Turning Red Pulled From Theaters

Turning Red Pulled From Theaters

That is the trailer for Turning Red, and Pixar’s animators are doing exactly that.

This is Pixar’s third movie in a row to get pulled from theatrical distribution and dumped on Disney +.   Soul and Luca both got jerked from theaters “due to Covid,” and were sent straight to streaming.  

Now the pull and dump on Soul was understandable, there was genuine Corona panic when it was supposed to hit the big screen, (as opposed to the pretend panic we have now).    But that wasn’t the case by the time Luca was supposed to launch.

And at this point, it is no reason to pull a movie at all.   Spiderman has demonstrated that nobody cares about catching the Great Pestilence at theaters because Transformers Covid doesn’t need much of a viral load to give you the ten-day flu, it probably is spreading at grocery store lines now. 

So why did Disney pull Turning Red?

The normal reason would be that it was testing badly and would have tanked at the box office, not earning back the promotional money spent on it.  That is what Disney is more or less saying.

I’m calling BS on that one. 

The theater owners wouldn’t be this pissed at Disney if Turning Red was a dud.  

And any man who is genuinely familiar with female tastes can see that a big red, fluffy, cat-panda-teddybear thing is going to be a gigantic hit with little girls and wine-moms everywhere.  After Pixar’s last two movies, this one is very low risk in terms of box office appeal.  Sure, it’s Woke-washed but it looks cute enough to make money.  

Besides, the reputable rumor mills all say it was tracking well. 

Okay, so why pull it?

There are two reasons: business and politics.  


Disney is still absolutely desperate for content for its flagship streaming service.  In about 18 months there is going to be a flood of new shows on the service but for now it’s one new Marvel/Star Wars series every other month.  

And nobody is watching them.

While the Book of Boba Fett appears to have tanked hard. Encanto is doing great business for Mickey the Great and Terrible.  It’s currently the D+ flagship movie and We Don’t Talk About Bruno has become a novelty hit.  

Since series TV has fallen on its face for them, Disney is going with what worked last, which is a CG animated movie it pulled from theaters.


Bob Chapek has been putting down rebellious vassals since taking the Mouse Throne. All of the division studio heads have given him major trouble.  But he has one by one put down the revolts and brought them to heel.    Kathleen Kennedy made her deal.  Kevin Feige finally knelt and kissed the ring (although he is still holding a dagger behind his back).  Now, it’s Pixar’s turn.

Pixar is in as bad a shape as the other two but its problems haven’t been as highly visible. The studio is based in the too-Woke-to-be-functional Bay Area and these days it shows.  While it was once the king of computer animation, that was under the leadership of John Lasseter. And Lasseter (while a good California liberal) wasn’t anywhere near Woke enough for the new generation of animators he had hired.  He wasn’t that interested in Representation and Inclusivity at the expense of entertainment and that was what the poisonous little vipers he had gathered to his breast wanted.  The coup against him had Bob Iger’s blessing because he was all about kneecapping potential rivals for his job and Lasseter was the natural choice to take over for him *

The firing of John Lasseter proved to be a decapitation strike on Pixar.  Pete Docter is now the CEO but he doesn’t have anyting close to the creative vision or leadership of John Lasseter.  And speaking of the fallen king, Lasseter has been strip-mining the best talent out of his old company for his new gig at Skydance Animation.  Pixar is at this point looking more like a Portland sit-in than a subsidiary of Disney.  There have been frequent internal discussions by its employees as to how they can make Pixar an independent studio again.  There is no way in hell for them to do, for the simple and obvious reason that they are wholly owned by Mickey the Great and Terrible. It’s a stupid idea but they can’t shut up about it. 

The studio has gotten to do whatever it wanted to do since 2019 and for the most part it wanted to make “representative and inclusive art.”

Rather than money.

If I am being fair, neither Luca nor Soul was incompetent filmmaking but neither I nor (more importantly) my children were engaged with these films. There is nothing like Wall-E or the Incredibles anywhere on the horion. Like Marvel, Pixar has been prioritizing Progressive politics over money-making for years and Chapek has had enough.

In damaging Pixar’s theatrical revenue Budget-cut Bob has damaged Pixar’s ability to resist his will.  

The big question I have is, does the Disney CEO want to bring this subsidiary back up to speed as a moneymaker for Disney? Or is he simply going to shut down Pixar, sell off Renderman, and roll all IPs and resources into Disney Animation in Burbank?

It comes down to the big question of, can Pixar become even a shadow of what it used to be?

My best guess is that getting control of Pixar and then turning it around will require a strongly creative leader in charge of Disney and my left big toenail has more creativity than Bob Chapek.  

Turning Red is one more indication that Pixar is doomed.

