Despite a generally positive reception, the movie isn’t filling theaters.
Pixar’s newest film, Lightyear, elaborates on the fictional backstory of Buzz Lightyear, the deuteragonist of the Toy Story films, telling his story as a brave space ranger attempting to get his stranded crew back to Earth. Thanks to good production values that you would expect from a Pixar film and its association with a beloved character, Lightyear has secured some good reviews for itself. With a critical score of 76% and an audience score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, the general consensus is that the film, while nothing spectacular, is an enjoyable bit of fantasy.
Unfortunately, enjoyable bits of fantasy don’t fill theaters. In its opening weekend, Lightyear only turned a domestic box office profit of $51 million. Not only is this a loss against its initial projections of a $70 million opening weekend, it placed the film firmly behind Jurassic World: Dominion, which has already been out for several weeks. Even with the addition of $34.6 million from international showings, Lightyear is still a long way away from recouping its $200 million budget, to say nothing of turning a proper profit.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 19, 2022
Analysts speculate that, as this is the first Pixar movie to be released in theaters rather than Disney+ since 2020’s Onward, audiences may not be feeling the same compulsion to visit the theater for a Pixar movie that they once did. Pixar movies could be becoming a strictly at-home affair, and based on the only mildly-positive reception of Lightyear, it’s a safe bet many potential viewers aren’t feeling any particular need to rush out and see it right away.