Pixar's Onward getting surprise early release through digital download and Disney+
Pixar's Onward rides again.
In another surprising move from The Walt Disney Company, which continues to alter its movie strategy in light of the coronavirus outbreak, movie lovers in the U.S. will be able to purchase the animated Onward digitally and through Movies Anywhere for $19.99 on the night of Friday, March 20 starting 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. (Psst! That's tonight.) In addition, the movie will also arrive on the Disney+ streaming platform on April 3 (also in the U.S.).
“While we’re looking forward to audiences enjoying our films on the big screen again soon, given the current circumstances, we are pleased to release this fun, adventurous film to digital platforms early for audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their homes,” Onward's director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae said in a joint statement.
This is the latest big move by a studio in breaking the traditional theatrical window. Onward hit theaters on March 6, right as movie theaters were beginning to close internationally and social distancing measures were being implemented to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Over the course of its opening weekend, the title earned $68 million worldwide — $40 million of which came from domestic theaters – marking a box office low for Pixar. Now, many theaters in America have also closed while others attempt to reduce the numbers of seats sold.
Earlier, as various law makers urged citizens to self-isolate and work from home as much as possible, Disney dropped Frozen 2 on Disney+ earlier than expected and announced an earlier VOD plan for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Other studios continue to break the traditional theatrical window and bring some of the year's biggest films home as digital releases, including Birds of Prey, The Invisible Man, The Gentlemen, and now Bloodshot.
Onward, featuring the voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, is set in a world magic has all but gone from the world and once fantastical creatures, like elves and centaurs, embrace the technological conveniences of modernity. On his 16th birthday, Ian Lightfoot (Holland) receives a wizard's staff from his late father that comes with a spell to bring his dad back to life for 24 hours. When the spell goes wrong and only half of Mr. Lightfoot returns (from the waist down), Ian and his brother Barley (Pratt) embark on a quest to finish the spell and reunite with their father.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer also voice roles.