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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘ONWARD – Beers, Tears, and Bro Hugs’


Onward—Pixar’s latest animated feature—is yet another fine example of the exemplary work done by the now legendary animation studio. It is a heartfelt tale of two brothers struggling to find themselves and all the while yearning for a relationship with the father taken from them too soon.

It is also, unfortunately, a flop. As is the theme of our past few episodes, Onward entered into the ruinous box office landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. This led it to boast one of Pixar’s lowest openings to-date—just $45 million domestically.

A Scene from Onward with Ian, Barley, and Half of Their Dad

The sting of that disappointment—a direct consequence of the not-so serendipitous timing—and a truncated run in theaters, bred something exciting: a prompt appearance on Disney+. Kids and families, who could no longer venture to the movies to see it, could now stream it in the comfort of their own home. And it is a movie that deserves an audience.

Though not Pixar’s best—which would be a high bar to clear for any flick—Onward packs real emotional punch, and, as always, is a lovingly crafted journey that can appeal to both parents and their children. That is a Pixar hallmark. And in this distressing time, it is the kind of art we need.

With that in mind, it is time to cast some spells! So sit back, enchant your tastebuds with a Sugar Plum Fairy from Alphabet City Brewing Co., and exercise those magic muscles! I, Bing Bong the Brave (the Thunderous Wizard – @WriterTLK), Capt. Cash the Confident, and Chumpzilla the Cantankerous are on a legendary quest to unearth the all-powerful Phoenix Gem!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – After discussing the movie in-depth, we all came to the same conclusion: Pixar is exceptional at making us cry.  (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions and the Glory of the Pixar Tearjerker – We assess what worked/didn’t work about the world of Onward, and we share which Pixar moments annihilated us most emotionally. (39:50)
  • The Alternative Movie Title Challenge – In Japan and China, Onward is One Half Magic. Capt. Cash challenges us to identify the movies that alternate titles belong to and what country dubbed them such. (1:04:34)
  • Recommendations – As we all continue to cope with the quarantine, we offer some picks to keep you entertained. Next, it’s 90s nostalgia theater with Dante’s Peak! (1:22:45)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—#ButtMullet and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!


Thomas L. Kelly

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