Director Lightyear Angus MacLaine shares his thoughts on whether Pixar should make more additional films. Acting as the origin story of the Buzz Lightyear toy, first introduced in Toy Story 1995, Lightyear tells of the legendary space ranger’s attempts to escape from an alien planet inhabited by ruthless robots after he was forced to complete an unsuccessful mission. This film marks McLane’s second spin-off film for Pixar, and his previous directorial effort was 2016’s Finding Dory, a spin-off of Finding Nemo.
“Lightyear” received more mixed reviews than usual for Pixar films, although many critics praised the film for its impressive animation and voice acting, including Chris Evans’ role as the titular space Ranger. The film’s box office was lower than expected, and it earned $51 million in its first weekend. Lightyear could not get ahead of Jurassic World Dominion, which is still in high demand almost two weeks after its release, and the box office of Top Gun: Maverick also remains high. In addition to Evans, Lightyear has a talented cast, including Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, James Brolin, Peter Son and Dale Soules.
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In a new interview with Gamespot, McLane explains why he doesn’t think there should be more additional films in Pixar’s future. The director says that ultimately it’s very difficult to shoot spin-offs correctly, especially when it comes to turning a minor character from one movie into a main character in another. Check out MacLaine’s full comment on whether Pixar should pay more attention to the spin-offs below:
I really wouldn’t recommend it. It’s so, so hard. As a director, you really have to think about what problems you want to solve. When we took on this project, we were faced with the problem of replacing a minor character with a major one, and this is a really difficult task. Working on [Finding Dory] was incredibly hard.
Despite the fact that the film “In Search of Dory” received critical acclaim and was a huge success at the box office when it came out, earning more than $1 billion, box office receipts and critical reviews were certainly more sluggish. There are probably a number of reasons why the film didn’t work out, but it’s possible that Disney/Pixar overestimated the public’s interest in the origin story of Buzz Lightyear. There also seems to be some confusion as to exactly how the movie relates to Toy Story and why Buzz looks and sounds different in this iteration, which speaks to how difficult it is to make a proper side movie.
Moviegoers are currently living in an era of spin-offs and relaunches, when films based on existing intellectual property are more likely to make a profit at the box office. While Pixar continues to produce original films like “Blushes,” “Luke,” and “Soul,” Lightyear certainly represents an attempt to capitalize on the enduring love of “Toy Story.” While it remains to be seen if Pixar will make more additional films in the future, McLane clearly thinks the studios would be better off if they were doing new, original stories, which they seem to be doing with their next project, Elemental 2023.