Late last year, it appeared like movie studios were bent on returning to theatrical debuts for all films for the first time since the pandemic began, but Disney has revealed a change of plans for Pixar’s Turning Red, an upcoming family film. Instead of being released in theatres on March 11th, it will instead “premiere exclusively in homes worldwide” on Disney Plus on the same day.
There are no plans for a Premier Access video-on-demand system like the one Mulan received. Instead, it will be made available to all subscribers in the same way as Pixar’s last two animated films, Soul and Luca, were made available to all subscribers (the Disney Animation production Encanto premiered in theatres for Thanksgiving, with a 30-day run that saw it arrive on Disney Plus in time for Christmas).
In September, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution chairman Kareem Daniel was seen announcing theatrical releases for a slew of 2021 films, but now says, “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.”
While Spider-Man: No Way Home shattered box office records less than a month ago, a rise in COVID-19 instances caused by the omicron version, as well as poor performances by non-Spider-Man films, may force some films to return to streaming. Or, like Sony Pictures’ Morbius, which just moved its release date from January 28th to April 1st, they could be forced into yet another round of lengthy delays.