Pixar’s latest film Lightyear has a smaller premiere on Disney+ than Encanto. The studio’s twenty-sixth film follows the real Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) as he and a ragtag group of cadets, voiced by Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, and Dale Soules, attempt to escape the clutches of the evil Zurg (James Brolin). Also along for the ride is Sox, Buzz’s robotic cat (Peter Sohn). Buzz’s story would eventually lead him to getting his own action figure, a character seen in the highly successful and praised Toy Story films. The character in toy form has been voiced by Tim Allen since 1995, but casting Evans gave fans the chance to see where the story truly began.
Lightyear had a lot to prove when it dropped in theaters in June, as the original character and the Toy Story films have been beloved by many people for close to 30 years. Despite the hype for the film, early reviews noted that while the film was a fun science-fiction romp across the galaxy, it did not pack the usual emotional punch that Pixar is known for. Specifically, the movie was thought to not live up to the extremely high bar that the Toy Story movies have set. Lightyear also received low ratings from both fans and critics alike on Rotten Tomatoes. Only time would tell if Lightyear‘s addition to Disney+ on August 3 would bolster the movie to new heights.
Today, Samba TV is reporting (via CBR) that while Lightyear has so far been successful in its release on Disney+, it is not getting the same amount of views that the popular 2021 film Encanto did when it dropped on the platform back in December. This falls in line with how both films were originally received in cinemas, with Encanto taking over the internet with its soundtrack, while Lightyear fell flat with fans and critics alike. VP of Measurement Products at Samba TV Cole Strain went into more detail in the statement below:
“Toy Story prequel [sic] Lightyear debuted on Disney+ with 1.7 million households viewing the Pixar flick in its first five days. The movie landed a strong opening weekend on streaming after spending several weeks in theaters, but feel short of Disney’s last animated cinema to streaming release, Encanto, which saw over a million additional households watching during the same window.”
As of now, there is no word on if Pixar will be revisiting the Toy Story universe at some point in the future or if they will be delving into any of the other toys’ real-world backstories. TheToy Story movies have been one of the Pixar properties that have always brought in a huge profit for the studio, with Lightyear seemingly being the exception. The film being a box office disappointment could lead to all Pixar films exclusively premiering on Disney+, as Soul, Luca, and Turning Red all were, but it’s too early to tell if that will actually happen. While the direction of the Toy Story franchise may be up in the air, Pixar is still going strong with their next film Elemental, releasing in 2023.
Lightyear‘s lackluster box office and Disney+ streaming success shows the dangers of returning to a well-loved property. While Pixar has had successful sequels in the past, continually returning to a franchise can ruin the magic that the original film had. Nowadays, studios seem to want to give every character a backstory and keep giving content, which can be overwhelming for fans. Over explaining world building or retconning previous plot points can destroy a series. Hopefully Pixar will have more success with their future projects both in theaters and when they release on Disney+.
Source: Samba TV (via CBR)