Pixar executive suggests Disney undermined Pixar movies to promote its streaming service

Pixar’s CCO suggests that Disney+ favored the streaming service over the theatrical release of recent Pixar films.

Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer, Pete Docter, recently shared his perspective on Disney’s handling of recent Pixar movie releases.

In a discussion with The New York Times, Pete Docter, an executive at Pixar, highlighted how Disney’s actions impacted the launch of several recent Pixar films, including the latest one, Elemental. Docter blamed Disney for giving preference to streaming, specifically mentioning how three Pixar productions, Soul, Luca, and Turning Red, were exclusively released on Disney+ during late 2020. He noted, “There has been an overall shift in viewing habits as a result of the pandemic, but it’s also specific to Disney+.”

Success of Elemental Amidst Changes The debate around theatrical premieres versus streaming exclusives emerged as Pixar’s most recent film, Elemental, found unexpected success. Initially, the movie faced critical reviews and underwhelming box office numbers, setting a dubious record for the lowest domestic box office opening in Pixar’s history, with earnings of just $26.9 million. Some online critics accused Pixar of losing its creative touch, labeling Elemental as a lackluster follow-up to the studio’s string of hits. However, after Elemental was made available on Disney+, it swiftly broke streaming records, surpassing beloved Disney classics and established franchises to become the platform’s highest performing opening week viewership. As of now, the movie has grossed nearly $500 million globally.

Elemental | Disney Movies

Pixar’s reputation for delivering heartfelt narratives complemented by breathtaking animation has long been its strength. However, with the evolving streaming landscape influencing the studio’s operations, there’s a renewed consideration about how Pixar will approach future film production and box office releases. Docter emphasized that Pixar is constantly asking itself, “What are the kinds of films we want to be making? I really think I want to double down on what allowed us to speak to audiences to begin with.”

What Lies Ahead for Pixar With Elemental’s recent success, Pixar is proceeding with various projects, including the fifth installment of the Toy Story series and a new original movie, Elio. Elio will follow the journey of a young boy who is transported into space and mistaken for an ambassador from Earth. Pixar is known for infusing its works with relatable charm and wonder, aiming to base their stories on “ideas that we all carried around as kids.

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