Director Domee Shi directed 2018’s Academy Award winner Pixar short Bao. The movie Turning Red marks Shi’s first feature debut. Turning Red is set in Toronto Canada, where thirteen-year-old Mei Lee starts to experience new changes in her coming of age story. Whenever she gets too excited or too stressed, she transforms into a giant red panda. Her connection with the red panda may be due to her ancestor’s mystical connection to the red pandas.
Turning Red was set to be released into theaters on March 11, 2022. But Disney announced on Friday, January 7, that Turning Red will be its third Pixar movie sent straight to streaming on Disney Plus.
Pixar staff members have spoken with Insider on the recent disappointment that its newest movie would be moving straight to Disney Plus. Some of the Disney staff were excited for it to finally be Disney’s official return to theaters: “Until today, we all thought Turning Red would be our return to the big screen, and everyone at the studio was so excited about it being this film in particular. It was quite a blow.”
The Disney staff understands that the newest Omicron infections are high, and the record number of children hospitalized because of the variant. In an anonymous interview with another Pixar staff member, they said, “With Omicron infections so high, I haven’t heard anyone say the decision to pivot to streaming is wrong,” said the anonymous Pixar staff member.
Disney Plus subscribers can look forward to Turning Red on Disney Plus on March 11.