‘Lightyear’ Falling Without Style

 

Disney’s new animated film, Lightyear, is flopping at the box office and I couldn’t be happier.  The film was projected to take in $70 million at the domestic box office and it looks like it will take in $50 million. It was projected to be #1 at the box office this weekend but not will come in #2 behind Jurassic World Dominion in that film’s second week.

Now understand, I don’t usually root for bad box office.  I love going to the movies and post-pandemic I want movie theaters to prosper so I can continue to go. But I am not rooting for this film.

There has been much speculation about the reasons for this film’s failure. The last three Pixar films (including the excellent, Soul) have gone straight to streaming, included free with subscriptions to Disney +, so many families probably decided to save their scarce entertainment dollars when it will probably soon be on the home screen anyway. Perhaps many were unclear on the concept of the film and how it relates to the beloved Toy Story franchise. It is supposed to be the film that launched the character Buzz Lightyear, which was so beloved by young Andy in the first Toy Story.  So instead of featuring all those beloved characters – Woody, Slinky-Dog, Mr. Potato Head, etc. – there is only Buzz.  I have talked to a couple of people that were annoyed that the character in the film is voiced by Chris Evans rather than the original Buzz, Tim Allen. (Could it be that the studio chose to use a different actor for political reasons? The more woke Evans over Allen who is rumored to be…Egad! A Trump supporter? No, no, of course not. We all know Hollywood is solely driven by profit.)

But there is another factor that surely lost this film some bucks, “the Kiss”. In the film, there is a brief kiss between a married, black lesbian couple.  After this scene was animated, it was for a time cut from the film because including it would lead to the film being banned in certain countries (particularly Muslim nations.) And, of course, the scene makes no sense in the context of the story’s premise. If Lightyear was a film made in the early or mid-1990s, when it would have been viewed by Andy, there is no way any studio of that time would include a lesbian couple in an animated film for kids, it just wouldn’t have happened at that time. (The first animated film targeted at a children’s audience which included a gay character that I know of is ParaNorman in 2012.)

So what led to the kiss being reinserted into the film? Why Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill of course, the bill which censored all content about the Alphabet People (as Dave Chappelle calls them) from film, television, and print! Oh, that’s right, that’s not what the bill was called or what it did. The bill just said that schools wouldn’t explicitly teach sexuality to children in kindergarten through the third grade. But that bill led the executives at Disney to a public spat with Governor Ron DeSantis (#BestCandidate2024).  So Disney/Pixar apparently thought they would really stick it to the people of Florida by having two cartoon women swap spit in front of the kids. (Side note, “What is a cartoon woman?”)

Besides all this, the film just doesn’t look good. (The reviewer from Vanity Fair says this film “nearly reaches the nadir that is Cars 2” and Christian Toto dubs it “lackluster”.) Woody said of Buzz in the first film that he wasn’t flying, he was “falling with style.” May this film continue to crash quite painfully.

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  1. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Why reward a lack of creativity?   Why would a family dump $100 for a movie and popcorn, when there is a gas tank that needs filling?

    • #1
  2. DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    Why reward a lack of creativity? Why would a family dump $100 for a movie and popcorn, when there is a gas tank that needs filling?

    Wouldn’t surprise me if that’s a big part of it, too.

    I do wonder if the movie-going experience itself is slowly dying. With movies coming to home video streaming within a few months of release, why not wait for the home experience. Cheaper all around. COVID nearly killed off movie-going, but it really hasn’t bounced back. It may be that COVID showed people that going out to movies wasn’t something they missed all that much in the first place. And once you get out of the habit . . .

    What will also be interesting is that if Disney corrects course and starts aiming movies at families again (not at Wokesters), perhaps families won’t bother to return. They’ll have destroyed their brand for the purpose of political grandstanding and some short-lived attaboys from people who are never happy. And they won’t be able to resurrect it.

