Even with the titanic marketing force of Disney and buzz (no pun intended) around featuring a lesbian couple kissing, “Lightyear” proved to be a flop. Although it was expected to top the charts and bring in $70 million in its first weekend (a modest goal, all things considered), the movie made $51 million, second behind the newest Jurassic Park installment. For context, “Top Gun: Maverick” made more than $100 million in its opening weekend.
While it’s fair to see this as yet another instance of the truism, “go woke, go broke,” it’s worth asking why Disney keeps doing this. They have a whole slew of perfectly profitable franchises to tap, and they can churn out blockbusters from any of them without breaking a sweat. Why do they feel the need to shoehorn a scene of lesbians kissing that no asked for? Why did they double-down against their own audience?
Probably the first and foremost reason that Disney executives do this is because they can. They believe they have a monopoly over young audiences and can start treating them like a captive audience. Daniel Greenfield makes a convincing case in Frontpage Mag that this is exactly what Disney is thinking: “Disney may have started out feeding the imaginations of children, but now its business model is acquiring intellectual properties with active fandoms and milking the adult fans for every cent.” Rest assured, Disney will keep issuing more sequels and spinoffs ad nauseam, knowing full well that their cult-like fandoms will continue to watch them.
When entertaining people becomes secondary, it’s only natural to propagate a message. These days, that message is diversity, inclusion, and equity (DIE, as Jordan Peterson puts it), which has become the standard in all popular entertainment. For example, it was clear “Frozen II” would make a lot of money just because it was “Frozen II,” so its creators decided to turn the movie into a convoluted propaganda piece that spoke on the environment, the treatment of indigenous people, and female empowerment. No one seemed to mind that the movie was terrible, and there’s little doubt that Disney will make another sequel when the time is right.
Are Moviemakers Simply Boring?
However, what really seems to lie at the heart of this decision to promote lesbianism in a kid’s movie is something much more profound and personal than anyone cares to admit. Disney filmmakers and most of the creative class in Hollywood have become boring. They aren’t all that interesting, and nothing really interests them. Action, drama, romance, and all the magic of moviemaking doesn’t excite them anymore.
Rather, like bored teenagers addicted to TikTok, Disney executives are more interested in identity politics and social justice, and they believe that everyone else is interested in this too. Sure, people may watch the new show about Obi-wan Kenobi because they know and love the character, but what’s really going to hook them is the black female antagonist because she’s (wait for it) black and female. And, if they don’t like her, they’re haters and Disney will delight in taking a quixotic stand against these anonymous bigots.
Wokeness has become a vicious cycle for privileged creators: success makes them bored, so they go woke, but this bores them again, so they double-down on their wokeness, which soon becomes boring, etc. This cycle is then reinforced by social media, which affirms these people’s narcissism and casts their dissatisfied fans as ignorant bigots.
Seen from a healthy distance, this phenomenon of bored filmmakers injecting wokeness in “Lightyear” makes little sense. How can anyone be bored by a story about a space ranger fighting for his friends on a distant planet? Why would they feel the need to spice this up with wokeness? Was depicting acts of valor against space aliens not enough?
Worldview of the Woke
And yet, this is how a woke person sees the world. Discussing a theologian’s bold (and nonsensical) claim that Jesus was actually a transgender person, Catholic writer Michael Warren Davis notes how narrow this view is: “The Bible is the most profound and influential book in the whole history of the world. It contains the philosophy of Jesus Christ, the most important philosopher and mystic in world history … Now, imagine if all you could find in those pages was a parable for transvestic fetishism. What a boring little place your head must be.”
For most people, this is the real problem with the woke agenda: it’s boring and predictable. Perhaps a few people were outraged when they heard of the lesbian kiss in “Lightyear,” but the majority people likely rolled their eyes and muttered, “Oh okay. I’ll pass then.”
Propaganda over Entertainment
Not surprisingly, these people’s suspicions were confirmed. The movie was indeed dull: the characters were flat, the story was dumb, and the themes resonate more with adults suffering from a midlife crisis than with actual kids. Clearly, the creators of the movie were more worried about indulging themselves and crafting woke propaganda than in entertaining audiences. It’s the work of bored people putting out a boring product for an increasingly bored audience that’s burned out on the wokeness.
Hopefully, filmmakers at Disney can learn from this mistake and break the cycle. The world is so much more than people’s skin color and sexual orientation, and the possibilities for storytelling are endless. These people need to get over their boredom, stop obsessing over diversity and representation, and return to making fun movies that transcend all that and really go “to infinity and beyond.” It’d be a win-win: Fans would be happy, filmmakers would find purpose again, and the modern entertainment in general would be slightly less mediocre.