It was a mixed year for Disney animated films as the House of Mouse struggled to navigate a post-COVID world. In 2022, Pixar released two films, Turns red and Light years.
Turns red was released straight to Disney+ where it was streamed in 2.5 million US households during its opening weekend, the most ever for a Disney+ original title. The film – a coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old trying to navigate life as a teenager – was met with critical acclaim and a positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Light years experienced more of a turbulent release. Controversy surrounding a brief same-sex kiss dominated the headlines, and the film was subsequently banned in several markets. Although the film received a largely positive reception – 74% on Rotten Tomatoes and 84% Audience Score – it failed to take off at the box office. It ended its box office with a global total of $226.4 million which was well below expectations.
With that in mind, 2023 marks a pivotal year for Disney and Pixar, as we appear to be at a crossroads regarding the future of the studio in terms of theatrical releases for the films. Currently, there is only one Pixar film slated for theatrical release in 2023: Elementary.
Elementary is a brand new, original film set in Element City, where fire, water, land and air dwellers live together. The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman whose friendship with a funny, juicy guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.
We got our first look at Elementary in the form of a teaser trailer that was released last year. Check it out below.
The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman whose friendship with a funny, juicy guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.
Elementary is directed by Peter Sohn and produced by Denise Ream. It features the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie as Ember and Wade respectively. Elementary is scheduled to hit theaters on June 16, 2023. This may be Pixar’s last chance to prove that their films can still be considered summer family blockbusters.
Also coming next year from Pixar Win or losea long-running series premiering on Disney+ in autumn 2023. Win or lose follows the Pickles, a co-ed middle school softball team, in the week leading up to their championship game. Each episode takes place in the same week, highlighting the perspective of a different protagonist – players, their parents, the referee – each reflected in a unique visual style. The series stars Will Forte as Coach Dan and is directed by Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates.
Up to strike at #D23Expo: a FIRST LOOK at Pixar’s all-new Original series Win or Lose, with Will Forte training Dan.
— Disney+ (@DisneyPlus) 10 September 2022
The third and final confirmed project coming from Pixar in 2023 is Dug Days: Carl’s Date. This is the second season Dug Daysa miniseries of shorts released in 2021 that serves as a sequel to Up. Dug Days consisted of several short films based on the film’s main characters, Dug, the dog, and his owner, 78-year-old Car Fredricksen. Dug Days: Carl’s Date is a new short film and a continuation of the Disney+ series. While a release date has not been officially announced, a Disney+ promotional video shared on Pixar’s Twitter confirmed that the short will be coming to Disney+ in 2023.
— Pixar (@Pixar) 19 December 2022
As of this writing, these are the only three confirmed Pixar projects coming in 2023, but it’s possible some surprises could be headed our way. Are you excited for any of the upcoming Pixar movies or series in 2023?