NBCUniversal is finding ways to curve the issue of gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic by moving select theatrical releases for films to streaming services.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company is planning to place select movies that were set to hit theatres as on-demand releases for a 48-hour rental period at a $19.99 price point in the U.S. and equivalent prices in international markets.
As the entertainment industry is grappling with unprecedented circumstances, movie theatres are shutting their doors. Box Office numbers are also hitting historic lows with this past weekend marking the lowest numbers since 1998.
Just last week, AMC Theatres, Cineplex and Cinemark made announcements they would be limiting seating capacity. That came prior to the CDC’s recommendation that no one in the U.S. attends gatherings of more than 50 people and President Trump’s remarks today encouraging no one meets in groups over 10 people.
Now, several movies are moving ahead with an on-demand release. Insiders say this won’t be the case for their entire 2020 schedule but decisions haven’t been finalized.
The news is coming from NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell directly. It’s a move they’re making in light of event bans worldwide.
Trolls World Tour was originally hitting theatres April 10 but is making its way to streaming services on that day.
NBCUniversal is also planning to make other movies currently in theatres available in the same fashion as early as Friday. Those films include The Hunt and The Invisible Man, as well as Focus Features’ Emma.
The company are providing a statement on the decision which you can read below.
“Given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theaters. NBCUniversal will continue to evaluate the environment as conditions evolve and will determine the best distribution strategy in each market when the current unique situation changes.”
“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,” says Shell. “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.”
This move breaks the traditional “theatrical window” film companies abide by. Typically, studios have to offer theatres three months before hitting streaming sites. Other studios have been trying to find an alternative to the dismay of theatres. This release format is finally being tested even though its under unfortunate circumstances.
Apart from this, Disney is announcing they’ll be bringing Frozen 2 to Disney+ early. It arrives on the service tomorrow coming three months ahead of schedule.
What do you think of NBCUniversal’s decision to move select movie releases from theatres to on-demand services? Let us know in the comments below.