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Onward (2020)

Thomas Newton

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"Normal theatrical run" meaning back on some screens or back on 4000+?

I can see they might put it back out on limited screens - like maybe 1000 - but it'd be insane for them to try to restart it like it's a true new release when it's already been available for home viewing...
Assuming that they do home release like you describe, then fewer screens (or rather, the same number of screens, but with a reduced schedule of showings per screen).

The point is that there are likely to be a fairly large number of people who want to see the film on the big screen. Even if that's not the same number they would have had for a "completely unreleased" film, they should be able to make money catering to the people who are willing to pay for big screen viewings.

It's just a simple matter of matching supply to demand.
 
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Malcolm R

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I think it'll get some form of theatrical re-release. As someone else said, theaters are going to need something to show when they start re-opening, and Onward would be a prime candidate to fill some of those screens until new releases start being scheduled again. Regardless of it's streaming status, it's a recent Disney/Pixar effort that has more upside than most with regard to selling tickets.

Many enthusiasts would like to see it on the big screen, and families may be clamoring for any sort of outing after being cooped up for weeks/months.
 

Jake Lipson

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I'd love to see it come back to the big screen. I just don't think the theaters will be willing to partner on a title that is on Disney+ for $6.99 a month, for the same reason that they won't partner with Netflix. They value their exclusivity.
 

TravisR

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I'd love to see it come back to the big screen. I just don't think the theaters will be willing to partner on a title that is on Disney+ for $6.99 a month, for the same reason that they won't partner with Netflix. They value their exclusivity.
Yeah, I'd love to be wrong and see Onward come back but I think any movie that gets a digital release now is dead to the theaters.
 
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Jake Lipson

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I don't think the the chains mind very much that they took their movies to digital when theaters closed, insomuch as I fully expect them to continue to work with the major studios on future releases that uphold the windowing when theaters are back to normal operations. But I do think they will refuse to reschedule something that has been made available that way when they come back.

Disney knows this as well. Their decision to move it to paid digital platforms yesterday and then use it as, essentially, a Disney+ signup incentive is a way for them to monetize it now while the theaters are gone, and it's fine that they made that choice. But it is a short-term gain choice. The long-term gain choice would have been to pretend that the March releasee never happened, hold the movie and treat it like a new title when the theaters reopen. That would also have been a valid choice. But they can't have both. So they made the one that is a more immediate way to monetize the film. That's fine. It's not what I would have done, but it's fine. They just can't put the genie back in the bottle (or, in the case of Disney, lamp) once they've done that.
 
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Malcolm R

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The theaters are not going to be in a position to make demands regarding exclusivity/streaming when they're allowed to reopen. If they don't want to show anything that's been on streaming during the time they were closed, they'll have nothing to show when they do reopen.

I expect when they reopen, they'll have to be showing many of the same titles that were playing when they closed. I don't see the studios releasing many big new titles until they're sure the crisis is past.
 

Josh Steinberg

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It could also be when they reopen that people are still practicing some form of social distancing. So they may need to use more screens to show fewer titles and sell fewer tickets overall so that everyone isn’t on top of everyone.

Even if the public wants to go out again on day one and even if it’s allowed without restrictions, I’m not convinced that they’ll all want to sit in “sold out show” proximity to each other.
 

Jake Lipson

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Malcom, I get what you're saying, but when theaters reopen, why would the audience go back there to experience something that they've streamed at home during the shutdown?

Those of us who hang out here like to experience theatrical re-releases. There is a reason that the vast majority of the time nowadays, those only happen with Fathom Events on a schedule of a couple days. I wish this weren't the case, but general audiences have demonstrated a reluctance to show up for a re-release of a title they can find through other means. The last time a re-release was extremely successful as a regular booking was The Lion King in 2011, and Disney felt they needed to convert that to 3D to make that happen.

Even if the public wants to go out again on day one and even if it’s allowed without restrictions, I’m not convinced that they’ll all want to sit in “sold out show” proximity to each other.
That is an excellent point. I'm not sure it would make much difference here, though. At my local multiplex, I've only ever seen sold out shows when I go to the opening night of The Avengers or Star Wars. Even with movies that are hits, things are rarely very crowded otherwise because they already open movies on three or four screens to begin with. When I saw Captain Marvel last year around this time, there might have been 20 people scattered around the big auditorium where I saw it, because it was starting every half hour in the smaller auditoriums as well. This is something they already do, so I don't think they will have to change much in practice.
 

