Pixar Announces New Film “Elemental”, A Month After Disney Layoffs Began

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Disney’s Pixar dropped the trailer for their latest film, “Elemental.” The animated movie will tell the story of a city inhabited by humanoid versions of the elements of fire, water, air, and earth, and what happens when different elements mix. The trailer is receiving praise on social media, with some sensing that it will thematically tackle the complexities of interracial relationships. This would follow in the footsteps of Pixar’s 2015 film “Inside Out”, which explored the interactions of different human emotions in a way that was approachable for young children and adults to understand.

The film is set to star Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie as main characters Ember Lumen and Wade, who forge an unlikely connection in a world where elements are often told they can’t mix. The film comes at a particularly poignant time, in which marriage equality has become a debatable right in several states. Conservative Supreme Court Justices initially pushed to strike down marriage equality in 2022 following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act to further solidify marital rights in response.

With the new trailer drop came another important announcement–a new Pixar short film will be released alongside “Elemental.” The film, titled “Carl’s Date,” will be a miniature sequel to the hit 2009 film “Up”, and will feature protagonist Carl Fredricksen going on his first date since his wife Ellie passed away.

Ed Asner, the voice behind Carl in the original “Up”, passed away in 2021. It was confirmed that Asner recorded his voice parts for this role prior to his death.

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The romantic themes at the center of both stories are leading “Elemental” to be dubbed “Pixar’s first rom-com” across the internet today.

Critics who previewed the film are praising its ability to tackle important intercultural topics in an accessible way.

While the announcement is generating positive buzz for the popular animation studio, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that company layoffs remain underway. The company will lay off approximately 7,000 employees this week.

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Disney was criticized last month for a pattern of announcing new films to allegedly distract from company shake ups and mass layoffs. News of layoffs initially circulated when Disney announced “Toy Story”, “Frozen”, and “Zootopia” sequels.

As of now, previous CEO Bob Chapek’s 50 employee strong Metaverse division was the first to go. Current CEO Bob Iger was brought back into the company after he was temporarily replaced with Chapek, and announced that the first round of cuts was a part of “broader restructuring” in the company.

Iger went on to confirm that the layoffs would be complete in three waves, and that employees will know where they stand before this summer.

“Elemental” comes to theaters on June 16, and Pixar fans are hoping it will bring all the heat.

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