Box office: ‘Lightyear’ could hit $70 million in opening weekend

Disney’s “Lightyear,” an origin story about Star Command’s most famous space ranger, aims to take the box office to infinity and beyond. But first it has to thwart some rogue dinosaurs and a few fighter jets.

The Toy Story spin-off is expected to open in 4,200 North American theaters with $70-80 million, which should be enough to claim the number one spot. However, “Lightyear” will face stiff competition from last weekend’s champion, Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion,” which debuted at $145 million, as well as Paramount’s blockbuster audience, “Top Gun: Maverick,” which continues to rise to power by defied Gravity at the box office.

For its second appearance, “Jurassic World Dominion” is likely to drop by 55% to 60% between Friday and Sunday, which would result in around $58 million to $65 million in ticket sales. Overall, it’s set to be another robust weekend at the domestic box office as Top Gun: Maverick aims to add $25-$30 million in its fourth weekend of release.

The sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun” was a box office power that shows little sign of slowing down. As of Tuesday, the film topped $400 million in North America and became the highest-grossing film of the year in the US

With Lightyear telling the story behind the film that inspired Andy’s favorite toys, Disney is banking on nostalgia to appeal to kids whose parents were Toy Story fans. Family audiences have returned in spurts, but it’s a demographic largely absent since COVID.

Notably, Lightyear is the first Pixar film to hit the big screen in more than two years. During the pandemic, three Pixar films — “Soul,” “Luca,” and “Turning Red” — left theaters to land straight on Disney+ to shore up the company’s hit streaming service. For theater operators, Lightyear is a welcome return, as Pixar is a brand that has become synonymous with box-office success. It is also required for Disney. “Lightyear” cost $200 million to produce without a costly marketing effort, so it has to be a box office hit to turn a profit.

Angus MacLane directed “Lightyear,” which received mostly positive reviews and an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Chris Evans takes over from Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, an accomplished space ranger stranded on a planet many, many light years from Earth. As he journeys through space and time to return home, he is forced to thwart a mysterious presence known as Zurg (voiced by James Brolin). Uzo Aduba, Keke Palmer and Taika Waititi complete the cast. Box office: ‘Lightyear’ could hit $70 million in opening weekend

Charles Jones

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