Disney Announces Theatrical Releases for SOUL, LUCA, TURNING RED

Disney Announces Theatrical Releases for SOUL, LUCA, TURNING RED

By Movieguide® Contributor

Disney is giving three streaming-only movies the chance to hit theaters. 

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Pixar movies SOUL, LUCA and TURNING RED were all released exclusively on Disney+, but now, these movies are finally getting a theatrical debut. 

SOUL, LUCA and TURNING RED will all be shown in theaters starting in early 2024, “the way they were meant to be seen,” per a Disney press release.

SOUL will premiere on Jan. 12, while TURNING RED will start showing on Feb. 9. LUCA’s run begins on March 22.

A portion of the Movieguide® review for SOUL reads:

SOUL is more of an arthouse movie and, as such, has gotten some good reviews. However, children will be frightened as well as misled by some of the movie. Audiences may also find SOUL unfunny and hard to understand, because the plot’s too disjointed.

Movieguide®’s review for TURNING RED reads:

TURNING RED has a lively, fun plot and colorful animation. It also has a big finish, strong characters and some pro-family themes. However, the movie is marred by false theology, including references to ancestor worship, Zen Buddhism, magical transformations, and polytheism. Despite the conflict between Mei and her mother, the resolution of that conflict isn’t a rejection of family but ultimately an affirmation of the family ties that bind families together. Nevertheless, MOVIEGUIDE advises extreme caution for the false theology in TURNING RED.

LUCA’s Movieguide® review reads:

Though not as masterful as Pixar’s best movies, LUCA is a breezy, funny, heartwarming animated adventure. Ultimately, Alberto and Luca’s friendship, and the friendship they develop with the girl and her father, overcomes the town’s prejudice and Ercole’s selfish pride. LUCA, which is streaming on Disney Plus, also has some positive pro-family themes.

Disney and Pixar were criticized for putting movies on Disney+ without or shortly after a theatrical release. 

“We don’t want to be a title just on Disney Plus,” one anonymous staffer who worked on several Disney/Pixar movies told Business Insider. “These movies are crafted for the big screen. We want you to watch these movies with no distractions, no looking at your phones.”

While some pointed to this practice as the reason many movies failed financially, it’s important to note that movies that promote family values will always succeed.

Pete Docter, Pixar’s creative chief officer, also spoke about the shift from theater-going to waiting for a streaming release.

“In the long run, there’s been a bit of a mixed blessing because we’ve trained audiences that these films will be available for you on Disney+,” he told Variety. “And it’s more expensive for a family of four to go to a theater when they know they can wait and it’ll come out on the platform. 

Docter continued, “We’re trying to make sure people realize there’s a great deal you’re missing by not seeing it on the big screen. I think you feel it more and it’s a better experience. There’s the shared experience as well, that you get to see it in a room with strangers, and there’s something about the energy that comes from other people that makes the whole experience more vibrant and interesting.”

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