Pixar’s boss on where Lightyear went wrong

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Lightyear was a rare misfire for Pixar, and its boss has been explaining where he felt that made a mistake with the film.

After a series of its films frustratingly ended up going straight to Disney+ rather than seeing the inside of a cinema, Pixar finally got back where it belonged last year: on the big screen.

That was the good news. The less good news was that it was arguably one of its least interesting films, the Toy Story spin-off Lightyear. It turned into a financial disappointment for the studio too, and a very rare one. Reviews weren’t great, and box office takings were a long way short of the $1bn grosses of the last two Toy Story films.

So what happened? Well, Pixar chief creative officer Pete Docter has been chatting to The Wrap about this, and he’s concluded that “we asked too much of the audience”.

He insists that the Pixar team love the movie, and its premise, but that when the audience hears that Buzz Lightyear is in it, they’re immediately on the lookout for the other characters too. “And then we drop them into this science fiction film that they’re like, What? 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”.

Docter backed his director, Angus MacLane, and the fact that he went into it wanting to make a science fiction film that represented the characters as real. “But the characters in Toy Story are much broader, and so I think there was a disconnect between what people wanted/expected and what we were giving to them”.

I’d further add, as someone who paid good money for a trip out to see Lightyear, that at heart, the film wasn’t great. But as always, other opinions are available.

Disney, incidentally, recently announced a far more traditional Toy Story 5. Don’t expect a Lightyear 2.

The Wrap

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