Ever since the pandemic last year The Walt Disney Company had to make numerous changes to their theatrical release calendar. 2020 saw them put Disney+ to good use by moving Onward mid-theatrcial release, Artemis Fowl, The One and Only Ivan, and Mulan to the service. Pixar saw two of their projects make the move with Onward and Soul, and this week with their newest film Luca.
Based on reports from last month, there are many Pixar staff within the company who feel saddened and frustrated with these decisions. Many of the new films coming from The Walt Disney Company are being sent to Disney+’s Premiere Access platform, which requires an extra $29.99 to view. However, as pointed out by one employee, “Luca [Pixar’s next feature film] doesn’t even have a premium price next to it.” They go on to ask, “Does it make it lesser? It’s hard to grasp.” The disappointment doesn’t come from just those below either. Even Pete Docter, Pixar CEO, expressed disappointment when 2020’s Soul skipped a theatrical release as well. It is especially curious when comparing Soul‘s release strategy to Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Raya and the Last Dragon, which did utilize Premiere Access, therefore requiring the extra fee.
Despite all that, it looks like Pixar is ready to make a return to theaters next year. According to Insider, Turning Red will debut with a wide release.
“The studio’s hope is we go back to normal with ‘Turning Red,'” said one source, who noted that the safety of theatergoers is the biggest concern. But with COVID-19 restrictions being dropped around the country, including most recently New York and California, optimism is building at Pixar and Disney that “Turning Red” will be seen on the big screen, sources say.
The film introduces Mei Lee, a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. And as if changes to her interests, relationships, and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which for a teenager is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda.
Turning Red is directed by Academy Award winner Domee Shi (Pixar short Bao) and produced by Lindsey Collins (WALL·E). Pixar’s newest feature will hit theaters on March 11, 2022.