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How to watch Pixar's 'Soul'

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) in Pixar's Soul, available Dec. 25 on Disney+.
Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) in Pixar's "Soul," available Dec. 25 on Disney+. (Image credit: Pixar)

Christmas Day has long been a banner release day for the film industry. But this year is like none other, and it's now a banner release day for the streaming industry. And on Dec. 25, you'll be able to watch the latest Pixar movie — Soul — exclusively on Disney+.

Soul originally was slated to land in theaters. But the global pandemic forced Pixar and its parent company, Disney, to rethink things. Fortunately for Disney, it has a little streaming service called Disney+, which already has been the benefactor of two other major releases in 2020 — the live-action remake of Mulan, and the theatrical version of the Hamilton musical. Both always were going to have a place in the streaming world, of course, but both opted to skip theaters altogether, since theaters were closed for much of 2020.

And that brings us to Soul on Disney+, directed by Pete Docter. Here's the gist, from Disney:

Middle school band teacher Joe Gardner is on the brink of getting his big break playing for a jazz quartet. But he finds himself on an unexpected detour from the streets of New York City to The Great Before, tasked with helping new soul 22, voiced by Tina Fey, find her spark to earn her way to Earth.

And here's our own Leigh Monson in our Soul review:

On a nuts-and-bolts level, Soul retains the kind of polish and entertainment value one comes to expect from Pixar’s non-franchise outings. Foxx and Fey have great comic chemistry together, and dialogue is riddled with hilarious gags and single lines that hold more emotional weight than they rightly should. The animation is intricate and detailed, and the moments where the film overlaps its material and spiritual sensibilities are really interesting for how they merge style with substance. The jazz score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is easily one of the best musical compositions to come out this year.

Streaming-first perhaps isn't what Disney or the directors expected, but it's worked out.

"We’ve been working on Soul for years," co-director Kemp Powers said in a press release when the move to Disney+ was announced in October. "But the film feels timelier now than we ever could have imagined back when we began. In a year where everything we know has been turned upside down, we’ve all been forced to find new meaning both in the relationships we have and the small moments that truly make life worth living."

How to watch Pixar's 'Soul'

Soul will be available to everyone with a Disney+ account. The film is not part of the "Premiere Access" program, meaning you won't have to pay anything extra to watch it. You'll just need the subscription to Disney+.

A basic Disney+ subscription costs $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year. (That'll be going up to $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year in March 2021.)

Your best bet

If you're really serious about your entertainment, check out the Disney+ Bundle, which gets you Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for a single price. That's $12.99 for now. (It'll go up to $13.99 in March 2021 as well.) Essentially you'll be getting the three services for the price of two.View Deal

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.