Disney to Premiere "Soul," "Turning Red," and "Luka" in Theaters

The Walt Disney Company is changing course and releasing three Pixar films theatrically that originally debuted on streaming platforms.

The studio announced today that moviegoers will be able to experience these Pixar films "the way they should be seen." These films will be released in limited release on different dates in early 2024.

Soul, Luca, and Turning Red were streamed on Disney+ from 2020-2022. Soul's streaming release was out of necessity, as theaters closed at the height of the pandemic, while the other two films were part of a questionable strategy by former Disney CEO Bob Chapek to prioritize "feeding that [Disney+] machine" over theatrical release as designated for streaming debuts.

However, Chapek's strategy backfired spectacularly. Especially since Disney continued to release its own Disney Animation Studios films theatrically. Some Pixar employees felt that Disney devalued the Pixar brand and created a tiered system that prioritized some of the company's animated films over others. The fact that all three of Pixar's films were boldly original concepts, and that Pete Docter's "Soul" even won two Academy Awards, only added to the insult.

Several Pixar employees anonymously complained to the media, but Doctor, the studio's chief creative officer, blasted the misguided Disney+ strategy in a recent interview. "There is an overall change in viewing habits as a result of the pandemic," Doctor told the New York Times, "but it's also specific to Disney+." We've been telling people, "Hey, all of this is going to be available on Disney+!" "


Disney's decision to release these films early next year is an attempt to restore the prestige of the Pixar brand ahead of the release of the high-profile sequel, Inside Out 2. Additionally, Disney is taking advantage of a lull in the theatrical release calendar. Currently, only one animated film, "Kung Fu Panda 4," will be released theatrically in the first four months of next year, creating an opportunity to release a family-friendly film during this void.

Below is the release schedule for the three feature films and the short films that will be shown before each: