‘Lightyear’ didn’t go to infinity (or beyond) in its first weekend in theaters: Pixar’s first major theatrical release since March 2020 took off with $51 million in its premiere weekend in North America, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
Not only did it open lower than expected, but it also failed to conquer “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which held onto the No. 1 spot with $58.7 million in its second weekend.
It’s a mixed bag for Disney and Pixar because “Lightyear,” an origin story about the movie that inspired the space ranger action figure in the “Toy Story” movies, is one of the biggest launches of an animated family film about the pandemic. Including international screenings, which grossed $34.6 million, “Lightyear’s” global opening weekend totaled $85.6 million. But expectations were higher for such a high-profile release based on a beloved character.
Family audiences were a bit more reluctant than other segments to return to theaters. Many studios, including Disney and Pixar, have opted for streaming or hybrid releases for their animated titles. Since the start of the pandemic, the company has sent its Pixar titles — “Soul,” “Luca” and “Turning Red” — directly to Disney+ for free for subscribers. Disney’s other big animated titles, “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Encanto” got hybrid versions.
Critics were mostly supportive of “Lightyear,” which features Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear and a supporting voice cast that includes Keke Palmer and Taika Waititi. Directed by Angus MacLane, it currently holds a 77% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore.
“Jurassic World: Dominion,” meanwhile, has now earned more than $622.2 million worldwide, including $259.2 million from US and Canadian theaters. It’s only the seventh film released during the pandemic to surpass $600 million.
And in its fourth weekend, “Top Gun: Maverick” dropped only slightly, grossing another $44 million. Its national total is now $466.2 million. Globally, the high-flying sequel has grossed over $885 million.
The Huffington Gt