Pixar movies have come to be surefire box office successes for Walt Disney Studios over the years. Quite a few of its animated films, including 2018’s Incredibles 2 and 2018’s Toy Story 4, cracked $1 billion in worldwide earnings, along with many of its releases becoming beloved modern classics for all ages. But the latest Pixar films, Onward and Soul, have barely had a shot at the box office, and the studio’s upcoming Luca will be skipping theaters as well.
Disney has decided to launch the summer Pixar flick set in the Italian Riviera directly to all Disney+ subscribers this June. It will be a “special offering to kick-off the summer season” for the popular streaming service. Luca will show in theaters in the international markets where Disney+ is not yet available, with those specific premiere dates yet to be announced.
The decision follows the model the studio went with over the holiday season for Soul. Pixar’s prior release was a huge hit on Disney+, reportedly garnered 1.67 billion minutes of viewing time in its first week on the streaming platform, surpassing every other movie that premiered during that week. Soul did get a theatrical release overseas and became so successful in China that it’s now the second-highest-grossing Pixar movie of all time in the country.
Releasing Luca exclusively on Disney+ does give the streaming service an exclusive Disney title to bring fans back to the site. However, it does come at the cost of the beautiful and bright animation of the coming-of-age film being reduced to at-home viewing at a time when movie theaters are expected to be back in the swing of things.
Luca is tapped to be a heartwarming story about the friendship between two teen boys who happen to be sea monsters from another world. Check out the trailer for Luca:
Luca is directed by Enrico Casarosa, who was inspired to make the movie following a personal connection to the material. It will feature the voice talents of Room’s Jacob Tremblay, Shazam! actor Jack Dylan Grazer, SNL alum Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan. The movie was initially set to hit theaters on June 18 – instead it will solely come to Disney+ on the same date.
With the Luca announcement, Disney also made the decision to release Cruella both in theaters and Disney+ with Premier Access on May 28 and move Black Widow to July, with the day-and-date $30 Premier Access option also available for Disney+ subscribers. The studio also moved the release dates for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Free Guy, Death on the Nile, Deep Water and The King’s Man.
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