Disney has announced that Pixar‘s next movie Luca will skip U.S. theaters and premiere exclusively on Disney+ at no extra charge on June 18.
While vaccinations are on the rise in America, Disney clearly anticipates that the domestic box office will take a few more months to recover, which explains why it also pushed back the release of Marvel‘s Black Widow to July on Tuesday. Disney could’ve released Luca in theaters and on Disney+ simultaneously, but opted to follow its release model for Pixar‘s Soul, which debuted exclusively on Disney+ in December at no extra charge as a Christmas gift of sorts to subscribers who have been patient with the streamer’s push for original content.
In international markets where Disney+ is not yet available, Luca will be released theatrically, with premiere dates to be announced soon.
Pixar‘s latest animated effort is set on the Italian Riviera, and follows two best friends, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) who share an unusual secret — whenever they come in contact with water, it’s revealed that they’re actually sea creatures who take on a human form while on land.
Enrico Casarosa directed the film, which also features the voices of Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan as Luca’s parents, and newcomer Emma Berman as Giulia, an outsider of sorts who Luca and Alberto meet in town. Italian theater actor Marco Barricelli voices Giulia’s father, while Italian comedian Saverio Raimondo voices a local bully who serves as the film’s villain.
Casarosa said that Luca draws inspiration from a friendship he had when he was a kid, and Tremblay told Collider that the film is ultimately a story about friendship.
“I think that the relationship between the boys is gonna bring back a lot of memories when people watch this and I’m hoping that when people watch this, they’ll be able to forget about COVID. But I mean, hopefully when this comes out, COVID would slow down. But right now, I think especially a lot of kids are really missing their friends and this movie is all about friendship,” said Tremblay.
While I’m a little surprised that Disney would leave money on the table by not releasing Luca in theaters or hiding it behind the Premier Access paywall on Disney+, it’s clear that the company is focused on building the subscriber base for its prized streamer. I, for one, plan to take advantage of Disney‘s generosity, and will definitely check out Luca this summer from the comfort of my own home.