Pixar shorts are known for being heartwarming, well produced and, most importantly, short. Three shorts have been so well done, they won Academy Awards. Some, such as “Geri’s Game,” which was attached to “A Bug’s Life,” are so memorable that we remember them even 20 years later.
So when moviegoers settled into their seats for “Coco,” they were confused when Olaf and the “Frozen” gang began their song and dance. Because it was a lot longer than your average short. Many even wondered if they had the wrong theater.
But they were in the right place. “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” is a 21-minute Disney featurette starring none other than Olaf, Anna and Elsa. Olaf helps Anna and Elsa find holiday traditions of their own. It’s sweet and invoked a tear or two from the theater audience. But does that mean people are happy it took 40 minutes for “Coco” to finally start, what with all the ads, trailers and, finally, the featurette? No, and that’s why Disney is removing it from theaters.
On December 8, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” will no longer air before “Coco.” In fact, it was never meant to in the first place. Originally, it was to be a Christmas special on ABC (owned by Disney). But in June, John Lasseter—who at the time was head of Pixar and Disney animation but is currently taking a leave of absence after misconduct allegations—told Entertainment Weekly it was “too cinematic to not inhabit the big screen.” This is also the first time a non-Pixar short has run before a Pixar movie.
Many accuse Disney of abusing screen time by using “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” as an extra-long trailer for “Frozen 2” (set to premier November 2019). Others suspect Disney was worried the nonwhite cast of “Coco” wouldn’t attract an audience. The short was pulled from Mexican theaters after just two days, according to this Reddit thread. Regardless of the reason, the Disney short leaves theaters on Friday, December 8, and “Coco” audiences won’t have to wait 40 minutes for the start of their movie.