Christmas is about to get even more emotional as Disney has announced it is releasing Pixar’s Soul exclusively on Disney+ on Dec. 25. The film, which was scheduled for theatrical release on Nov. 20, is now completely bypassing theaters, leaving Free Guy as the sole “major” release on the schedule before the very end of 2020 when Wonder Woman 1984 is set to land.
Those worrying that they’ll have to pay $29.99 to get access to the film, as was the case for Mulan when it moved to Disney+, need not fear. The movie will land for “free” on the platform to any subscriber without having to pay any additional amount, much like previous Pixar film Onward did when it was rushed to the platform after a brief theatrical release during the beginning of the pandemic.
The move probably reflects what analysts believe is a disappointing return on Mulan. The movie had a decent 525 million minutes viewed on Disney+, but Disney didn’t release rental numbers and the belief is it was not enough to call the experiment a success. With Soul Disney is probably hoping for a nice subscription pop as they saw with Hamilton‘s drop earlier this year.
With Soul moving, the Thanksgiving weekend, usually a massive box office for the industry as families head out to theaters together, only has one wide release landing in Croods: A New Age. That hardly generates the kind of excitement that a new Pixar film does and leaves the theaters that are still open with next to nothing to show on screens. It places theater companies in a very tight spot, and if Disney and other studios continue to see some success by moving their movies to streaming, it could signal a drastic shift in the future of film.