In yet another bit of bad but inevitable news for movie theaters, Disney has announced that Pixar’s latest movie, Soul, is not coming to theaters after all. Originally scheduled for release on June 19, then postponed to November 20 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the film will now bypass theaters entirely, at least in the U.S. and premiere on the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas Day. (In international markets where Disney+ isn’t available, Soul will get some kind of theatrical release.)

Here was director Pete Docter’s comment on the news, via press release:

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

Soul stars the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, and Daveed Diggs in a story about “a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests.”

Interestingly, the press release makes no mention of “Premier Access,” the upcharge that  Disney used in releasing another would-be blockbuster, Mulan, direct to Disney+. Viewers who wanted to watch Mulan “early” had to pay $29.99 on top of their monthly subscription fee. Disney moving Soul to Disney+ is not surprising, but the fact that they’re not charging a similar price for it is. Perhaps rather than charging extra for the film, they instead want to use Soul as a major selling point for gift subscriptions this holiday season. You could give someone a Disney+ account, and then on Christmas, they could watch Soul. That’s a pretty good sales pitch, actually.

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