Disney's 'Onward' Moving To Digital Streaming Rental Due To Theater Closings, Weak Box Office

Following NBCUniversal's lead in moving up new theatrical movies for on-demand rental, Walt Disney’s two-week-old theatrical release “Onward” will be available for rental purchase on digital platforms starting today.

With many movie theater chains closing and/or offering limited seating due to heightened COVID-19 concerns, Disney says the big animated movie will be available for $19.99 starting Friday, March 20 at 8:00 pm ET.

A few weeks later, the movie will run on the company’s Disney+ streaming service, starting April 3 in the U.S.

“Onward,” from Disney's Pixar film unit, opened in theaters on March 6 and had a total of $61.5 million in box-office results -- much lower than normal for a big Pixar film, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Worldwide, the movie has pulled in just over $100 million.



Earlier this week, in response to a number of movie-theater closings, NBCUniversal made an unprecedented movie offer: New theatrical movies available via digital platforms on the same day/date as their theatrical release.

NBCU, which distributes DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour,” is scheduled to debut digitally on April 10 in the U.S. for $19.99, available for a 48-hour rental period.

Traditional “windowing” of movies has given movie theaters a three-month exclusive period to show films -- before individual rental of movies is allowed, either delivered digitally or physical rentals.

Also earlier this week, Sony's Columbia Pictures’ made its new Vin Diesel film “Bloodshot” available for digital purchase on Tuesday.

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