SOCAN congratulates our member screen composers, brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna, for composing the score to Onward, the Pixar/Disney animated movie that hit No. 1 on the box office in America on the weekend of March 6-8, 2020. Onward – which earned $40 million in the U.S., and $28 more million worldwide, in its opening weekend – stars the voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, as two elf brothers on a quest, in a van, to magically spend one more day with their deceased accountant father.
It turns out that the Danna brothers had also lost their accountant father when they were teenagers in Toronto. At Pixar’s original presentation of the story, Mychael recalled to movie-industry bible Variety, “We were just like, ‘Is this a joke? Is this some weird prank?’ because it was pretty much our story.” Jeff added, “There were so many parallels, we were shaking our heads, we couldn’t believe it.”
Film Music Magazine says, “With their dexterity at both ethnic and orchestral music, Mychael and Jeff Danna conjure a wondrous, theme-filled quest that drives Onward’s magic bus.” Variety says, “There is a 92-piece orchestra and 30-voice choir, but the mystical sounds of Renaissance lute and wire-strung harp, along with the medieval voice of the crumhorn, flavor the score with hints of the fantasy world that’s on screen. Elf brothers Ian and Barley pursue their quest… in an old van whose cassette player blasts a wild mashup of ‘70s progressive rock and ‘90s indie rock – all written and played by guitarist Jeff and keyboardist Mychael in a callback to their own, pre-film-music experiences in Canadian pop bands.”
Mychael Danna is an Oscar winner for Life of Pi, an Emmy winner for World Without End, and has composed scores as diverse as Moneyball, Capote, and Girl Interrupted. Jeff Danna’s credits include Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and documentary The Kid Stays in The Picture. Working on their own, Mychael has won six SOCAN Awards, and Jeff has garnered five of them. Working together, they’ve earned three of them – for the Anthony Hopkins/Ryan Gosling-starring Fracture in 2008; the Disney/Pixar animated movie The Good Dinosaur in 2017; and the Warner Animation Group’s Storks in 2018.