Pixar’s New ‘Up’ Short Film ‘Carl’s Date’ to Debut Theatrically With ‘Elemental’

It’s the first theatrical short from the Disney animation studio since 2018’s “Bao”

Carl's Date

Ready to cry your eyes out again? Because there’s a new “Up” short film from Pixar that should do the trick.

“Carl’s Date,” a short film produced after the series of “Up”-based shorts called “Dug Days” that premiered on Disney+ in 2021, will get the big screen treatment this June. The short is set to appear before “Elemental,” the new Pixar feature from Peter Sohn (who partially inspired the character of Russell in “Up”), and features Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) get ready for his first date since Ellie passed away. It is deeply touching and hilarious and appropriate as a preamble for “Elemental,” which focuses on the love story between two very opposite characters – one made of fire (Ember, played by Leah Lewis) and the other made of water (Wade, played by Mamoudou Athie).

“Carl’s Date” was written and directed by Pixar stalwart Bob Peterson, who co-wrote and co-directed “Up” and who wrote and directed the rest of the “Dug Days” shorts, returned for “Carl’s Date,” along with producer Kim Collins, who produced “Dug Days” as well.

At a presentation of the short at Pixar, Peterson said that he thought that “Carl’s Date” was the “bow” on top of the “Up” story and that it would likely be the last material from the world (at least for now). Part of this has to do with the fact that Asner died just a few months after he recorded his dialogue for “Carl’s Date” (he recorded the dialogue in the spring of 2021 and passed away that same August) and part of it has to do with how perfectly the short film ends. It’s elegant and simple and deeply powerful, in a way that the best Pixar films, long or short, usually are.

“Carl’s Date” also marks a return to Pixar theatrical shorts. The last one was back in 2018 with Domee Shi’s “Bao,” which played in front of “Incredibles 2.” (“Burrow,” one of Pixar’s more experimental SparkShorts, was meant to play theatrically in front of “Soul,” before “Soul” became a direct-to-Disney+ exclusive.) Since “Bao,” the studio has focused on the SparkShorts (things like Aphton Corbin’s great “Twenty Something”), as well as shorts that tie in directly to a Pixar feature and usually premiere on Disney+ or home video (like the excellent “Luca” follow-up “Ciao Alberto”).

Originally, “Carl’s Date” was going to premiere on Disney+ in February (joining the rest of “Dug Days”) but was then quickly taken off the schedule without much explanation. Now the explanation is here – it’s that good, it deserves a big screen debut and it works perfectly (thematically and emotionally) as the opening salvo for “Elemental.”

“Elemental” (with “Carl’s Date”) will debut on June 16, 2023.