The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire industry from the very top right down to the bottom, but Pixar were hit harder than most in terms of nothing but the revenue the studio lost out on. Prior to last year, only four of their previous 21 movies earned less than $400 million at the box office, but theaters around the world closed their doors just a couple of weeks after Onward arrived, causing the whimsical fantasy to be shuffled onto VOD.
Soul, meanwhile, was released onto Disney Plus on Christmas Day, but it did manage to score a big screen release internationally where it brought in $116 million. However, a new report now claims that the animation powerhouse are unhappy with the strategies being put in place by Disney’s new CEO Bob Chapek, which are allegedly cutting Pixar out of the theatrical loop.
“Pixar are also angry and confused by the leadership’s recent decisions such as putting all their new films straight onto Disney Plus. ‘All their movies have been released on D+ [Disney Plus] and they want them in cinemas,’ a source detailed.”
Looking at the facts, the studio have three films set for release between now and next summer, and only one of them is skipping theaters. Coming-of-age comedy Luca was initially scheduled to roll out to multiplexes around the world on June 18th, but in March it was announced that it would debut exclusively on Disney Plus instead.
Turning Red and Toy Story spinoff Lightyear are both getting the big screen treatment in March and June of next year, though, so it’s not as if the Pixar model has been turned upside down. Soul and Luca heading to Disney Plus were direct results of the pandemic, and by all accounts, the upcoming slate of projects will all be playing in theaters, so it’s hardly as if Chapek has come in and torn up the playbook when extenuating circumstances have been responsible for what will ultimately be only two of Pixar’s five most recent efforts premiering on the small screen.