Despite being centered around one of the studio’s most popular and iconic characters (or at least a variation on him), Pixar’s Lightyear, after opening Friday, did not attract the huge crowds the Toy Story movies did before it. It reached Monday morning with a take of $51 million domestic.
You might be thinking, “what’s so bad about fifty million?” Well, forecasters estimated the film could bring in at LEAST SEVENTY million on its opening weekend. $50 mil also was not enough to unseat Jurassic World Dominion, which dominated for a second week as a result.
You also have to factor this in: Jurassic World Dominion is getting terrible word of mouth. “Worst Jurassic movie ever” is what I’ve been hearing. This kind of bad press usually results in a much lower second week total, and despite the win, that’s actually what happened: ticket sales for Pratt’s new dino escapade dropped by 60%. That was a low bar, and yet Lightyear could not hop over it.
There are a lot of theories being thrown around now about why the flick failed. From what I’ve observed, I’m pointing the blame at just plain confusion. You may recall I’ve written several articles here about what, exactly, Lightyear is supposed to be because none of the trailers made it clear. Everyone knows Buzz to be a toy, so how is he a real person?
Eventually the folks in charge revealed Lightyear is meant to be the movie Andy saw that made him want a toy of its main character. While animation fans would know this by release day, the average moviegoer would still be steeped in confusion…and a bit disappointed it isn’t the toy version.
Lightyear is the Wii U of Pixar movies. “Is it a Toy Story? I already have a Toy Story.”
The reviews haven’t been kind either and the whole consensus was that this little exercise in brand extension was unnecessary. The bigger worry is what this will do to the Pixar brand in the minds of execs, considering Lightyear is the first Pixar movie to get a theatrical release in two years. Hopefully future, better movies from the studio are given a chance on the big screen.