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A chest of beloved toys are expected to help rescue the summer box office from a bad case of franchise fatigue.
Pixar and Disney’s critically acclaimed Toy Story 4 is pegged to debut in the $150 million-$200 million range in North America over the weekend, one of the best openings of all time for an animated feature — not to mention one of the biggest launches of the year.
The family tentpole is unfurling simultaneously in numerous foreign markets, including China.
Aside from Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, most 2019 summer sequels have disappointed thus far. Toy Story 4 is widely anticipated to reverse that trend.
The pic hits the big screen nine years after Toy Story 3 crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office on its way to winning the Oscar for best animated feature.
Toy Story 4, directed by Josh Cooley, sports a stellar 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its lengthy list of A-list voice talent sees the return of Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear and Annie Potts as Bo Beep (a character who was absent from the threequel).
New toys include the conflicted Forky (Tony Hale), the doll Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), the comedic duo Bunny and Duckie (Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key) and stunt motorbike rider Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves).
Two other films are set to open nationwide opposite Toy Story 4: United Artists’ horror offering Child’s Play and Lionsgate/Summit’s Luc Besson-directed Anna.
Child’s Play, a remake of the 1988 film about a menacing doll named Chucky, is tracking to bow in the $16 million-$18 million range. Mark Hamill and Aubrey Plaza star in the R-rated pic.
The prospects for Anna, a crime thriller starring Luke Evans, Helen Mirren and newcomer Sasha Luss, are far more muted. Projections have the movie opening to $4 million or less.
Anna‘s release was put on hold last year when Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy filed a complaint in May accusing Besson of drugging and raping her at a Paris hotel.
In November, five more women came forward in a report in the French investigative magazine Mediapart, alleging sexual misconduct. In total, at least nine separate women have accused the director of sexual assault and harassment.
In late February of this year, the Paris prosecutor’s office dismissed the rape charges after an investigation failed to turn up evidence to support Van Roy’s allegation.
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