Despite the increase in the number of Pixar movies over the last 10 years, in 2022, we’re only getting one. Elemental, Peter Sohn’s first Pixar film since the rare total misfire, The Good Dinosaur, hits theaters next June, but the teaser trailer will give you a taste right now. Just don’t burn yourself.
Living on the Soul and Inside Out end of the Pixar spectrum, Elemental is another one of Pixar’s lowkey dalliances into myth-making. “The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in,” reads a press release. Much as Soul attempted to explain where inspiration comes from or how Inside Out personified emotions, Elemental does the same with the elements. Wind, water, fire, earth, and, presumably, heart will all get their own little humanoid representative in Element City, with the new kid in town, Ember (Leah Lewis), serving as our surrogate. As a fire thing, she has a harder time making friends, especially considering elements like earth are flammable and wind makes Ember grow.
Elemental comes at a strange time for Pixar. Despite the success of Turning Red, which went straight to Disney+, Pixar hit a critical and financial low point with Lightyear. Released last June, Lightyear was one of the few Pixar releases not to open at number one. Even more embarrassing, the studio was defeated by Jurassic World Dominion, a movie no one seemed to like, in its second week. It was the worst opening weekend for a Pixar release since Coco, and that movie was very good and went on to gross nearly $800 million.
Not counting the Disney+ releases, Lightyear is the worst-performing Pixar movie ever, failing to even top The Good Dinosaur. Can Elemental finally lure people back? Probably because its premise is not nearly as confusing as the Toy Story spin-off that wasn’t.
Elemental hits theaters on June 16.