Malcolm R

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Malcom, I get what you're saying, but when theaters reopen, why would the audience go back there to experience something that they've streamed at home during the shutdown?
Then they may as well stay closed, as they're unlikely to have anything "brand new" to show right away.
 

Jake Lipson

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We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, has anyone done a digital purchase of Onward yet? Especially if some of you watch it who didn't get a chance to in theaters, I'd love to hear what you think.

Because I have the steelbook on order with Best Buy for $38, I'm not going to pay again to get the digital version now. It would be really awesome if Disney could figure out how to distribute digital copy codes early to people with standing pre-orders of the disc. I'm not saying there aren't way more important things to be concerned about right now, but it would be cool if this were to happen. Because it can't, I'll probably watch on Disney+ until the disc comes along.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I don’t see any feasible way to start manufacturing new discs right now. With the California shutdown, the offices where you’d take the digital files and author a disc will he closed - disc authoring is not an essential business. The big Technicolor plant is in Mexico and the borders are closed for non-essential travel. Discs aren’t an essential business either. People going to work to manufacture discs would be risking their lives and those of everyone around them. Trucks available for shipping should be used for essentials like food, medical supplies and cleaning products.

I question whether it’s even morally right to order a disc from Amazon or any other retailer right now. It’s easier to make the argument that we need delivery drivers for food and medicine, but should we be clogging up their routes and exposing them to more risk for non-essential products? The New York Times had a piece today about UPS and FedEx drivers feeling pressured to show up regardless, not getting sick leave, and loading up packages in environments where social distancing is impossible, and then making deliveries despite having symptoms.
 

Jake Lipson

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I wasn't saying I expect to get the disc anytime soon. I'm fine waiting for that, especially since I would have waited for it anyway if the theatrical release had gone on longer. It would probably have been a June release under normal circumstances; if it ends up being later due to disc pressing delays, that's fine. But I'm still keeping my pre-order of the steelbook as long as it takes to get it, because I still want to have it.

I only meant that it would be extra nice if Disney figured out how to allow those of us with standing preorders of the disc (which I have) to get the digital version now. By no means am I saying this is an essential or that I actually expect them to figure it out. It would just be cool if there was a way to do this. Something like, maybe, if you forward proof of pre-order, they reply and put the digital version in your Movies Anywhere now. Do they need to? No. Will I be mad If they don't? No. But would it be nice? Yes.

As for ordering from Amazon, I am continuing to do that without guilt. I have a new book that's supposed to come on Tuesday which I've had pre-ordered for a while. I hope Amazon's workers and the people who deliver for them can work safely, but I'm not going to cancel the book just to prevent someone from delivering it. I'm looking forward to having something new to read while I can't go out.
 
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Malcolm R

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I question whether it’s even morally right to order a disc from Amazon or any other retailer right now. It’s easier to make the argument that we need delivery drivers for food and medicine, but should we be clogging up their routes and exposing them to more risk for non-essential products? The New York Times had a piece today about UPS and FedEx drivers feeling pressured to show up regardless, not getting sick leave, and loading up packages in environments where social distancing is impossible, and then making deliveries despite having symptoms.
As for ordering from Amazon without guilt, I am continuing to do that. I have a new book that's supposed to come on Tuesday which I've had pre-ordered for a while. I hope Amazon's workers and the people who deliver for them can work safely, but I'm not going to cancel the book just to prevent someone from delivering it. I'm looking forward to having something new to read while I can't go out.
I think there has to be a middle ground. Drivers and warehouse workers should be allowed to stay home if they're feeling sick, but we cannot just shut down everything, everywhere, and grind everything to a complete stop. Delivery people are providing an essential service, especially for those that do not have the ability to go out on their own, or are advised not to based on their age/health, to obtain needed household products or prescription drugs.

And while I'm not planning to flood the system with orders for discs and books and such, I'm also not going to feel guilty for placing an order or two if I want something "non-essential". If businesses want to prioritize order fulfillment by content (health and household first priority; entertainment lower priority) I'm fine with waiting a few extra days. They may already be doing this to an extent, as I did place an order for a couple discs yesterday and the expected delivery date is not until around April 1. That's fine.
 
