‘Onward’ Charms its Way to #1, Earns $12 Million at Friday Box Office

     March 7, 2020

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Pixar’s Onward is well on its way to a winning opening weekend after taking the top spot at the Friday box office. The latest feature from the beloved Disney branch follows two elf brothers, voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, as they travel across the land to find a way to bring their father back to life for one day. Along the way, they encounter magic and mystical creatures galore, making for an unforgettable adventure.

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Image via Pixar

Onward charmed audiences so much it earned $12 million domestic through Friday, with $2 million of that total taken in during Thursday night previews. The Pixar animated film opened in 4,310 theaters nationwide and averaged $2,807 per theater. If this pattern holds, Onward is looking at any opening weekend somewhere in the ballpark of $40 million. This would put it on par with The Good Dinosaur‘s opening weekend back in 2015, which hit $39 million domestic. Onward is doing well in critical and audience-based ratings, too. It has earned an A- CinemaScore from audiences and an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday also saw the opening of Ben Affleck‘s new film directed by Gavin O’ConnorThe Way Back. The Warner Bros. drama earned $2.6 million domestic on Friday. The Way Back, which follows an former high school basketball star coping with alcoholism and an attempt to get his life back on track, averaged a somewhat low $957 per theater from 2,718 theaters total. Originally projected to earned somewhere in the $6 to $10 million range, it looks like The Way Back will stay on target with around $8 million domestic if this earning pattern holds. Critically, The Way Back has scored a B+ on CinemaScore and an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Image via Warner Bros.

It’s been a minute since a movie featuring Affleck’s name above the title has opened in theaters, which might explain why The Way Back is earning what it’s earning right now. The last time an Affleck pic was in theaters, the year was 2017 and the movie was Justice League. Since then, the Hollywood A-lister appeared in the indie pic Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Also, his two bigger features, Triple Frontier and The Last Thing He Wanted, were released as Netflix movies. Given Affleck’s stature as both an actor and public figure, The Way Back‘s $2.6 million Friday opening and projected $8 million weekend might surprise some. Then again, this movie comes at an interesting moment in Affleck’s career as he rebuilds professional momentum post-BatmanThe Way Back is just the first of a number of big films for the actor, with his adult thriller Deep Water, co-starring Ana de Armas, coming later in 2020 and The Last Duel, which co-stars Adam Driver, arriving in early 2021. So yes, The Way Back is off to a slow start. But is it a sign of Affleck’s waning power as a big name capable of opening movies? In this writer’s opinion, not at all.

The rest of the box office top five includes last weekend’s number one feature, The Invisible Man, coming in at number two with $4.3 million added to its domestic total. This brings its nationwide earnings up to $38.3 million. Overseas, the Universal monster movie has earned $20 million thus far, bringing its global total to $58.5 million. At number four is 20th Century Studios’ The Call of the Wild, earning $1.8 million on Friday. At number 5 is animated romp Sonic the Hedgehog, which earned $1.77 million, bringing its domestic total up to $134.5 million.

Check out the top five movies from Friday’s box office below. For more, why not read our review of Onward and our interview with Onward stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt?

Rank Title Friday Domestic Total
1. Onward $12,100,000 $12,100,000
2. The Invisible Man $4,310,000 $38,328,152
3. The Way Back $2,600,000 $2,600,000
4. The Call of the Wild $1,839,000 $52,322,738
5. Sonic the Hedgehog $1,775,000 $134,593,152

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