At the beginning of the new year, Disney and Pixar announced their next featured film, Turning Red, would be skipping a theatrical release and would premiere exclusively on Disney+ on March 11th. Now, several staff members at Pixar Animation Studios have shared that the news was “a blow to the studio” and shared that many hard-working team members are disappointed in the decision to release the film on Disney+ with no theatrical run.
One anonymous staffer shared with Insider, “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 anonymous staff member added that the team doesn’t think the decision is inherently “wrong” since the COVID resurgence has been so strong, but sympathized with the feeling of disappointment.
On the production side of things, another factor causing disappointment for the studio staff is that only will Turning Red feature the first tween/teen Asian female protagonist, the movie is also the first Pixar film to have an all-female lead production team.
The news is a bit shocking, given that other Disney-owned and operated studios have opted to postpone theatrical releases as cases rise. Turning Red will also mark the third film by Pixar that skipped theaters for a Disney+ exclusive premiere following the previous releases of Soul and Luca, with many fans wondering “Why are Pixar movies being pushed to streaming while others simply wait for theaters?”
Despite the Pixar staff’s concerns, Disney remains optimistic about Turning Red‘s release on Disney+, sharing:
“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. “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.”
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Featured Photo Credit: Disney-Pixar