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Lightyear fails to beat Jurassic World: Dominion with soft box office debut

Top Gun: Maverick also offered competition to the Buzz Lightyear origin story.

Lightyear rocketed into cinemas last Friday and despite it being a Toy Story-related film from the reliable folks over at Pixar, it hasn't made the strongest box office debut on opening weekend.

As reported by Variety, the film fell far short of its expected $70 million plus US box office debut, only making $51 million. Factor in an $34.6 million from over 40 international markets, and you've got a debut of $85.6 million.

A number of factors could have contributed to this, including families still being hesitant to return to cinemas post-pandemic (especially with the potential of a Disney+ release so soon), people not wanting an origin story for Buzz Lightyear and/or wanting to see 'toy' Buzz instead, and perhaps a general fatigue of Disney's reliance on nostalgia.

lightyear, buzz lightyear

Related: Chris Evans says Buzz Lightyear role was as daunting as Captain America

There is also strong competition from Top Gun: Maverick, which made $44 million in its fourth weekend in the US (James Cameron's Avatar is the only film to have made more on weekend #4, at $50 million) and came in third overall, while Jurassic World Dominion stayed atop the US box office with another $58.6 million.

Lightyear could have potentially made more money from releasing in markets like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but Disney accepted a ban in those territories rather than cut a same-sex kiss from the movie.

Earlier this year, it emerged that the same-sex kiss was originally cut from the movie, and Lightyear producer Galyn Susman said that its reinstatement was "important to us".

chis evans as buzz lightyear, uzo aduba as alisha, lightyear

"We have a kiss. We've always had the lesbian couple. They've always been a part of the film... It's a touching moment. It helps Buzz to see the life that's being lived in front of him by his best friend that he's not having," Susman explained.

"He doesn't have those kinds of relationships. He doesn't have a child; he doesn't have what she has. And so it was important for us to get that back in there and we're really excited about that."

Chris Evans, who voices Buzz in the movie, described critics of the same-sex kiss as "idiots", adding: "I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human."

buzz and featheringhamstan in lightyear

Related: Things you didn't know about the Toy Story movies

Lightyear reviewed decently enough — it has a score of 61 on Metacritic, at the time of writing — but even Digital Spy's 4-star review described the movie as a "step down" from the Toy Story films, noting it could easily feel "inconsequential".

Director Angus MacLane told us that the filmmakers' priority was taking some well-earned vacation at the moment, and discussions about a potential sequel to Lightyear would wait.

Although not disastrous, could this underwhelming box office performance mean Lightyear is a one-and-done?

Lightyear is out in cinemas now.

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