Make what you will of what this means about the relative success of Disney releasing Mulan for an extra $30 on Disney+, but Pixar’s upcoming Soul will also be coming to the streaming service this Christmas … and for no extra fee. Disney announced that the next Pixar original concept would skip theatrical distribution in the U.S. and other countries with Disney+ access, making yet another concession to the pandemic that recently forced the country’s second largest theater chain, Regal, to shut down once again. In countries without Disney+, Soul will still be releasing into theaters as usual.
Soul is directed by Pete Docter, who brought us Up and Inside Out, and indeed this entry seems to superficially have a lot in common with the latter in particular. The film stars Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher who gets the break of a lifetime to perform at a top flight jazz club, only to suffer an accident that seems to strand him between life and death. In this new realm, “The Great Before,” he meets souls that have yet to be assigned to humans on Earth, and must try to return to his body with the help of an iconoclast soul named 22, played by Tina Fey. The film also stars Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Angela Bassett and Daveed Diggs, while featuring music from Jon Batiste and a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. That’s one hell of an assembly of talent.
“The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place — but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things,” said Docter. “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.”
Said Disney, on the choice to debut the film on Disney+ on Christmas:
“We are thrilled to share Pixar’s spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney+ in December,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek. “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.”
You can bet that Soul will be the backdrop to some Christmas morning gift opening this year. Check out the most recent trailer below.