Last Friday, The Walt Disney Company made the not-so-shocking announcement that like Onward, Soul, and Luca, Pixar’s newest original film Turning Red will debut exclusively on Disney+. While the surge in the omicron variant played a major factor in the move, another reason that was pointed out was Luca did wonderful streaming numbers for Disney+ last year and helped drive subscriber numbers.
The news did lead many to wonder how the staff at Pixar feels about another one of their projects skipping theaters for Disney+. One Pixar staffer told Insider on Friday, “It’s safe to say that we’re all feeling extremely disappointed. 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 member of the staff told the site that they were “shocked” to see Turning Red jump to Disney+ but kept a level head simply stating “Sucks, but I get it.” Staffers at Pixar are more disappointed than anything, but at the end of the day they understand the times we are in at the moment. One Pixar staffer explains, “With Omicron infections so high, I haven’t heard anyone say the decision to pivot to streaming is wrong.”
Despite all the sadness, the good things to come out of all this is families can safely watch this new Pixar film in the comfort of their own homes. It will likely boost streaming numbers and gain new and keep existing subscribers. March will be a stacked month for the streamer with Cheaper By The Dozen and a major unannounced project also debuting. One thing I can share is that I heard there was a screening for Turning Red recently and the response was reportedly “through the roof,” one source shared with me.
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.