What a difference a week can make. Less than two Sundays ago, the conversation around Disney and Pixar’s Onward was about how the film opened in first place at the box office with $39.1 million—an okay if somewhat disappointing number for a Pixar movie. Still, it was a much more upbeat story than seven days later when it was number one again… and saw a stunning 73 percent drop-off between weekends. Of course what happened in between was realistic anxiety about the coronavirus outbreak finally taking hold in North America while the World Health Organization declared the crisis to be a pandemic.
Watch Click >> https://moviespm.com/
And that was all before the theaters began closing nationwide and across Europe, including in the UK. Now with theaters closed around the world and major cities on lockdown, many are wondering if Onward will be following in the footsteps of Universal Pictures’ spring output, as well as Warner Brothers’ Birds of Prey, and be available on VOD soon, or even better Disney+? While we cannot say for certain, unlike the indefinitely delayed Mulan and Black Widow, Onward appears to be a prime candidate to make the jump to streaming very soon.
Enjoy a FREE TRIAL of Disney+, courtesy of Den of Geek!
To date there has only been one Pixar film that was released theatrically and then made its non-VOD streaming bow on Disney+. Opening to enormous box office, Toy Story 4 debuted in June 2019 before eventually premiering on Disney+ in February 2020. With a healthy window of nearly eight months between theaters and Disney+, Toy Story 4 appeared to lay the groundwork for the lifecycle of a new Disney blockbuster from theaters to home media/digital, and then finally Disney+. That model, however, is now out the window.
With Onward playing to mostly empty theaters, where there are still theaters open, the film is going to be unable to make back its budget in the U.S., never mind overseas where entire nations like China, the UK, Italy, France, and more have officially closed movie theaters. Thus as Onward is already inn release in the west, the quickest and honestly only way to make a profit (or at least mitigate loss) is on demand.Admittedly, there are complications still in Onward’s path to Disney+. First the film has been unable to open in major Asian markets, including China, so if it ends up on VOD or Disney+ soon, Disney will have to mitigate the loss of the film being quickly pirated on torrent sites around the world in markets they cannot penetrate with the film (China, for one, does not even have a Disney+ service). Additionally, only Disney can know if subscription rates will rise if they fast-track the film straight to Disney+.
So a very plausible scenario is Disney accepts the losses it might incur from pirating in Asian markets and releases Onward for one or two months on VOD to continue to make some returns on the film before putting it on Disney+. For comparison, Frozen 2 debuted on home media, including digital download and Blu-ray, on Feb. 25 and became available on Disney+ less than one month later on March 15. However, that was a special circumstance in which the company appeared to literally be providing a gift to anxious families in self-isolation. (Frozen 2 also had already made $1.5 billion at the box office.)
To then continue this trend, Disney could release Onward on VOD as soon as next week and then put it on Disney+ sometime between the end of April or May.
However, the point of a streaming service model is to have a constant flow of new content that excites viewers and keeps subscriptions steadily renewed month to month. It’s the business model Netflix used to become one of the biggest television and film content creators on the planet, and it’s one Disney intends to emulate with Disney+. So in the same way Netflix keeps subscribers engaged with movies they’re not profiting off of from theaters month-to-month, Disney could use Onward, which already debuted at a slightly disappointing box office bow before the coronavirus outbreak, as an experiment in going straight to Disney+ while skipping the VOD step.