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The Pros and Cons of Streaming ‘Soul’ and ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

Soul and Wonder Woman 1984 were the two major releases this Christmas. Pixar released their beautiful little drama on Disney+, and Warner Bros. released their frustrating sequel on HBO Max. Reactions to both films across the web couldn’t be more different, especially for the divisive DC Comics sequel. Both movies on streaming have their pros and cons.

Wonder Woman 1984 is a big piece of colorful, globe-trotting spectacle. Patty Jenkins’ sequel would have been more entertaining on a large screen. The sequel was missing the first movie’s sense of sweeping bravura and old-school adventure. It would’ve been more fun with an audience, no question.

It was difficult to suspend disbelief during Wonder Woman 1984. Of course, suspension of disbelief is a part of watching every comic book movie. Comic book movies play by their own rules and have their own logic. However, it was difficult from the beginning to buy into Wonder Woman 1984’s story, choices made, motivations, and most of the major story beats. Now, if the movie was playing on the big screen, maybe it would’ve been easier to overlook or forgive the movie’s more frustrating qualities. 

A pro, of course, was it was better to have some Wonder Woman goodness rather than no Wonder Woman over the holidays. The sequel did well at the box-office considering COVID-19, making over $85 million worldwide. More than likely, releasing the movie on streaming didn’t hurt the box-office numbers. The sequel was more than well-received on HBO Max, too, where Warner Bros. plans to release their 2021 projects. 

The success of the sequel is a positive step for the streaming service, although a negative step backwards for theater owners. “Wonder Woman 1984 broke records and exceeded our expectations across all of our key viewing and subscriber metrics in its first 24 hours on the service, and the interest and momentum we’re seeing indicates this will likely continue well beyond the weekend,” said Andy Forssell, Executive Vice President and General Manager, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer. “During these very difficult times, it was nice to give families the option of enjoying this uplifting film at home, where theater viewing wasn’t an option.” 

While Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. were adamant about keeping Tenet in theaters, making a big movie available to everyone during the pandemic was the smarter and safer option. Wonder Woman 3 is now in the works after the latest sequel’s success on HBO Max.

Similar to Wonder Woman 1984, families enjoyed Soul from home. While Disney charged people $30 to watch Mulan earlier this year, the studio made Pixar’s latest free to all of those with a Disney+ subscription. Over 60 million people subscribe to Disney+. There’s still no word on how many people watched Soul, and how many new subscribers signed up over the holidays.

Audiences and critics are mostly head-over-heels for the latest Pixar movie. It’s about following your dreams, not taking life for granted, and the fear of both living and death. It’s one of Pixar’s more elegant movies that doesn’t turn into an action movie towards the end. Having a nice and warm Pixar movie over the holidays was a treat, although there are some troubling ideas in the movie that got people talking. 

It is Pixar’s first movie with a black lead, and unfortunately, it wasn’t released in theaters. Most of Disney’s movies star white people. Sadly, due to the pandemic, two of Disney’s major releases from 2020 not starring Scarlett Johnasson were released on streaming. Mulan, too, was released on streaming. A serious con of Soul not going to theaters was seeing a moment of representation in animation in theaters.

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