Posted 3 days ago
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.
Malaysia has also been blacklisted the movie - the country's film censors said it was Disney's decision to ax 'Lightyear' from the nation's theatres after refusing to cut scenes that 'promote' homosexuality.
Malaysia's Film Censorship Board said it approved the movie with parental guidance for those under 13 on the condition that scenes and dialogues 'found to contain elements promoting the LGBT lifestyle' that violated guidelines were 'cut and muted.'
But Disney apparently did not agree to the conditions and decided instead to cancel the screening, the board said, adding that it would not compromise on any LGBTQ scenes.
The board's statement did not specify which scenes violated censorship guidelines but the $200 million film includes a lesbian space ranger character, Alisha, voiced by actress Uzo Aduba, and her partner starting a family together and greeting each other with a kiss on the lips.
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.
The letter criticized the company's CEO Bob Chapek on his handling of the issue, accusing him attempting to censor 'gay affection.'
The note further criticized his handling of Florida's controversial 'Don't Say Gay' bill, which saw the company at first take a tentative stance on the bill before succumbing to public pressure and condemning it.
The bill bans the teaching of lessons on sexuality, gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten up to third grade.
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.
Disney also faced criticism over 'Lightyear' after it replaced Tim Allen, 69, with Marvel superhero Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz Lightyear.
There is growing concern among many that his endorsement of former President Donald Trump and attendance at his inauguration was the root cause of it.
Others fear it could be down to a series of risky jokes on his social media pages that have put him at the mercy of the left-wing mob.
Allen appeared to have understood the position he was in, admitting he had a huge target on his back in Hollywood due to his right-wing politics.
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