Directed By: Dan Scanlon
Written By: Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin
Release Date: March 6, 2020
Domestic Distributor: Disney
Voice Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Genre: Animation, Adventure
Box Office Information
Budget: $200 Million (estimated)
Financed by: Disney
Domestic Box Office Gross: $61,555,145
Overseas Box Office Gross: $80,394,976
In Disney and Pixar’s ONWARD, two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad and embark on an extraordinary quest aboard Barley’s epic van Guinevere.
Like any good quest, their journey is filled with magic spells, cryptic maps, impossible obstacles, and unimaginable discoveries.
But when the boys’ fearless mom Laurel (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus) realizes that her sons are missing, she teams up with a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, former warrior – aka The Manticore (voice of Octavia Spencer) – and heads off to find them.
Perilous curses aside, this one magical day could mean more than any of them ever dreamed.
The first flop in the entire canon of Pixar movies was The Good Dinosaur, which had a torturous production history and a budget that swelled. Now, due to force majeure, Onward is the second Pixar flop – but due entirely to the coronavirus pandemic.
While reviews have slighted Onward as a second-rate Pixar product and the picture would have likely seen box office receipts lower than their usual output – there was no reason to believe that if the marketplace was not affected by a pandemic, that Onward would have pulled in profitable grosses.
The Disney marketing machine supported the movie with its full muscle and launched a global marketing blitz, which usually costs the mouse house about $150 million. Before the coronavirus wreaked havoc, iSpotTV had listed Disney’s TV ad spend at $26 million, two weeks before the March 6 opening.
At least $40 million worth of TV spots would have been spent going into release and domestic P&A costs would be north of $60 million. No budget figures were released by Disney, but the film was expected to cost about $200 million.
Along with the traditional P&A push, the mouse house also partnered with Hasbro, Mattel, and Funko for merchandise, clothes, and backpacks were at Old Navy, there was a tie-in with McDonald’s and dozens of other corporations that gave exposure to Onward.
It bowed against The Way Back, landed lukewarm reviews, and opened below estimates at $39,119,861 – placing #1 for the weekend. Many analysts pegged the soft numbers on the product, not the impact of the virus, which was simply ridiculous.
With a portion of our society panic shopping and hoarding mountains of toilet paper, this was not a normal movie-going climate.
As the second weekend was approaching, movie theaters were closing across the US and there was a huge 72.9% decline in attendance to $10,601,952 – where it won the very slow weekend. Just a few days later the box office stopped being reported and the stateside numbers were $61,555,145.
Disney made the film available for rent/purchase digitally on March 20.
International numbers are at $41.6 million, bringing the global gross to $103.1. This would return about $56 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.