Universal Pictures will make new theatrical releases available on-demand the same day they are released to theaters. New releases will be available for rental via iTunes, Amazon, and other digital platforms. Deadline reports NBCUniversal made the announcement on Monday.
“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,” said Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, in a statement. “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.”
New releases that will be available for viewing online as of this Friday, March 20, include The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma. Each movie will be available as a 48-hour on-demand rental for $19.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies).
DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, which is scheduled for cinematic release on April 10 in the U.S., will become available domestically in theaters and on-demand on that same day.
The announcement comes on the heels of the worst box office weekend in two decades as coronavirus pandemic measures saw theaters close in numerous areas around the globe, as movie fans stayed at home to shelter in place.
The Hollywood Reporter says the move does not apply to the studio’s entire 2020 release calendar, and that decisions regarding other titles and the duration of the policy have yet to be made. Instead, the studio is hoping to provide options for consumers who cannot or should not go to cinemas.
Several films and television series have seen filming delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Delayed productions include the upcoming Kames Bond film No Time to Die, as well as the ninth Fast & Furious actioner.
Apple has suspended active production of all Apple TV+ projects, temporarily shuttering production of “The Morning Show,” “Foundation,” “See,” “Lisey’s Story,” and other productions.