By Jim Vejvoda
Updated: 16 Mar 2020 4:26 pm
Posted: 16 Mar 2020 3:26 pm
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forces movie theaters worldwide to shut down entirely or to limit capacity, Universal Pictures has responded by becoming the first major Hollywood studio to break the traditional window separating when a new movie release debuts in theaters to when it is available on-demand. In an announcement Monday, the studio said its upcoming animated film Trolls World Tour will be available to consumers on-demand day and date with its original theatrical release date (April 10 in the US and UK).
Universal also said it will also make movies that are currently in theatrical release -- specifically, The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Emma -- available on-demand starting as early as Friday, March 20. These titles will be available across multiple on-demand services for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and the price equivalent in international markets.
The move comes days after Universal halted production on a number of its films currently in production, including Jurassic World: Dominion, due to the pandemic.
Trolls World Tour - Trailer #1
“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,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said 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.”