just how am I going to see all these movies? As a movie fan, there are few times that rival the start of May.

What will this summer bring? Let’s take a quick look. Part one will look at Superhero films and animation. Part two will hit this weekend and look at big sequels and potential breakouts.

Superhero showdown

Possibly the biggest film of the summer will also be its first. “Captain America: Civil War” is essentially an Avengers film. And both of those can lay claim to two of the top five opening weekends of all time. The buzz has been high and the reviews have been strong. Add in seeing the appeal of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Tony Stark) face off, as well as several of the other heroes in the Marvel universe, and this is a slam dunk. Marvel can do no wrong so far and the hype on this one seems higher than even “Age of Ultron”. It won’t be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”-type numbers, but it may be the highest Marvel opening ever.

Opening weekend: $210 million.

Total: $550 million.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” seems like it should be set to enter the upper echelon of franchises. Yet, “Days of Future Past”, which performed strongly with critics and holds a very strong rating on IMDB, topped out at $233 million, essentially tied with “The Last Stand”. Only one X-Men film has grossed more than $300 million: Deadpool.

Given this track record, it’s hard to see Apocalypse doing significantly better, even if this is a great film.

Opening weekend: $115-120 million (four-day).

Total: $240-250 million.

“Suicide Squad” will be among the most interesting to watch from a box office perspective. It’s being released in August, which normally isn’t a great time (though “Guardians of the Galaxy proved a film can thrive in this timeframe). Will Smith provides a huge name, though everyone remembers “After Earth” don’t we?

The biggest question is how, if at all, does “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” affect this film. It is a connected universe, after all. And that film’s bad reception has caused a very different trailer to come out, one that makes the film look far lighter than all previous trailers. I wonder if that will dent this film’s long-term prospects.

Opening weekend: $85-95 million.

Total: $260-270 million.

Animation overload?

In a somewhat unusual situation, there could be a major animation overload this summer. “Finding Dory” will likely be the cream of the crop. Pixar unleashes a sequel to one of its most beloved films. It should improve significantly on “Finding Nemo” in terms of opening box office. The first film hit theaters with $70.5 million. This one should flirt with $100 million. The overall quality will determine its legs, though. “Toy Story 3” was great. “Monsters University” fell off rather quickly by Pixar standards.

Opening weekend: $90-100 million.

Total: $290-310 million.

I’m still not sure if I’m excited for “The Secret Life of Pets”. But thanks to a stellar marketing campaign, this one could be one of the summer’s breakout hits. The premise seems fun and one that, surprisingly, hasn’t been explored yet.

Opening weekend: $70-80 million.

Total: $230-270 million.

“The Angry Birds Movie” is one of those that could be hard to predict. I don’t know a single person who is excited for this film, but it should do well drawing the millions and millions of kids out to theaters. “The Lego Movie” taught us that films like this can surprise. But my guess is if “Finding Dory” is up to Pixar’s lofty standards, this one may struggle to find its audience.

Opening weekend: $35-45 million.

Total: $130-150 million.

“Ice Age: Collision Course” sees the band getting back together .. again. The series has had diminishing returns in the U.S. And coming hot on the heels of “The Secret Life of Pets”, this one smells bomb to me.

Opening weekend: $30-40 million.

Total: $110-130 million.

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Universal’s “Despicable Me 2” featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt and more, opened to $142 million over its first five days. That’s just higher than Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 3”. Though it will see a stiff drop because of the holiday weekend being over, this film should get to $350 million and make a push for $400 million. Meanwhile, “The Lone Ranger” starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp struggled to $48.9 million over its first five days. That’s better than “Cowboys and Aliens”, but it failed to find the audience Disney was looking for. And with a budget of more than $200 million, this one doesn’t look good.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

It’s rare for a movie studio to listen to fans instead of cash. On the surface, it appears Pixar is doing just that, however. With “Cars 2” and “Monsters University”, both made a lot of cash but were critical disappointments. Look at it this way, between 1995 and 2010, the lowest rotten tomato score for any Pixar film was “Cars” at 74 percent. Films like “Up”, “Toy Story 3”, “Toy Story 2”, “Wall E” and more all earned near 100 percent scores. Since then? The studio’s first “rotten” film and a prequel that everyone thought was OK. Well, here’s what Pixar’s Ed Catmull told Buzzfeed:

“For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year. Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.”

