Lightyear Underwhelms At The Box Office

LIGHTYEAR, slated to open in theaters on June 17, 2022, is a sci-fi action-adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy. The film reveals how a young test pilot became the Space Ranger that we all know him to be today. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Lightyear underwhelmed at the box office as the Pixar spinoff fell short of $100 million globally over the animated film’s opening weekend.

The film’s weekend projections see it finishing its opening weekend in second place at $51 million, second to Jurassic World Dominion. Where the numbers are very disappointing is that the film fell short of Cars 3‘s $53 million opening weekend in 2017. Looking at box office history, Lightyear joins The Good Dinosaur (2015) and Inside Out (2015) by opening in second place. Back in 2019, Toy Story 4 opened to $120.9 million but that was during the before times, months before society would be living in a lockdown and turning to streaming services with the closing of cinemas.

On paper, a spinoff prequel about Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) sounds like a good idea. In reality though, the fans just didn’t flock to see a spinoff prequel to the 1995 movie. Is it because of Chris Evans replacing Tim Allen? Or is it because movies are so expensive these days? If it’s the latter, it is perfectly understandable? Movies are costing more and more these days. I cannot blame families if they are choosing to wait for the film to become available on Disney+. I missed my press screening in early June. Because of this, I can either see it in theaters or wait for the film to start streaming in roughly 45 days. We all know it’ll be streaming sooner than later.

Personally, I don’t think it is a case of Toy Story fatigue. Nor am I blaming it on Chris Evans taking over the role–filmmakers wanted to distance the film and Buzz from where we met him in 1995’s Toy Story. What I am assuming is that the person playing Buzz at the movies was unable to replicate their voice for all the toys. As such, the toymakers likely had to hire another person and that person just happens to sound like Tim Allen. Again, I’m just speculating here because I didn’t see the movie yet. It’s similar to the Avengers games where they don’t have the likeness rights for the actors playing the Avengers. Or it could be like Marvell’s What If?… series where a number of Marvel actors did not reprise their roles.

When one thinks back to Toy Story in 1995, what I know about the film from marketing and press materials leads me with questions. One, we’re to believe that Andy came away from the film wanting Buzz and not the cat. Two, we’re to believe that a family film would have LGBTQ content in such a film in the early-to-mid-1990s. This is the part that I find it hard to believe. I’m even thinking of my own personal experiences with watching movies. It’s one thing to have queer-coded characters during this era but for a family film to have major LGBTQ content in anyway is just impossible to fathom. It’s the same LGBTQ content that is causing conservatives to boycott the film. They are the assholes for boycotting and turning on Disney because of their own stupid bigotry.

There are some markets where Lightyear did not play due to homophobia. It’s 2022 and there are countries that prohibit any foreign imports if they contain LGBTQ content. That’s outright homophobia and almost certainly the reason why the international box office is less than stellar. Listen, film censorship is wrong. It was wrong when Joseph Breen ran the Production Code and it’s wrong now. If you cannot accept that people are different, that’s on you. Speaking as a transgender critic, I’m happy that Pixar employees stood up to Disney leadership and fought to have the same-sex kiss restored. Hate should never win…ever.

Lightyear is now playing in theaters.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.