The Pixar name used to be failproof brand that was guaranteed to draw audiences, but the brand has lost some of its luster in recent years due to the inconsistent quality of its films and an overreliance on sequels. The studio’s reputation has declined so much that the Walt Disney Company announced today that it would run a new Simpsons short in front of next week’s release of Onward.
This marks the second time that a non-Pixar short will screen in front of a Pixar feature. The first time it happened was in 2017, when the Walt Disney Animation Studios short Olaf’s Frozen Adventure was paired with Coco.
According to Disney’s official Simpsons account on Twitter, the new short is titled Playdate with Destiny and stars Maggie Simpson.
— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) February 28, 2020
The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean told Entertainment Weekly that the short “started because two of our writers, Tom Gammill and Max Pross, [who] pitched the basic idea as part of a Simpsons story [for the show] a couple of years ago.” Jean added that, “When we did the episode, [executive producer] Jim Brooks thought they could turn that part into a theatrical short. So, we delayed the episode, which will now air April 19.”
The short, which Jean describes as “very romantic,” is directed by David Silverman. An earlier Maggie Simpson theatrical short also directed by Silverman, The Longest Daycare, was released in 2012 in front of Fox/Blue Sky’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. That film went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 2013.
The combination of The Simpson and Pixar is made possible due to the Walt Disney Company’s purchase of 21st Century Fox assets back in 2018. Among the properties that Disney acquired through that $71.3 billion spend was ownership of The Simpsons.