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Pixar movie 'Soul' going straight to Disney+ streaming service

FILE PHOTO: A man looks at his phone as he passes by a screen advertising Walt Disney's streaming service Disney+ in New York City, U.S., November 12, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pixar animated movie "Soul" which had been set to hit theaters in November, will instead debut on the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas Day, Walt Disney Co DIS.N said on Thursday.

“Soul” will play in cinemas only in markets where Disney+ is not currently available, or will not be soon, the company said in a statement.

Disney is testing new ways to release first-run movies while the coronavirus pandemic limits attendance at theaters, particularly in the United States. The company is trying to attract more customers to Disney+, which has signed up more than 60 million subscribers worldwide.

“Over the last six months, marketplace conditions created by the ongoing pandemic, while difficult in so many ways, have also provided an opportunity for innovation in approaches to content distribution,” Disney said in a statement.

In September, Disney’s action epic “Mulan” skipped theaters and went straight to Disney+. In that case, the company charged Disney+ subscribers an extra $30 to watch “Mulan.”

“Soul,” which tells the story of a music teacher whose soul gets separated from his body, will be available to Disney+ customers starting Dec. 25 without an extra payment beyond the monthly subscription price.

Debut dates in markets where the movie will play in theaters will be announced later, Disney said.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis

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