Of course with “Finding Dory” coming up, they’re not ditching sequels altogether. But it’s nice to see them take a step toward becoming Pixar again.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

It was a good weekend for Disney/Pixar and Brad Pitt. “Monsters University”, which features the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman, topped the box office with $82 million, for the studio’s biggest opening since “Toy Story 3”. Marc Forster’s zombie film “World War Z” starring Brad Pitt shattered expectations, earning $66 million to take second while Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” tumbled to take $41.2 million in its second weekend.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Tow big releases face off against “Man of Steel”. Marc Forster’s and Brad Pitt’s troubled zombie film “World War Z” finally hits theaters while Disney/Pixar goes back to the well again with “Monsters University” featuring John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Which film will come out on top?

The Pixar brand has taken a hit lately. After the masterpiece that was “Toy Story 3” we got “Cars 2” and the disappointing “Brave”. Now comes “Monsters University”, a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” That movie is considered one of Pixar’s better movies. But prequels are inherently unnecessary .We already know Mike and Sully become best friends. And, as I’ve written before, without Boo, I think you take away the catalyst to the first movie’s charm. Reviews have been OK, but not great and with “Despicable Me 2” looming, one has to wonder if this will fail to reach the heights of other Pixar films. Opening weekend, however, should be strong.

Opening weekend: $75-80 million

“World War Z” has had such a troubled past with various rewrites and reshooting the third act. But reviews have been surprisingly decent and the trailers play up the end of the world aspect instead of the zombies. Brad Pitt is a big star, but “Inglourious Basterds” was the last film he was in that opened to more than $20 million, and he was really part of an ensemble. The film should battle it out with “Man of Steel” for second place.

Opening weekend: $45-50 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

I wrote something similar last summer before Pixar’s “Brave” came out. Now with “Monsters University”, that idea seems to be cemented. Pixar is no longer the masterful studio producing classic after classic. We saw such original films like “Wall E” and “Up” that not only made us laugh, but made us cry and made us feel. The only time during its peak years it ever went back to sequels was for “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3”, both masterpieces in their own right. Turns out “Toy Story 3” may go down as the last great film Pixar made in its golden age. Since then we’ve gotten the downright bad “Cars 2”, the OK but startling formulaic “Brave” and now “Monsters University”. Don’t get me wrong. I love “Monsters, Inc.” But, according to the early reviews, even the positive ones say this is just mildly funny children entertainment. It’s a good, not great film. Why is that sad? Because once upon a time Pixar pushed the envelope, brining very adult themes into “kids movies” and making both older and younger audiences alike feel real emotions. Now we get essentially “Revenge of the Nerds” with Pixar characters. Gone is that heart that made so many Pixar films so great. Instead, we’re getting college gags. I suppose it could make for somewhat funny scenes. But you know, think about your favorite Pixar movies. It wasn’t about immature jokes and gags. In fact, for many of the films, the humor was secondary. We came for the heart, for the unique stories and memorable characters. And, if you think about it, the best moments from “Monsters, Inc.” came when Boo was involved. You take away Boo, you take away most of the charm from that movie.

For the first time since I’ve been a huge movie fan, I wasn’t excited for this summer’s Pixar release. In fact, I barely realized it was coming out this weekend. That’s a shame. Because once upon a time Pixar was the master of making great films. Looks like Pixar’s fairy tale is over.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Warner Brothers is probably celebrating today. Director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan teamed up for a new Superman film “Man of Steel”. And audiences turned out in droves, earning $113.1 million and $125.1 million if you include the Thursday night shows. Both numbers top the previous June record of $110 million set by “Toy Story 3”. The film now has earned more than double of “Superman Returns” total domestic take of $200.1 million already.

