The coronavirus has taken a big toll on the Hollywood box office; social distancing and shelter-in-place orders across the U.S. have led to release date delays, production shutdowns, and record-low movie ticket sales.
In response to the pandemic, several film studios are taking proactive measures to ensure their newest movie releases are still seen by as many people as possible. Here’s a rundown of movies that are hitting on-demand services ahead of schedule.
Coronavirus Update: Every TV Show, Movie, Sports, and Major Event Canceled Due to COVID-19
Disney has announced that its latest Disney-Pixar film Onward would be available to buy digitally and on Movies Anywhere starting on March 20 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT for $19.99. The studio also announced that the film will hit Disney+ much earlier than expected, on Friday, April 3.
The Way Back
The Ben Affleck-starring sports drama The Way Back — about an alcoholic former high school basketball star who is recruited to coach his alma mater’s struggling team — is getting an early home video release. Warner Bros. is now making the movie available to purchase for $20 on on-demand platforms on March 24.
I Still Believe
Lionsgate’s faith-based drama starring Britt Robertson and KJ Apa, which just opened in theaters on March 13, will be arriving on premium VOD platforms on March 27, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sony’s Vin Diesel-starring comic book movie Bloodshot, which is still screening in theaters that remain open, will be arriving on home video platforms months early, on March 24.
Birds of Prey
Warner Bros. announced its Harley Quinn spin-off Birds of Prey will be released on home video earlier than expected. Although the Margot Robbie-starring blockbuster is still screening in the theaters that remain open, it will be available to purchase for $20 via video-on-demand platforms, including Amazon and iTunes, on March 24. A rental option is expected in April.
Emma, The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Trolls World Tour
As detailed by The Hollywood Reporter, NBCUniversal has decided to release its slate of in-theater and upcoming films to on-demand services at the same time that they are available in still-open theaters, beginning Friday, March 20. The release will include Trolls World Tour, which was set to open in theaters on April 10, along with the already-released titles The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Emma. 48-hour rentals of the brand new pictures will be available for $19.99 in the U.S. and the equivalent price in international markets.
In a statement, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said of the decision, “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.”
The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Emma will also be available on Amazon on Friday, March 20 as a result of NBCUniversal’s decision.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The final installment in the decades-long sci-fi franchise arrived on home video platforms several days early, on March 13. It’s available to watch on on-demand services including Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, FandangoNow, and iTunes, starting at $20 for digital HD.