On Friday, Disney announced that is newest animated feature “Turning Red” would skip theaters and debut exclusively for free on its streaming service on March 11.
The family-friendly film about a young girl that transforms into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited will follow the same path other Pixar films “Soul” and “Luca” took during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move isn’t too surprising considering families have been slow to return to theaters, even after vaccinations became widely available to children. In fact, no animated film has surpassed $100 million domestically since March 2020.
The top earners so far have been Universal’s “Sing 2,” released in late December, which has tallied $97 million and Disney’s “Encanto,” released over the Thanksgiving holiday, which has garnered around $92 million in ticket sales, according to data from Comscore.
“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 Company to audiences around the world,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney’s media and entertainment distribution, in a statement obtained by Variety.
Representatives for Disney did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
“Turning Red” is directed by Domee Shi, who created the Pixar short “Bao.” The film marks the first time that a Pixar project has been solely directed by a woman.
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