Pixar’s Soul is going straight to Disney+ Hotstar on Christmas. Disney has announced that the next Pixar movie — featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey in the lead — will skip theatres and premiere directly on its streaming service Disney+ globally on Christmas Day, December 25. For those of us in India and Indonesia, that means Soul will be available December 25 on Disney+ Hotstar. If Disney+ is not available in your region, Soul will be released in theatres, with release dates forthcoming.
This was expected, as when reports started swirling that Black Widow might be delayed for a second time (which it since has), Disney was said to be exploring options for Pixar’s Soul: a release date delay or Disney+ premiere. With theatres in the US partially closing on account of no big releases — both October and November have been vacated, with Wonder Woman 1984 moving to Christmas, and James Bond jumping to 2021 with Marvel — Disney opted to go the streaming route.
Soul isn’t the first Disney film to do so owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The much-delayed adaptation of sci-fi fantasy adventure Artemis Fowl was the first one to go to Disney+ in June, followed in July by the recording of the award-winning stage musical Hamilton that was set to release in 2021 in theatres, the fantasy film The One and Only Ivan in August, and then the live-action reimagining of Mulan in September.
The last of those involved an additional fee on top of the Disney+ subscription, which is why it is not available on Disney+ Hotstar as yet. Mulan will release on December 4 on Disney+ Hotstar in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
In addition to Foxx and Fey, Soul also features the voice talents of Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett, Richard Ayoad, and Cody Chesnutt. It has been directed by Pete Docter (Inside Out) and co-directed by Kemp Powers, working off a script by Mike Jones, Docter, and Powers. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide the background score.
Soul is about a middle school music teacher and a failed jazz performer Joe Gardner (Foxx) whose soul is separated from his body and ends up in “The Great Before”, a pre-existence world where souls develop their personalities before being sent to Earth. There, he meets a soul called 22 (Fey) with a dim view of life, and then trains to return to his body and fulfil his dream.
“The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place – but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things,” Docter said in a prepared statement. “Soul investigates what’s really important in our lives, a question we’re all asking these days. I hope it will bring some humour and fun to people at a time when everyone can surely use that.”
Disney CEO Bob Chapek added: “We are thrilled to share Pixar’s spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney+ in December. 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.”