Disney and Pixar are taking their animated feature Turning Red off of the theatrical release schedule, opting instead to debut the film on the Disney+ streaming service on March 11, the date it was expected to bow in theaters.
The rationale for the movie given by Disney stems from concerns over the rising wave of the COVID-19 omicron variant and how it could affect theaters in the coming weeks. In a statement released today, the studio stated –
Given the delayed box office recovery, particularly for family films, flexibility remains at the core of our distribution decisions as we prioritize delivering the unparalleled content of The Walt Disney Co. to audiences around the world.
This is the fourth Pixar release to have its release altered by the COVID pandemic. Onward was released on March 6, 2020, just one week before theaters around the country closed their doors in response to the first wave of the pandemic. By March 20th, Disney had the film available on VOD and available as part of the library on Disney+ on April 3. Soul and Luca both bypassed theaters in favor of being premiered on the streaming service. The last Pixar film to have a normal theatrical release was 2019’s Toy Story 4.
Disney’s press release synopsizes the story thusly –
Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda!
Being Red is the feature debut for director Domee Shi, who won an Academy Award for animated short film Bao, which Pixar also released.