Animated movies are generally expected to be fun, which may account for LIGHTYEAR‘s soft landing.
Animation that delivers fun satisfies kids as well as parents — like Paramount/Sega/Original Film’s animated & live-action SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, which did nearly $400M globally.
Pixar movies tend to be story-driven with important messages about life at their core. However laudable that may be, it’s not what parents are looking for when they take their kids to the multiplexes. This fits with why the dinos devoured Buzz.
DOMINION’s not animated, but its dinos are larger-than-life fantasy characters that could have stepped out of an animated film — and that’s making the movie a fun ride for the entire family. But understanding LIGHTYEAR means getting up to speed with Buzz’s backstory from TOY STORY. Kids don’t walk into cinemas knowing all those ins and outs. Moreover, some LIGHTYEAR plot points (no spoilers here) could confuse younger audiences.
Lack of fun won’t be a problem for Universal/Illumination Entertainment’s MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, opening 7/1. It’s got strong playability to younger moviegoers that should ignite July 4th boxoffice fireworks. Its top first choice tracking demos are -25F, which is 6 points over the norm, & -25M, which is 5 points over the norm. GRU (pictured) looks like family film fun. The franchise original, MINIONS, opened 7/10/15 to $115.7M & did $1.2B globally.