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(Pocket-lint) - Pixar's newest movie in theatres, Onward, is arriving early on digital platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Onward, produced by Pixar for Walt Disney, is an animated fantasy that follows two elf brothers on a quest to find a spell to resurrect their late father. It stars the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer. It premiered two weeks ago and has received positive reviews, but it's also suffered financial shortcomings, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pixar is, therefore, releasing Onward in the US starting tonight (20 March at 5pm PT) on digital retail platforms like iTunes for $19.99. The movie will also be available for streaming online through Disney+ from Friday 3 April. The studio is breaking the traditional theatrical window, in which films launch and remain theatres for three months before they become available to watch on-demand. 

Many states and localities have been forcing theatres across the US to temporarily close their doors - because experts from the CDC and WHO are strongly recommending that people, especially the elderly and immunocompromised, stay home and self-distance as much as possible. 

Some studios are even beginning to release their films early on digital since most Americans can't easily go to the cinemas at this time. For instance, Pixar's decision follows a similar move by Universal, which recently announced it is releasing new films, including Emma, as digital rentals.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 20 March 2020.