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‘Toy Story 4’ dominates with $118 million debut

Disney’s domination over the box office only seemed to strengthen this weekend as “Toy Story 4” easily topped box office charts.

The fourth entry in Pixar’s animated series collected $118 million in ticket sales when it debuted in 4,575 North American theaters. While that haul is significantly below expectations, which anticipated a start near $140 million, it’s hardly a disappointment for the critically acclaimed movie.

Despite glowing reviews, box office prognosticators suggest that “Toy Story 4” underperformed because audiences were wary about the need for another chapter after “Toy Story 3” wrapped up the series so perfectly. The domestic debut is only a slight jump on that entry, which bowed nearly a decade ago with $110 million. However, strong word of mouth will likely keep “Toy Story 4” in theaters long throughout the summer.

Directed by Josh Cooley, “Toy Story 4” reunites Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts) with a band of plastic heroes. New to the gang is Forky, an anxiety-ridden spork voiced by Tony Hale, who helps teach them what it means to be a toy. The story was written by Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, Martin Hynes, and now-ousted Pixar chief John Lasseter.

In a very distant second place, United Artists’ “Child’s Play” earned $14 million when it opened in 3,007 venues. That represents a solid start for the modestly budgeted horror film, which is a remake of the 1988 thriller about an evil Chucky doll. Aubrey Plaza stars in “Child’s Play,” which Mark Hamill voices the creepy voodoo doll. It cost $10 million to produce.

This weekend’s other new release didn’t fare as well. Liongate’s “Anna” launched with a dismal $3.5 million from 2,114 screens. Males accounted for 61% of ticket buyers, with 88% of that group over the age of 25. Sasha Luss, Luke Evans and Helen Mirren star.

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