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Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ promises strong box office weekend, 'Barbie' movie offers first look at Ken

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Yahoo Finance's Allie Canal breaks down the latest box office expectations.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Moving on here, Disney's "Lightyear" is expected to take the box office by storm when it hits theaters this weekend. But if the new movie wants to claim that top spot, it's going to have to edge out some tough competition out there. Alexandra Canal has more on this for us. And, Allie, how big of an opening weekend are we expecting?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, so, Seana, I really think it's important to think about the fact that this is the first Pixar movie, one of the first, to debut exclusively in theaters. Since the start of the pandemic, a lot of those more animated films went directly to Disney+. So a lot of industry insiders, a lot of those exhibitors, were really looking at Disney to see which direction they were going to go with this film in particular.

But the optimism is there. Boxoffice Pro anticipates this film to garner between $90 to $120 million domestically during the debut. I got the chance to speak with Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst Geetha Ranganathan, and she told me that she is also optimistic considering that this is debuting over a long holiday weekend, with Juneteenth coming up on Monday, along with an extra boost of traffic for Father's Day.

But there are a few controversies surrounding this film, most notably the fact that this movie is actually banned in some overseas markets like the UEAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, due to the fact that there is a same-sex kiss scene in the movie. So what's interesting about this is that this scene was actually reinstated in March after all the controversy and backlash surrounding the Don't Say Gay bill, the Parental Rights and Education Act, criticism over the way Bob Chapek, Disney CEO, handled that. Pixar reinstated it after a lot of internal backlash.

Now we have the external backlash happening now, in addition to the fact that people are pretty peeved that Tim Allen is not going to be voicing Buzz Lightyear. That's instead going to be Chris Evans. So I asked Geetha if any of this can impact sales. She says she doesn't see it impacting ticket sales at all, but could have an impact on margins. But there's a lot to watch with this film. So I don't know. It's like, the problem with Disney, are they too woke? Are they woke enough? That's the inevitable question for a lot of these media companies right now, but especially Disney.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, it's always tough. You're trying to please everybody. You have obviously people who love Tim Allen voicing it, all these other issues. You can't please everybody. So I think they're just putting it out there, and I guess the fans will decide if they love it or not. I want to shift gears here, talk about Ryan Gosling looking very, very different here, as he's playing Ken in the new Ken and Barbie movie. That picture going viral. What's the latest there, Allie?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I mean, look at him. You got the washboard abs. You got the beach blonde hair.

SEANA SMITH: He's too perfect.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: He is Malibu Ken through and through. Set the internet ablaze. Personally, I probably would have gone with, like, a Liam Hemsworth to play Ken. I don't know if I would've immediately gravitated towards Ryan Gosling, maybe because Noah from "The Notebook."

SEANA SMITH: But look at that!

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I know. It's amazing. And then you got Margot Robbie looking like Barbie. Now, this film is not hitting theaters until July 2023. Directed by Greta Gerwig. There's been a lot of buzz around it, but not much is known about the plot. Many people say we're going to see different iterations of Barbie and Ken. We have Will Ferrell in it. Is he going to be a new Ken of some sort? I don't know. Going to be hard to beat Ryan Gosling there.

SEANA SMITH: He would be an interesting Ken.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Wouldn't he be an interesting Ken? I kind of feel like that could possibly happen, but we don't know a lot. But I don't know, do you guys like this Ken? You like Ryan as Ken?

SEANA SMITH: I-- yeah.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: He's so orange. And I get that that's what he's meant to look like, but he's so-- it's blazingly orange. And then with the hair as well. Actually, Chris Evans--

SEANA SMITH: But is that how you picture Ken?

RACHELLE AKUFFO: You know, I actually picture-- even though Chris Evans is voicing "Lightyear," I actually think he would actually be a better fit as a Ken.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Ooh, yeah.

SEANA SMITH: Interesting.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I just feel like he is Noah from "The Notebook." He's dark and broody and, like--

- I would agree with you.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: --romantic.

- Yeah.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: You know, that's what he's known for.

- To me, he's "Crazy Stupid Love," actually, if that--

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Oh.

- You know--

ALEXANDRA CANAL: OK.

- --he does the move.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Well, that's the thing. Those are the two romantic roles that he's in. So we'll see if he can brush things up with Ken in the Barbie movie.

SEANA SMITH: We'll see.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Thank you for breaking all of that down for us. Our very own Allie Canal.