Pixar’s Soul heads straight to Disney+ this December
James R | On 09, Oct 2020
Pixar’s new film Soul is heading straight to Disney+ this December, skipping its planned cinema release.
The film hails from Pete Docter, director of Inside Out and Up, and co-director/writer Kemp Powers, playwright and screenwriter of One Night in Miami. It features the voice talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Angela Bassett and Daveed Diggs and features original jazz music by Jon Batiste and a score composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network).
“The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place – but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things,” said Docter. “Soul investigates what’s really important in our lives, a question we’re all asking these days. I hope it will bring some humor and fun to people at a time when everyone can surely use that.”
The film will be released directly on Disney’s subscription streaming service on 25th December, with countries where Disney+ is not available set to receive the film in cinemas. The move follows a number of other theatrical tentpoles being pushed back from their planned releases this autumn, as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes just as Cineworld closes all of its UK sites, including Picturehouse cinemas, for a temporary period due to a lack of major cinema releases to draw in audiences. Many independent and smaller distributors continue to release films in cinemas, however, such as Studiocanal’s Saint Maud this weekend, while Netflix continues to distribute films among cinemas willing to play titles that break the theatrical window, such as The Trial of the Chicago 7. A24 has also released Apple TV+ film On the Rocks theatrically this month. For Disney, though, breaking the old-school theatrical window would take it into the controversial waters that Universal found itself in shortly after the coronavirus outbreak, when it released a number of titles early online, including Trolls World Tour, causing ire among multiplex exhibitors. (Universal has since reached an agreement with AMC for a premium VOD window, but this example has not yet been followed by other distributors or cinemas.)
Disney’s decision on Soul also follows its experiment with Mulan, which it released on Disney+ earlier this year with an early-access fee of £19.99. That has been released this week as a premium VOD title on other transactional platforms, such as Google Play, with the same price tag. While Disney has not revealed numbers for Mulan’s performance or confirmed it it was a success – it said it was “very pleased” over the summer – the decision to deliver Soul to Disney+ subscribers without a premium fee suggests that the House of Mouse is not currently planning to adopt that Mulan model for its titles.
“We are thrilled to share Pixar’s spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney+ in December,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “A new original Pixar film is always a special occasion, and this truly heartwarming and humorous story about human connection and finding one’s place in the world will be a treat for families to enjoy together this holiday season.”
For those wanting to see Soul on the big screen, meanwhile, the film is playing at the London Film Festival this weekend, with screenings across the UK. For more on that festival and how it works, click here.