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'Soul' Moved to Disney+ Streaming Service

Posted on Friday, October 9, 2020 11:06 AM

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In a move that was largely expected, Disney has taken its upcoming Pixar movie, Soul, off its theatrical release schedule date of November 20, 2020 and moved it onto its Disney+ streaming video service.

When it debuts online December 25, 2020, it does not appear to come with the same strings that Disney attached to Mulan, which it released on Disney+ in September for a $30 rental fee on top of the $8 monthly subscription cost.

While this is disppointing news for those who look forward to seeing movies in movie theaters and for movie theaters that are desparate for new movies to show to their customers, this move can be seen as an assessment of the movie rather than a proverbial nail that some would like to hammer into the coffins of movie theaters.

If you watch the trailer for Soul, which is included below, you'll see a movie that is less theatrical and more high-grade Netflix movie, which is something that Disney+ needs to fill its lineup to keep those monthly subscriptions rolling in.

The fact that they chose to take a movie destined for theatrical release and shift it to the streaming service without an additional Mulan-style rental fee could be seen as an indictment of the approach they took with Mulan and/or an assessment by those in charge about the appeal of Soul to their audience. I'm not saying that Soul looks like a bad movie. In fact, I was looking forward to it. It has a vibe that is similar to Inside Out, which incidentally, was also directed by Pete Docter.

But someone, somewhere, decided that it didn't have what it took to market it to a theatrical audience, even at a time when moviegoers would eagerly watch a Pixar movie. Especially one that had an upbeat and positive message to share.

It seems like an easy sell that wouldn't require much in the way of advertising, because theaters would be more than happy to spread the word, and it would probably be the subject of free publicity in the media outlets.

Perhaps, they also realized that it was exactly the kind of movie that people would like to watch, at home, during the holidays.

Why not do both?

Disney should release Soul in theaters on November 20 as planned. With the recent departure of No Time to Die, that weekend was wide open for Disney's taking (granted, each movie has much different target audiences).

Then, they could release the movie on Disney+ over the holidays and capture an additional audience. Perhaps people who saw it over the Thanksgiving weekend in theaters would then want to see it again and share it with friends and family during the holidays when kids are off school and many parents would be taking a few days off work.

Disney+ Getting a Big Boost from Disney

One might think that the Disney+ team is getting some direct support from the parent company to be seen as the exclusive provider of this content. So far, only two movies have been sacrificed for such a plan, if one exists.

Will the company keep it up with movies with even higher stakes, or will Disney+ become the company's made-for-video outlet? There's a lot of value to such an approach, to be sure.

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