The numbers are in and, as sadly expected, Lightyear isn’t going to set the box office in flames. The Toy Story spinoff which isn’t necessarily an actual spinoff of the original franchise, but rather a fictional film that takes place in that same universe, has opened to $51M over the weekend. With a wide release in 4,255 North American which is on par with many current releases but it does seem like family audiences aren’t quite ready yet to return to theaters as initially hoped. David A. Gross, who runs Franchisee Entertainment Research, shared the following statement on its release:
This is a soft opening for a spin-off of one of the most successful animation series of all time. ‘Toy Story’ defied gravity at the box office during its 27 year run, each episode topping the last, the last two clearing a billion dollars worldwide. But like all spin-offs, the ‘Lightyear’ story is narrower now.David A. Gross
The early expectations had the film at around $70M but it’s sadly now going to be one of Pixar’s least successful releases, especially with a high production cost of $200M. Lightyear isn’t a sign of Pixar losing its draw at the box office, but more a reflection of the pandemic’s influence on younger audiences and Disney+’s strategy of using one of its biggest franchises to boost subscription numbers. Internationally the film has also been a lukewarm release with $34.6M, which puts it at an international release of $85.6M, which is a far cry from its initial expected $135M+.
Jurassic World Dominion kept its dominance at the box office, as it held on to the top spot, but did face a harsh 60% drop in its second weekend. It’s not too far from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ 67% and highlights how these franchise films operate. With a lower opening than the Marvel Studios project, it reflects how these drops normally operate, but the dinosaur epic still generated $58.6M which is a strong release and now stands at $259M domestically.
It’s second-weekend highlights even more how much Top Gun Maverick is an exception than the rule, as the film has taken a massive $44M in its latest weekend which is just a 15% drop. As such, it is the second-highest fourth weekend with the only exception being Avatar. The film is likely going to pass a billion in just a few weeks as it already stands at $885M and will likely become the highest-grossing film of the year very soon. It sparked the box office in a big way and is a testament to just how sudden some projects can pull in viewers.