Disney seemed to be onto another Toy Story winner this weekend with Lightyear gaining mostly positive reviews from both critics and audiences and a predicted box office of around $75 million. This would have been enough to give the Pixar release the top spot at the box office this weekend, but rather than heading to infinity and beyond, the story of the “real” Buzz Lightyear has not managed to break through the stratosphere and is likely to lose out on a #1 debut to Jurassic World Dominion which is still roaring up trade in its second weekend.
The tale of the tape comes down to a relatively short margin, but currently, Lightyear’s weekend estimations have dropped by more than 25% with the Toy Story prequel now expected to bring in just $51-$55 million. In comparison, Jurassic World Dominion is following up its huge opening weekend with a more than respectable $57 million, which will likely be enough to see it remain the T-Rex of the charts. The biggest question to be asked is how the critically trashed dinosaur movie has managed to beat off a spin-off from the largest Disney Pixar franchise?
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The main reason for this is seemingly in the question itself. Lightyear is a spin-off from the Toy Story franchise rather than being a Toy Story movie. Where Dominion has been pitched as a culmination of the entire Jurassic Park/World saga, even with good reviews there are a lot of people that have been left slightly confused by what Lightyear is meant to be. Having swapped out Tim Allen, the voice of the toy Buzz Lightyear, for Chris Evans as the fictional “real” character that the toy was based on, has perhaps tried to deliver a story that is just too deep for its own good, as audiences are clearly willing to wait for the movie to hit Disney+ rather than going to theaters to see it.
Lightyear’s Appeal Doesn’t Match That Of The Toy Story Franchise
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
It has been the case for some time that critic views don’t always match the box office results when it comes to the biggest crowd-pleasing movies, with the occasional exception. While there has been a lot of praise for Lightyear, the movie’s main problem is that although it is a “Toy Story” film, it isn’t a Toy Story film. The Toy Story franchise has hit the mark with every entry in the series, whether it was on the big screen or in the shorts released on Disney+ and that is because people know they are going to get the banter of Buzz and Woody, as well a host of familiar characters in a big, loud adventure.
Lightyear is missing those magic touches. It is a movie for Buzz Lightyear fans only, and even then, this is not the same self-assured, occasionally arrogant Space Ranger that we have come to love. Instead, it is the Toy Story equivalent of Batman spin-off series Pennyworth, taking one character and telling an unfamiliar story in unfamiliar surroundings. While a $50 million box office is nothing to be sniffed at these days, it is still going to be a disappointment for Disney Pixar.