Disney/Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Skipping Theaters and Heading Straight to Disney+

Another day, another theatrical release bites the dust. The latest casualty is Disney/Pixar’s “Soul,” the animation house’s first Black-led feature, which was slated to launch in theaters on November 20 and will now instead debut exclusively on Disney+ on December 25, Christmas Day 2020. In international markets where Disney+ isn’t currently or soon to be available, “Soul” will be released theatrically, with dates to be announced.

The news comes after a wave of studio postponements in recent weeks, including MGM/United Artists’ “No Time to Die” and Warner Bros.’ “Dune,” both of which were pushed fully into 2021. Warner Bros. also pushed “The Batman,” still in production, into 2022.

Disney similarly delayed a wave of major blockbusters in September, with Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” going to December 10, 2021, instead of December 18, 2020, moving it entirely out of this year’s Oscar season. Marvel tentpole “Black Widow,” starring Scarlett Johansson in the title role, was set to debut November 6 of this year, but Disney pushed it to May 7, 2021. Another comic-book adventure newly delayed by Disney is “Eternals,” from acclaimed “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao, now debuting November 5, 2021 instead of its previous date of February 12, 2021. Meanwhile, Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Marvel’s first cinematic entry to feature an Asian lead with star Simu Liu, will now bow on July 9 next year instead of May 7.

“Soul” comes from filmmaker Pete Docter, the Academy Award-winning director behind “Inside Out” and “Up,” and co-director/writer Kemp Powers, playwright and screenwriter of “One Night in Miami.” It stars the voice talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Angela Bassett, and Daveed Diggs and features original jazz music by Jon Batiste and a score composed by Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”).

“Over the last six months, marketplace conditions created by the ongoing pandemic, while difficult in so many ways, have also provided an opportunity for innovation in approaches to content distribution,” Walt Disney Studios said in a statement. “With over 60 million subscribers within the first year of launch, the Disney+ platform is an ideal destination for families and fans to enjoy a marquee Pixar film in their own homes like never before.”

“Soul” was named an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year along with multiple upcoming festivals including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival this coming Sunday.

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