Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ sees lower domestic box office linked to various problems

Pixar’s “Lightyear” struggled to travel to infinity and beyond at the domestic box office this past weekend, coming in at about $51 million, below industry projections of about $70 million, thanks to a perfect storm. of contrary winds.

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Box Office Pro editorial director and senior vice president of content strategy Daniel Loria told FOX Business that there aren’t many data points to accurately predict the moviegoing habits of post-pandemic families.

“If you look at the forecast now for each title, I think the forecast, to be blunt, is very far off,” Loria said. “I think when it comes to Lightyear’s opening weekend, if we just look at the raw data that’s there, the data points that we’ve had since the pandemic reopened theaters, it’s working fine in this sequel, but definitely not in the sequel. pre-pandemic. levels we expect.”

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Loria said Lightyear’s box office receipts may have been a victim of increased competition with “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which surpassed cumulative worldwide grosses of $600 million and $885 million, respectively, according to Sunday’s estimates from Comscore.

“Top Gun: Maverick” is based on the Navy’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, commonly referred to as TOPGUN. (Paramount movies)

“I think the number one lesson, especially looking at the international numbers, is that the US market is in a position where, since a ‘Quiet Place Part II’, the US market has a big movie coming out every two or two. three weeks.,” he explained. “This past weekend at the box office you had ‘Top Gun,’ ‘Jurassic World,’ and ‘Lightyear.’ It was a crowded market, with three films that performed really competitively, and no one took the lion’s share because I think there was a lot of competition”.

Buzz Lightyear and Sox in the animated film

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows the character Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Chris Evans, and Sox, voiced by Peter Sohn, in a scene from the animated film “Lightyear,” which opens on June 17. (Disney/Pixar via AP)

Film critic Scott Mantz added that inflation is making consumers more selective about what they see in theaters and that “Lightyear” being a spin-off of the original Toy Story franchise may have made it difficult to sell to families.

“Remember the movie in the first ‘Toy Story’ that Andy the little boy was a huge fan that made him want to get a Buzz Lightyear action figure? This is the movie,” Mantz told FOX Business. “Try pitching this to families. It’s confusing.”

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In addition to competition and economic uncertainty, Mantz believes that “Lightyear” may have been hampered by families conditioned by Pixar’s earlier direction of the streaming releases of “Soul,” “Luca” and “Turning Red.”

“Pixar used to be the gold standard and I think it’s still the gold standard,” said Mantz. “But the adjusted pattern has been for the last couple of years releasing these Pixar movies on Disney Plus because theaters were closed, but also because Disney was really trying to increase subscriptions.”

Loria argues that the strategy turned the Pixar brand into an “afterthought” in Disney’s massive media empire.

“Disney put themselves in a very difficult situation with a marketing campaign around Lightyear because they had to compete with two more years of brand-wide marketing to go straight to streaming. Loria emphasized. “I think the new paradigm of different periods of theatrical exclusivity is creating confusion among the general public and perhaps frustration there.”

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While “Lightyear” was banned in Malaysia and other countries over a same-sex kiss in the film, Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian argues that any controversy surrounding it likely had no impact on the end. opening week of the film.

“Historically speaking, controversies surrounding a movie only serve to raise awareness and curiosity among consumers and therefore have little demonstrable impact on the box office,” he told FOX Business. “Of course, there may have been some potential viewers who chose not to see ‘Lightyear’ for personal or political reasons, but pragmatically speaking, for families who want to see a new PG-rated animated film in theaters, ‘Lightyear’ is the only game in town until ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ opens on July 1, and therefore the film could end up increasing its box office receipts over time rather than a major opening weekend release.”

According to Comscore, “Lightyear” is on track to hit $100 million globally this week and could potentially surpass $100 million domestically if it remains steady over the next two weeks.

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