As cinemas around the world remain in a perilous place and other big distributors play release date chicken by shoving their big films back to next year and beyond, we suppose this news was inevitable. It's no less disappointing, though, to learn that Pixar's Soul, directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, will skip cinemas and go straight to Disney+.
The animated meditation on existence was originally scheduled for June, but was then moved to November as the pandemic kept cinemas shuttered through the summer. Disney had yet to make a final decision on the film's release fate, but now it'll go to the Mouse House's streaming service, but at no additional charge in the same fashion as Artemis Fowl, rather than a premium price along the lines of Mulan. In countries where Disney+ has yet to establish a foothold, it'll be released in cinemas.
Soul introduces us to Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.
"The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place – but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things," says Docter, who in addition to directing the film is the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios. "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." Cue a French cinema owner taking a makeshift weapon to a standee...
Currently, the film will arrive on Disney+ on 25 December. Which, while that is usually a day movies skip in the UK because cinemas are closed for Christmas, it looks like it'll be a day-and-date release on to home screens. It'll also premiere in Britain at this year's virtual/screening blended version of the London Film Festival.