For the third time since the beginning of the pandemic, Disney has decided to unceremoniously dump a Pixar animated feature film onto Disney Plus… while releasing its own Walt Disney Animation Studios films theatrically.
And Pixar employees are not happy about it.
Earlier this month, Disney announced that Pixar’s Turning Red would skip a theatrical release in favor of a debut on Disney Plus. It would also be “free” for subscribers, and will not incur an upcharge via Premiere Access.
Both Soul and Luca were released the same way, and Pixar employees were reportedly suffering low morale because of it.
When you contrast how Disney has handled the release of its own movies during the pandemic — Raya and the Last Dragon and Encanto — it’s even more insulting. Both Disney branded movies received a theatrical release. Raya and the Last Dragon was also available via Premiere Access.
Once known for producing the very best Disney had to offer, it’s almost as if Pixar has now been relegated to making the modern equivalent of direct-to-DVD “cheapquels.” The animators reportedly aren’t feeling the love from the Mouse House.
“It’s safe to say that we’re all feeling extremely disappointed,” one Pixar staffer, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the matter, 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.”
Another staffer, who also agreed to speak anonymously, on Sunday told Insider that it was a “shock” the movie, slated to come out March 11, got the straight-to-Disney+ treatment.
“Sucks, but I get it,” the staffer went on to say.
Pixar staff were similarly upset after Luca got the “Direct-to-Disney Plus” treatment last summer.
Many Disney animators have fled the Mouse House over the past few years, with some legends even landing deals with competitors like Netflix.
Could we see a similar mass exodus of Pixar staff in the not too distant future? Well, John Lasseter is hiring over at Skydance…
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