Pixar has announced that its latest film, Domee Shi’s coming-of-age comedy Turning Red, will be skipping the theaters, and will instead debut this March on Disney+.
It’s been nearly three years now since Onward—the last Pixar film to get anything resembling a wide theatrical release—became one of the first cinematic victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite drawing generally strong reviews for its story of family and grief in a magical world, Dan Scanlon’s film brought in a meager $141.9 million at the box office, making it significantly less successful than Pixar’s previous biggest flop, The Good Dinosaur—which at least managed to make its budget back in 2015.
That probably helps explain why Disney and Pixar have been so comfortable turning the last two Pixar projects (Soul and Luca) over to the relative safety of Disney+, where they can bolster the streaming service’s profile without having to worry about breaking even at a tumultuous box office.
Now Turning Red will join them in aforementioned streaming safety. The film stars Rosalie Chiang as a 13-year-old girl dealing with peer pressure, teenager drama, and a loving but over-bearing mother (played by Sandra Oh). Also: Any time she gets too excited, she turns into a giant red panda bear, as one does.
The film is Shi’s first feature. She’s been with Pixar since 2015's Inside Out, before gaining more widespread recognition (and an Oscar!) for her 2018 short film Bao, which played in front of The Incredibles 2—and which also, probably not coincidentally, dealt with themes of independence and parental protectiveness.
Turning Red will arrive on Disney+ on March 11. Disney hasn’t explicitly said whether the film will get the “paid premium” treatment applied to films like Mulan and Black Widow on the service, but given that both Luca and Soul were released for free to subscribers on their day of release, we’re betting not. The film will run in theaters in countries where Disney+ has yet to roll out.