In early January of this year, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 It made a huge boom at the domestic box office when it opened with $72.1 million in theaters. Paramount insiders estimated that nearly 60 percent of the audience in its opening weekend were children and parents, proving that families were already willing to leave concerns about the ongoing pandemic and return to theaters. Hollywood and theater owners breathed a sigh of relief.
But when Pixar and Disney Toy Story spin off Light year The film debuted in theaters over the Father’s Day holiday, and only about 38 percent of those in attendance were families, which helps explain why the movie was released to $50.6 million, instead of the expected $70 million to $85 million. Even worse, she bowed out second after holding it Jurassic World Dominion In surprising surprise, even if he could boast the best opening of the pandemic for an animated movie (My voice It was a live/CGI hybrid).
By Sunday night on the weekend of June 17-19, everyone in Hollywood was asking the same question, as the opening couldn’t be commented solely on the pandemic: What happened?
Disney insiders in particular point to mixed reviews from critics — at least for the Pixar show — lower audience ratings than rave, as well as confusion in marketing and branding.
Pixar films have long been known to attract both young and old without children, but they are popular with the family Light year It was noticeably light. In June 2019, about 45 percent of ticket buyers for Toy Story 4 They were children and parents. Kids are notorious for being frequent viewers, which could prompt a big screen movie to enjoy amazing complications.
It didn’t help Light year It became a political punching bag for conservative Republican lawmakers when a same-sex kiss scene was replayed in the film after Pixar employees said Disney was censoring “overt gay affection” in the wake of an uproar by Disney CEO Bob Chapek in the movie Don’t Say Like me in a “Florida” bill.
After the movie opened on Father’s Day weekend, American actor Jim Jordan (Ohio), a minority member of the House Judiciary Committee with 2.8 million followers, tweeted on June 21, “Buzz Lightyear woke up. Disney went bankrupt.” And a verified Twitter account of the Judiciary Committee of the Islamic Republic has more than 223,000 followers followed by a tweet, “Make Toy Story Great again. “
There is no conclusive evidence that political conversation is painful Light year, although the film was unreleased by a fairly large margin in the Midwest, according to a source with access to regional Comscore data. (Toy Story 4 It was within the normal range three years ago in the Midwest.)
Disney insiders object that red-leaning countries contributed the same percentage of the total to Light year what they did for Sonic 2.
Light year Also not indexed in the Northeast, where many areas are democratic-leaning, as well as in Canada. It has outperformed in the West and Southeast, including in several Hispanic-led markets (Hispanics made up more than 30 percent of the audience).
Boxoffice Pro analyst Shawn Robbins says there are larger issues at play outside of politics, but adds that the latter cannot be completely ignored. “We should also consider an unfortunate reaction to the film’s same-sex relationship from hyper-talkative families, who were also taught for two years to expect Pixar films to air sooner rather than later,” says Robbins, referring to Disney’s decision to send several Pixar films. Disney + titles since the pandemic. “The combination of these two feelings seems to have instilled a mentality of ‘we will see it before we let our children see it’ in some societies, particularly those with strict religious views, contrary to the filmmakers’ intentions to advocate for equality and representation for all.”
Many studio distribution experts and box office critics don’t buy the argument that sending the last few Pixar movies straight to Disney+ Harm Light year. “Consumers certainly have a lot of viewing options, but there is no substitute for theater. Disney has activated over 4 million people to leave TV behind and experience it. Light year “In a way that can’t be replicated at home,” says Steve Buck of EntTelligence, a box office focused analytics company.
The film currently has a score of 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 86 percent of the audience. This compares to 96 percent and 94 percent, respectively, for Toy Story 4.
General consensus: There was confusion over exactly how the movie related to the icon Toy Story The franchise and the character Buzz Lightyear, voiced by conservative actor Tim Allen in the main series. This time, the Space Ranger was voiced by Chris Evans.
“The movie didn’t hit the right buttons,” says a rival veteran CEO.
Robbins adds, “Marketing struck a nostalgic tone, but it relied heavily on Toy Story The brand’s older millennial audience and advertising minor comedic elements, which often deliver the largest animated four-quarters at the box office.”
competition from It was jurassic world Another case for Light year. “Kids love dinosaurs,” notes one veteran Hollywood executive. And then there Top Gun: Maverickwhich was turned into a runaway movie and is also being loved by families nearly a month after its debut.
In 2007, Pixar ratatouille Opened for only $47 million – as is the case with Light yearheadlines everywhere drew attention to the tepid figure—but then it began boiling its way to $206.4 million domestically and $626.5 million globally.
Sarcastically, Toy Story 4 It also drew initially negative headlines on opening to $118 million domestically, as pre-release tracking had suggested it would open close to $140 million, if not higher. This movie went on to exceed $1 billion at the global box office. overseas, Light year It started with $34.6 million from its first 43 markets. It has done particularly well in Latin America, which is a huge market for animation.
On July 1, Universal and Illumination opened the second part of the animation Minions: Rise of a puppy In yet another family box office test, whose full recovery is key to the success of the old Hollywood studio system. As soon as this story was published, Paramount announced that Sonic 2 It has surpassed $400 million globally, becoming the second family pic since COVID-19 to achieve the milestone after sing 2. In the pre-pandemic era, family movies could do so much more. (In 2019, for example, four family photos exceeded $1 billion worldwide.)
Disney and Pixar hope so Light year He plays all summer long, but his holding power remains visible once pesky and constantly annoying little yellow creatures (like Minions) invade the multiplex.