Soul's New Release Date Has Special Meaning For Pixar

Pixar Soul characters looking into a pit

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This year marks a special anniversary for Pixar. After all, it was 25 years ago that the studio first released Toy Story into theaters, and in doing so helped completely change the landscape for animated films permanently. The milestone age will be reached this November, as the John Lasseter movie came out on November 22, 1995, and now Disney has found a great way to celebrate: by pushing the release date of Pete Docter's Soul to that same weekend in 2020.

In recent weeks the Walt Disney Company has been working to avoid massive shifts in their theatrical schedule, with Soul clinging to its June 19 date while every other major release moved, but now the film has finally found a more reasonable home. The animated blockbuster is now set to come out on November 20th, and while the significance of this date wasn't noted in any official release from the studio, it is fun to note that it coincides with Pixar's quarter-century birthday.

It's actually kind of strange how perfect Soul is as an anniversary marker. Not only is it special that it is the first film made by Pete Docter since he became Pixar's chief creative officer, but it's also significant that he was one of the key players at the ground floor of the company, and was credited as both a writer and story artist/supervising animator on Toy Story.

In Soul, Jamie Foxx will voice Joe Gardner – a musician who has lost passion for his music... and then loses a lot more following an accident. Gardner's soul winds up leaving his body, and with the help of an infant soul (Tina Fey) who is just starting to learn who she is, he works to find a way back to corporeal form. The film also features the voice talents of Quest Love, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, and Angela Bassett.

Of course, Disney fans will note that the big move for Soul is a bit disruptive, given that the company already established plans to release another animated title around that same time – namely Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins' Raya And The Last Dragon. The Walt Disney Animation Studios release was originally going to hit theaters on November 25th – just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday – but now it has been pushed and will now be coming out on March 12, 2021.

As a result of all these changes, Walt Disney Studios is going to have a pretty tight schedule in the final months of the year. Between Disney and Fox titles, the company will have a total of six films arriving on the big screen in the span of eight weeks. These titles include Cate Shortland's Black Widow (11/6), Adrian Lyne's Deep Water (11/13), Pete Docter's Soul (11/20), Shawn Levy's Free Guy (12/11), Steven Spielberg's West Side Story (12/18), and Ridley Scott's The Last Duel (12/25). Whether or not this remains the plan for the foreseeable future is anyone's guess, as everything seems to be very liquid right now.

Stay tuned for more updates on Soul and the release schedule for the rest of 2020. While we wait for the new film, head over to Disney+ to watch the full catalog of Pixar titles (and if you don't have a subscription already, you can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.)

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.