Pixar's Soul is skipping theaters and will be available on Disney+ on Christmas Day, Disney announced Thursday. The studio does not plan on releasing it like Mulan, so it will be available to all Disney+ subscribers at no extra cost. The film was originally set for release in theaters in June but was delayed until Nov. 20. Soul was directed by Inside Out filmmaker Pete Docter and is widely expected to be in the running for the 2020 Best Animated Feature Oscar.
"We are thrilled to share Pixar’s spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney+ in December," The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement to Variety. "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 is not a complete surprise, as Variety reported last month the possibility that Soul might be released on Disney+ because the Nov. 20 release date was looking unlikely. When Disney announced new release dates for its other big blockbusters, the studio surprisingly did not announce changes for Soul. Disney pushed Marvel's Black Widow, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals have all been delayed until 2021. Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake was also pushed to 2021, while Kenneth Branagh's Death on the Nile was rescheduled for Dec. 18, 2020.
Soul is Docter's follow-up to the Oscar-winning Inside Out. Jamie Foxx voices a middle-school music teacher who has an accident just before his big break as a musician. His soul is separated from his body, and he teams up with another soul to get his back to earth before it is too late. Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett, Richard Ayoade, and Cody Chestnutt make up the rest of the all-star voice cast.
"The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place – but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things," Docter said of his film in a new 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.”
Docter was promoted to Pixar's Chief Creative Officer while producing on Soul was ongoing. He is one of Pixar's longest-tenured directors, and he also directed Monsters, Inc. and Up. Both Up and Inside Out won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and are among the rare animated films nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.