Infinity isn’t a practical box office milestone, so Disney’s “Lightyear” will have to settle for an opening day of $20.7 million and beyond.
Pixar’s spinoff of its “Toy Story” series took off Thursday night with a respectable $5.2 million from previews. However, the film is now poised to fall short of initial expectations, which originally pegged the film for a $70-80 million debut in 4,255 theaters in North America. Additionally, “Lightyear” is struggling to dethrone Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” from the top spot on the domestic charts in the dino sequel’s second weekend.
There are certainly winning ways to look at the opening of “Lightyear,” as its projected $52 million haul would easily mark the highest debut for an animated film since the pandemic began in North America. Family audiences have been somewhat nervous about returning to the big screen as multiplexes have reopened, leading Disney to rethink its release strategy, forgoing theatrical releases of the last three animated features. from Pixar – “Soul”, “Luca” and “Turning”. Red” — and instead debut them directly on the Disney+ company’s streamer to bolster subscriptions. After spending more than two years away from theaters, a $52 million opening would show that Pixar still has a place on the big screen.
However, it’s not hard to imagine that Disney was looking to make a splash with “Lightyear.” The spinoff may not even make half of 2019’s ‘Toy Story 4’ $120.9 million opening, even though the sci-fi flick is a spinoff of the gem franchise of Pixar’s crown.
With a hefty $200 million production budget, “Lightyear” still has a ways to go before it lands safely in the dark. The film seeks to gain an extra edge with family audiences on Saturday matinees and Sunday Father’s Day affairs. Reviews were generally favorable, as the film earned an overall approval percentage of 61% from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences also seem to love the film, with “Lightyear” earning an “A-” rating on Cinema Score, indicating generally strong approval.
“Lightyear” focuses on the origin of the character of Buzz Lightyear, who was first in a movie before being turned into an action figure who befriended Woody in “Toy Story.” In the “Toy Story” canon, the character Andy saw “Lightyear” and got himself a Buzz Lightyear toy as merchandise. Now audiences around our world can see the film that fired Andy’s imagination.
Chris Evans takes over the voice role from creator Tim Allen, and the film also features the voices of Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
If current projections for “Lightyear” hold, “Jurassic World Dominion” could be poised to repeat itself as the ultimate domestic box office predator.
Universal expects its sixth entry in the “Jurassic” series to drop 61% from its massive $143 million debut last weekend, raking in $57.1 million over the three-day window. That’s a bit steeper a drop than the last two entries in the franchise faced in their second weekends; 2015’s “Jurassic World” dropped 49%, while 2018’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” dropped 58.8%.
Even so, the projected $57.8 million haul for “Dominion” could be enough to secure a second weekend atop the domestic charts. The dinosaur sequel is expected to boost its domestic gross to nearly $250 million through Sunday, already safely among the four highest-grossing films at the domestic box office for 2022.
“Top Gun: Maverick” also continues to roll smoothly. Paramount predicts a staggering 23% drop for the three-day window, adding a gross of $40 million.
The Tom Cruise sequel has become a true cinematic phenomenon since breaking the Memorial Day weekend box office record with a $160 million four-day debut. Since then, the film has seen weekly drops of less than 50%, an atypically low figure for theatrical blockbusters. “Maverick” rode the wave of spectacular word-of-mouth, becoming the highest-grossing release of 2022 in the United States this week, surpassing Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” And with business still booming, the sky seems to be the limit for “Maverick.”
Speaking of “Doctor Strange,” the superhero sequel looks set to take No. 4 on the domestic charts this weekend. The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry added another $1.1 million on Friday, bringing its domestic gross to $401 million.
Disney and 20th Century Studios’ “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is expected to round out the top five. The long-running anime series adaptation is expected to exceed $30 million domestic gross through Monday.