‘Inside Out 2’ Delights Audiences and Exposes Hollywood Excuses

 

Despite the Hollywood strikes, the pandemic, the dominance of streaming, and being female-led, Pixar’s latest animated feature, Inside Out 2, opened to a whopping $155 million domestically and $295 million worldwide, grabbing best global opening of the year, even beating out Dune: Part Two at $182.5 million and Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire at $194 million.

 

It’s also the second best opening for an animated film of all time, and pulled in the most tickets sold to a movie opening weekend since Barbie. As for the rest of the box office, Bad Boys 4 continued to perform well, dropping only 45% in their second weekend with $33 million. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes came in third with $5.2 million, the Garfield Movie was fourth with $5 million and Watchers rounded out the top five with $3.66 million.  

 

How could a movie with a female lead perform so well above expectations? Maybe because it was released without any political or cultural controversy. Has Bob Iger finally learned his lesson? Is the Disney-boycott over? For John Nolte at Breitbart, it seems to be

 

To cover up the fact that the woke-era collapse at the box office is due to 1) lousy movies and 2) off-putting political and cultural content, the gerbils in the entertainment industry eagerly have made fools of themselves by blaming the pandemic (still!), the strikes, and streaming. But, as I stated just before the release of last week’s box office hit Bad Boys: Ride or Die, I believe the opposite is true — that Normal People are dying to go to the movies, miss going to the movies, and, if something normal and appealing hits theaters, they will show up in droves.

As I reported earlier, “I think millions of us miss going to the movies for an old-fashioned, non-woke, non-gay-stuff good time with movie stars and all the action and laughs a Bad Boys: Ride or Die aims for. The movies used to always be like that. Boy, those were the days…”

Well, they showed up for the normal, “non-woke, non-gay-stuff good time” that is Bad Boys: Ride or Die and Inside Out 2.

 

Inside Out 2 pleasantly surprises with its quality and charm, defying expectations. While it may not entirely capture the magic of the original Inside Out, it still offers a compelling and heartwarming experience. It does occasionally try a bit too hard to outdo its predecessor. However, the film’s emotional core remains intact, driven by Riley’s experiences with anxiety. This choice adds a layer of realism that will probably resonate with both older audiences, who may recall their own anxieties, and younger viewers facing similar challenges.

 

Inside Out 2 | Official Trailer

 

You can tell that Disney Pixar shrewdly showed a LOT of restraint with this movie. There were plenty of opportunities to be “woke,” but Disney wisely curtailed that urge. Perhaps the closest it gets to “woke” content, was addressed in a review from “Worth It or Woke?

 

  • Nearly all of Riley’s story occurs at a girls’ high school hockey camp, and even though you can practically feel the reins that someone put on the filmmakers, no one is openly gay or gender non-conforming, etc. No flags or other coded messages were secreted away for the casual viewer to notice.
  • All of the veteran high school players act indistinguishably from boys in their brief and infrequent time spent as more than digital extras. Furthermore, all but one of them have butch haircuts. There’s simply nothing feminine about them at all.
  • Even in urban areas, hockey is a sport played almost exclusively by white people, but you wouldn’t know it by watching this movie. Almost none of the team is unambiguously Caucasian. Even Riley’s BFFs had their races algorithmically chosen to be as inoffensive (i.e., not white) as possible.

 

Inside Out 2 is an entertaining sequel that, despite its flaws, delivers a touching and memorable experience. It stands as a testament to Pixar’s ability to create films that resonate deeply with audiences. With impressive box office numbers and good reviews, Pixar proves that they still have the magic touch, if only they try to entertain rather than lecture.  If they can just leave the political controversies behind, Disney and Pixar may be able to finally begin the process of repairing their brand and making wholesome content that earns a healthy profit again.

 

*****

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Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Former captain of this ship o' fools secretly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'

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