Hollywood studios continue to rush theatrical films to streaming as the COVID-19 pandemic closes theaters.
Last weekend, Disney released "Frozen 2" (which had already finished its theatrical run) ahead of schedule on Disney+.
Then NBCUniversal went even further, announcing that movies still in theaters, including "The Invisible Man" and "The Hunt," would go on sale digitally today, at a higher than normal rental price of $19.99. It's a move that broke the theatrical window (the period of time when movies can only be seen in theaters) in a way that would have been unthinkable before the outbreak.
Disney's strategy for the Pixar film "Onward" is a combination of both approaches. Starting today at 8pm Eastern, you'll be able to buy "Onward" from the major digital marketplaces for $19.99. Then on April 3, it will launch on Disney+ in the United States.
"Onward" tells the story of teenage elf brothers, voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, who go on a quest after their father's death. The film opened just a couple of weeks ago, on March 6, but like every other movie, its theatrical revenue plummeted this past weekend.
"While we’re looking forward to audiences enjoying our films on the big screen again soon, given the current circumstances, we are pleased to release this fun, adventurous film to digital platforms early for audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their home," said "Onward" director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae in a statement.