“Onward” Wins Its Quest to Be No. 1 at the Box Office


March 6-8, 2020

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)


Onward  $40 million
The Invisible Man  $15.1 million
The Way Back $8.5 million
Sonic the Hedgehog  $8 million
The Call of the Wild  $7 million

Conjuring up a $40 million opening, Onward was the No. 1 movie in the country, another top debut for Pixar. But that's on the low end for the studio. The only one in recent years to start so small was The Good Dinosaur, which earned $39 million its first frame en route to becoming the animation hub's lowest-grossing film ever. Whether audiences weren't as enamored with these characters – this was one of only two non-sequels for the company in the last four years – or if this is the start of a panic-related box office downturn remains to be seen.

The Invisible Man fell to second place, with a typical 46 percent slide. The film has made $52.6 million so far, much more than any other scary movie this year so far. The Way Back was another terrible opening for Warner Bros., who can seemingly only grab audiences with DC properties. The film likely cost in the $20-25 million range, so all hope is not lost. But this seemed like perfect counter-programming for adults, and even they stayed home.

Sonic the Hedgehog dropped to fourth, and it will peter out around $150 million domestically. But that fast blue critter will be back in two years or less I imagine. The Call of the Wild was right behind it with $7 million, but it won't make much beyond $65 million. Still, that makes it one of the strongest post-merger Fox titles.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: First Cow, Kelly Reichardt's latest tale of the American West. The film averaged $24,014 on its four screens.
  • Emma. continued its expansion splendidly. The Jane Austen adaptation earned $5 million, finishing just outside the top 5.
  • Greed, on the other hand, is not earning its riches. Adding more than 500 screens, it earned a weak $358 average.

Next weekend:

The controversial thriller The Hunt finally gets its release. Will all its bad PR translate into good box office returns? I think there will be just enough curious souls for it to possibly take the top spot with $20 million. But be on the lookout for Christian biopic I Still Believe to have a strong showing. Both will likely do better than Vin Diesel's foray into comic book movies. Bloodshot will likely make between just $12 and $15 million.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.