Soul Filmmakers on Why Disney+ Release Is a "Great Thing"

In October, The Walt Disney Company announced that Disney and Pixar's latest original feature, Soul, would not be getting the theatrical release originally expected but would instead be debuting exclusively on Disney+ on Christmas Day, December 25th. It was an announcement that was surprising, but at the same time not completely unexpected. Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic movie theaters in many parts of the United States and the world either remain closed or are operating at limited capacity. But for filmmakers, while the decision was disappointing, they've come to see the Disney+ release as a great thing -- and even one that may start a new holiday tradition for families.

Speaking with ComicBook.com, co-director Pete Docter said that he's been on an "interesting journey" since the decision to release on Disney+ was made, but now he's started to see the upside of Soul making it to families in their homes during the holidays.

"I think for me I've gone on this interesting journey since the decision was made," Docter said. "I was like, ah, we made this film for theaters, it was kind of a disappointment but then recognizing that, you know, I was sort of deluding myself somehow to think that when the film came out in theaters, that would mean the pandemic is over. But it's not over. We're still in the middle of it. And I think this is the best way to make sure that people get to see it safely with their family and loved ones. So, I think it's a great thing."

Co-director Kemp Powers had a similar take on the situation, even hoping that Soul could end up being a new Christmas tradition for some kids.

"I mean, we make these movies to be seen, obviously. And among the groups that are most negatively impacted by this pandemic is the group that I'm a part of so it's a bit of a relief, to not have to ask my family and relatives to literally put themselves in danger, a danger that I wouldn't subject my own kids to, to go see my work," Powers said. "So, in a very unusual time I think we've kind of found ourselves in one of the best possible situations to get this out. Maybe we'll, in a perfect world, for a lot of young kids, maybe this is going to be their new Christmas tradition."

The idea of Soul as a holiday experience for families is something that The Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek even noted in a statement announcing the shift in the film's release strategy back in October.

"We are thrilled to share Pixar's spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney+ in December," Chapek said. "A new original Pixar film is always a special occasion, and this truly heartwarming and humorous story about human connection and finding one's place in the world will be a treat for families to enjoy together this holiday season."

You can check out the synopsis of Soul below.

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Soul follows 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.

Soul debuts on Disney+ on December 25th.