Box office: ‘Lightyear’ opens eyes at #2 below ‘Jurassic World 3’

Infinity isn’t a practical milestone at the box office, so Disney’s Lightyear has to settle for an opening day of $20.7 million and beyond.

Pixar’s offshoot of its “Toy Story” franchise started Thursday night with a respectable $5.2 million from previews. However, the film is now on track to fall short of initial expectations, which originally pinned the film for a $70-80 million debut in 4,255 theaters in North America. Additionally, “Lightyear” is struggling to push Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” off the top of the domestic charts on the second weekend of the Dino sequel.

There are certainly winning ways to look at the opening of Lightyear, as the projected $52 million opening would easily represent the highest-ever animated film debut in North America since the pandemic began. Family audiences were somewhat skeptical about returning to the big screen when multiplexes reopened, prompting Disney to reassess its release strategy and oppose theatrical releases for Pixar’s subsequent three animated features – “Soul,” “Luca,” and “Turning Red.” — to decide” — and instead debut them directly on the company’s streamer, Disney+, to boost subscriptions. After a more than two-year absence from theaters, a $52 million opening would show that Pixar still has a place on the big screen.

However, it’s not hard to imagine that Disney wanted to make more of a splash with “Lightyear.” The spinoff might not bring in even half the $120.9 million opening of 2019’s “Toy Story 4,” even though the sci-fi film is a spinoff of Pixar’s Crown Jewels franchise.

With a whopping $200 million production budget, “Lightyear” still has a long way to go before it’s safely in the black. The film aims to get an extra boost from family audiences through Saturday matinees and Father’s Day business on Sundays. Critics were generally positive, with the film receiving an overall approval rating of 61% from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences seem to like the film as well, with “Lightyear” earning an “A-” rating on the Cinema Score, indicating strong overall approval.

Lightyear focuses on the origin of the Buzz Lightyear character, who first appeared in a film before becoming an action figure and befriended Woody in Toy Story. In the Toy Story canon, the character Andy saw “Lightyear” and obtained a Buzz Lightyear toy as merchandise. Now the public of our world can see the film that ignited Andy’s imagination.

Chris Evans will voice from originator Tim Allen, and the film also features the voices of Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez and Isiah Whitlock Jr.

If current projections for Lightyear hold up, Jurassic World Dominion could be poised to repeat itself as the top predator at the domestic box office.

Top Gun: Maverick, which dominated in its Memorial Day weekend debut, also continues smoothly.

There’s more to come… Box office: ‘Lightyear’ opens eyes at #2 below ‘Jurassic World 3’

Charles Jones

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