Lightyear was supposed to be the film that marked Pixar’s triumphant return to the bigscreen. After Pixar’s parent company, Disney, had sent the studio’s last three films – Soul, Luca, Turning Red – direct to streaming, Lightyear was a big, splashy summer popcorn adventure based on a beloved franchise, and it was all but guaranteed to bring audiences back to theaters. Or at least that’s what Disney expected.
Analysts had projected that the Angus MacLane-directed film would score between $70-85 million in its opening weekend (with some even projecting a $100+ million possibility). Those projections proved to be wildly off though and audiences simply didn’t show up in the anticipated numbers. The film wrapped up its three-day weekend with just $51 million (estimated) at the U.S. and Canada box office.
Lightyear won’t even reach the no. 1 spot, a letdown for a film that reportedly cost over $200 million to produce. The top spot belongs to Jurassic World Dominion, which even after dropping 60% from its first frame, managed to pull in an estimated $58.7M. Incidentally, the same scenario happened the last time a Pixar film opened while a Jurassic Park franchise film was already in theaters. Back in 2015, Inside Out launched on Father’s Day weekend and came up short against the second weekend of Jurassic World. The key difference, however, was that Inside Out earned over $90 million and became the second-best Pixar opening up that point in time.