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Pixar’s next movie Turning Red headed straight to Disney Plus

It’s the studio’s third consecutive feature to debut on the streaming platform

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Turning Red: Mei explodes into red panda form Image: Pixar
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

After the one-two punch of Soul and Luca, March’s Turning Red was supposed to help Pixar bounce back to the theatrical release game. But likely due to the recent surges in COVID-19 cases across the United States, that won’t be the case: Disney announced on Friday that the movie will premiere exclusively on Disney Plus on March 11.

“Disney Plus subscribers around the world enthusiastically embraced Pixar’s Academy Award-winning Soul and the critically-acclaimed Luca when they premiered exclusively on the service and we look forward to bringing them Pixar’s next incredible feature film Turning Red,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman, Disney media & entertainment distribution in a statement. “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.”

Turning Red marks the feature directorial debut of Domee Shi, who previously won an Academy Award for her work on the Pixar short Bao. Set in Toronto, Shi’s hometown, the film follows 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.” While her mother (voiced by Sandra Oh) looms, Mei discovers that, along with all the other changes that come with being a teenager, she also has the power to change into a giant red panda when she gets too excited. As one might imagine, it gets a little awkward.

Previous trailers for Turning Red teased a big, colorful adventure and some of the more vivid human characters in Pixar history. While the film’s destiny as a Disney Plus exclusive takes away the eye-popping possibilities of seeing it on the big screen, the release means animation fans everywhere will be able to see the film safely from the comfort of their home when the movie hits this spring.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Turning Red takes place in San Francisco. The film actually takes place in Toronto. We apologize to all Canadians for this erasure.

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