“This is the End”, the comedy starring Seth Rogen, James Franco and a host of others earned $32.8 million since opening on Wednesday.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

“This is the End” hits theaters but we all know the big fish this weekend will be “Man of Steel”. No movie has made more than $35 million for two weeks. How big will Superman’s reboot open?

“Superman Returns” disappointed in 2006 when Bryan Singer’s film earned just more than $200 million. Expect Zack Syder’s adaptation to do way better. In fact “Toy Story 3”, which holds the June record with a $110 million opening, could see that record fall. In fact, it’d be shocking if it didn’t. Warner Brothers got Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight Rises”) to help shape the story and an aggressive and great marketing campaign has audiences wanting to see this film bad. The reviews haven’t been amazing, in fact it’s at a 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. But that won’t affect its opening weekend, though it may affect its long term legs. Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and a host of others, the film promises action Superman fans have been waiting for. And Superman is a strong brand so expect this one to set a new June record.

Opening weekend: $120-125 million

Unfortunately that means “This is the End” is left in the dust. But the all-star comedy should do decently.

Opening weekend: $15-20 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

This summer will see the release of two high profile animated films. “Despicable Me 2” sees Steve Carell return to voice Gru, everyone’s favorite bumbling villain. Pixar goes back to the vault again, this time for “Monsters University”, a prequel to “Monsters Inc.” and with Billy Crystal and John Goodman returning to voice Mike and Sully. Which of these films will stand tallest? Here’s my very early preview of the two anticipated films.

Let me start by saying both have great potential to be the biggest letdowns of the summer. “Despicable Me 2” has the advantage of still having the minions and the child characters returning. The question will be whether this will be another installment of the same antics from the first film or can they bring something truly new to the table? Where “Despicable Me 2” has a very big advantage is even if it’s just more of Gru doing pretty much the same things from the first film, it’ll still be funny and still draw in a large audience. “Monsters University” doesn’t have that luxury. A friend pointed this out to me and I went back and watched “Monsters Inc.” and completely agree with him. The first film’s funniest movies had the little girl as the catalyst. What I mean to say is no little girl and that film becomes a lot less funny and endearing. The prequel presumably takes humans out of the equation. So, will Mike and Sully be able to carry this film when they really didn’t carry the first film? I’m worried that they won’t be able to. Pixar’s track record as of late hasn’t been great. That’s not to say films were terrible, but after a string of films like “Wall E”, “Up” and “Toy Story 3”, dealing with “Cars 2” and “Brave” frankly was a huge step down from Pixar’s standards. And I’m not sure that this film will do anything to break that streak.

Of course, “Monsters University” does have the advantage of having a more unique premise. Taking the beloved characters back to college, meaning they can target a whole new brand of humor that we haven’t seen from Pixar. From the looks of “Despicable Me 2”, all we’re getting is Gru vs. another villain once again. So if Pixar’s script is fresh and its ideas new, “Monsters University” does have the much higher upside in terms of creativity.

It’s still way too early to tell if either of these films are going to be a stinker or a classic, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose “Despicable Me 2”. I just worry that Pixar is cutting out what made the first film so funny and won’t have enough creativity to replace it.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) said she was coming back, so this isn’t a huge surprise. But oh George Lucas. In an interview with Business Week, Lucas let it slip that Fisher, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) are almost 100 percent certainly coming back for “Star Wars Episode VII”. The article by Business Week is a fascinating read. Some of the details it goes into is how difficult it was for Lucas to hand over the reins to Lucasfilm and more. You can read that article here. Somehow, I’m guessing Kathleen Kennedy is going to get Lucas to stop spilling the beans in the near future. J.J. Abrams is notoriously secretive, (Just look at “Star Trek Into Darkness”) and I doubt Disney wants that to change. Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3”) is penning the script. As of now, the film is shooting for a 2015 release date.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.