Whether it’s the lure and the lore of the franchise, a massive fan following, or the controversy surrounding content in the upcoming release, PIXAR’s Lightyear is poised to enjoy a massive box office debut weekend, according to critics.
According to a post in Variety, PIXAR’s first-ever –this one about the most famous in the history of –will debut at 4,200 theaters across the United States and Canada on Friday, more than likely clinching the #1 spot at North American U. S. box offices, yielding a massive return of between $70 million and $80 million.
But it won’t be easy.
Lightyear faces hefty competition from Universal’s Jurassic World Dominion, which exploded at the box office last weekend, debuting at $145 million. Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick has also done exceedingly well since its debut.
According to Variety, the newest installment of the Jurassic Park franchise will more than likely see a decline in ticket sales over its opening weekend of between 55% and 60%. Top Gun: Maverick is expected to continue its impressive record at the domestic box office for the fourth weekend in a row.
Variety says the is betting heavily on nostalgia to serve as the catalyst to a box office debut that goes to infinity and beyond, as the thought is that a new generation of fans will be ushered in by parents who were fans of each movie when they were growing up, beginning with the first which debuted in 1995.
Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020, the family demographic among audiences has been almost non-existent. Disney is hoping that the more positive outlook on the virus and lower numbers of infections will lend themselves to an increase in the number of families who visit the theater to see Lightyear, which is being hailed as the “ who inspired the ” of the in the franchise.
Lightyear is a first in more than one way for the PIXAR powerhouse. It is the first that features a same-sex couple in the storyline, a decision that has been met with pushback and accolades from fans, as well as requests from other countries for modifications to the . produced by the studio
But PIXAR producer Galyn Susman says the studio will not make content modifications, despite the currently being banned in countries like Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.
“Disney isn’t going to modify the material,” Susman said in an interview with Reuters. “We’re not going to cut out anything.”
Lightyear is also the first to enjoy a theatrical debut since Onward, which debuted in March 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to wreak havoc in the United States. Since the debut of Onward, three PIXAR films have debuted on the Disney+ streaming platform: Soul in December 2020, Luca in June 2021, and Turning Red in March 2022.
Lightyear cost $200 million to produce, and that doesn’t include the marketing for the latest –another reason Disney is hopeful about the ‘s debut weekend.
Lightyear was directed by a new voice for , who voices the was found in , rather than in in all four films in the . As the is about the man behind the toy, franchise.
The sees Lightyear, an experienced , marooned on a planet far from earth, and as he journeys back, it’s the presence of Zurg, voiced by , that threatens his rendezvous back on earth.
Lightyear hits theaters Friday.