Lightyear had a disappointing opening weekend at the domestic box office, coming in 2nd place behind Jurassic World Dominion and earning $51 million. Earlier projections were pointing to an opening of $70 million or more. In comparison, Toy Story 4 had an opening of $120 million in 2019, whereas Toy Story 3 opened to $110 million in 2010.
Lightyear was Disney’s first spin-off from the Toy Story franchise, although the premise appeared to be confusing to some audiences. It doesn’t focus on the Buzz Lightyear toy that viewers are used to, but rather on a movie that would have been released in the Toy Story universe and inspired the toy. Chris Evans is voicing the lead role rather than Tim Allen, per reports.
Reviews of Lightyear were mostly positive, but on the lower side for a Pixar film, with some critics claiming that it felt like an unnecessary extension of Toy Story IP. Public reaction also appeared to be more muted than is typical for the series. Moviegoers surveyed by CinemaScore gave Lightyear an A- grade, while all four Toy Story films received an A or A+.
Remarkably, Lightyear was the first Pixar film to be released in theaters since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the last three films from the studio all made their debut directly on Disney+. The disappointing debut of Lightyear then sparked fears that Disney had unwittingly conditioned audiences to watch new Pixar films at home, and the prestigious animation studio might be confined to streaming for years to come.
The opening weekend box office numbers for Lightyear did not reach the stars and, as a result, were mocked by conservatives who suggest that if you “go woke” you will “go broke.”
The original Toy Story is the latest Pixar animation to hit cinemas but it was banned in several countries for featuring a same-sex kiss.
Its comparatively disappointing debut in cinemas has been criticized by some, including attorney and host of The Jenna Ellis Show, Jenna Ellis. Pointing to the news that Pixar’s Lightyear took in a “disappointing” $51 million in its domestic opening, she said, “Go woke, go broke.”
Some people also slammed the movie on Twitter.
The right-wing commentator and author Nick Adams made his feelings abundantly clear in a series of Lightyear-related tweets.
“Do NOT take your children to see Lightyear, it is 100 percent woke!” he told his 310,600 followers. “I will go to the theater to watch the anti-woke Top Gun 2 movie again before going to see Pixar’s woke Lightyear movie once! This country needs more patriotic movies like Top Gun and fewer woke films like Lightyear!”
The conservative author Brigitte Gabriel has also called for a boycott of the “full woke” Lightyear, urging her followers to “hurt them at the box office!”
With an extra $34.6 million from international markets, the total worldwide take for the movie Lightyear on its opening weekend is $85.6 million, against its advertised budget of $200 million.
Lightyear is now available in theaters.