The animated family pic Onward is having trouble finding its groove at the Friday (March 6) box office, according to early returns.
At this pace, projections show the Disney-Pixar release opening in the $37 million to $40 million range domestically in what would mark one of the lowest nationwide openings ever for the storied Pixar brand. Heading into the weekend, Onward was already tracking for a relatively modest domestic launch of $40 million to $45 million, meaning that expectations were muted for the original offering.
Box office analysts say they won’t know until later this weekend, when they are able to study returns on a market-by-market basis, whether worries over the coronavirus are impacting Onward, or whether it is the movie itself.
Onward follows two teenage elf brothers (Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there, and if they can use it to bring back their late father. Dan Scanlon, who directed Monsters University, is behind the film and wrote the movie with Jason Headley and Keith Bunin.
The film, which currently sits at an 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, is playing in 4,301 theaters in North America, including 400 Imax screens, 800 premium large-format screens and 2,300 3D locations.
In 1995, Toy Story — Pixar’s first release — opened to $29.1 million domestically, not adjusted for inflation. Pixar’s other lowest nationwide opening belonged to 2015’s The Good Dinosaur ($39.2 million).
Also launching this weekend is Warner Bros.’ adult drama The Way Back, starring Ben Affleck as a former basketball all-star struggling with the loss of his wife and addiction as he attempts to make a comeback by becoming the coach of his alma mater’s high school basketball team.
The Way Back is on course for a domestic start of $8 million, which would put it on the higher end of expectations.
Focus Features’ Emma expands across the country this weekend, and should clear a solid $5 million to $6 million.
Studio distribution executives and box office analysts were heartened Friday that the two films, along with a cluster of holdovers, were doing solid business.
Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man could fall 50 percent or less in its second weekend with nearly $14.5 million or more, good enough for a second-place finish.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.