     

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic … (View Comment):

    What will also be interesting is that if Disney corrects course and starts aiming movies at families again (not at Wokesters), perhaps families won’t bother to return. They’ll have destroyed their brand for the purpose of political grandstanding and some short-lived attaboys from people who are never happy. And they won’t be able to resurrect it.

     

    Works for me! They deserve every rejection they get.

    • #3
  4. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    I like pause buttons and English subtitles. I like skipping ads. I like watching previews on my time. I like choosing what I eat and drink and not paying a premium for them. 

    Frankly, the theater experience sucks. 

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Mouse wants to sell tickets for another Woke sermon?

    I’d rather shampoo the dog. And first, I’d have to get a dog.

    • #5
  6. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    My kids all asked to see movies in the theater this summer for summer activities. Since we go less than once a year, I have been accommodating despite the price tag.

    The youngest got to see Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (which was great, btw) and the oldest kids are going to see JWD. The 7 year old will be on his FIRST fishing trip with Grandad.

    I don’t care if Disney keeps this up. They picked the audience they want. Let them eat cake. My hopes are for a new family entertainment company to fill the massive vacuum that Disney leaves behind.

    • #6
  7. DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    • #7
  8. The Great Adventure Coolidge
    The Great Adventure
    @TGA

    I’m sorry. I couldn’t read another word beyond you referring to Soul as excellent. Most horrible movie I’ve seen in years. 

    • #8
  9. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    I still like the movie theater experience much better than home viewing for most movies.  I don’t pay attention when I watch them at home, as I am usually doing something else.  I went to the movies twice last week, once to see Top Gun, and I was glad to see it on a big screen in a crowded theater.  The other was Downton Abbey-went with a friend but it wouldn’t have suffered at all from being on the small screen and only paying attention to half of it.  But it was still good to be out and about.  

    Agree with Stina that Disney has made its choice.  Based on this failure, I expect them to double down to attract the audience they want, even if it is smaller.  They don’t want us.  So be it.  Top Gun wanted everyone and got us in spades.  

    • #9
  10. DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I still like the movie theater experience much better than home viewing for most movies.

    Oh, I do, too, which kind of makes me upset by how far it’s fallen.

    I often dream of opening a revival theater showing only old movies. I have a feeling that it would draw an audience.

    • #10
  11. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    The Great Adventure (View Comment):

    I’m sorry. I couldn’t read another word beyond you referring to Soul as excellent. Most horrible movie I’ve seen in years.

    I regularly read Movie Fight Club and if I quit reading all the people whose opinions on films differed from mine… I would probably only be reading posts by LC.

    • #11
  12. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Eustace C. Scrubb: it looks like it will take in $50 million. It was projected to be #1 at the box office this weekend but not will come in #2 behind Jurassic World Dominion in that film’s second week.

    How does a $50 million first weekend and a #2 position constitute a failure?

    • #12
  13. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb: it looks like it will take in $50 million. It was projected to be #1 at the box office this weekend but not will come in #2 behind Jurassic World Dominion in that film’s second week.

    How does a $50 million first weekend and a #2 position constitute a failure?

    It’s a failure to meet expectations. And with the budget of the film (estimated to be $200 million), it’s unlikely to earn a profit.

    • #13
  14. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb: it looks like it will take in $50 million. It was projected to be #1 at the box office this weekend but not will come in #2 behind Jurassic World Dominion in that film’s second week.

    How does a $50 million first weekend and a #2 position constitute a failure?

    I was wondering too, but if I Google “Buzz Lightyear” that seems to be the consensus.  It missed expectations:  https://variety.com/2022/film/box-office/box-office-lightyear-disappoints-1235298248/.

    It also got mixed reviews.

    • #14
  15. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Eustace C. Scrubb: The more woke Evans over Allen who is rumored to be…Egad! A Trump supporter?

    Well, if you don’t like lesbianism in your children’s movies, the new Buzz says you’re an idiot

    “The real truth is those people are idiots,” Evans candidly told Reuters (opens in new tab), when asked his thoughts on the backlash. “Every time there’s been social advancement as we wake up, the American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good.”

