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Dear Disney: Give Turning Red, Soul & Luca Limited Theatrical Releases

On March 6th, Disney and Pixar released Onward, and a mere five days later, on March 11th, the CDC officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, the movie industry has been floundering and struggling to come to terms with the fact that they needed to answer the streaming questions way earlier than they thought they would. One of the ways that Disney decided to address the problem early on was to give Onward a digital release on March 20th, and it went to Disney+ on April 3rd. Back then, we all thought this little thing would be over soon, but as the weeks turned into months, it became apparent that this would be an ongoing thing, and Disney needed to adapt.

"Onward" Review: A Love Letter to All Things Fantasy, D&D, and Family
Onward Poster. © 2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

By the time the end of 2020 rolled around, the writing was on the wall, and we knew that the pandemic wasn't going to just go away overnight. Disney began to pivot a decent amount of their movies from theatrical to streaming. Most of these were "years after the fact" sequels or live-action remakes, but Pixar's Soul was sent straight to Disney+ at the end of 2020, followed by two more Pixar movies going to Disney+, Luca in June of 2021 and Turning Red in March 2022. As of this month, it has been two years since we've seen a Pixar movie on the big screen, and while the current plan is to have Lightyear released in theaters this summer, the last three Pixar movies deserve the spotlight. Onward even deserves another chance for people to see it in theaters because everything shut down less than two weeks after the movie came out.

So Disney should give these three Pixar movies; all three are very good for their own reasons, time on the big screen to shine. That doesn't mean they need full-blown theatrical releases that last weeks and weeks. Fathom Events has done limited runs of movies for years, and Disney themselves have done marathons of Star Wars or Marvel movies in the lead-up to new releases. Perhaps a triple feature of three animated films might be a bit too much if you want to bring in a kid audience, but each movie could have a weekend or a week-long run of having shows in theaters. Maybe a double feature of Onward and Soul and another double feature of Luca and Turning Red could be options as well. During the summer, people are always looking for reasons to get out of the heat, and getting able to see something like Soul or Turning Red or Luca or Onward might make for a nice break.

Dear Disney: Give Turning Red, Soul & Luca Limited Theatrical Releases
L-R: Turning Red Poster. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved. | Soul Poster. © 2020 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved. | Luca Poster. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

While it is very much likely not Disney's intention to give Pixar the short end of the stick, the fact that all of their movies have gone directly to streaming while films like Raya and the Last Dragon and Encanto have gotten some measure of a theatrical release can't be good for morale over at the studio. Turning Red, Luca, Onward, and Soul are beautiful, moving, heartbreaking, and heartwarming pieces of art that the animator poured their lives into for many years. Of course, no one could have seen COVID-19 happening and of course, it was responsible for Disney and every other studio to delay and pivot to streaming for the sake of public health. However, these movies have been in development for years, and people who want to see them in the format they were initially made to be seen in should have the option. If nothing else, it's more money in Disney's pocket, and why would anyone ever turn down that?

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 was released on March 11th, 2022.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on Twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on Instagram.
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