Lightyear Filmmakers On The Importance Of The Theatrical Experience For The Movie

"Lightyear" is the "Toy Story" spin-off film no one saw coming, and director Angus MacLane has a thing or two to say about how theatrical experiences of movies are integral to appreciating the medium as a whole. In a recent press junket Q&A attended by /Film, MacLane talked about how "the world of cinema" has shifted because of the pandemic, and the importance of supporting theaters, especially right now.

'Just go in and immerse'

"Lightyear" will be tackling the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the beloved Space Ranger superhero who is a part of the "Toy Story" universe. The film will zero in on Buzz during his first flight test to explore new parts of the universe in order for Star Command to come in peace. However, there are dag lurking within the galaxy, as Emperor Zurg threatens its very safety, making Buzz one of the few who can save the world.

A trailer for "Lightyear" was recently released, which featured Buzz embarking on a new adventure on a planet, only to be attacked by a tentacled monster and then handling a mysterious, blue-tinted crystal later on. This sounds like a fun adventure bound to appeal to nostalgia associated with the beloved Pixar franchise, in the form of a narrative that brims with heart and action-packed sequences.

When Maclane and "Lightyear" producer Galyn Susman was asked whether opening day for the film would make them anxious, they said the following:

Susman: "Absolutely. Absolutely. I think from my perspective, I just really want people to come out and say, 'Wow, that was fun.' Like, I want people to be able to lose themselves for 90 minutes. That's all. And just go in and immerse."

MacLane: "The theatrical, the world of cinema is a lot different than it was when we started mostly because of COVID. And so whatever small part we can do to encourage people to go and support theaters is something that was really important to me. The IMAX of it, like that, came really early where I was like, can we just do this? That would be awesome. Again, that awesome threshold. It would be awesome to have an IMAX of it, and I brought it to [Pixar President] Jim Morris."

MacLane continued to talk about why a love for cinema warrants a return to the theaters:

"And he's [Morris] such a rich history of making, working on so many movies. He was like, yes, I totally get what that is. And the love for film and for cinema and the theatrical experience is so much of about what the movie is because that's the way that we saw these movies originally. And so that's what I wanted to pass on and whatever we can do to help those theaters and to have the shared experience is really, really something I'm really looking forward to."

"Lightyear" stars Chris Evans as the voice of the titular character, with Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, Taika Waititi, Peter Sohn, Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Anthony Armanino in supporting roles.

"Lightyear" is set to hit theaters on June 17, 2022.