Pixar's Lightyear disappoints at the box office

Lightyear
Lightyear Disney

Pixar's latest isn't soaring to infinity and beyond.

Lightyear had an underwhelming opening weekend at the domestic box office, coming in second place behind Jurassic World Dominion and grossing $51 million. Earlier projections suggested an opening of $70 million or more. For comparison, Toy Story 4 opened to $120 million in 2019, while Toy Story 3 opened to $110 million in 2010.

Lightyear was Disney's first film spinoff of the Toy Story franchise, though the premise seemed to confuse some audiences. It doesn't revolve around the toy Buzz Lightyear that viewers are familiar with but is instead a movie that would have been released within the Toy Story universe and inspired the toy. Chris Evans voices the lead rather than Tim Allen.

Reviews for Lightyear were mostly positive but on the weaker side for a Pixar movie, with some critics arguing it felt like an unnecessary extension of the Toy Story IP. Audiences' reactions also seemed more muted than is typical for the series. Moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave Lightyear an A- grade, whereas the four Toy Story films all received either an A or an A+.

Notably, Lightyear was the first Pixar film to be released in theaters since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as the studio's last three movies all debuted directly on Disney+. Lightyear's disappointing debut, then, raised concerns that Disney may have unintentionally conditioned audiences to just watch new Pixar movies at home, and the prestigious animation studio could be relegated to streaming for years to come.

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