Pixar Plans To Go Back To Theatrical Releases With 2022's 'Turning Red'

There's a new Pixar movie arriving this weekend, and you won't be able to see it in theaters. Instead, it's going right to Disney+ – and not even Disney+ with Premier Access, like so many other big Disney movies dropping on the streaming service this year. Is this the new normal for Pixar? Apparently not. A new report reveals that the animation studio is planning a return to the big screen in 2022 with their upcoming movie Turning Red.

A Return to Theaters in 2022

The news that Turning Red will mark Pixar's return to theaters next year comes from Insider, with one source telling the publication, "The studio's hope is we go back to normal with Turning Red." Behind the scenes, folks at Pixar have been unhappy with how Disney is currently handling their releases, with its most recent films like Soul and Luca getting dropped on Disney+. There was hope within Pixar that Luca, the latest Pixar movie, would mark the studio's return to theaters. But that didn't happen. Instead, Luca is going straight to Disney+. And while other recent non-Pixar Disney+ releases like CruellaRaya and the Last Dragon, and the upcoming Black Widow will be available via Premier Access, which requires subscribers to shell out extra money to watch, that's not the case with Luca. Instead, Pixar's latest will be available to subscribers at no extra cost.

While that's good news for folks who don't want to pay the extra money, it sends a signal that Disney is somehow indifferent to their Pixar releases. To be fair, Luca is headed to at least one theater in California, but that's obviously not the same thing as a normal theatrical release. Last year, Soul became the first Pixar feature to skip theaters entirely.

Turning Red (And Beyond)

Turning Red comes from director Domee Shi, who became the first woman to direct a Pixar short with the poignant 2018 short BaoTurning Red will be Pixar's 25th feature film and follows Mei Lee, "a confident, dorky thirteen-year-old torn between staying her mother's dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. And as if changes to her interests, relationships, and body weren't enough, whenever she gets too excited (which for a teenager is practically ALWAYS), she 'poofs' into a giant red panda."

Typical Hollywood, going back to the old "teenage girl who turns into a red panda" well. We've seen it before!

But seriously, folks, if Turning Red does go to theaters in 2022, it will be Pixar's first theatrical release after the forgettable Onward, which hit theaters on March 6, 2020, before being made available digitally. Currently, Turning Red is set for a March 11, 2022 release date. It'll be followed in June 2022 by Lightyear, the Buzz Lightyear origin story featuring the voice of Chris Evans.