Pixar Aims High and Soars with UP

By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher, and David Outten, Production Editor

In its opening weekend, Pixar’s latest hit UP brought in $68 million and garnered a 53 percent female audience with 47 percent under 17-years-old. This is the sweet spot in terms of audience tracking. It shows that the movie is drawing men, women and children in healthy proportions.

MOVIEGUIDE® confidently predicts that UP will hold up. The broad appeal of the story will generate excellent word of mouth everywhere from the pre-school to the nursing home.

Contrast this with big budget R-rated movie WATCHMEN from Warner Bros. WATCHMEN’s opening weekend was a solid $55 million, but it drew 65 percent male with 54 percent over 25. In its second weekend, it plummeted 67%. In 12 weeks, the $150 million movie has grossed only $107 million in the United States and Canada.

UP will probably pass WATCHMEN in its first week of release and then soar far beyond.

In a televised interview with MOVIEGUIDE®, Shawn Levy, Director of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN, said, “I think Pixar has proven really effectively that you can make movies that are appealing to kids and adults. Some things are funny to kids, some things are funny to adults and sometimes there’s an overlap. That’s what I was aiming at [with BATTLE]. Not many people are doing that in live action. That was our aspiration. To do that in live action.”

Levy did well. Opening over the long Memorial Day weekend, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN brought in $70 million and drew close to a 50-50 split in males and females with 55 percent of the crowd being under 25. Its second weekend drew a solid $25 million in direct competition with the opening of UP. You can expect both movies to show solid legs and then do great on DVD.

It takes talent, skill and hard work to bridge the gap and appeal to adults and children, but it is THE MOST PROFITABLE market when that goal is accomplished.

Pixar is now 10 for 10 in reaching this market, partly because they flatly avoid the kind of humor that chases away parents who want to raise their children with biblical moral values. They don’t aim only at families that go to church every Sunday, but they do not offend them with vulgarity and sexuality. Their stories usually convey biblical values of integrity, loyalty, true love, forgiveness, and subtle but profound allegorical Christian and biblical references. They also insist on a very high quality of work on every movie and are not afraid to go back to the drawing board when something does not work.

For 24 years, MOVIEGUIDE® has been tracking the impact of content on box office and has encouraged the major studios to make the kind of movies Pixar consistently makes.

MOVIEGUIDE® commends Pixar for being such a stellar example for the industry. We pray that more filmmakers and television producers follow Shawn Levy’s footsteps in NIGHT OF THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN and try to imitate the high standards that Pixar has set with such wonderful, inspiring and entertaining movies like UP, FINDING NEMO, WALL-E, THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, RATATOUILLE, MONSTERS INC., and TOY STORY 2.


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