Pixar’s new animated film “Elemental” premiered this past weekend at U.S. and Canadian box offices to less than stellar numbers.

Reportedly, “Elemental” only took in roughly $30 million this past weekend, making it the second-lowest debut in the history of Pixar, which is famous for iconic hit films such as the “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” franchises.

“Elemental,” a story about overcoming outward differences, added $15 million overseas for a global total of $45 million from Friday through Sunday, distributor Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) said. The film will be opening in other countries in the coming week.

Analysts had predicted that “Elemental” would open with at least $31 million at domestic theaters. However, it came in just under that.


Pixar has not had great luck at the box office following its “Toy Story” spin-off film “Lightyear.” The film, which hit theaters last year, brought in only $226.7 million globally. Only a few years prior to that the company had brought in over $1 billion for its fourth installment of the “Toy Story” franchise.

Tony Chambers, head of theatrical distribution at Disney, said he was disappointed by the domestic ticket sales for “Elemental,” which received positive feedback from movie critics and audiences and was heavily marketed. Audiences gave the film an “A” rating in polling by CinemaScore.

Chambers went on to state that both live-action and animated films based on original stories and characters are struggling in theaters since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, franchises with well-known intellectual properties are drawing mass audiences.

“Original IP has a harder time cutting through in the market,” Chambers said. “At this point in time, it’s a very busy marketplace.”

It can also be said that Disney has since launched its Disney+ streaming service, which has become a place where all of its new films are released following their time in theaters. We can’t help but wonder if this might also be the reason why Disney and Pixar are having such a hard time at the box office with their new films?

What are your thoughts on “Elemental” premiering with less than stellar numbers at the box office? Let us know in the comments! 

Sean Sposato
The Main Street Mouse