Disney Pixar’s origin story ‘Lightyear’ had a  less-than-stellar opening weekend, despite insider predictions that it would draw at least $70 million at the domestic box office.

From the article:

Heading into the weekend, the Disney film was expected to generate at least $70 million. But its ambitions were thwarted by heightened competition from Universal’s behemoth “Jurassic World Dominion” and Paramount’s high-flying “Top Gun: Maverick,” as well as little intrigue to watch a slightly esoteric origin story about Buzz Lightyear, one that had only a tenuous connection to the four films in the popular kid-friendly franchise. With its wobbly liftoff, “Lightyear” landed in second place, becoming one of the rare Pixar films to not take the top spot at the domestic box office.

The A.V. Club has an excellent and pretty even-handed analysis of what went wrong.

While each of their points is interesting, it’s the subject of point number five that seems to be a particularly hot-button issue:

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have banned Lightyear over a same-sex kiss between Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and another female character, her onscreen partner. Inclusion of the scene has instigated a collective anger at the film, albeit for a variety of different reasons: according to UAE’s Media Regulatory Office, Lightyear was in “violation of the country’s media content standards.” Conservatives, meanwhile, seem to be fearful that they and their children are becoming “indoctrinated” to view LGBTQ+ characters (much less real people) with compassion and humanity and view the scene as Pixar’s capitulation to leftist Hollywood propaganda. In more progressive circles, the kiss doesn’t go far enough; it’s seen as a pandering, token gesture that fails to lend substance or real dimensionality to the studio’s first same-sex relationship.

We don’t love the phrasing on this either but the fact remains that this is a discussion that needs to be had. Which one is it, Disney? The lackluster box office for what should have been a solid hit for a franchise series seems to indicate that once again, corporations have no idea how to navigate today’s social currents.

So maybe they should just, you know, give it a pass unless it’s the actual subject of the film?

It probably didn’t help that the film’s star, Chris Evans, had this to say:

We would have gone with’ ‘It’s unfortunate there are some parts of the world that aren’t ready to accept the reality of non-traditional families, but we hope this small gesture helps,’ but hey, he thought he was talking about America so we guess it’s okay.

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