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Pixar’s Puberty Movie Will Skip Theaters, Hit Disney+. Why Are People Mad?

Pixar has not had a movie in theaters for almost two years.

Disney announced that Turning Red, the newest Pixar film, will be skipping theaters and will only be available to stream on Disney+. Here is everything you need to know about the divisive decision.

What Is Turning Red About?

Mei Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), is a confident, driven 13-year-old who is surprised to discover that her journey through puberty is turning into a giant red panda anytime she experiences intense emotions.

When Will Turning Red Be Released?

The newest Pixar film will be available to stream on Disney+ on March 11. Turning Red was originally expected to be released in theaters as well but announced last Friday that it would be opting to only make the film available for Disney+ subscribers.

Why Is Turning Red Skipping Theaters?

Outside of a few notable exceptions (primarily MCU titles and the occasional blockbuster like Dune), most movies have massively underperformed at the box office during the pandemic. And considering the record-breaking number of reported cases of COVID this week, it is unlikely that Disney is optimistic about Turning Red bringing in the green. So instead, Turning Red will follow the path of Soul and Luca and only be available on Disney+, with the hope that it will generate interest for the streaming platform.

Why Is There Controversy Surrounding the Decision?

According to Insider, a number of Pixar staffers are unhappy with Turning Red not getting a theatrical release. One anonymous Pixar employee told Insider that everyone was “extremely disappointed” by Disney’s announcement.

“Until today,” they explained, “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 employee said they were “shocked” by the announcement but was a bit more diplomatic, saying “it sucks but I get it.” The frustration is certainly understandable, as Pixar has not had a theatrical release since 2019’s Onward, which disappointed at the box office in large part due to the pandemic.

Some fans have expressed their disappointment about the announcement, saying that Pixar is getting the short end of the stick while Disney animated films like Encanto get theatrical releases

But others have supported the move, noting that Soul and Luca both benefitted from exclusively being available on Disney+ and even arguing that Encanto did not become a massive hit until it reached the streaming platform.