'Soul' Streaming Numbers On Disney+ Over Christmas Were Roughly Equivalent To A $146-$177 Million Theatrical Debut

Soul was reportedly the most-watched movie or TV show over the week of Christmas 2020, but how would that translate to box office numbers? With great difficulty, as Disney+ and other streaming platforms notoriously don't release the streaming numbers for their titles. This leaves us with a patchwork vision of the Soul streaming debut, but from what could be cobbled together, it looks like the Pixar movie did pretty well.

Forbes has the breakdown of the Nielsen numbers for Soul, with the ratings tracker's new SVOD content ratings system reporting that Soul was viewed for 1.669 billion minutes for the week of December 21-December 27, aka its "opening weekend."

So how does that translate to box office numbers? Here, we have to do a little math (which thankfully Forbes already did for us): Soul runs 100 minutes, including credits, not counting the 9 minutes of alternate language credits. If everyone who watched Soul stopped when the credits either let the film run for the full 109 minutes or stopped the movie when the credits began at the 90-minute mark, that would give us a range of 15.6 million to 18.9 million viewings over the first three days on Disney+.

Forbes then takes into account the average ticket price in 2020: $9.37. Adding it all up together, Soul made roughly the equivalent of $146 million to $177 million during its opening weekend at the domestic box office. Of course, this is a huge range that doesn't account for a family watching the movie together, or any other outliers like users rewatching the film or not finishing the film. But it's the closest thing to solid numbers we have to show that Soul was indeed to most-watched title of the Christmas holidays (it should be noted that Nielsen isn't yet tracking HBO Max, so we can't tell how Soul held up against Wonder Woman 1984).

But if we're continuing hypotheticals, how does Soul compare to past Pixar box office debuts? In its lowest range, Soul's $146 million would be about equal to the $135 million domestic debut of Finding Dory in 2016, while at its highest range, Soul's $177 million would be about the same as The Incredibles 2's $184 million box office haul in 2018. Finding Dory and The Incredibles 2 both broke the record for animated feature debuts once held by Shrek the Third ($122 million) in 2007, so it's possible in a normal release Soul would have been the latest to hold the crown. Even more likely, it might have bested The Secret Life of Pets' box office debut record for original animated film, which took in $104 million in 2016.

But Disney+ likely won't be looking at Soul in terms of hypothetical box office, but in how well it does with bringing in new subscribers to the platform. In that regard, it didn't best Hamilton's Independence Day debut, which led to a bigger jump in Disney+ subscriptions than both Mulan and Soul, per Forbes. But there is likely overlap left over from previous Pixar Disney+ releases like Onward, and the early release of Frozen II.