There was widespread (and entirely justified) skepticism when it was first announced that Disney and Pixar would risk tainting the near-perfect ending of Toy Story 3 by churning out a fourth installment, but the decision ended up being a wise one from a critical and commercial point of view. Lightyear, on the other hand, was nowhere near as lucky.
Right from the off, there weren’t a great deal of people convinced that a spinoff set in a world where Buzz Lightyear is a real Space Ranger needed to exist, especially when Tim Allen was nudged out in favor of Chris Evans – which stirred up all sorts of feelings from a generation who couldn’t comprehend the fact Woody’s plastic frenemy was disarmingly hot now.
Set in a fictional universe set within a fictional universe, Lightyear‘s mere existence was an Inception-level event, albeit one that died a death at the box office. On production costs estimated to be hovering around the $200 million mark, enthusiastic enough reviews weren’t enough to prevent the animated blockbuster from ending up in the red to the tune of nine figures after it petered out with a mere $226 million in the coffers.
Lightyear was something nobody wanted, needed, or asked for, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise it died a slow and painful death on the big screen. Nonetheless, it has at least shown some legs on streaming, with the misguided misfire having re-orbited the streaming ranks without burning up in the atmosphere.
Per FlixPatrol, Lightyear is a Top 10 hit on Disney Plus in 15 countries around the world, as well as a resident of the Rakuten charts. Fun if entirely forgettable, the movie’s failure was a serious dent for the Toy Story brand.