Disney-Pixar’s ‘Onward’ Tracking for $45 Million Opening Weekend

Disney-Pixar’s fantasy film “Onward” is heading for a respectable $45 million opening on the March 6-8 weekend, early tracking showed Thursday.

Onward” is directed by Dan Scanlon from a script he wrote with Keith Bunin and Jason Headley. The story centers on a pair of teenage elf brothers — voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland — setting on a quest to resurrect their dead father, who had arranged for them to receive a magic staff with a spell that will bring him back for only 24 hours so his sons can meet him.

Octavia Spencer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lena Waithe and Ali Wong are also in the voice cast. Scanlon’s directing credits include “Monsters University.” “Onward” is also the first Pixar film to debut in during the March/early spring corridors. All other titles have been released in the summer or November.

Prospects are dim for Ben Affleck’s sports drama “The Way Back,” which also opens on March 6. Early tracking has come in at under $10 million.

Affleck plays a construction worker who has a routine of drinking at every opportunity — in the shower, at work and at home. That routine is interrupted when he’s asked to coach the high school basketball team on which Affleck’s character was once the star. The job has opened up because the previous coach suffered a heart attack.

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Warner Bros. had originally dated the film to open last October, but opted to wait until this year. The movie, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor. Affleck is a producer on the film, along with O’Connor, Jennifer Todd, Gordon Gray and Ravi Mehta. The script was written by Brad Ingelsby. The movie also stars Al Madrigal as the assistant coach who believes in Affleck’s character after the head coach quits, along with Hayes MacArthur, Brandon Wilson and Rachael Carpani.

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