The coronavirus outbreak hit Hollywood in a hard way this weekend, delivering the worst returns the industry has seen in more than two decades, The Numbers is reporting. As a result, Pixar had the biggest drop in their history, with Onward plunging down to $10 million for its second weekend following its $39 million debut.
Last weekend, we talked about how the press surrounding the coronavirus may or may have had an impact on Onward’s slightly underwhelming opening figures. However, in this case, there is no question on the matter. Days ago, headlines were made over Disney’s Mulan–which was set to come out two weeks from now–being delayed indefinitely, and as of right now, there are currently no wide releases set for theatrical premieres in the states until Trolls World Tour on April 10th (and that’s course assuming it doesn’t find itself being moved, too).
As things stand right now, Onward has a total of $60 million in the bank, and there doesn’t seem to be any solid path towards it making much more from here. That’s through no fault of anyone, of course, though it seems safe to say that Disney is possibly wishing they had delayed the release of this film as well now in hindsight. Onward is likely to become the first Pixar movie to not cross the $100 million mark, and even the so-called “bomb” The Good Dinosaur was able to do that.
In light of the pandemic, many movie theater chains–including Regal and AMC–made the announcement that they would be enforcing “social distancing” in their venues, essentially meaning that they would be kept at a 50% capacity. It’s unlikely at all however that this rule change is the reason the box office performed as it did, as with the numbers as they were this weekend, most screens weren’t anywhere close to even half-full. The best potential news for Onward is it’s still the strongest offering playing right now, and if theaters stay open (and some are already closing), it may be able to ride on the lack of competition once people feel more comfortable going out again.
But it was the delay of Mulan–and many other tentpoles, including Fast and Furious 9 and A Quiet Place: Part II–that truly got the alarm bells going off. Following the cancellation of Mulan’s March date, many took to the internet calling for Disney to put it on their Disney+ streaming service immediately, something which is simply not going to happen given the movie’s massive $200 million price tag (and that’s not including marketing). Perhaps to calm things down a little with fans, the studio did place Frozen II on Disney+ three months earlier than they were intending to (only weeks after the blockbuster sequel hit store shelves on disc), and they launched the digital release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker prematurely as well.
Final figures are due tomorrow.