Luca is a 2021 American computer-animated coming-of-age fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film was directed by Enrico Casarosa (in his feature-length directorial debut), written by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones, from a story by Casarosa, Andrews, and Simon Stephenson, produced by Andrea Warren, and features the voices of Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer, with Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, Marco Barricelli, Maya Rudolph, Jim Gaffigan, Peter Sohn, Lorenzo Crisci, Marina Massironi, and Sandy Martin in supporting roles.
Set on the Italian Riviera, the film centers on Luca Paguro, a young sea monster boy with the ability to assume human form while on land, who explores the town of Portorosso with his new best friend, Alberto Scorfano, experiencing a life-changing summer adventure. Luca takes inspiration from Casarosa’s childhood in Genoa; several Pixar artists were sent to the Italian Riviera to gather research on Italian culture and environment. The sea monsters, a “metaphor for feeling different”, were loosely based on old Italian regional myths and folklore. Like La Luna, the design and animation were inspired by hand-drawn and stop motion works and Hayao Miyazaki’s style. Casarosa described the result as a film that “pays homage to Federico Fellini and other classic Italian filmmakers, with a dash of Miyazaki in the mix too”.
Luca premiered at the Aquarium of Genoa on June 13, 2021, and was originally set to be theatrically released in the United States on June 18, 2021. However, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the film was released direct-to-streaming on Disney, along with a simultaneously limited run at the El Capitan Theatre. It was also released in theaters in countries without the streaming service.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for its visuals, voice acting, and nostalgic feel. It was also the most-viewed streaming movie of 2021, with over 10.6 billion minutes watched. At the 94th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Animated Feature but lost to Encanto (2021). A related short film starring Alberto, titled Ciao Alberto, was released on Disney on November 12, 2021.