‘Luca’: How to Watch the New Disney and Pixar Movie

In the early days of Pixar, the animation studio still struggled to define its brand identity. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed on the company’s first film, Toy Story. And an empire fueled by fan goodwill and countless beloved movies was able to flourish. Now the release of a new Disney and Pixar movie is an event. To that end, here’s how fans can catch up with the latest Pixar project, Luca.

A double billboard of the new Pixar film 'Luca' featuring the lead character laying in water
A double billboard of the new Pixar film ‘Luca’ featuring the lead character laying in water | AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

What is the story of Disney and Pixar’s ‘Luca’?

Since 1995, Pixar has introduced audiences to toys, bug, monsters, fish, robots, and even sentient cars. But in Luca, the studio does something it rarely has before: journeys to the past. Set in the Italian Riviera in the 1950s, the movie follows the title character (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), a young sea monster who can assume the form of a human boy. It’s through this approach Luca is able to explore the human world.

On its surface, Luca sounds like the perfect amalgamation of both Disney and Pixar influences. The themes of friendship among monsters and feeling stuck between two worlds feel very much in line with movies such as Monsters Inc. and The Little Mermaid. And thus far, the critical reception to Luca has been strong, even without the confirmed involvement of longtime Pixar collaborator John Ratzenberger.

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The exclusive place where fans can stream ‘Luca’

Unfortunately, most fans eager to see the latest Pixar movie on the big screen will not have that opportunity. Although Luca was originally set to hit theaters in summer 2021, Disney is instead sending it directly to Disney+ on June 18, 2021. The only theater currently known to be playing it is the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California. This historic landmark — constructed in 1926 — is owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Luca is actually the third consecutive Pixar film to release principally on digital platforms. During the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Onward enjoyed a brief theatrical release before hitting video-on-demand and Disney+ soon thereafter. Meanwhile, Soul debuted on Disney+ on Christmas Day, becoming among the studio’s first big movies to do so. Apparently, this strategy was successful enough to do it again with Luca.

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What Disney movies are coming out in 2021?

In countries without Disney+, however, Luca will still arrive in theaters. But for stateside fans, it’s been a wild ride to distinguish between which Disney properties will release exclusively on Disney+, only in theaters, or some combination of the two. For the most part, films such as Cruella and the forthcoming Black Widow are opting for a theatrical release in tandem with an additional cost to watch them on Disney+ Premier Access.

Regardless of how they see them, Disney fans have a lot of big movies on the way in 2021. In addition to Black Widow, Marvel movies Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals are on the way. Likewise, Jungle Cruise will bring the theme park attraction to life in July 2021. And Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto — its second 2021 release after Raya and the Last Dragon — releases in November 2021.