Lightyear’s Box Office Story Got Even Worse This Weekend

Lightyear’s Box Office Story Got Even Worse This Weekend, Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story spinoff Lightyear continues its box office decline, getting squashed this weekend by the release of Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Lightyear's Box Office Story Got Even Worse This Weekend, Disney-Pixar's Toy Story spinoff Lightyear continues its box office decline, getting squashed this weekend by the release of Minions: The Rise of Gru.

After a rocky opening and an even worse subsequent weekend, Lightyear continues its disappointing decline at the box office. Pixar’s Toy Story spinoff was a tough sell from the start, as it spun off from the franchise proper to tell the story of “real” astronaut Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Chris Evans instead of Tim Allen. Director Angus MacLane’s idea was to create the movie that Andy and his friends saw in Toy Story that drew them to the toy version of Buzz, a more traditional sci-fi adventure that underpinned the character as a stoic hero.

Missed connections to the treasure trove of Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story franchise, a very different Buzz, and a poorly received script ultimately hurt Lightyear. Early box office showings were generous but still poor given the studio’s popularity, but the film couldn’t even reach them. It failed to supplant Jurassic World Dominion at the top of the box office charts and dropped several more places the following weekend. In its third weekend in theaters, Lightyear was up against Minions: The Rise of Gru, which experts said would dominate ticket sales.

Numbers for the weekend of July 4 available on Box Office Mojo provide even more clarity on Lightyear’s struggling performance. Minions: The Rise of Gru grossed $108,510,000 at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, crushing every other movie in contention, including the smash hits Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World Dominion. Lightyear, however, dropped another spot to number six and grossed nearly 64% less week-over-week from 455 fewer theaters.

Lightyear's Box Office Story Got Even Worse This Weekend, Disney-Pixar's Toy Story spinoff Lightyear continues its box office decline, getting squashed this weekend by the release of Minions: The Rise of Gru.

The success of Minions is less surprising; although The Rise of Gru is a sequel to a spin-off, the more contemporary Despicable Me franchise is much more rooted in pop culture and directly appeals to kids. Lightyear, on the other hand, relies on nostalgia to build interest, and with no Woody or Toy Story connections, that interest seems to be waning. The most damning result is that the Pixar spin-off lags behind the original horror film The Black Phone, which has found success through word of mouth in the tight-knit genre community and positive reviews. This placement is likely due to the film’s low third-week gross of less than $10 million, an unprecedented draw for a mainline Disney-Pixar film.

Overall, Lightyear’s declining performance seems to indicate that fans aren’t as receptive to dramatically altered spinoffs of characters they know and love. Unlike Minions, which portrayed the same characters audiences already enjoyed in a different setting, Lightyear’s bold restructuring of existing elements hurt its appeal, its Rotten Tomatoes score, and its chances of a sequel. Additionally, fans who weren’t keen enough to see it in theaters are likely hoping that the film will inevitably premiere on Disney+, another possible factor in its nosedive at the box office.

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