Oscar Watch: Toy Story 4

The fourth edition of Toy Story is unveiled in theaters next weekend and reviews are out today. It is the 21st film for Pixar that began in 1995 with… Toy Story. And when it comes to Oscar voters honoring the studio’s works, there’s a rich history.

Critics so far have given a 100% stamp of approval to the sequel. The Academy established the Best Animated Feature in 2001. There’s been 18 winners and half of them are Pixar pics. The studio has also nabbed two nods in Best Picture with 2009’s Up and 2010’s… Toy Story 3.

First things first: there is approximately zero doubt that part four will get Animated Feature recognition. And unless something special comes along in the second half of the year (perhaps Frozen 2?), it has an excellent shot at winning. It’s also feasible that it could land Pixar’s third Picture nod, but that is far less certain at this juncture.

Another category where Toy Story 4 could contend is Best Original Song. There’s two possibilities: Randy Newman’s “I Can’t Let Yourself Throw Away” and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy”, which was written by Newman and is performed by country superstar Chris Stapleton.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Toy Story 4 Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/19)… and it’s a significant one. Revising my estimate down from to $191.5 million to $167.5 million.

With the release of Toy Story 4 next weekend, Pixar should have no problem having the top three animated openings of all time. The big question is whether or not it manages to have the largest so far. The sequel arrives nearly a quarter century after Toy Story kicked off the Disney owned Pixar phenomenon and nearly a decade since Toy Story 3. The iconic characters of Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) return along with the vocal works of Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, and the late Don Rickles. New actors joining the party include Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves. Josh Cooley makes his directorial debut.

Each chapter in this cinematic universe has seen its overall domestic gross increase with each entry. Part 3 took in $110 million in its first frame and legged out to $415 million. That predecessor currently has the fifth highest animated start ever. Toy Story 4 is in line to easily top that and more.

Last summer’s Incredibles 2 nabbed the record for the genre by a wide margin when it took in $182 million. Pixar also holds the #2 spot with 2016’s Finding Dory with $135 million. I don’t see Woody and Buzz’s fourth go round having any issue topping that and it could definitely hit the #1 designation.

I’ll say it falls just a manages a few million over the Incredibles sequel for a historic start.

Toy Story 4 opening weekend prediction: $167.5 million

For my Child’s Play prediction, click here:


For my Anna prediction, click here:


Finding Dory Box Office Prediction

Thirteen years after the original made a major splash at the box office, Finding Dory hits theaters next weekend and looks to reinvigorate a somewhat slumping marketplace. The Disney/Pixar release is, of course, the sequel to 2003’s now classic Finding Nemo. Director Andrew Stanton is back, as are the voices of Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks. Plenty of other familiar faces make their voices heard here – Diane Keaton, Bill Hader, Idris Elba, Eugene Levy, Kate McKinnon, Ty Burrell, Ed O’Neill, and Dominic West among them.

The summer of 2016 has seen a host of sequels not matching up to their originals. Some of them have been family programming, like Alice Through the Looking Glass and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

It is highly likely that Dory will not suffer the same fate. In fact, the real question seems to be whether or not this will score Pixar’s largest opening weekend in its now 21 year history. That honor currently belongs to another sequel, 2010’s Toy Story 3, which debuted with $110.3 million. Dory is currently said to be tracking a bit above that. I believe it will surpass that number, but probably not by much (though with the sequelitis occurring recently, I do feel a touch of nervousness with this prediction). Still, if anything can break through – it’s this.

In order for it to score the second biggest animated premiere in history, it’d need to top the $115.7 million earned by last summer’s Minions. To get to #1, Dory would have to swim past the $121.6 million gross of Shrek the Third from 2007. It’s possible that it could achieve either one of those records.

I’ll predict Dory falls below Shrek and just above Minions to earn the #2 animated debut stateside and also set the Pixar record. That would go a long ways toward washing the bad taste out of the Mouse Factory’s mouths for Looking Glass and last fall’s The Good Dinosaur, which was the first Pixar title to lose money.

Finding Dory opening weekend prediction: $117.3 million

For my Central Intelligence prediction, click here: