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June 22, 2022

New Pixar Film Fell ‘Lightyears’ Short

Disney’s newest film in the “Toy Story” franchise got a taste of “get woke, go broke.”

Disney’s new film “Lightyear” was set to blast off at the box office. It was another installment in the beloved “Toy Story” franchise. It had literally no competition in terms of other children’s films, and it was opening on Father’s Day weekend. Did it soar to infinity and beyond? Not quite. Crashed and burned might be closer to the mark for the film’s weekend debut.

The lowest revenue projection for opening weekend was $70 million, while actual total revenue was a third below that at $51 million. “Toy Story 4” earned $121 million in its opening weekend.

Hollywood is scrambling to explain the flop. It blames the low box office numbers on the film not having appeal for girls; on Disney+ discouraging prospective moviegoers from attending theaters; and on “Lightyear” potentially coming too close on the heels of “Toy Story 4.” In short, Disney and Hollywood would rather blame the poor box office revenue on anything except the sad truth that they have lost their audience.

Disney has been under fire since the company came out opposing Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. The reasons the company voiced for opposing the bill were a misguided attempt at showing support for its gay employees. It backfired spectacularly, and as the public objection got louder, so did the Disney executives who described their “not so secret gay agenda.” Disney, in defiance of dissenters, added a lesbian kiss back into the “Lightyear” film as a “go to the dickens” gesture. Disney’s overall approval ratings have dropped drastically ever since it started openly defying parents.

Another poor move that the Disney execs made was not hiring conservative actor Tim Allen, who has voiced Buzz since the franchise’s inception. The decision not to have Allen voice the character in “Lightyear” was ostensibly because he represented Buzz Lightyear the toy, and this film was supposed to be the movie series that the toy was made for — extremely meta of Disney. Critics weren’t having it, though. Some even speculate that Tim Allen’s politics may have interfered with his chances to reprise this role.

The director only added to this speculation by saying: “Tim’s version of Buzz is a little goofier and is a little dumber, and so he is the comic relief. In this film, Buzz is the action hero. He’s serious and ambitious and funny, but not in a goofy way that would undercut the drama.”

Chris Evans, star of “Captain America,” stepped into the role of Buzz and initially paid homage to Allen’s iconic portrayal of the toy. But Evan’s latest comments, released right before opening weekend, were less than stellar. In regard to the lesbian kiss, he called parents who objected to it “idiots,” proclaiming that this should be the norm and that those who disagreed would “die off like dinosaurs.” These comments were hardly endearing to potential moviegoers who may have been on the fence. It is of a piece, however, with Disney’s recent strategy of moralizing to its fan base (i.e., calling “Star Wars” fans racists).

Disney has put messaging over content, and its films are suffering as a result. Most parents are rightly very uninterested in introducing LGBTQ+ content to their children. According to an April poll, 68% of respondents disapproved of Disney’s focus on introducing children to sexually irregular content. Disney adding to this form of cultural grooming is not leading to a better or healthier crop of children.

American parents aren’t the only ones avoiding this film. Fourteen countries have banned the film, and we are waiting to see if China follows suit. It has asked Disney to cut the scene, but Disney so far has refused.

Disney may well be the thing that “dies off like dinosaurs” if it continues to make enemies of its audience.

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