Pixar CEO Explains Why Buzz Lightyear Film Tanked at Box Office

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Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) in 'Lightyear'

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar’s Lightyear (2022) hardly “reached for the sky” during its theatrical run last year. Not only did the Buzz Lightyear film open to mixed reviews, its box office performance was underwhelming, with the film grossing just $226 million worldwide against its $200 million budget.

Like many films these days, Lightyear was not without its fair share of controversy, with many audiences boycotting the film, and some countries even banning it, due to a scene involving a same-sex kiss. As such, sadly, the Buzz Lightyear film never off to a good start.

Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear looking at crystallic fusion
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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But the film’s poor box office run can’t and shouldn’t be pinned on the scene in question. Many fans, including Buzz Lightyear voice actor Tim Allen himself, took issue with the fact that Marvel star Chris Evans was cast as the titular space ranger, despite it being made very clear from the get-go that Pixar’s Lightyear is about the human version of the space ranger and not the toy.

Now, it seems that Pixar CEO Peter Docter believes that it’s the film’s confusing relationship with the Toy Story movies that ultimately cost it, which does indeed stem from the fact that the film features a different version of Buzz Lightyear.

Same-sex couple in Pixar's 'Lightyear'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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In a recent interview with The Wrap, Docter talked about Lightyear‘s box office performance, and where he felt things had gone very wrong for what should have been a very successful film.

Here are his full comments:

“We’ve done a lot of soul-searching about that because we all love the movie. We love the characters and the premise. I think probably what we’ve ended on in terms of what went wrong is that we asked too much of the audience. When they hear Buzz, they’re like, great, where’s Mr. Potato Head and Woody and Rex? And then we drop them into this science fiction film that they’re like, ‘What?'”

Uzo Aduba as Hawthorne in Pixar's Lightyear
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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Docter went on to talk about how there was a disconnect between the audiences and the film, due to how far removed it was from Toy Story, given the fact that it focuses on a different version of Buzz Lightyear, as opposed to the toy-version of the character. He said:

“Even if they’ve read the material in press, it was just a little too distant, both in concept, and I think in the way that characters were drawn, that they were portrayed. It was much more of a science fiction. And Angus, to his credit, took it very seriously and genuinely and wanted to represent those characters as real characters. But the characters in Toy Story are much broader, and so I think there was a disconnect between what people wanted/expected and what we were giving to them.”

Uzo Aduba as Hawthorne, saying "to infinity and beyond" to Buzz in Pixar's Lightyear
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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Given the failure of Pixar’s Lightyear, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get a Woody-focused spin-off film. Instead, it seems Pixar has reverted back to the Toy Story timeline, as Toy Story 5 (TBA) was announced earlier this month, alongside Frozen 3 (TBA) and Zootopia 2 (TBA).

There is currently no release date for Toy Story 5.

Pixar’s Lightyear and all four Toy Story films are now streaming on Disney+.

Toy Story Woody (left) and Buzz Lightyear (right) in Toy Story
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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Did you enjoy Lightyear, or do you think it was a mistake? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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