Pixar “Soul-Searched” after Lightyear Bombed

Pixar CCO Pete Docter recently spoke with The Wrap about Pixar’s Lightyear underperforming at the box office. Check out an excerpt here:

“We’ve done a lot of soul-searching about that because we all love the movie. We love the characters and the premise,” Docter told The Wrap. “I think probably what we’ve ended on in terms of what went wrong is that we asked too much of the audience. When they hear Buzz, they’re like, ‘Great, where’s Mr. Potato Head and Woody and Rex?’ And then we drop them into this science fiction film that they’re like, ‘What?’”

Docter continued, “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… it was much more of a science fiction. And [director] Angus [MacLane], to his credit, took it very seriously and genuinely and wanted to represent those characters as real characters. 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.”

Usually, I’m skeptical of these statements from studio heads, but this is different. For one, Doctor is first and foremost a creative force at Pixar. He’s a long-time director there, helming Monsters, Inc.Up, and Inside Out. Docter is also part of Pixar’s braintrust, a group of storytellers I used to idolize who influence and nurture the studio’s creative direction. I believe he loves Lightyear and had faith in it because the film has a lot of good. I liked it more than not, and I think many people who watched the movie felt similarly. I’m unsure if I agree so much with his conclusions regarding the film’s box office performance. I think his points are valid, but this issue is more complex than that. I don’t like to think people really won’t watch a film because it represents a different demographic, in this case, the gay community. I try not to be so cynical or assume the worst of people. However, some people came out and said that was why, so it is a factor. Regardless, I enjoyed the movie, even if it’s kind of ironic how minute and easy to miss the “representation” was, to begin with. 

But what do you think? Drop us a comment below!

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