     

    • #15
  16. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    I’m also happy about this movie’s disappointing box office. It’s usually pretty satisfying to see a Disney product fail (Disney+ or theatrical releases). And I don’t even base this on their recent political posturing, but because I’m just tired of Disney expecting anything they release to be successful. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and it just felt surreal that this even became a movie. 

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb: it looks like it will take in $50 million. It was projected to be #1 at the box office this weekend but not will come in #2 behind Jurassic World Dominion in that film’s second week.

    How does a $50 million first weekend and a #2 position constitute a failure?

    I was wondering too, but if I Google “Buzz Lightyear” that seems to be the consensus. It missed expectations: https://variety.com/2022/film/box-office/box-office-lightyear-disappoints-1235298248/.

    It also got mixed reviews.

    Expectations ranged from $70-120M. Dropoffs for the second week usually run 50%. They missed, and word-of-mouth has been brutal.

    • #17
  18. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    Why reward a lack of creativity? Why would a family dump $100 for a movie and popcorn, when there is a gas tank that needs filling?

    And yet all the Jurassic Park and Top Gun theaters I saw were packed.  Packed to the point that we did not go to top gun because there were no seats.  But we did not go to light year because of the woke.

    • #18
  19. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic … (View Comment):
    What will also be interesting is that if Disney corrects course and starts aiming movies at families again (not at Wokesters), perhaps families won’t bother to return.

    More interesting if we see more start-ups making entertainment for the underserved audience formerly known as the mainstream. DailyWire’s “What Is a Woman” and “Terror on the Prairie” are a nice start for Indy-Conservative pictures, but how much better if a start-up company just made wholesome family films without over woke messaging (and maybe even some subtle conservative messages about how great families, religious faith, and free markets are.)

    • #19
  20. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    LC (View Comment):

    I’m also happy about this movie’s disappointing box office. It’s usually pretty satisfying to see a Disney product fail (Disney+ or theatrical releases). And I don’t even base this on their recent political posturing, but because I’m just tired of Disney expecting anything they release to be successful. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and it just felt surreal that this even became a movie.

    Get ready for some more joy then. Have you seen how much garbage Disney plans to drop in the next two years?

    Language warning but this is a good summary of everything wrong with Disney Plus. When the creative arts get hijacked by corporations looking to milk creativity out of a source that’s dried up, day in and day out, the end result is beyond garbage.

    Art takes time. Take the time to make it great.

    But Disney isn’t about art anymore, hasn’t been for some time, and doesn’t look to be interested in changing that.

     

     

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic … (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I still like the movie theater experience much better than home viewing for most movies.

    Oh, I do, too, which kind of makes me upset by how far it’s fallen.

    I often dream of opening a revival theater showing only old movies. I have a feeling that it would draw an audience.

    Seems like even old movies can only be gotten in digital form now, and setting up a theater with digital projection is very expensive.

    • #21
  22. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    LC (View Comment):

    I’m also happy about this movie’s disappointing box office. It’s usually pretty satisfying to see a Disney product fail (Disney+ or theatrical releases). And I don’t even base this on their recent political posturing, but because I’m just tired of Disney expecting anything they release to be successful. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and it just felt surreal that this even became a movie.

    Maybe it’s because so many of the people in those companies couldn’t come up with an original idea to save their lives.  Or their careers.

    • #22
  23. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    LC (View Comment):

    I’m also happy about this movie’s disappointing box office. It’s usually pretty satisfying to see a Disney product fail (Disney+ or theatrical releases). And I don’t even base this on their recent political posturing, but because I’m just tired of Disney expecting anything they release to be successful. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and it just felt surreal that this even became a movie.

    Get ready for some more joy then. Have you seen how much garbage Disney plans to drop in the next two years?

    Language warning but this is a good summary of everything wrong with Disney Plus. When the creative arts get hijacked by corporations looking to milk creativity out of a source that’s dried up, day in and day out, the end result is beyond garbage.

    Art takes time. Take the time to make it great.

    But Disney isn’t about art anymore, hasn’t been for some time, and doesn’t look to be interested in changing that.

