Why does Disney persist in streaming its Pixar films on Disney +?

Between streaming strategy and slow motion box office, the studio now prefers to avoid the cine box for animated films from the Pixar studio.

It’s been almost two years since we last saw a Pixar on the big screen. The latest, Forward, came out at the beginnings of the health crisis and since then the studio created with Toy story is confined to Disney Plus. Drunk (end of 2020) then Luca (mid-2021) and now Red alert (March 11, 2022) are not permitted in the dark rooms.

Still, theaters are now largely reopened, and while the Omicron variant remains a worrying box office factor, analysts were astonished to learn this weekend that the next one will be Pixar will also be exclusively reserved for streaming. “A confusing decision for industry watchers and downright frustrating for exhibitors, who rely on these family films to maintain the entries between two superhero films.“, writes the trade journal Variety, which today publishes a survey to try to understand the group’s strategy with big ears.

According to Variety, the choice of Disney Plus is above all an option favored by the studio to boost its number of subscribers, thanks to the intergenerational appeal of the brand. Pixar. “These aren’t just movies for parents with kids. There is a young adult fan base who grew up on the adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Nemo and Dory “, analyzes the Hollywood publication.

And a media specialist from Exhibitor Relations confirms in the process: “It has nothing to do with the quality (from Pixar movies). For Disney, it’s about making a bold move with the best piece of their chess set. “ And even if no figures are published on the audiences of Pixar unreleased streaming, “The fact that they made that choice with three films in a row leads me to believe that it really helps the platform.” A vision shared by this other Wall Street analyst, who is convinced that the “The public will certainly be more willing to go to the movies in March than today (with Omicron) … So it is clear that Disney Plus remains a priority for the group “.

The streaming strategy is therefore fully assumed by the studio, which is also certainly looking with concern at this US box office which has struggled to restart since the reopening of theaters. “Given the delayed recovery of the box office, especially for family films, flexibility remains at the heart of our distribution decisions”, also justified the president of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, Kareem Daniel, in the press release announcing the release ofRed alert on Disney Plus.

Because put a movie Pixar in theaters is expensive. Between 175 and 200 million dollars in production and 100 million dollars for promotion, massive operating revenues are needed to make these investments profitable. A risk that the studio obviously no longer wishes to take, in this disturbed market. The health context is particularly penalizing for gender, since All in Scene 2 (from Illumination Studio) is the only animated film to have surpassed the $ 100 million mark at the US box office since 2019! Even the acclaimed Encanto (from Walt Disney Animation Studios) struggled with its 215 million dollars at the global box office at the end of 2021. It should also be noted that the brand Pixar hasn’t always shone in movies lately. Forward went largely unnoticed ($ 140 million at the global box office) and the sequels of Monsters, Inc. and Nemo’s world did not receive the welcome hoped for.

A few months later Red alert, the next opus of Pixar will be called Buzz Lightning. A spin-off of Toy story carried by the voice of Chris Evans. A major film that seems made for the big screen. But according to Variety, even there, analysts aren’t necessarily betting on a theatrical release … For now, Buzz Lightning is well scheduled for June 22, 2022 in France in cinemas.

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