June 17, 2022
The summer weekend box office kicks ups gear with the debut of Disney/Pixar Animation’s long-awaited sequel Lightyear, which takes on the current champ, Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World: Dominion. It promises to be an interesting battle between two blockbuster movie franchises on back-to-back weekends.
Dominion, as expected, lived up to the hype, generating an adjusted $145 million in its North American debut. But the ticket sales drop-off through Father’s Day (June 19) is projected to be steep (63%) at around $54 million. The culprit: Much of the movie’s target audience is male.
That’s enough of a decline to enable Lightyear — the first Pixar theatrical release since Onward at the start of the pandemic, and first Toy Story-themed title since 2019’s Toy Story 4 — to assume the box office throne. Whether the film can match Toy Story 4’s $120.9 million opening domestic box office is another matter. The latter featured an ensemble cast of characters in comedy roles. Lightyear focuses on one character: Buzz Lightyear.
Regardless, Lightyear generated $5.2 million in Thursday night sneak-peak screenings.
Some observers also wonder whether Disney’s penchant for releasing recent Pixar titles (Soul, Turning Red) directly to the Disney+ streaming service might dissuade some parents from becoming moviegoers. But Disney, as of late, appears to be sticking to a 45-day theatrical window for big screen releases.
Indeed, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness remained exclusively in theaters for 47 days.
Rounding out the box office podium is Paramount Pictures’ enduring Top Gun: Maverick, which is expected to generate another $40 million in ticket sales — down just 23% from last weekend.