Toy Story 4 breaks global box office records

Toy Story 4 has debuted with $238 million (£187 million) globally.

Toy Story 4 has shattered world box office records for an animated film, despite a disappointing opening in America.

The new movie, which sees Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their voice-acting roles for the characters of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear, respectively, has debuted with $238 million (£187 million) globally, beating The Incredibles 2's $235.8 million (£185 million) launch in 2018.

But Toy Story 4 slightly underperformed in North America, failing to meet estimates but still coming in at number one with $119.5 million (£94 million) over the weekend. Disney bosses expected the feature to debut with about $140 million (£110 million).

Horror remake Child's Play debuted in a distant second place in the U.S. with $14 million (£11 million), while Aladdin, Men in Black: International and The Secret Life of Pets 2 rounded out the new top five.

In spite of the shortfall, Cathleen Taff, distribution chief for Disney, told editors at The Associated Press that producers were pleased with the opening figure for the latest Toy Story sequel.

"The Pixar team has always been disciplined about making sure they have a compelling story to tell, and that is especially true when it comes to sequels if you look at their past," she said in a statement. "Their process of sort of going through the rigor of making sure that this is a story people want told, the end result speaks for itself."

When unveiled in 2010, Toy Story 3 made $110 million (£86 million), while the first two features in the franchise were hugely successful at the box office.

And while Toy Story 4 introduces new toys, such as Duke Caboom, as voiced by Keanu Reeves, and Gabby Gabby, played by Christina Hendricks, U.S. journalist Mark Harris has asserted in a widely-shared Twitter thread that audiences may be tiring of sequels.

"But even people who love franchise movies get older, get bored, want something new. (Maybe even something new that could become a franchise!) And it's dangerous to assume that as those moviegoers fall off the treadmill, they'll be steadily replaced by perfect, pliable new consumers," he argued.

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