Disney’s animated movie ‘Lightyear’ flopped in its first weekend in theaters, with the new Toy Story spin-off film earning $51.7 million in North America.
Not only did the movie open lower than expected, but it also failed to conquer ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’, which held on to the first-place spot with $58.7 million in its second weekend.
Expectations were high for ‘Lightyear’, an origin story about the movie that inspired the space ranger action figure in the ‘Toy Story’ movies, with some analysts pegging the movie for a $70 million North American debut. But it didn’t come close to that figure.
The disappointing start came after controversy over Disney’s decision to include a brief kiss between a lesbian couple in the movie and to replace the conservative star Tim Allen with Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz Lightyear.
‘Lightyear’ opened in 4,255 locations domestically and in 43 markets overseas – but 14 Muslim-majority nations banned the movie from playing in their cinemas because Disney included a lesbian kiss.
The United Arab Emirates, a Muslim-led nation that criminalizes homosexuality, became the first nation to ban the movie from cinemas in response to the same-sex scene.
The scene had been originally cut from the film by Disney earlier this year bit it was reinstated in March after Pixar staffers complained about the censorship in an open letter obtained by Variety.
A total of 14 countries- Malaysia, The UAE, Indonesia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Syria and Iraq- have barred citizens from seeing the film due to the kiss between a same-sex couple.