The latest Disney-Pixar animated release, Onward, is one of dozens of scheduled Hollywood releases this spring that are getting impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. And in this case, Disney's decided to let it go straight to streaming.
The film, which opened in theaters March 6 — just as the national crisis was beginning to unfold but while Trump was still calling it a media hoax — centers on two elf brothers voiced by actors Tom Holland and Chris Pratt who are attempting to resurrect their deceased father using an ancient spell. Onward also features the voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as their mom and Octavia Spencer as The Manticore, and there's a whimsically painted van named Guinevere that is the subject of a lawsuit from a San Francisco tattoo artist who says that Pixar animators copied the design of her van without her permission.
The movie is now available for digital download as of tonight, March 20 (look for it on your Apple TV, maybe elsewhere), and it will be available for all Disney+ subscribers in just two weeks, on April 3 at 5 p.m. PT.
"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 homes," says Director Dan Scanlon and Producer Kori Rae in a statement.
As ABC 7 reports, the company already released Frozen 2 three months early on Disney+ for the same reason.
Look for more studios to begin taking similar tactics to try to make money on movies without releasing them to theaters — and look for more people to be willing to pay those $19.99 download prices in the coming weeks.