Woke 'Lightyear' film with lesbian kiss flops at box office

The franchise also axed Tim Allen, who was the original voice of Buzz Lightyear back in the Toy Story days.

Ashley St. Clair New York NY

Lightyear, a Disney film giving Toy Story fans the chance to experience the backstory of Buzz Lightyear, failed to take off after a series of controversies surrounding a lesbian kiss scene. Despite Disney positioning the film for success by debuting Lightyear as their first theater-only movie in over a year, the film flopped at the box office bringing in nearly $20 million less than the projected $70 million for opening weekend.

The franchise also axed Tim Allen, who was the original voice of Buzz Lightyear back in the Toy Story days. Actress Patricia Heaton, who co-starred with Allen in the sitcom Home Improvement, blasted Pixar, saying that Allen was the "one element" that made movie-goers want to see the film. Speculation roiled that he was pulled from the project for having been a supporter of President Donald Trump. Creators claimed the change in actor was due to the new film being an origin story for the character the original Buzz was based on.

The Los Angeles Times summarizes the film’s plot by saying that Buzz Lightyear “becomes so fixated on undoing a mistake that derailed his mission and the lives of his shipmates that he refuses to slow down enough to notice that he’s missing out on all other aspects of life.”

Ironically, the fate of Lightyear seems to have gotten caught up in the same predicament as Buzz himself, with an incredible fixation on undoing a mistake that they missed out on box office success. The film had cut a lesbian kiss scene, but after Disney faced backlash for not opposing Ron DeSantis’s bill to keep talks of sexuality out of elementary classrooms– infamously dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill– Disney employees used the axed scene as fuel for accusations that the company wasn’t doing enough to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Following the uproar, the scene was restored, igniting fire from a new group of people who didn’t want issues of sexuality in children’s films.

However, outrage over the lesbian scene was not limited to concerned parents and according to the New York Times, the animated film is banned in at least 14 countries, primarily in the Middle East and Asia, because of the same-sex kiss.

The cast and crew of Lightyear have publicly defended and boasted about the controversial scene in interviews, with one of the film’s producers, Galyn Susman, saying, “Every kid when they watch a movie wants to see themselves on the screen and especially with the children who haven’t gotten to see very much of themselves, especially in animated films, just the thought that they can sit in the theater and say ‘Wow, that’s me. I feel seen, I feel represented,’ it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to do that.”

Angus MacLane, the director of Lightyear, has social media profiles that are ripe with radical progressive opinions, including sharing posts that supported uprising if Roe v Wade is overturned saying, “How dare Republicans demand civility as they strip away our civil rights,” and “fighting is the only choice we’ve got left.”

MacLane also posted photos of Pride flags and shared posts of Disney employees walking out to demand more action from Disney in response to the 'Don’t Say Gay' bill.

The box office bust doesn’t come as a total surprise, however. Around the same time as the same-sex kiss scene was restored in March, Disney’s corporate president, Karey Burke said in a company meeting that she wants "many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories" and that she wanted at least 50 percent of the characters to be LGBTQ+. At that same meeting, Disney’s executive producer spoke about her “not-at-all secret gay agenda” for future Disney productions.

In April, polling revealed that 68 percent of Americans are 'less likely to do business with Disney' after the company's sexual politics were revealed.

Despite Disney’s attempts at inclusivity, top critics for Rotten Tomatoes claim the film is “emotionally inert,” and “feels like that horrible moment when you broke a much-loved toy.”

This is not the first time Disney has seen audience backlash from a film ripe with woke controversy. After Captain Marvel star Brie Larson said she didn’t want “white men” watching one of her films, Captain Marvel was hit with an audience rating blow of 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Nostalgic movies vacant of intentional diversity and sexual politics like the new Top Gun are blasting off to the box office hall of fame with Top Gun: Maverick set to be Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing film yet.


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