When Pixar’s latest feature, Elemental, opened in theaters, it only got so-so reviews from critics and had one of the worst opening weekends at the box office in the studio’s history. (It made roughly the same amount of money the very first Toy Story made in its opening weekend — nearly 30 years ago.)
But then a funny thing happened. Fueled in part by the fact that there remains an embarrassing lack of good movies for families and children in theaters, Elemental continued to attract crowds all summer long. It wound up grossing $477 million worldwide. Not record-breaking by any means, and certainly not Pixar’s biggest film ever, but far better than anyone would have predicted given its soft opening. (Elemental wound up outgrossing two of the three Cars movies, along with other recent Pixar films like Lightyear and Onward.)
.While the movie is still playing in a lot of theaters because, again, there is basically zero competition out there in theaters for families right now, Elemental is now ready to debut on streaming. It will premiere on Disney+ next week.
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Here is the film’s official synopsis:
Set in Element City, where Fire-, Water-, Earth- and Air-residents live together, the original feature film introduces Ember (voice of Leah Lewis), whose friendship with a fun and sappy guy named Wade (voice of Mamoudou Athie) challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.
I was personally pretty lukewarm on the film. In my 5/10 review, I wrote…
The stronger element (sorry) of this story is the relationship between Bernie and Ember, and how it underscores the way the expectations of every generation winds up resting heavily on the shoulders of the next. I’m not sure using different elements as a metaphor for the immigrant experience quite works beyond its broadest strokes, but it does at least add some heft to Elemental’s scenes between father and daughter, which do build to an affecting if extremely predictable conclusion. But then how could it not be predictable? Animated movies have been telling these kinds of stories for almost 100 years now. It’s just that unlike so many of Pixar’s movies, the more you scrutinize Elemental, the less you find.
Elemental premieres on Disney+ on September 13.
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