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Disney Plus will premiere Pixar's Soul on Dec. 25, skipping theaters

Disney Plus subscribers will get the movie free with their regular membership, after Disney Plus' release of Mulan in September required an extra $30 fee to watch.

Soul is heading to Disney Plus instead of movie theaters.

Disney will release Pixar's next movie, Soul, straight to its streaming service Disney Plus, making Soul the latest flick from the Hollywood giant to skip theaters during the coronavirus pandemic. Pixar's Soul will debut on Disney Plus for all subscribers at no additional cost on Dec. 25, coinciding with Christmas Day.

"We are thrilled to share Pixar's spectacular and moving Soul with audiences direct to Disney Plus in December," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement Thursday. "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."

Soul, which was scheduled to hit theaters Nov. 20, will be included in the standard subscription to Disney Plus. That makes the release of Soul similar to that of Hamilton and other films, which became part of the standard Disney Plus catalog when they landed on the service. That differs from Disney's release of its live-action remake of Mulan, which was available as a special "premier access" title on Disney Plus that required an extra $30 payment to watch it.

This isn't the first Pixar film to be affected by cinema closures due to the coronavirus pandemic: A few weeks after its theatrical release in early March, Pixar's Onward jumped over to Disney Plus without an extra fee.

Pete Docter, who directed other Pixar classics like Up and Inside Out, weighed in on the decision to send his latest straight to Disney Plus.

"The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place -- but it's also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things," Docter said. "Soul investigates what's really important in our lives, a question we're all asking these days. I hope it will bring some humor and fun to people at a time when everyone can surely use that."

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