At the Domestic Box Office, Pixar’s “Lightyear” Struggled to Reach Infinity and Beyond!

Due to a perfect storm of headwinds, Pixar’s “Lightyear” struggled to reach infinity and beyond at the domestic box office this past weekend, grossing an estimated $51 million, well below industry projections of around $70 million.

There haven’t been many data points to accurately forecast families’ movie-going habits post-pandemic, according to Box Office Pro editorial director and senior vice president of content strategy Daniel Loria.

“If you look at forecasting right now for every title,” Loria said, “I think forecasting has been way off.”

“I believe that when it comes to Lightyear’s opening weekend, if we look at just the raw data that has been there, the data points that we have since the pandemic reopened cinemas, it’s performing well within that streak, but not at the pre-pandemic levels we expect,” says the director.

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

Lightyear Box Office Prediction

“I think the number one lesson, especially when looking at international numbers, is that the U.S. market has been in a position where one big movie has come out every two to three weeks since a ‘Quiet Place Part II,'” he explained.

“At the box office this past weekend, you had ‘Top Gun,’ ‘Jurassic World,’ and ‘Lightyear.’ It was a crowded market with three films that competed fiercely, and no one took the lion’s share because, I believe, there was so much competition.”

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Consumers are becoming more selective about what they see in theaters, according to film critic Scott Mantz, and the fact that “Lightyear” is a spinoff of the original Toy Story franchise may have made it a tougher sell for families.

“Remember how Andy, the little kid, was a big fan of the first ‘Toy Story,’ and how it inspired him to get a Buzz Lightyear action figure?” Mantz told FOX Business, “This is that movie.” “Try selling that to a family.” It’s perplexing.”

In addition to competition and economic uncertainty, Mantz believes that families accustomed to Pixar’s previous direct-to-stream releases of “Soul,” “Luca,” and “Turning Red” may have been harmed by “Lightyear.”

“Pixar used to be the gold standard, and I believe it still is,” Mantz stated. “However, the adjusted standard has been releasing these Pixar films on Disney Plus in the last couple of years because theaters were closed.

But also because Disney was really trying to boost subscriptions.” Loria claims that Disney’s massive media empire has turned the Pixar brand into an “afterthought.”

“With a marketing campaign around Lightyear, Disney put itself in a very difficult position because it had to compete with two years of marketing that entire brand to go straight to streaming.”

And I believe that’s something that a lot of studios are grappling with,” Loria stated emphatically. “I believe the new paradigm of different theatrical exclusivity periods is causing confusion and possibly frustration among the public.”

Despite the fact that “Lightyear” was banned in Malaysia and other countries due to a same-sex kiss in the film, Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian claims that the controversy had little impact on the film’s opening weekend.

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Historically speaking, controversies surrounding a film serve only to raise consumer awareness and curiosity, and thus have little demonstrable impact on box office,” he told FOX Business.

Of course, some potential moviegoers may have opted out of seeing ‘Lightyear’ for personal or political reasons, but pragmatically speaking, until ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ opens on July 1, ‘Lightyear’ is the only game in town for families who want to see a brand new PG-rated animated movie in theaters.

Band thus the film could wind up building its box office revenues over time rather than with a big opening weekend.” “Lightyear” is on track to hit $100 million globally this week, according to Comscore, and could potentially surpass $100 million domestically if it maintains its momentum over the next two weeks.

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