Pixar Employees Reportedly Demoralized By Luca & Soul Disney+ Releases

Disney’s decisions to release Pixar’s latest original films straight to Disney+ with no additional charge has left an impact on the employees.

Pixar employees are feeling demoralized after their most recent two releases, Soul and Luca, have been sent straight to Disney+. Pixar Animation is one of the pillars of the Walt Disney Corporation, and in 2006 was one of the first major purchases Bob Iger made as CEO of the company at $7.4 billion, which was more than what the company would pay for Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm. The studio’s releases were so prestigious that Toy Story 2, originally planned as a direct-to-video movie was upgraded to a theatrical release when the screening impressed the studio executives.

Pixar’s Onward was released on March 6, 2020, a week before theaters shut-down due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Disney then decided to release the film on Disney+ a month later and tried to hold off on Soul, delaying its release twice. It then finally decided to release the film on the streaming service on Christmas Day. Soul has so far gone on to be an awards season powerhouse, having won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film and being nominated for Best Animated Picture at the Academy Awards. Luca was slated for theatrical release on June 18, 2021, but as the date grew closer and the conditions of theaters and audiences’ desire to return was more up in the air, Disney shifted its schedule and Luca would become a Disney+ exclusive.

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Related: Soul Isn’t An Adult Movie (You Just Don’t Get Pixar)

Matthew Melloni, the former editorial director of THR, shared on Twitter that he spoke to a friend at Pixar who says Disney’s latest decision to release Soul and Luca to Disney+ has left many of the employees feeling demoralized. The Pixar films are offered for no additional charge, unlike other properties like Raya and the Last Dragon from Disney Animation or Black Widow from Marvel Studios, which will have the $30 Premier Access. Reportedly, this decision has left the employees feeling their work is neither good enough for theaters or to be charged extra. Read Belloni’s tweet below:

Disney still sees a lot of value in Pixar, and it appears they want the studio to have a bigger presence on Disney+. Currently, the app features the popular short series, Forky Asks a Question, based around the character introduced in Toy Story 4. The studio’s first fully animated series, Monsters At Work, is set to premiere on the streaming service on July 2, 2021, and in 2022 an animated series focused on Cars characters, Lightning McQueen and Mater, will air on the site. Upcoming feature films like Turning Red and Lightyear are still expected to hit theaters in 2022, yet all release dates and plans are subject to change.

Pixar was always known for creating new, exciting stories and characters, and apart from Toy Story, the company rarely made sequels. Yet in the 2010s, the studio expanded its franchise with sequels to Cars, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and a prequel to Monsters Inc. Of the eleven films released in the last decade, only four were original films: Brave, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and Coco. 2020 was the beginning of Pixar moving away from sequels to original ideas. Now, titles like Soul and Luca are, in Disney’s eyes, a harder sell in a crowded theater landscape and easy picks for Disney+ Originals. Fans can only hope that this doesn’t discourage Pixar from making more original titles, or that Disney only sees sequels, remakes, and spin-offs as worthy of theatrical distribution.

Next: Why Luca’s Disney+ Release Is Better Than A Delay For Pixar

: Matthew Belloni

  • Luca (2021)Release date: Jun 18, 2021
  • Turning Red (2022)Release date: Mar 11, 2022
  • Lightyear (2022)Release date: Jun 17, 2022

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