Disney Pixar's Soul (Courtesy of Disney)
Pixar’s “Soul” is skipping theaters and will debut exclusively on Disney Plus in time for Christmas. The animated family film will launch on the streaming service on Dec. 25. In international markets where Disney Plus isn’t available, “Soul” will be released theatrically on a yet-to-be determined date.
“Soul” was initially slated to release in June, but it was later postponed to Nov. 20 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Variety previously reported that Disney was exploring various release options for “Soul” and was unlikely to move forward with its late November slot. Universal’s decision to push the release of its animated comedy “The Croods: A New Age” forward from Dec. 23 to Nov. 25 — the same week “Soul” planned to launch — further solidified the possibility that the Pixar film would move.
Unlike “Mulan,” which released on Disney Plus for an extra $30, “Soul” will be available to Disney Plus’ 60.5 million subscribers at no extra cost. The streaming service costs $6.99 per month.
“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.”
The news comes days after movie theater operator Cineworld, which owns Regal in the U.S., announced plans to temporarily shutter all 536 locations, citing the “challenging theatrical landscape.” Rivals AMC and Cinemark said they don’t intend to close any U.S. venues.
In recent weeks, the few movies left still set for theatrical release this year have started to vacate their dates. “Dune” and James Bond sequel “No Time to Die” recently postponed their respective debuts into 2021. With “Soul’s” vacancy, there’s only one potential blockbuster — “Wonder Woman 1984” on Dec. 25 — left on the release calendar for 2020.
Pete Docter (“Monsters Inc.,” “Up”) and Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) co-directed “Soul,” an existential cartoon about a middle-school music teacher (voiced by Jamie Foxx) who dreams of being a jazz performer. But before his big break, he gets in an accident that causes his soul to be separated from his body. He’s then transported to the “You Seminar,” where he teams up with 22 (voiced by Tina Fey) to return his soul back to his body on Earth before it’s too late.
“The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place – but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things,” Docter said in a statement. “‘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.”
Variety's Rebecca Rubin contributed to this post.