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To infinity and beyond? Not exactly…
“Lightyear,” a spin-off story set in Pixar’s “Toy Story” universe, failed to hit that boundless milestone on its box office debut, grossing $51 million from 4,255 North American theaters. . Family audiences, the film’s main demographic, have been largely absent since COVID. But even so, those ticket sales are disappointing for a brand as recognizable as Pixar, home of “The Incredibles,” Finding Nemo” and “Up.” That’s especially problematic given that “Lightyear” cost $200 million. dollars to produce and tens of millions more to market.
Before the weekend, the Disney film was expected to generate at least $70 million. But his ambitions were thwarted by increased competition from Universal’s giant “Jurassic World Dominion” and Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” as well as a small plot to watch a slightly esoteric origin story about Buzz Lightyear, which had only a tenuous connection to the four films in the popular kid-friendly franchise. With its wobbly takeoff, “Lightyear” landed in second place, becoming one of the few Pixar films not to take the top spot at the domestic box office.
Notably, “Lightyear” is the first Pixar film to hit the big screen in more than two years — since “Onward” in March 2020. During the pandemic, three Pixar films — “Soul,” “Luca” and “Turning Red” — skipped theaters and landed straight on Disney+, leaving some box office analysts to wonder if consumers were trained to watch Pixar movies at home. Other industry experts question whether Disney relies too much on brand recognition and not enough on execution. “Lightyear” nabbed an “A-” CinemaScore, indicating that audiences enjoyed the film.
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“This is a soft opening for a spin-off of one of the most successful animated series of all time,” said David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise. EntertainmentResearch. He notes: “‘Toy Story’ has defied gravity at the box office over its 24 years, with each episode surpassing the last, with the last two grossing a billion dollars worldwide. But like all spin-offs, the ‘Lightyear’ story is closer now.”
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Even with a colossal 60% drop, “Jurassic World Dominion” managed to grab the box office crown again. Universal’s prehistoric sequel grossed $58.6 million from 4,697 theaters in its second weekend of release, bringing its domestic total to $259 million.
In third place, “Top Gun: Maverick” continues to fly high with a whopping $44 million from 4,035 sites in North America. These box office returns, a slight 15% drop from its previous release, are particularly significant as the film has been in theaters for a month. Only one film, “Avatar” with $50 million in its fourth weekend of release, has generated more at this point in its theatrical release. To date, the sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun” has grossed $466 million in the United States and Canada and $885 million worldwide, making the film the biggest blockbuster of Tom Cruise’s long career.
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Disney’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” took fourth place with $4.2 million from 2,455 locations. After seven weekends on the big screen, the Marvel comic book sequel has amassed an impressive $405.1 million in North America. However, the “Strange” sequel is no longer the highest-grossing film of the year in the United States. That title now belongs to Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
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