It was pegged as one of the biggest releases of the year, but Pixar film Soul will bypass cinemas and premiere on streaming service Disney+ instead.
The decision by Walt Disney Co represents a further setback for Hollywood and cinemas around the world, in what has already been a disastrous year for the industry. Following the postponement of the James Bond film No Time to Die in November, the next big movie on the cinema calendar is Warner Bros' Wonder Woman 1984, which is currently slated for release on December 25.
Soul will be available to subscribers of Disney+, at no additional charge. Disney last month released Mulan to its streaming service of 60 million-plus subscribers, but charged $30 for early access.
Expectations had been running high for Soul, which stars Jamie Foxx and is directed by Pete Docter, Pixar's chief creative officer and the filmmaker behind Up and Inside Out. Foxx plays a middle school teacher who dreams of becoming a jazz musician. Originally planned to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Soul's theatrical release had been scheduled for November 20.
“The world can be an exhausting and frustrating place – but it’s also full of unexpected joys, even in seemingly mundane things,” said Docter in a statement.
"Soul investigates what's really important in our lives, a question we're all asking these days. I hope it will bring some humour and fun to people at a time when everyone can surely use that."