You will be surprised to learn that the only Keanu Reeves film to ever surpass one billion dollars at the box office

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It’s rare for an actor to maintain popularity and longevity in Hollywood, and yet, Keanu Reeves has been a box office darling for over three decades. From Ted in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure to shooting his way through Paris as John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4, Reeves is one of the few movie stars left to bring audiences to the theaters. With so many iconic roles in the expanse of his filmography, such as Neo in The Matrix movies, it would be safe to assume that one of Reeves’ franchise movies has crossed over into the $1 billion box office club. Surprisingly, a franchise movie that Reeves was involved with has passed $1 billion, but it’s not one where Reeves stars as an assassin or an officer of the law. Instead, his sole entry to the $1 billion box office club is a movie where he voices an animated stuntman – Toy Story 4.

Duke Caboom Showcases Keanu Reeves’ Voice Acting Range
Reeves is one of the new cast members who jumped into the fourth installment of this beloved Pixar franchise as one of the new toys Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) encounter while on a road trip with their new owner, Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw). While his character doesn’t bring the same jokes per minute as Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele do as Ducky and Bunny, respectively, Reeves succeeds in making his mark in a franchise filled with memorable toys as Canadian stuntperson, Duke Caboom.

Based on a fictionalized version of Evel Knievel, Duke Caboom is one of the new toys Woody meets in his efforts to rescue Forky (Tony Hale) from Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks). Canada’s greatest stuntman is a friend and ally of Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who’s still living in the antique shop where Forky is held captive. Based on the rapport between Duke and Bo, it’s certainly suggested that the two may have had a romantic past, similar to that of Bo and Woody; for example, he refers to Bo’s sheep as his girls. Thanks to Keanu Reeves’ line delivery, Duke’s charm is enough for Woody to feel a little threatened by the posing stuntman.

Speaking of posing, Duke Caboom is a standout side character despite having less than ten minutes of screen time. When Duke rides on his motorcycle, he carries with him the bravado and confidence of a celebrity. After being introduced to Woody, Duke wastes no time showing off his athleticism by hopping through poses. Shortly after, when he initially refuses to help Bo and Woody, Duke punctuates his refusal by posing again, practically acting like a toddler without a temper tantrum. Like a child, Duke has a naivety, shown earlier in that scene when Bo describes Woody’s unwise actions of trying to get Forky undetected. Reeves’ delivery in conjunction with the animation transforms a small moment like this into comedy gold.

It’s not just humor that Keanu Reeves brings to Duke Caboom. When he learns that Woody still has a kid, it triggers Duke’s trauma of how he became a lost toy. It turns out that Duke Caboom was a Boxing Day gift to a Canadian kid, Rejean, but after Rejean realized that he couldn’t jump as far as the toy was advertised in a commercial, Duke became a lost toy and second-hand news. Recalling this memory makes him break down in tears, which is simultaneously humorous. It’s that mix of humor and gravitas that Reeves can expertly jump back and forth from thanks to years of perfecting that skill. Eventually, Duke does pull through for Woody and Bo after he jumps and crashes twice. The Canadian stuntman defies the odds to help Woody get to Forky, as well as later at the carnival when he helps Woody, Bo, Gabby Gabby, Bunny, and Ducky find Bonnie. He later permanently joins Woody and Bo’s crew to find homes for fellow lost toys.

‘Toy Story 4’ Triumphs Because of Pixar’s Track Record of Quality Storytelling

Despite the memorable role Keanu Reeves brought to Toy Story 4, he was not the sole reason why Toy Story 4 would go on to cross $1 billion at the box office. Granted, additions such as him, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele, certainly helped keep the comedy going in a movie targeted at kids. Toy Story 4 is part of a long-running franchise that has been critically and commercially praised. Toy Story was the first feature film by Pixar Studios; coincidentally, the year Toy Story was released was the year Reeves starred as Jack Traven in Speed alongside Sandra Bullock. Toy Story 2 is largely considered one of the best sequels ever made because of how it elevates the themes and the stakes of a computer-animated movie about toys. Toy Story 3 marks the end of an era of growing up with Andy (John Morris) as he goes off to college, but the beginning of a new chapter with Bonnie. The previous three Toy Story movies are excellent in their own right, thus having a lot of goodwill going into the fourth installment, which later translated into the 2019 box office.

In addition to being the fourth installment of an animated dynasty, Toy Story 4 matches the quality of the previous Toy Story movies. Not only is it an entertaining movie for both kids and adults alike, Toy Story 4 continues to carry emotional depth through exploring themes of purpose, change, and worth. Despite Buzz, Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the rest of the toys smoothly transitioning into Bonnie’s toy ecosystem, Woody struggles to find a new purpose in a post-Andy life. He puts all of his focus on Forky to be of value to Bonnie. Since Woody turned down Stinky Pete (Kelsey Grammer) in Toy Story 2, Woody has never strayed from his loyalty to being a kid’s toy. It’s not until he reunites with Bo Peep that his worldview is challenged and broadened. Toy Story 4 is a celebration of where Woody and the gang have been throughout the years, as much as it is a goodbye for Woody and the life he’s always known.

When it was released in 2019, Toy Story 4 defied the skeptics to prove there was more story left to tell after Toy Story 3. Its critical and commercial success paved the way for Toy Story 5 to be greenlit. Thanks to exceptional storytelling through its themes, as well as introducing memorable new characters like Duke Caboom, Toy Story 4 easily topped its predecessor as the highest-grossing Toy Story movie. As we wait for Keanu Reeves to return to the $1 billion box office again, he can be proud that his involvement in a movie of this caliber made this level of impact at the box office.

Toy Story 4 is available to stream on Disney+ in the U.S.

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