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These Lockdown-Era Pixar Movies Are Getting a Second Chance at Theatrical Life

Three girls looking up at their friend who has transformed into a giant red panda in a scene from the animated film 'Turning Red'

Remember lockdown when we finally got more Pixar movies with non-white protagonists so Coco wouldn’t have to do all the heavy lifting? Remember how they were buried because they were only released on Disney+ and weren’t marketed well? Well, we’re finally getting to see them on the big screen!

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As reported by Variety, Disney and Pixar will be releasing Soul, Turning Red, and Luca in theaters for the very first time in early 2024. Soul is up first, arriving in theaters on January 12, followed by Turning Red on February 9, and Luca on March 22. Check out the trailer for the releases below:

This is great news, as it will allow all three movies to get an all-new marketing push and reach an even wider audience. It will also allow those of us who have already enjoyed the films on Disney+ to experience these gorgeous Pixar films on the big screen. As big and crisp as many of our home TV screens can be, seeing the beautiful artistry of these animated films on a movie screen takes the experience to a whole new level. Getting the kids out of the house for a couple of hours is just a bonus.

All of this is leading to Pixar’s next new release, Inside Out 2, which we’ll be able to catch in theaters on June 14.

Not only will we be able to see these animated features in theaters but they, like every other Pixar release, will be accompanied by animated shorts that until now have only been available on streaming. The adorable short “Burrow,” about a bunny trying to design her perfect home, will accompany Soul. The SparkleShort “Kitbull,” about the heartbreaking and heartwarming friendship between a kitten and a pit bull, will accompany the BFFs of Turning Red. Luca will be preceded by the classic 2000 animated short “For the Birds,” which originally accompanied Monsters, Inc. and won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film that year.

Image from the animated short, 'Burrow.' A mole comes through the dirt wall in a bunny's underground burrow to shake the bunny's hand. The bunny is shocked and drops the shovel they're holding.
A scene from ‘Burrow’ (Pixar)

Despite all the hand-wringing that both the industry and the general public have done about whether people are still into going to the theater to see films, it seems like the intense worry is a bit unfounded. Sure, there’s been a bit of “training” where the movie-viewing public has gotten used to the convenience of being able to view films in the comfort of their own homes on their own timetable.

But I’d like to mention that releasing films for home viewing at the same time as theatrical release is so important for accessibility. There are plenty of chronically ill and disabled people who can’t enjoy the movie theater experience. Why should they be denied being in on the cultural conversation with everyone else when we have the technology and infrastructure to make things accessible for them more immediately?

Much like the “death of the bookstore” has been greatly exaggerated, the death of theater-going doesn’t seem to be happening, either. Changing, perhaps, but it isn’t going away. For example, despite Pixar’s Elemental being deemed a box-office failure when it was first released, it reportedly became profitable over time, bringing in $500 million globally.

What seems to be changing is the need to focus on opening weekend numbers, which might be less important to a film’s ultimate financial success than a slow burn fueled by quality and word-of-mouth. This is how movies used to work. Films used to be in theaters seemingly forever, and people could catch them in the theater months after they’d been released. You’d think that with the advent of multiplexes, more films would get this treatment, but that’s not what happened.

Instead, a multiplex will show the same film on multiple screens, and depending on how well it does, it will only be there for a couple of weeks before it’s cycled out and another tentpole movie takes its place. Studios pin everything on certain movies, focus only on their opening weekends, and then wonder why no one goes to the theater anymore. God forbid you don’t have the time to see a movie the weekend it opens because it becomes a crapshoot after that.

Anyway, I’m thrilled that these three films will be getting new life via theatrical release, as they are all beautiful in their own ways. Though I’ll admit, I’m most excited to see Turning Red in theaters because it spoke directly to my former boy-band-loving tween heart.

Which Pixar film are you most excited to see on the big screen?

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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