One Disney executive is reflecting on what a flop the “Toy Story” spinoff “Lightyear” was for the company, concluding the issue was the audience not understanding what they were trying to do.
“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,” Pixar’s chief creative officer Peter Docter told The Wrap.
“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?” the filmmaker continued. “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.”
Docter went on to describe the “Toy Story” characters as “much broader,” saying, “I think there was a disconnect between what people wanted/expected and what we were giving to them.”
The 2022 animated film earned a paltry $226.4 million against a $200 million budget, meaning it likely lost money after factoring in marketing and other expenses.
“Lightyear” caused a controversy leading up to its release due to the inclusion of a same-sex kiss which was initially edited out, then reinstated in response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by several media outlets and leftists.
There was also some pushback to Chris Evans replacing Tim Allen as the voice of Buzz Lightyear. He was in favor of the same-sex kiss scene staying in the movie, saying those who disagreed were “idiots.”
“Every time there’s been social advancement as we wake up, the American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” Evans told Reuters during an interview.
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“Disney put a line in the sand saying, we’re putting this [kiss] back in, but also, we’re not going to remove it for any other territories, in these places that would have a problem with it.” The actor said, adding the kiss scene was “nice, and it’s wonderful, it makes me happy.”
“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” Evans added. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is. That representation across the board is how we make films.”
Even critics in favor of or neutral toward the controversial kiss scene said the movie had multiple plot holes and strayed too far from the original “Toy Story” storylines for audiences to embrace it the same way as other installments of the franchise.
Disney just announced that they’ll be making “Toy Story 5” in addition to several other additions to popular franchises.
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