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A Massive Movie Summer?

Inside Out 2 is a hit at the box office. What does this mean for the future of movie theaters? 

A scene from the movie Inside Out 2 features five of the emotion characters.
© 2024 Inside Out 2—Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

A scene from the movie Inside Out 2, which may turn out to be the summer’s biggest hit.

Are movies back? Experts believe the success of Inside Out 2 is a sign that audiences are returning to movie theaters after years of thin attendance.

Inside Out 2, the sequel to the 2015 Pixar movie about the emotions in an 11-year-old girl’s brain, opened on June 14. That weekend, the movie earned approximately $155 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada. It was the second-most successful opening weekend for a Pixar movie and the second-biggest opening for an animated movie in history, behind Incredibles 2 (2018). Based on ticket sales, Inside Out 2, which stars Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Tony Hale, Ayo Edebiri, and others, is doing well with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. 

“This performance came in well above our expectations,” Daniel Loria, editorial director at movie performance tracker Box Office Pro, told CNN. “We imagined it could…maybe match Toy Story 4’s $120 million opening weekend [in 2019], but this result is absolutely extraordinary.”

Experts say it’s great news for Pixar and its parent company, Disney. Of Pixar’s last couple of movies, Elemental had a slow start and Lightyear was not successful. The movie industry as a whole has struggled to recover since movie theaters closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Film studios hope that the success of Inside Out 2 is a sign of better things to come.

“Everybody needed this because success begets success,” Tony Chambers of Disney told the Associated Press, meaning that one successful movie often leads to more hits. “It’s great for the industry, great for Pixar, and great for the business overall.”

Jeff Whipple, a vice president at Megaplex Theaters, is expecting seats to be filled this summer. He says families are seeing Inside Out 2 together, and kids have been taking photos of posters for Despicable Me 4, which opens on July 3.

“I think word is going to spread on [Inside Out 2] and help draw people into theaters throughout the summer,” Whipple told the Associated Press.

Did You Know?

Ayo Edibiri smiles while posing with her Emmy Award.

© Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Ayo Edebiri, who’s the voice of Envy in Inside Out 2, got her start doing stand-up comedy and writing for TV shows, including Sunnyside and What We Do in the Shadows. In 2024, Edebiri won an Emmy Award for her role as Sydney Adamu on the hit TV comedy-drama The Bear.

Pixar’s Magic

A 3D model of a scene from the movie Luca, an illustration, and a still from the finished animation.

 © 2021 Luca—Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

These images from the making of the 2021 Pixar movie Luca reveal part of the animation process.

Some animated movies capture an approximation of how people and animals actually move. But not Pixar movies. From Buzz Lightyear to Mei Lee, Pixar’s characters look almost real—or at least three-dimensional—despite being based on sketches. How does Pixar do it? 

Each movie starts with a storyboard—a visual layout of sketches that, laid out one after the other, tell the story of the film. These sketches help the artists figure out how to bring the story to life.

Next, the artists create concept art. This is when decisions will be made about the “look” of the film, including some of the colors used. 

Then it’s time for the characters to take shape—literally. In a process called computer modeling, the characters and sets are given shading to help them appear multidimensional in the finished product.

On the computer, the scene is laid out in front of a virtual camera. Like live actors, the characters are positioned based on camera angles. 

Movement begins with animation and simulation. Through the magic of computers, the characters move a lot like real people. Even hair and clothing move in response to the characters’ movements. 

Lighting might not seem important in an animated movie, but Pixar relies on it. The studio uses virtual lighting to give each frame the right look. 

Animation Celebration

© marcovarro/

How did movie and television studios create animation before computers existed? Check out the video above for a look at old-school animation. Then follow the link to learn more about animation in the past, present, and future!






 : to cause (something) to happen or exist

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