Disney Plus lands another big movie this December, as Pixar's Soul is skipping a theatrical release and coming straight to the streaming service. The best part is, unlike the September release of the live-action Mulan, there's no mention of an extra charge to stream this one. It'll be available to all subscribers.
It lands on December 25 – which couldn't be more perfect for the holidays. If you live in a country without Disney Plus, it'll release theatrically at a date to be confirmed.
Soul is about Joe Gardner, a band teacher at a middle school who finally gets the opportunity to shine at the city's best jazz club. Soon, though, he inadvertently finds himself tumbling out of New York and into a place called The Great Before, where souls develop personalities, quirks and so on before heading to planet Earth.
Honestly, it's a bit out there, especially on the visual side of things. It's best explained by this trailer:
Soul is co-directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc, Up, Inside Out) and Kemp Powers, and the voice cast includes Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs and Angela Bassett. It was previously scheduled for release on November 20, but theatrical releases have essentially dried up in 2020, with theater chain Cineworld (which includes US chain Regal) announcing its temporary closure earlier this week.
Wonder Woman 1984 remains one of the last major releases on the calendar – that's also set for December 25.
Why is Disney doing this?
It's hard to figure out why Disney charged for Mulan but won't bill people extra for this. Our best guess? On November 5, a lot of year-long subscriptions to Disney Plus in the US are going to start lapsing, and retention will be on Disney's mind. What grander gesture is there to subscribers than exclusively giving them a brand new Pixar movie?
This, combined with The Mandalorian season 2 and WandaVision, makes the streaming service look very strong for the rest of 2020. For subscribers who have never touched Disney Plus, too, this is a very tempting reason to sign up.
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Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.