*Iger was too worried about prince-candidates from the film side of things to pay attention to the Chairman of Parks and Experiences.  

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Comments (11)

  • Robert W Reply

    A grown up analysis of a grown up world. Well done Dark Herald.

    Doomcock, this is how it’s done. Take your rumor mojo and go home.

    January 10, 2022 at 3:25 pm
  • MrUNIVAC Reply

    IMHO, the last truly great Pixar movie was Coco, even if the B plot was ripped off from Up. Those two can still jerk tears out of me like nothing else. Despite being a lily-white New Englander, I’ve also loved the Day of the Dead holiday and all its imagery and pageantry ever since I first learned about it in fifth-grade Spanish class, so I was primed to love that movie even if it sucked.

    I think our host had marked Inside Out as the point where Pixar jumped the shark, but I thought it was pretty good. I would argue that Toy Story 3, despite being beloved, is where the creative spark started draining out of Pixar. To me, that’s the first instance of them making a sequel for business over creative reasons (e.g., because Mickey The Great And Terrible forced them to). The other sequels they’ve made since then have ranged from passable (Finding Dory, Monsters U) to terrible (Cars 2 and 3), but other than Coco and Inside Out, their original stories have really taken a nosedive in quality, as our host noted.

    I haven’t seen any of their films since Incredibles 2.

    January 10, 2022 at 7:46 pm
    • EXALT Reply

      “I think our host had marked Inside Out as the point where Pixar jumped the shark, but I thought it was pretty good.”
      But you’re not – I assume – a kid, right?
      Inside Out was the start of Pixar’s “Let’s be oh-so-clever and artsy” period. Middle-aged movie critics became their target, rather than kids.

      January 10, 2022 at 8:18 pm
      • Chief_Tuscaloosa Reply

        Excellent point–Pixar and other Woke corporations are no longer seeking out stories that kids want to enjoy, they’re telling kids what they SHOULD enjoy.

        and the game industry, too. The new Matrix Awakens game looks amazing from a technical perspective, but it forces you as the protagonist to be an African-American female. If you ask why do you have to be any race or gender in particular, you must be a racist misogynist. NCAA College Football videogames have allowed you to hear your first and last name announced from the broadcast booth for a couple of decades now.

        January 10, 2022 at 9:04 pm
        • MrUNIVAC Reply

          All of entertainment these days, sports included, is Unky Herb’s car company from The Simpsons. “This is why we’re getting killed in the marketplace! Instead of GIVING people what they want, you’re TELLIN’ em what they want!”

          January 11, 2022 at 3:26 pm
  • EXALT Reply

    Great article.
    So Pixar has made a movie about – unless I’m misinterpreting something – menstruation; I guess that’s better than the pedo-baiting in Luca, if nothing else. But the weirdest thing, to me, is that the trailer’s song is from the Backstreet Boys – a band that was around when I was a kid, with a song that came out in 1999 to boot. Was there really no equivalent song from a more current boy band?
    “Kevin Feige finally knelt and kissed the ring”
    What do you think this means, in practical terms? Feige can no longer announce a dozen movies and shows every year without proper authorization? Less wokeness in general? Auntie Brie has to skip the entire press tour of The Marvels for “personal reasons”?

    January 10, 2022 at 8:47 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      The really hot boy bands right now are all Korean.

      The protagonist is Chinese.

      This undoubtedly causes problems for reasons I can’t be bothered to understand.

      January 10, 2022 at 9:16 pm
      • EXALT Reply

        Uh, between the Backstreet Boys and the menstruation thing the MC’s race didn’t even register. So this is a remnant from the time before Shang-Chi and Eternals were banned in China.

        Let me check something.
        “the film centers around Meilin “Mei” Lee, a confident 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian”
        Right. And who’s the director?
        “Domee Shi is a Chinese-Canadian storyboard artist and director for Pixar”
        Of course. Where and when is the movie set?
        “in Toronto, between 2002 and 2003”
        How nice. And when was the director born?
        “Shi was born in 1989”
        F**k this noise.

        January 10, 2022 at 9:44 pm
  • Sanders Reply

    At this point I still don’t know if your praise for “Encanto” is sarcasm or you’re being serious, and this somewat worries me.

    January 10, 2022 at 10:32 pm
  • furor kek tonicus Reply

    Pete Docter is now the CEO
    oh, come ON. that’s as blatant as accusing Chauvin of Chauvinism.

    January 11, 2022 at 4:49 am
    • EXALT Reply

      Ever heard of the CW’s current chairman and CEO, Mark Pedowitz?
      Yes, he’s a Jew, why do you ask?

      January 11, 2022 at 10:00 am

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