Disney will no longer release the Pixar film Luca in U.S. theaters. Instead, the film will stream exclusively on its Disney+ streaming platform worldwide.
Like Soul, which was released in the same manner last Christmas, Luca will be available for free to Disney+ subscribers. Its release date remains the same: June 18.
Why it matters: We’d earlier suggested that a theatrical release for Luca was no guarantee, so while the news isn’t exactly surprising, it’s a huge blow to U.S. movie theaters, which had just reopened in Los Angeles, a market that accounts for nearly 9% of all moviegoing in the country. Without new product, especially animated fare, which has been outperforming all other types of films over the past six months, movie theaters will have an even tougher time getting audiences to return.
It gets worse for theaters: In addition to cancelling Luca’s theatrical release, Disney has delayed the release dates of six live-action features, including the anticipated Black Widow. Further, the company said that it will release its two summer tentpoles, Black Widow and Cruella, simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ (for an added fee on top of monthly subscription costs.)
More about Luca: The film marks the feature directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa, a longtime Pixar story artist (Ratatouille, Up, Coco) who also directed the studio’s Oscar-nominated short film La Luna. It is about two boys who are bound by a shared secret: they are both sea monsters. Watch the teaser for Luca here.