Disney and Pixar giving 3 pandemic-era films their turn on the big screen

Disney and Pixar are taking three major films to the big screen. 

"Soul," "Luca," and "Turning Red" have been available to stream only, as they were released during the pandemic, but all three will be available to see in theaters nationwide in early 2024 for "special engagement theatrical runs." 

A press release invites movie watchers to "experience three Pixar films the way they were meant to be seen."

"Soul" debuted on Christmas Day 2020 on Disney+ after a series of coronavirus-related postponements. It was originally set to release in theaters on June 19, but was pushed back until November before the decision was made that it would bypass theaters altogether. 

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Other films that summer that saw major theatrical postponements were Christopher Nolan’s "Tenet" and "Mulan." Theaters were closed nationwide and throughout much of Europe and Asia. 

Before that, Pixar’s "Onward" launched in theaters in early March 2020, just as the pandemic forced theaters to close. It soon after began streaming to Disney+.

"Soul," starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, tells the story of a middle school band teacher who dreams of being a jazz musician and tries to escape the afterlife to do it.

The movie won the Academy Award for best animated feature. 

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General view of a double billboard above the El Capitan Entertainment Centre promoting the new Pixar film Luca with an exclusive theatrical run at the El Capitan Theater and streaming on Disney+ on June 03, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Aa

"Luca," the story about a young, inquisitive sea monster who lives with his family under the sea played by Jacob Tremblay, went straight to streaming also just a few months later on June 18, 2021. 

And "Turning Red" premiered exclusively on Disney+ on March 11, 2022. At the time, the studio cited the pandemic and the slower recovery for family films at the box office as the reason. 

Disney describes "Turning Red" as the story of "a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence." Directed by Domee Shi (who made the Pixar short "Bao"), it’s the first Pixar film helmed solely by a woman. Rosalie Chiang and Sandra Oh lead the voice cast.

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Next year’s theatrical showings of the three films kick off the countdown to Pixar’s highly anticipated summer release of "Inside Out 2." 

A trailer for the film was finally made available just a few weeks ago.  

And, in true Pixar fashion, we’ll see a Pixar animated short film ahead of each movie. 

"Soul," opening in theaters on Jan. 12, will be accompanied by the SparkShort Burrow. 

"Turning Red," opening Feb. 9, will be preceded by the SparkShort Kitbull. 

"Luca," which hits the big screen March 22, includes the classic Pixar short For the Birds.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.