Jun 18, 2024

Opening Weekend Insights: the audience that turned the box office Inside Out

Pixar’s Inside Out 2 had a joyful opening with the biggest box office debut of the year. In this analysis, we examine the audiences of its US opening weekend and how they compare to the studio’s last release, Elemental, from 2023.

Infrequent moviegoers take centre stage

Inside Out 2 attracted a predominantly infrequent* audience, with these moviegoers representing over half of the opening weekend audience. This impressive figure is 19% above the infrequent audience for Elemental (35%). The animation genre tends to over-index for infrequent moviegoers compared to average for all genres in the Movio Research Console. In fact, this proportion of infrequent moviegoers even exceeds the average for all 2024 releases to date (37%) by 17%.

25% of the audience had not attended the cinema in over six months.

Infrequent moviegoers have become increasingly important to draw back to the cinemas and are key to a movie’s success at the box office. Inside Out 2’s success in drawing a high proportion of these moviegoers suggests:

  • Impactful marketing campaigns and activations in highlighting the theatrical appeal to moviegoers — the majority of Pixar’s other recent releases went straight to Disney+ during the pandemic, including Soul, Turning Red, and Luca.
  • Strong momentum built from positive word-of-mouth and early positive reviews ahead of school holidays — 27% of tickets for Inside Out 2 were purchased during the pre-sales period, compared to 12% for Elemental.

The high proportion of infrequent moviegoers came at the expense of frequent moviegoers who represented just 14% of the opening weekend audience, 10% below the same audience for Elemental.

Parents and children drive majority attendance

Group admissions represented the majority of the opening weekend, with 54% of sessions represented by 3+ tickets admissions, while 45% of tickets were purchased with a child. With parents and children accounting for most of the audience, its unsurprising to see the 2-11 and 35-44 age groups representing the top age demographics at 25% and 21% respectively.

In terms of the young moviegoers, Inside Out 2 drew slightly older children than Elemental with 8% aged between 12-17 compared to 3% for the latter, and 6% less moviegoers aged 2-11 than Elemental.

Additionally, Inside Out 2 drew a more female-skewed audience at 58% for its audience compared to 52% for Elemental. The largest cohort was females aged 35-44 at 16% compared to males 35-44 at just 12%. Elemental in comparison, had a more balanced representation of the two genders across the young parent 35-44 age groups at 16% for both audiences.

Marketing Opportunities

During Elemental’s theatrical run, the infrequent audience increased by more than 11% by its fourth weekend. As we can expect a similar behaviour with Inside Out 2, marketing efforts should focus on appealing to frequent moviegoers who recently saw similar titles IF or The Garfield Movie. Given their high recency, you shouldn’t need special offers to entice the frequent moviegoers to return to the cinemas.

With the film’s focus on the teenage years, consider highly targeted communications towards this age group to further boost their representation, even utilising some of the film’s themes to engage your audience. For instance, ask members, “which emotion are you?” and follow up with a pre-session recommending an experience based on their chosen emotion. You might suggest that ‘Envy’ purchases your most indulgent menu offering, whilst Sadness “treats” themself to a gift voucher to boost their mood.

To help boost overall attendance, consider special daytime screenings or promotional activities during the summer break for the kids, such as including a character-themed colouring competition with each ticket purchase.

Elemental experienced long legs during its theatrical run, with 12% of the audience in its 12th week having seen the movie more than once. Therefore there’s an opportunity for exhibitors to leverage the long school summer break to drive repeat visitation.

If you are interested in more information about our Research product or for additional insights, please contact us.

*Frequency is based on a moviegoers' six-month session count:
< 2 = Infrequent
2-5 = Occasional
6-25 = Frequent
26+ = Very Frequent

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