After a heavy opening and an even worse subsequent weekend, “Lightyear” continues a disappointing box office drop. Pixar’s Toy Story spin-off has been a tricky business from the start, as it split from the franchise itself to tell the story of the “real” astronaut Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Chris Evans instead of Tim Allen. Director Angus MacLaine’s idea was to create a movie that Andy and his friends had seen in Toy Story that would draw them to a toy version of Buzz, a more traditional sci-fi adventure that supported the character as a stoic hero.
Missing ties to the Disney-Pixar Toy Story franchise, a completely different Buzz, and a poorly received script ultimately hurt Lightyear. Early box office projections were generous, but still low, given the studio’s popularity, but the film couldn’t even reach them. It failed to oust Jurassic World Dominion from the top of the box office, and it dropped several more positions the following weekend. On the third weekend in cinemas, “Lightyear” met with “Minions: The Rise of Gru”, which, according to experts, will dominate ticket sales.
The figures for the weekend of July 4, available on Box Office Mojo, further clarify the difficult results of Lightyear. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” grossed $108,510,000 at the box office in its opening weekend, crushing all other films, including “Best Shooter: Maverick” and “Jurassic World.” Lightyear, however, dropped another position, taking the sixth position, and collected almost 64% less compared to the week in 455 theaters.
The success of the Minions is less surprising; although “The Rise of Gru” is a sequel to the spin-off, the more modern “Despicable Me” franchise is much more rooted in pop culture and appeals directly to children. Lightyear, on the other hand, relies on nostalgia to generate interest, and without Woody or the “Toy Story” connections, that interest seems to be waning. The most revealing result is the Pixar spin—off, lagging behind the original horror film “Black Phone”, which achieved success thanks to the rumor in the close-knit genre community and positive reviews from critics. This place is probably due to the low gross revenue of the film for the third week, which is less than $10 million, which is an unprecedented figure for a major Disney-Pixar film.
Overall, Lightyear’s declining performance seems to indicate that fans aren’t as receptive to dramatically altered byproducts of characters they know and love. Unlike “Minions”, which portrayed the same characters that the audience already enjoyed, in a different situation, the bold restructuring of the existing elements of “Lightyear” undermined its appeal, the evaluation of “Rotten Tomatoes” and its chances of continuation. In addition, fans who weren’t interested enough to see it in theaters are probably waiting for the film to inevitably be released on Disney+, which is another possible factor in its sharp drop at the box office.