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Turning Red's Director Opens Up About How It Felt For The Movie To Shift From The Big Screen To Disney+

Mei as a giant red panda partying in Turning Red
(Image credit: Pixar Animation)

Turning Red marks the third Pixar feature film to be released during the pandemic and it also marks the third Pixar movie to be released directly to Disney+ rather than opening in theaters. While some pretty big movies are opening in theaters, and doing quite well, Pixar is skipping theaters again. And director Domee Shi and producer Lindsey Collins are being quite open about their unhappiness, even if they understand the decison.

In the end, the filmmakers behind Turning Red are happy that the movie is being seen, so they’re happy Disney+ exists as an option to do that. But director Domee Shi doesn’t mince words when she tells TechRadar that the movie was made for big screen exhibition. Shi explains… 

You know, it's a lot of emotions. We made this movie with the intention of it being seen on the big screen but, you know, shit happens. With Covid, this seems like the best possible way to deliver the movie to the most amount of eyeballs safely in the world.

At this point, while the global pandemic is technically still happening, we appear to be in a period where things aren’t as bad as they once were. People are going to the movies again, and in significant numbers. However, since Disney needed to make a decision on how to release Turning Red months ago, the company had to make the best decision it could at the time, and the decision was made to err on the side of caution.

The last big animated release from Disney prior to Turning Red was Encanto, which was released in theaters, but only became a cultural phenomenon when it was released on Disney+ a month later. Clearly, there were people who were still not excited about going to the theater at that point, which makes it a good thing that Disney+ is there as an option. Producer Lindsey Collins is glad that people will see the movie, but admits it “kind of sucks” that there is no theatrical release. Collins says…

The last thing we wanted was to have something out in the world, but nobody able to see it. We're glad Disney Plus came along, because we don't know what we would've done without it. But it still kind of sucks that we can't release this in theaters.

We have yet another Pixar movie set to launch in just a couple of months. Lightyear is set to open in June and with Turning Red now out in the world. Pixar will be making decisions about the marketing for that movie right around now. We could see it also hit Disney+ or we could see it be the first Pixar movie in over two years released in theaters.  

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.