Pixar Perfect: Toy Story 2 Getting Boffo Box Office � Part 1
By Alex Berenson Senior Writer
Ok, Toy Story 2 is even bigger than Disney and Pixar hoped. Now what?
TS2, the computer-generated animated film produced by Pixar and distributed by Disney, has pulled in more than $80 million in the five days since it was released domestically. Only two films, this year's Star Wars prequel and the 1997 sequel to Jurassic Park, have ever had stronger openings.
With this much momentum, Toy Story 2 is all but certain to break the $200 million domestic box office benchmark that marks a major hit. The
only question now is whether the film has the potential to become a Lion King-sized blockbuster. That 1994 animated feature from Disney was probably the most profitable movie ever made, generating $1 billion in income by one estimate.
Pixar Perfect: Toy Story 2 Getting Boffo Box Office � Part 2
"It's a great opening weekend," Prudential Securities analyst Kathy Styponias says. "It's a best, best, best-case scenario."
Yet in a classic example of mindless buy-on-the-rumor, sell-on-the-news trading, Pixar shares actually fell Monday. After opening at 49 1/8, Pixar traded down all day and closed at 44 3/16, down 2 7/16. It was
trading at 44 1/8 Tuesday. At these prices, the studio has a market capitalization of barely $2 billion.
The drop is probably due to disappointment over Pixar's limited release schedule. The studio won't have another movie out until 2001, and that means the stock is poison to traders until then. Yet what Pixar has accomplished shouldn't be underestimated. Since 1995, Pixar has made three movies. All have been bona fide hits. That record is unheard of in
Hollywood, where studios like Fox routinely watch dozens of
films flop as they pray for hits. And flops that don't get made are flops that don't lose money, which is why Pixar has genuine bottom-line profits.