The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a drought of family-friendly films helped Incredibles 2 become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the eighth-highest film launch overall.
Disney estimated on Sunday that the film earned US$180 million (Dh661.2m) in its first weekend in North American cinemas – far surpassing industry analysts' loftiest expectations, which had the film pegged for a $120m to $140m debut.
The previous animation record-holder was another Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, which had a $135m launch in 2016. Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast held the record for a PG debut with $174.8m last year. "You don't get to this level of opening without appealing to everyone whether you're a fan of animation, superheroes or just out to have a good time and want to see a good movie," said Cathleen Taff, the head of distribution for Walt Disney Studios. "We had a film that had something for all ages."
According to Disney, adults made up 31 per cent of the audience, families accounted for 57 per cent and teenagers 11 per cent.
Incredibles 2 comes 14 years after The Incredibles, which at the time boasted one of the biggest animated openings ever, and picks up right where the first film left off with the superhero family. Brad Bird returned to write and direct the sequel, which has been overwhelmingly well-received by both critics and audiences.
"This is one of the biggest over-performances I've ever seen," said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "To over-perform by $40 million means everyone underestimated the power of animation to draw huge audiences."
Incredibles 2 is also the second-biggest ever June debut, behind only Jurassic World ($208.8m), which has its own sequel preparing to take a bite out of the box office when its opens in North America next weekend.
It knocked Ocean's 8 to a distant second in its second weekend in cinemas with $19.6m.
Solo: A Star Wars Story fell to fourth place with $9.1m and Deadpool 2 rounded out the top five with an additional $8.8m.
SuperFly remake landed in seventh place in its first weekend with $6.3m, and Gotti, starring John Travolta, opened outside of the top 10. Playing in 503 locations, the long-delayed film, which boasts a 0 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, took in $1.7m.