Elemental is headed to Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar on Wednesday, September 13. Pixar’s latest animated venture, set in a bustling city where anthropomorphic elements of nature live and breathe like regular humans, arrives 82 days after its slightly delayed theatrical opening on June 23 in India. In the US and elsewhere, the film was released a week earlier on June 16, marking an 89-day gap. That’s one day less than the 90-day window Disney determined for its new movies, a number that’s been inflated over time as a means to force more people into theatres and drive more VoD purchases; in fact, select theatres across India are still screening Elemental.
In India, Elemental will be available to stream in only two languages — English and Hindi — continuing Disney’s trend of poor localisation for films that aren’t from the Marvel Cinematic Universe or something as monumental as Avatar: The Way of Water. Previously, animated films had a 30-day window before coming to streaming services, which now, seems to have risen drastically across the entirety of Disney’s catalogue, regardless of how they perform at the box office. Elemental has grossed $480.2 million (about Rs. 3,995 crore) globally to secure its place as the ninth-highest-grossing film of the year, despite divisive reviews that praised its visuals, but criticised its narrative aspect.
The amusing fictional subway of Elemental City is a place where humanoid representations of fire, water, land, and earth live in harmony. Through it, our focus is pulled into the blossoming relationship between a fiery young woman Ember, and a cool, go-with-the-flow guy Wade representing the liquid element. Clearly, they aren’t meant to be together, which the film further hammers in by depicting every element as uneasy, incompatible neighbours — sort of a racial allegory that’s represented through quirky, anthropomorphic characters. Similar to every other Disney animated movie, Elemental also features the lingering theme of finding one’s purpose, which in Ember’s case is to not inherit or run her father’s restaurant. The film is directed by Peter Sohn, who previously helmed The Good Dinosaur.
In addition to the base Elemental movie, September 13 also brings its making-of documentary Good Chemistry: The Story of Elemental and the animated short film based on 2009’s Up, Carl’s Date to Disney+ Hotstar. In it, we follow the old Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) who reluctantly agrees to go on a date at the request of his dog Dug, only to realise that he’s got no idea how dating works these days. Marking one of Asner’s final performances before his death in 2021, the short film was screened in theatres alongside Elemental.