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Happy Holidays! Pixar's Soul debuting directly on Disney+ this Christmas Day

By Nivea Serrao
Screenshot from Pixar Soul Trailer

As the current pandemic continues to cause uncertainty in the movie theater sector, with several planned releases for later this year now making the leap to streaming or eyeing releases in 2021 and beyond, Pixar is following suit, foregoing a theatrical release for its upcoming feature, Soul. Instead, the film will now be released on Disney+ on Christmas Day. 

However, in international markets where Disney+ is not yet available — or won't be in time — Soul will be released theatrically, with dates to be announced at a later time. This isn't the first time this year a Disney property has had to make the leap to streaming, with Pixar's animated Tom Holland and Chris Pratt-starrer Onward having become available on video on demand for $19.99 two weeks after it hit the big screen earlier in March, when theaters were forced to shut down due to the initial outbreak of COVID-19.

Later in September, Disney's live-action adaptation of Mulan also followed suit, launching on the streaming platform for a one-time fee of $29.99 that not only adds the film to the buy's library on Disney+, but also allows them to rewatch it multiple times, a whole three months before the movie's eventual planned wide release onto the platform in December, when it will become to available to all subscribers as part of their regular subscription. 

Soul will be available to all Disney+ subscribers at no additional cost.  

The film tells the story of Joe Gardner (Spider-Man 2's Jamie Foxx), a middle-school band teacher who finds his life cut short just as he gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. He's instead transported from the streets of New York City to "The Great Before," a realm where new souls first discover and develop their personalities and interests before coming down to Earth. Determined to return to his former life so he can finally achieve his lifelong dream, Joe teams up with 22 (Megamind's Tina Fey), a stubborn and precocious soul looking to avoid the whole human experience. Unfortunately for the desperate Joe, it appears that the only way to come back to Earth is convincing 22 that life there is definitely worth living. 

The film is directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter (Inside Out) and Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami), and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray (Lou). It will be the first Pixar feature to star a Black lead

"The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place — but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things," said Docter 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."

Currently, the only film still set for a theatrical release in 2020 is Warner Bros.' Wonder Woman 1984, which saw its premiere date moved to Christmas Day as well. However, given the fact that Marvel's Black Widow, the Bond caper No Time to Die, and Dennis Villanueva's adaptation of Dune (also a Warner Bros. production) have all since postponed their releases to 2021, there's a good chance the highly-anticipated superhero sequel could join them. 

"We are thrilled to share Pixar’s spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney+ in December,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, 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."

Pixar's Soul will be released on Disney+ on Christmas Day. In international markets not served by Disney+, the film will be released theatrically, with dates to be announced.