Just two months before its planned March 11th theatrical release, Disney has had a change of heart. The film will now be debuting on Disney+.
This is both surprising and not surprising at all.
It’s surprising because this is now the third Pixar film after SOUL and LUCA to skip theaters. The first two were mostly out of necessity since theaters were largely shut down. But theaters are open now, and SING 2 demonstrated that an animated family film can do solid business in theaters during a pandemic.
On the other hand, the move makes sense, given that the film has struggled to build awareness despite the release of two trailers (grey bars below).
Awareness has hovered in the low to mid-teens for over five months. When we add in Pixar’s upcoming LIGHTYEAR (light yellow), you can begin to see how much lower the numbers are for RED.
Still, this is a curious move, given that Pixar has been the gold standard in animation for over 25 years. With RED coming after SOUL, LUCA, and ONWARD before that, the studio could find itself with four films in a row that failed to generate much of a cultural impact.