Disney's decision to debut Pixar's 'Soul' on Disney Plus at no extra cost shows how it's changing strategies after its 'Mulan' experiment

Pixar's "Soul" is coming to Disney Plus on December 25th. Disney / Pixar
Disney announced Thursday that its Pixar movie "Soul" will debut on Disney Plus on December 25th at no additional cost.
It is the latest sign that his strategy of releasing "Mulan" on the Streamer for a fee of $ 30 has resulted in disappointing numbers. The company has not released any official viewer data.
Disney has also postponed the theatrical release of "Black Widow" until next year and has chosen not to release it for Disney Plus.
This isn't the first movie Disney released during the pandemic at no additional cost to Disney Plus, but "Soul" is noteworthy as Disney has apparently committed to a theatrical release until some major theater chains closed.
Last month, research firm Lightshed Partners suggested in a report that movie studios should switch to SVOD (streaming video-on-demand) during the pandemic, arguing that Disney has the "infrastructure and scale to make that transition."
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Another major film was dropped from the cinema calendar when theater chains like Regal and Cineworld closed again last week in the US and UK.
On Thursday, Disney announced that its upcoming Pixar movie "Soul" would be released on December 25th on its streaming service Disney Plus and, unlike "Mulan", would be available to subscribers at no additional cost.
This is the latest sign that Disney wasn't thrilled with how the $ 200 million remake "Mulan" ran with a premium video-on-demand model for the service. Disney released the film to Disney Plus subscribers on September 4 for an additional fee of $ 30. The company hasn't released official audience figures yet, but third-party data paints an overwhelming picture.
Analytics firm Samba TV said "Mulan" was seen by 1.12 million US households on connected TVs on its debut weekend, and estimated it grossed $ 33.5 million that weekend.
The film appeared on a recently published list of Nielsen's top streaming titles for the week of August 31 to September 6 at number 10 with 525 million minutes. But it dropped out of the top 10 the following week, suggesting it ran out of strong viewership after its first weekend.
Granted, "Soul" is a very different type of film than "Mulan" and didn't cost nearly as much to produce. But Disney seems to have concluded that "Soul" subscribers might justify (or keep) not releasing it at a premium price.
This isn't the first theater movie that Disney released direct for Disney Plus during the pandemic. Others are "Artemis Fowl" and "The One and Only Ivan". But "Soul" is different because Disney has apparently committed to a theatrical release until Regal and Cineworld have closed again.
Another decision Disney made recently also suggests that the "Mulan" experiment was not a great success. Disney has postponed the Marvel film "Black Widow" from a theatrical release in November to next year.
Last month, research firm Lightshed Partners suggested in a report that amid the pandemic, movie studios should switch to streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, which means Disney will make its films available on Disney Plus at no additional cost should it be about "soul".
"If studios want to take advantage of the power of SVOD, the only answer is to go all-in and not look back," the report said, adding that Disney has the "infrastructure and scalability to make this transition."
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