Soul-Crushing News: Pixar’s First Black-Led Film Won’t Premiere on Juneteenth; Pushed to November

Soul (2020)
Soul (2020)
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

As we navigate unfamiliar territory within the confines of our homes during the coronavirus pandemic, it may feel like a little bit of our soul dies every day. Unfortunately, our hopes of a blockbuster summer are whittling away, as well.


According to Deadline, the upcoming Disney-Pixar feature Soul has been moved from its original June 19 release and will instead be released in theaters on November 20. This is pretty damn notable as the original release was not just any ol’ day, but the historic day known as “Juneteenth,” which celebrates the true day of emancipation from slavery in 1865. With this new release date, Soul will be debuting closer to the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Deadline provided the film’s synopsis:

Soul, directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, follows an aspiring musician who gets the break of a lifetime, but through a twist of cosmic forces, finds himself transported out of his body and in the place where souls are created. With the help of a new soul there, he must find his way back to his body on Earth, while she learns a lot more about what living on Earth is all about.

With its debut, Soul was set to make history as the first film by the successful computer animation studio to feature a black lead character. Plus, the film features the black-ass voices of Jamie Foxx, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Angela Bassett and Daveed Diggs, hence why the original Juneteenth release was impactful.


Along with the character news being a big deal, the upcoming film’s co-director is a black man, so there is representation behind the camera in a lead role, as well.

“I was born and raised in New York,” Powers said in a press release once the teaser trailer was released in November 2019. “This is the first time Pixar has gone to my hometown and I’ve been so impressed by the amount of energy that goes into making sure that everything is right. When the character’s in Queens, it looks like he’s in Queens. When he’s in Manhattan, it looks like he’s in Manhattan. It’s pretty incredible.”


Soul will be joining other tentpole films that have suffered delayed releases, including Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984 and No Time to Die.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



Hollywood is in denial about the state of cinema, post-Coronavirus.

Netflix was the canary in the coal mine and they chose to ignore that people didn’t mind watching feature films at home than go out to the theaters.

If I were these theater chains, I would go online and start releasing movies that way, stat, instead of pushing movies release dates back in hopes that things will get better and we can go back to the way things were (h/t Barbra Streisand). Have they seen a Presidential press conference or watched the news, lately? Lets say that, by some miracle, we can go back to cramming the theaters, the fact that all these movies being clustered together now will have most folks making a choice and deciding whether to watch in the theater or waiting until they come out on video, anyway. 

The game has changed and they need to adapt, now, rather than later.