Due to the spread of Coronavirus across the nation, many movie theaters are temporarily closing. So as the movie industry comes off the worst box office weekend in decades, Universal Pictures is trying a new strategy.
Starting this week, the studio is offering brand new releases straight to streaming services. With a $19.99 price tag, the films will be available for 48 hours once you begin watching.
The standard for streaming release now seems to be about 4 or 5 months after release date, so Universal Pictures is definitely in new territory here. The films are expected to stream on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and other services.
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said his company “hopes and believes that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but understands that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.”
Initial titles that will be available to rent include The Hunt, which was released on March 13, The Invisible Man, which was released on February 28, and Emma, which was released on February 20. The upcoming DreamWorks Animation movie Trolls World Tour will be available to stream on the day it hits theaters – April 10.
Shell said that rather than delay their films or releasing them at a time many people simply couldn’t attend, home streaming seems like the best alternative.
Other studios haven’t followed suit yet, and have instead been pushing back releases. It’s worth noting though that Disney did release Frozen II to Disney+ early. It has been scheduled for a DVD release later this year.