- Pixar staff told Insider they were in “shock” its next movie “Turning Red” won’t be in theaters.
- “We all thought ‘Turning Red’ would be our return to the big screen,” one source said.
- Disney announced on Friday that the movie would premiere on Disney+ March 11.
Disney announced Friday that its upcoming Pixar movie “Turning Red” would be its third title since the pandemic to premiere exclusively on its
“Disney+ subscribers around the world enthusiastically embraced Pixar’s Academy Award-winning ‘Soul’ and the critically-acclaimed ‘Luca’ when they premiered exclusively on the service and we look forward to bringing them Pixar’s next incredible feature film ‘Turning Red,'” said Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution in a statement to media.
“Given the delayed box office recovery, particularly for family films, flexibility remains at the core of our distribution decisions as we prioritize delivering the unparalleled content of The Walt Disney Company to audiences around the world,” the statement continued.
This is a sharp change from what originally was the plan for “Turning Red,” which follows a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian who turns into a giant red panda whenever she’s too excited or stressed out.
Insider reported in June 2021 that the movie — which marks the feature debut of Domee Shi, the director behind Pixar’s 2018 Oscar-winning short “Bao” — was to be the first Pixar movie since the pandemic to get a traditional theatrical release.
The sudden change has left many within the walls of Pixar once again frustrated.
Pixar staffers are disappointed another movie won’t be in theaters
“It’s safe to say that we’re all feeling extremely disappointed,” one Pixar staffer told Insider Friday after Disney made the announcement. “Until today, we all thought ‘Turning Red’ would be our return to the big screen, and everyone at the studio was so excited about it being this film in particular. It was quite a blow.”
Another staffer on Sunday told Insider that it was a “shock” the movie, slated to come out March 11, got the straight-to-Disney+ treatment.
“Sucks, but I get it,” the staffer went on to say.
With the surge of new COVID-19 cases around the world due to Omicron, as well as a record number of children being hospitalized due to the variant, studio movie release plans are very different now than they were over the summer, and the staffers Insider spoke to understand that.
“With Omicron infections so high, I haven’t heard anyone say the decision to pivot to streaming is wrong,” said one staffer.
Insider reported in April that some staff, even CCO Pete Docter (who is also the director of Oscar-winner “Soul”), were frustrated that their recent movies weren’t getting theatrical releases. However, being released on Disney+ has led to them being extremely popular on the streamer.
One source familiar with the inner workings at Disney and Pixar told Insider movies like “Soul” — about a jazz musician whose life is cut short — and “Luca” — which follows two sea creatures who explore life above the water — playing exclusively on the service has been “the huge upside for Disney+ in its effort to land more subscribers and keep existing ones.”
A Pixar movie hasn’t been shown on the big screen since “Onward,” about two brothers who use magic to spend more time with their late father, opened in March 2020 just before the pandemic hit. It became Pixar’s lowest debut ever in terms of ticket sales, Forbes reported, and eventually earned a little over $60 million at the domestic box office.
Due to the pandemic, Pixar’s next film, 2020’s “Soul” became the first Pixar movie in the company’s 26-year history to not open in theaters.
Following “Turning Red,” Pixar plans to release “Lightyear,” the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, in June 2022.
Disney did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Courtesy By INSIDER