Docter certainly has some points. “Lightyear” was not at all like “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.” This was a high-concept sci-fi movie using a new version of a beloved character, voiced by a different actor. In this case, Chris Evans (“Captain America”) took over Buzz duties, which didn’t sit well with Tim Allen, who has voiced the toy version of the character in every one of the “Toy Story” movies. To that end, audiences may well have been confused about the fact that Allen wasn’t back as the voice of Buzz. Either that or the recasting was off putting.
Beyond that, there was a bit of controversy over an LGBTQIA+ relationship between two major characters in the film. Controversy of that sort rarely helps a movie’s box office prospects. We also need to look at the fact that the film faced incredibly steep competition from the likes of “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” both of which went on to become massive hits, taking in $1 billion and $934 million worldwide, respectively. And then there’s the whole Pixar had been away from theaters for so long issue, which almost certainly set an expectation with viewers that these movies were no longer things one pays to go see.
The main thing is, there were certainly other factors at play here beyond getting audiences to buy into a unique concept. I, for one, quite enjoyed the movie and remain hopeful that big studios are willing to take more unique swings when it comes to expanding a franchise. They shouldn’t look to this as a reason not to do it in the future. Much went wrong, and it wasn’t all conceptual.
“Lightyear” is currently streaming on Disney+.