With the shutting down of theaters the world over, Pixar's Onward got shafted at the box office. The film could only make around $104 million at the global stage before folding and going to streaming. During a chat, director for the film Dan Scanlon revealed his feelings towards Onward having to go to digital before getting a full run in theaters,
"Clearly, the right thing to do is for everyone to stay in and be safe and take care of themselves. That said, it's pretty great that folks are getting to see it online and that people are getting to have a little moment of joy, hopefully, or a little distraction with the film. And it's been really wonderful to hear on social media, how much they enjoyed the film, how much they enjoyed getting to watch it with their family. And that it did bring them some joy during this time."
Onward tells the story of two elf brothers, who set off on a journey across the land to find a way to bring their dead father back to life. In keeping with Pixar's commitment to using kid-friendly animation to explore darker themes and emotions, the movie does not shy away from addressing feelings of hurt, loss, regret, and guilt that the characters feel.
With a popular voice cast headed by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, the movie generated plenty of interest during the promotion stage. Upon release, it was praised by critics for being another solid, if not outstanding addition to the Pixar library of movies. While the movie was not able to live up to its box office potential, Scanlon clearly understands that the need of the hour is for families staying locked up in their homes to have something comforting to watch, which is where Onward can prove to be useful.
Disney, which owns Pixar, made an interesting decision to release the film for purchase online at the same time as making it free to view for subscribers to their Disney+ service. Clearly, the mouse empire is placing as much importance on getting new subscribers as making money at this early stage in their foray into online streaming. Predictably, reports have been coming in that the film is a popular choice among online viewers.
The shakeup of the film industry by the enforced lockdowns taking place the world over has made streaming the go-to choice for many major film studios. While some studios are still holding out hope for being able to release their films in theaters after a few months, the chances of that happening seem very slight at this stage.
When the lockdown ends, it will take some time for audiences to get over their fear of being in enclosed, crowded spaces, even for the chance to see Wonder Woman 1984 or Top Gun 2 on the big screen. But what is the theater's loss is streaming's gain, with many predicting that it will now permanently become the dominant medium of film distribution. This comes from CinemaBlend.