Pixar’s Soul has had a bit of a bumpy journey — it was reported back in April that the anticipated June release would be pushed back to November in the wake of COVID-19. Now, Disney may skip the theatrical release altogether and head straight for release on Disney+.
The latest animated Disney/Pixar production since Onward tells the story of musician Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) who’s transported to a limbo-like state after an accident. He must team up with pal 22 (Tina Fey) against nemesis Paul (Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs) to find his way home.
Soul is set to premiere in the UK as part of the London Film Festival next month and this year’s event is a mixed affair, combining virtual screenings with limited cinema releases. But if the distributors do decide to release it virtually, it’ll likely be through the safe confines of a Disney+ membership — I can’t imagine their latest creation becoming available to ostensibly anyone with a press badge and an Internet connection.
The hotly contested release of Mulan at premium prices last month drew criticism for Disney’s streaming model, with the majority of viewers arguing that it was a shameless cash-grab on top of the existing membership fees. Regardless of whether it won back a fraction of the box office takings lost due to COVID-19, fans were vocal about their annoyance. It’s not clear yet whether Soul will be available for the same premium — which seems likely — or whether Disney will offer it up under the usual subscription. It all depends on Mulan’s success and whether or not Soul even reaches the platform.
We may see a sneak peek of Soul on the festival circuit next month, but if the rumours are true and Disney decides to skip the theatrical release (which, let’s face it, gives them a lot more control over distribution and pricing), we could be watching it from the comfort of our homes in November.