Pixar's 'Soul' had a huge debut weekend on Disney Plus, according to new Nielsen viewership data

  • Viewers spent nearly 1.7 billion minutes watching "Soul" on Disney Plus in the US in its first weekend, according to Nielsen.
  • The movie topped Nielsen's latest list of most watched streaming titles for the week of December 21 to December 27.
  • It bodes well for Disney, which plans to release more movies directly to Disney Plus.
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Pixar's "Soul" had a huge opening weekend on Disney Plus last month.

Viewers in the US spent 1.67 billion minutes watching the movie the week of December 21 to December 27 (it premiered on the streaming service on Friday, December 25), according to Nielsen. It topped the research company's latest list of top streaming titles released on Friday, which accounts for Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video.

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The movie's viewership is impressive considering that Nielsen measures minutes watched in the US, which gives TV shows, especially long-running ones like "The Office," an advantage. Even more impressive is that the data only accounts for the movie's first weekend of release, meaning that plenty of Disney Plus' 87 million subscribers watched it when it premiered.

Disney did not immediately return a request for comment.

"The Office," which has nearly 200 episodes, landed at No. 2 on Nielsen's latest list with 1.4 billion minutes watched. The list accounted for the popular sitcom's final full week on Netflix before it left for NBCUniversal's Peacock at the end of 2020.

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"Soul's" performance bodes well for Disney Plus as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the theatrical industry.

Disney decided to forgo a theatrical release in favor of making it available on Disney Plus at no additional fee to subscribers, unlike last year's "Mulan" remake, which Disney charged an additional $30 fee for when it first debuted on the service. Disney has plans to release more movies directly to Disney Plus, such as the animated "Raya and the Last Dragon."

Questions still linger over what Disney will do with its major tentpole releases, particularly "Black Widow," which is currently dated for theatrical release in May. Other studios have already started to delay (again) several major movies this week, including the James Bond movie "No Time to Die."

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