Disney has announced that Soul, the latest film from Pixar, will bypass its planned theatrical release and instead debut exclusively on Disney+ on December 25, 2020.
Soul was previously scheduled for exclusive theatrical release on November 20, 2020, making it one of three major studio releases—along with Universal horror comedy Freaky (November 13) and Universal animated family comedy The Croods: A New Age (November 25) to come out that month, after a lengthy dry spell for major studio releases in theaters. James Bond film No Time to Die was also slated to come out in November until being moved last Friday to April 2021. Disney’s Black Widow was also scheduled for release on November 6, until Disney—as part of a round of release date shifts—moved it to May 7, 2021.
With this announcement, Universal’s horror flick Freaky is the next major film up on the calendar for theatrical release, scheduled for November 13. The first family film will be The Croods: A New Age, also from Universal, on November 25.
The shift of Soul comes days after Cineworld—parent company of Regal, the second largest exhibitor in the United States—announced the temporary closure of all their U.S. and U.K. theaters, citing a lack of stability in the release date calendar.
In international markets where Disney+ is not available, Soul will be available for theatrical bookings. A similar state of affairs took place with Disney’s Mulan, which was shifted from theatrical to Disney+ in August but is still screening in select international territories. (An additional fee, beyond the typical Disney+ subscription fee, was charged to at-home viewers who wanted to watch Mulan; Disney has mentioned no such fee for Soul.) Disney’s recording of the Broadway hit Hamilton also went to the studio’s exclusive SVOD platform earlier this year in lieu of its initial plans for showing in theaters.