The state of the movie industry continues to be in flux, as many theaters remain closed or extremely limited and many films continue to get pushed back or see digital releases. The latest appears to be an intriguing Pixar film that had already seen its release schedule shuffled around.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Soul will see an exclusive release on Disney+ in time for Christmas Day. This comes after the film was initially pushed to November due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as theater chains like Regal close their doors and lockdown restrictions remain in place or seem likely to be reinstated as coronavirus case counts remain steady or even rise in hot spots, movies continue heading to streaming services and on-demand rather than risk a theatrical run.
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 8, 2020
For Disney, the decision to move for a Disney+ release follows it debuting its live-action Mulan to the service, at least initially. But unlike Mulan‘s premium price in addition to the monthly or yearly streaming costs, Soul will apparently be added to the service free of charge.
Unlike Mulan, which carried a premium price of $29.99, Disney+ customers can watch Soul at no extra charge. In markets where the streaming service isn’t available, the film will play on the big screen. Dates are to follow.
“We are thrilled to share Pixar’s spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney+ in December,” Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. “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 move makes the Pixar film more like Onward, which was in theaters in early March when lockdown measures shuttered theaters. Disney eventually moved the film to Disney+ much earlier than anticipated, one of several movies that saw moves to streaming platforms in the initial months of the pandemic and life in quarantine.