Pixar’s latest animation Soul is set to go straight the video on demand service Disney+ and skip cinemas entirely.
The development was announced by the film’s official Twitter account and didn’t offer a whole lot of detail to go off, other than it would hit Disney+ on Christmas Day rather than receive a cinema release.
The movie was originally intended for a June 2020 release but, due to cinemas closing during the global pandemic lockdowns, was pushed to November, before the bold decision to put it onto their streaming service.
And the film won’t even be classed as a Premier title either – despite Mulan having gone down that route. Even though the action movie was released at a rentable £19.99 (and the slightly higher $29.99 in the US), Soul will not follows the same release model as the live-action VOD release from September. So far, Mulan has made just under $67 million worldwide, a fraction of the predicted profits it would have amassed if it had been released in theatres during normal times.
The move to release Soul as a completely free movie is a crushing blow for the industry and could set a new precedent moving into 2021. No one would have ever thought Hollywood would be spending in excess of $150 million on a production and releasing it free to view on subscription services, but then these are strange times.
Watch the trailer for it here:
Naturally, the news comes as a disappointment and blessing to fans of the studio because while it might sadden some that they can’t head out to see it on December 25 – as Christmas Day cinema trips are a long-standing tradition in the US – it will be available for people to watch in the comfort and safety of their homes.
Soul is the studio’s 23rd major release, stars Jamie Foxx and Angela Bassett, and is directed by Pixar CEO Pete Docter (Monsters Inc., Up) and Kemp Powers. It follows a jazz-obsessed school teacher, Joe, who has always dreamed of performing. However, when he finally gets his chance, he has a strange out of body experience where his soul is separated from his living self thanks to his loss of passion, and must find his way back before he transitions to the afterlife.
Similarly, Pixar’s latest film, Onwards, also went straight to VOD but was released via iTunes for purchase a few months ago before hitting Disney+ this week for free.
Most recently, MGM were spooked about the chances of the latest James Bond thriller, No Time To Die, which had its big release cancelled from earlier this year and is now slated for 2021.
Soul will only be entering cinemas in territories that do not have access to Disney+, so for those with subscriptions it will be going live on Christmas Day and at no extra cost.
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