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Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’ Going Direct to Disney+

Young girl walking down sidewalk in Chinatown with a trolley nearby

Disney announced today that Pixar’s upcoming feature Turning Red will skip theatres and be released straight to Disney+ on March 11.

The film will be made available to all subscribers at no additional charge. This is Pixar’s third feature to be released straight to Disney+, following Soul and Luca.

(In markets where Disney+ is not yet available, theatrical release dates are forthcoming.) 

It has been previously reported that some Pixar artists who worked on those films were disheartened by Disney’s strategy, believing that the films should have been held back until the situation improved.

“These movies are crafted for the big screen,” an unnamed Pixar employee told Insider (via IGN). “We want you to watch these movies with no distractions, no looking at your phones.”

Another complaint was that by not charging a Premiere Access fee to access the movies upon release, Disney was devaluing Pixar’s tentpoles.

Giant red panda in a room with three other characters who look befuddled to see it there

I wouldn’t expect the disappointment to be any less pronounced this time around. Turning Red would have benefited from theatrical presentation, especially given the enormous dimensions of its main character (well, sometimes).

Today’s announcement attributed the decision to the “delayed box office recovery, particularly for family films”—code for the uncertainty brought by the current worldwide surge in Omicron infections.

(Turning Red is set in Toronto, where theatres have again been shut due to skyrocketing hospitalizations among the unvaccinated. Don’t get me started.)

Four characters from Pixar's Turning Red posing with silly faces on a street

If there is any silver lining to this is that at least we won’t have to wait to enjoy the film, even if it is at home. And there’s nothing to say we can’t get a big-screen release sometime in the future.

About the film:

Disney and Pixar’s “Turning Red” 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! Directed by Academy Award winner Domee Shi (Pixar short “Bao”) and produced by Lindsey Collins “Turning Red” releases on March 11, 2022.