Disney’s love for theaters during the pandemic is questionable at best.
Pixar movies have historically been movie theater register grinders. They usually have good legs and make money week in and week out, grossing lots of box office $$$. The last Pixar movie, Onward, was unfortunately cut short due to theaters closing. Next scheduled is Soul. Was, rather.
Disney’s words are they believe in the theater experience, but their actions have been the opposite. First Artemis Fowl skipped theaters (Disney Pleases Movie Fans, Flexes in Front of National Theater Owners (NATO): Artemis Fowl will be Summer Disney+ Release — theaters weren’t open then, so that decision made sense), then Mulan’s unprecedented $30 premium + Disney+ experience — and don’t worry, we’ll have plenty to say about that serious customer diss in another post — and now Soul, set for launch in November is also being yanked.
Pixar’s “Soul” is skipping theaters and will debut exclusively on Disney Plus in time for Christmas. The animated family film will launch on the streaming service on Dec. 25. In international markets where Disney Plus isn’t available, “Soul” will be released theatrically on a yet-to-be determined date.Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Skips Theaters for Disney Plus – Variety
We’re Disney+ subscribers and appreciate the exclusive content, thank you, but what about the theaters? Sure, Regal (temporarily) quit the fight again and closed, but AMC is doing everything they can to reopen their chain. If/when New York and Los Angeles fall into line, they will be nearly 100% reopened in America. The theaters need new movies and Disney sees Universal push up the Croods sequel to compete against Soul and they decide to go the Disney+ exclusive route — again.
Why didn’t they move up Soul sooner in theaters? Did it have to be in November? Like, say, this past weekend to compete against War with Grandpa? Or put it against Liam Neeson and Honest Thief next weekend? Let it run in whatever theaters are open to satisfy the theatrical window and then move to Disney+ around Christmas time?
Better yet, adopt the same reduced theatrical window that Universal has with AMC (see: Universal: The Croods and Freaky Will Have Shortened Theatrical Window) and go to Disney+ sooner? Best of both worlds, Disney.
No, instead, they just abort the theater experience altogether. I don’t get it. If they truly want to support movie theaters, then put out some freaking movies in theaters for us cinephiles to enjoy! Will Black Widow be next? Some are speculating yes, but due to the large budget that seems unlikely.
Then again … ?
Pixar movies aren’t exactly inexpensive to make either. The budget for Soul was $150 million. That budget size movie — unless you’re Netflix, anyway — pretty much needs to open in theaters. And yet it’s not. Mulan’s budget was $200 million and that didn’t open domestically in theaters either.
Some are speculating that Soul looks like a not very kid-friendly Pixar movie . Death is a dark subject, but that was dealt with in Onward. This takes it even further, however. Check out the official trailer:
The trailer looks good. Argh, why Disney, why not release this sooner in theaters?
Pretty obvious, but I’m bummed not being able to see Soul on the big screen in America. It’s not just me hopelessly devoted to the big screen, though, this doesn’t make financial sense. Disney is hemorrhaging cash everywhere right now, laying off employees and then throws this bone to the 60+ million Disney+ subscribers. Will they pick up a few more subscribers around Christmas time? Sure. Will it replace $$$ lost $$$ not having domestic theater revenue? Maybe. Maybe not.
It’s important to note for readers abroad, some international audiences will still be able to enjoy this in theaters, but we’re not hopping a plane and traveling somewhere to see this movie. There has been no international release date announced. So, the international audience is being denied an earlier theater release, too.
Are you bappy to see Soul skip theaters and go Disney+ exclusively? Or would you rather have seen it as a theatrical release first? Still not feeling safe enough to return to theaters (that’s OK to feel that way), so it’s moot? Or don’t really care about this film either way? Please weigh in below.