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Jake Lipson

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For the record, I'm not flooding the system with new orders either -- but I'm also not going to cancel my standing preorders of things I was already planning to buy. If it takes a few days extra to get a book, fine. But I'm not going to cancel it to prevent someone from having to bring it to me. The publisher set Tuesday as the publication date for the book months ago, and the author worked hard on it, and so did people in the publishing house. I'm not going to go out to a store to buy a book right now, but I'm not going to deprive them of a sale they would have made just because the world is in crisis.

Anyway, to get this back to Onward: has anyone watched it digitally yet? Are there supplements with it? Given the unexpectedly accelerated window, I wouldn't be surprised if not, but maybe they'll add them later in conjunction with the eventual disc.
 
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Chris Will

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I have not bought it but, there are no extras listed in iTunes.

VUDU looks like they have it in 4K but only SDR and just 5.1 DD.
 
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Jake Lipson

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I just got an email from Best Buy that my steelbook pre-order will be available for pickup on May 19.

In the meantime, a reminder that the movie will be available for streaming on Disney+ tomorrow.
 
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Jake Lipson

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A lot of the success of these movies rises and falls with the creation of a world that the audience would like to be part of, and this one succeeded.
Yes!

Although I hope that a bigger audience will find the movie now that it is on Disney+, I'm disappointed that the virus stopped its box office run before it had a chance to develop any, well, legs. I know that people bash Pixar for the number of sequels they've done in the last few years, and that's fair, because original storytelling has always been one of their biggest strengths. But I was very happy to spend more time in the worlds of The Incredibles and Toy Story -- and I would very much enjoy spending more time in the world of Onward, as well. There is so much imagination here In the worldbuilding, both from a story perspective and a visual design one, and it's so rich with creative ideas. I feel like this world could absolutely support another story, and I would bee happy to spend more time with Ian and Barley. But its status as the lowest-grossing Pixar film, even if that happened by default, will probably preclude Disney from wanting to greenlight another one.

The movie has now been turned into (essentially) a massive signup incentive for Disney+ and is a great add for that service because it is so new. However, Disney+ does not provide a way for the movie to recoup its costs, and it played in theaters so briefly that there's no way it did that in two weeks. It wasn't designed to have to make all of its money in two weeks because, obviously, no one planned for a pandemic.

In no way am I saying that theaters should remain open now, but it is kind of sad that something this good and creative had the misfortune to be the last major movie to come out before the shutdown. If it had been set to debut even just two weeks later, they would have pulled it from the schedule and redated it at another time in which it could have had a full standard theatrical run.

Although I am glad I got to see the movie in theaters twice and was able to share it with one of my close friends, I feel bad for the people who spent so much time working on the movie, only to see its theatrical run get pulled out from under it by crazy world events. There's no alternative and I fully support the closure of the theaters, but it's still sad, and might cost us a return visit to this world, which is even sadder.

On another note, Target's exclusive edition is available for pre-order for anyone who wants that. https://www.target.com/p/onward-target-exclusive-4k-uhd/-/A-79683492. It includes a "gallery book," which are usually abridged versions of the full art of the movie book. I'm personally much more interested in the steelbook version from Best Buy (which is what I pre-ordered) and will just buy the complete art book separately at some point.
 
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Tommy R

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I watched it on Disney+ yesterday afternoon with my 5 year old son, and we loved it. Definitely top-tier Pixar. Amazing!
 

Jake Lipson

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Disney's website listed some of the special features for the Blu-ray release, which is a month from today on May 19.

Happily, commentary will be included.

Special Features
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Quest for Story
  • Heart’s Fire
  • Dragon High
  • Wizard Rock
  • Citizens of New Mushroomton
  • Fantasy Is Our Destiny
  • Audio Commentary with Director
  • And more!

Best Buy will have their usual exclusive steelbook (which is what I have on order) and Target will have their usual exclusive digipack with a filmmaker gallery book (these are usually heavily abridged excerpts from the published Art Of books.)

I'm really happy they were able to record the audio commentary before Hollywood was shut down. Dan Scanlon has been open about his father dying before he could meet him and the film being inspired by his personal experience, so I think the commentary will be an interesting and emotional listen. I loved the movie and am very happy to add it to my Blu-ray collection despite it already being available on Disney+.
 
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They could probably record the commentary at people's homes, there are ways to synchronize playback of the movie between different places.
 

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