Since the release of Toy Story 2, Pixar Animation Studios held fast to one rule: No straight-to-video feature-length films. One score later, fans still have not seen a new Pixar film go straight to DVD, but they aren’t hitting the theaters either, and its storytellers are letting people know that it is not their idea.
Shortly after Disney announced that Pixar’s latest feature, Turning Red, would go straight to Disney+, it became clear that the decision was not their idea:
“It’s safe to say that we’re all feeling extremely disappointed,” one Pixar staffer told Insider Friday after Disney made the announcement. “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.”
According to Insider, this disappointment–and full-on frustration–brewing in Pixar is nothing new, with reports of staffers discontent on the matter reaching as far back as April 2021. Yes, fans still flocked to the streaming service to watch Soul and Luca, and that accessibility appears to have only increased Pixar’s popularity and the number of Disney+ subscribers. And, thanks to changes among the Academy, Disney+ releases are Oscar-eligible.
Perhaps the most daunting revelation of Turning Red‘s turn of events is that Pixar does not have the final say in how they share their work with us, fans. It comes down to the Chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, Kareem Daniel, who explained to the media:
“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.'”
As the situation with the Omicron COVID variant continues to steer people–both movie makers and viewers–away from the cinemas, Pixar staff seem to understand that it makes sense to opt for a Disney+ release over theaters.
“With Omicron infections so high, I haven’t heard anyone say the decision to pivot tois wrong,” said one staffer to the Insider.
“Sucks, but I get it,” said another.
However, as movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home near and even meet pre-pandemic box office numbers, and highly-anticipated Pixar projects like Lightyear get closer and closer to release, one can’t help but wonder if Pixar’s cinema-quality films will ever get another theatrical release or if the powers at be will resign them to being a Disney+ cash cow.
What do you think? Would you rather see Pixar films in movie theaters, or do you prefer to see them on Disney+? Let us know in the comments!