It looks like Lightyear is struggling a bit to catch its legs at the box office, as the latest Pixar film may not beat Jurassic World: Dominion at the box office this weekend. Going in, the Pixar film was eyeing a potential $85M+ opening weekend but after a lukewarm Friday, it does seem like Dominion may keep its dominion (pun fully intended) over the box office domestically. The film opened to $20.7M on Friday, which includes the decent $5.2M preview screenings, yet the film is very likely to end at around $52M.
There are many theories online on what exactly led to this opening. The biggest aspect is definitely the pandemic, as while Top Gun Maverick pulled audiences back into seats they likely haven’t visited in a long time, families are still a bit uncertain. They also released the last three films exclusively on Disney+ to push subscriptions but it may have shown its fangs on dragging that out while letting Marvel Studios roam free as of late.
Luckily, the numbers would put it as one of the strongest family films since the pandemic started, but a $200M budgeted spinoff based on a toy from a film franchise is not an easy sell. It did get an A- CinemaScore, which hints at word-of-mouth being strong for the Pixar release. Lightyear may just not have the same selling effect that Pixar hoped for, as it doesn’t have the Toy Story branding, and outside of its main character, has no connection to the original.
So, it’s a spinoff that is also an original film based on pre-existing characters without the original voice. Toy Story 4 opened to a powerful $120.9M in 2019, which was already a powerhouse year, but simply highlights that this is more a case of Solo: A Star Wars Story than