    Looking back, I kind of lost interest and respect for Disney when it first started making movies about social heroism.

    That was I think, a couple decades ago.

    • #23
  24. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    TBA (View Comment):

    I like pause buttons and English subtitles. I like skipping ads. I like watching previews on my time. I like choosing what I eat and drink and not paying a premium for them.

    Frankly, the theater experience sucks.

    Gee, the movie theaters are even going to the trouble to make the seating like in your living room.  Does that make you want to pay $100 yet?

    • #24
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    I like pause buttons and English subtitles. I like skipping ads. I like watching previews on my time. I like choosing what I eat and drink and not paying a premium for them.

    Frankly, the theater experience sucks.

    Gee, the movie theaters are even going to the trouble to make the seating like in your living room. Does that make you want to pay $100 yet?

    Lots of people can afford to pay a lot more than that, for a lot less.  And they do, before and after voting for Democrats.

    But many/most people can’t.

    • #25
  26. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic … (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I still like the movie theater experience much better than home viewing for most movies.

    Oh, I do, too, which kind of makes me upset by how far it’s fallen.

    I often dream of opening a revival theater showing only old movies. I have a feeling that it would draw an audience.

    Seems like even old movies can only be gotten in digital form now, and setting up a theater with digital projection is very expensive.

    Ebay. 

    • #26
  27. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic … (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I still like the movie theater experience much better than home viewing for most movies.

    Oh, I do, too, which kind of makes me upset by how far it’s fallen.

    I often dream of opening a revival theater showing only old movies. I have a feeling that it would draw an audience.

    Seems like even old movies can only be gotten in digital form now, and setting up a theater with digital projection is very expensive.

    Ebay.

    Never seen commercial-level digital projection equipment on ebay, but I guess it’s possible.

    Probably easier to just take over a bankrupt theater that already has the equipment.

    • #27
  28. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I think I watched a trailer for it a while ago, and it had a smart / sassy younger female character giving Buzz the what-for, and I thought: nah. Even if that’s not a fair representation of the character, it’s what they want us to know the film contains. Cuz he’s an idjit! He needs to learn an important lesson about Star Command, and how it needs systemic changes. It made it seem as if he’d be the butt of the jokes, and we would have great fun enjoying his errors and blustery dumbness.

    But the thing is, Buzz is brave. Buzz believes in duty. Buzz is generous, and a good friend. He’s a bit cocky, but he’s earned it. He confronted and accepted something most could not: he was not who he thought he was.He was a mass-produced cliche, and his thoughts were not his own. So what did he do with this knowledge? He doubled down and inhabited his prefab persona, becoming something more than any of the other versions of himself. The box says I’m brave? Then I’m going to be brave.

    The genius of the Toy Story movies is anchored, in part, in the relationship between Woody and Buzz.   The cowboy is a neurotic with no attributes of his genre; he only speaks Western cliches to reference his own persona, ironically (but also kinda sorta sincerely). The spaceman is an unself-reflective adventurer who speaks cliches to tell himself who he is. At the end of their first story, they recognize the courage and decency in each other, and that lets them Felix-and-Oscar their way through the rest of the series. 

    I didn’t mind Toy Story 4, and in a way it reminded us of the other heart of the movies. TS3 was about Andy saying goodbye to his childhood, but TS4 was about Woody saying goodbye to Buzz. 

    • #28
  29. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Never seen commercial-level digital projection equipment on ebay, but I guess it’s possible.

    Probably easier to just take over a bankrupt theater that already has the equipment.

    No I meant buy DVD copies on Ebay. Screw the digital downloads. I started repurchasing my favorite movies to have them secured untethered from the whims of the streamers. You can always make your own personal digital copy from the disc for keeping on a phone, storing on a laptop for trips etc…

    • #29
  30. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Disney famously and zealously guards their franchises from artless hacks who might cheapen, damage, or illicitly profit from them. 

    Because they have artless hacks of their own it seems. 

    • #30
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