Disney’s Onward Bombs At Box Office With Soft Opening


Disney-Pixar’s latest animated film, Onward didn’t quite live up to expectations during its opening weekend by bringing in only $40 million domestically.

Many sites and analysts predicted the pic would make well over $50 million on home turf during its first few days, but it fell far short of that and only earned $68 million globally. These meager numbers make it the worst-performing Pixar weekend premiere ever.

For comparison, last year’s Frozen 2 was considered by most to have underperformed at the box office during its opening weekend, but it still managed to pull in $41 million on its opening day alone. Even the studio’s first bomb, The Good Dinosaur made $45 million in its opening weekend back in 2015, and until now, it was widely considered the lowest point of Pixar’s catalog – a title that may soon go to Onward.

What actually led to Onward bombing is uncertain, but Box Office Mojo ruled out coronavirus fears as the culprit by pointing out the following:

Though most everything else performed as expected if not better. Universal’s The Invisible Man held on quite well, delivering a second-place performance, while WB’s release of The Way Back landed within expectations.

Despite earning a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and popular actors like Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) voicing characters in the film, it apparently wasn’t enough to drive ticket sales for its debut. Many online are contributing the lack of interest in Onward to its introduction of Pixar’s first LGBTQ character, a controversial decision that led to Russia censoring the movie and some Middle Eastern countries outright banning the film altogether.

Whether this inclusion of the character – a gay troll cop that shows up in only one scene – actually had any drastic impact on the overall ticket sales for Onward is debatable, but the seemingly contrived choice certainly didn’t go over well with the internet prior to its release. Either way, Disney appears to have a long road ahead if they decide to continue including LGBTQ characters in their films and television shows, one that it seems they’ll need to pave with a bit more conviction if they want the choices to feel natural and integral to both the character and the audience.