Well, it has been confirmed what some have thought or feared. Pixar Animation Studios’ Turning Red, which was set to hit theaters in March, will now release exclusively on Disney+ starting March 11, 2022.
In a statement from Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, the studio states that the move was made due to a delayed box office recovery from the ongoing pandemic and the rises in cases from the omicron variant. “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’. 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.”
Turning Red becomes the third Pixar movie to receive a Disney+ exclusive release following 2020’s Onward and Soul and 2021’s Luca. There have been reports that staff at Pixar have been frustrated with their features moving to streaming, while Disney Animation Studios’ last two films Raya and the Last Dragon and Encanto received a theatrical release. It is currently unknown what Pixar will do with Lightyear, which comes out in June. Though, there is no rush for decision-making on that project for now.
The film introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships, and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda.
Joining previously announced Rosalie Chiang and Sandra Oh, who lend their voices to Mei and her mother Ming, are Orion Lee as the voice of Mei’s dad, Jin, and Wai Ching Ho as the voice of Grandma. Mei’s tightknit group of friends are voiced by Ava Morse as Miriam, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Priya, and Hyein Park as Abby. Tristan Allerick Chen voices classmate Tyler, and Addie Chandler lends his voice to Mei’s secret crush Devon. Providing the harmonious voices of the members of 4*Town are Jordan Fisher, Grayson Villanueva, Josh Levi, Topher Ngo and Finneas O’Connell. Rounding out the voice cast are James Hong, Lori Tan Chinn, Lillian Lim, Mia Tagano, Sherry Cola, Sasha Roiz and Lily Sanfelippo.
GRAMMY-, Oscar- and Emmy-winning Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther, The Mandalorian) is composing the score for Turning Red.