With all the cool kids practicing social distancing and our new, temporary reality of being stuck at home, the entertainment industry is getting creative in combating this. For movies yet to come out, we’ve already seen plenty of studios bump movie release dates.
But what about movies that are currently in theaters but have far fewer eyeballs to see them? Universal Pictures believes it has a plan for that: It announced today it is making The Invisible Man, Emma, and The Hunt all available in homes this Friday, even though they’re still in theaters. The titles will be available on-demand for $19.99 for 48 hours and they’ll be available both domestically and internationally.
On top of that, Trolls World Tour, which is now supposed to be the next wide release on April 10, is set for a day-and-date release. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means a movie that hits streaming or on-demand the same day it’s in theaters. Embrace that phrase because you’re likely to be seeing more of it in the weeks and months to come.
Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, explained why they made the decision to roll out movies currently in theaters into homes early:
“Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable. We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.”
For those looking at that $19.99 price tag and experiencing some sticker shock, it’s not really that expensive when you think about it. Sure, most streaming movies are available from $2.99-5.99 for rental. But, again, these are movies that are still in theaters, and in some cases, like with The Invisible Man, are doing extremely well at the box office. Being able to rent a movie that’s still in theaters for twenty bucks and keep it for 48 hours is a great deal. Families can watch together, and, in the case of Trolls, parents will tell you that kids can watch the same movie multiple times in two days.
It will be really interesting to see how movie studios each contingency plan to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in the near future. But if there’s any industry that can get smart and creative and figure out a way to evolve its business in the midst of a crisis, it’s Hollywood. In any case, now you’ll have three more excellent movies to tide you over at home and one more on the way.