Universal Is About To Release New Movies Straight To VOD


This might be a game changer, ladies and gentlemen. As movie theaters shutter in New York and Los Angeles, the film world could be largely devoid of new releases until some time in the summer. However, a potential solution has arisen and given the industry a possible excuse to finally modernize. Up until now, theater chains, studios, and basically everyone not Netflix, have fought for an exclusive window for theatrical releases in cinemas, as opposed to also being made available at home on VOD too. Well, the Coronavirus may have rendered that argument moot, at least temporarily…

On Friday, you will be able to rent Universal’s current crop of releases, headlined by last week’s The Hunt and February’s The Invisible Man, for $19.99, just like you would something that’s hit Blu-ray or DVD. In this sense, it’s just like some of the day and date VOD options that have been out there for years. Then, on April 10th, Trolls World Tour will be made available at the same time as it’s in theaters (which is a purely hypothetical theater situation, at this point). It’s seen as a temporary move by Universal to try and still have a presence during the Coronavirus pandemic, but one has to think that other studios will follow along, at least for the next few months. After that, anything is possible, but perhaps this could be the new normal?

Here is what NBCUniversal’s CEO Jeff Shell had to say in a statement about the decision:

“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.” “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.”

You can rent The Hunt and The Invisible Man starting on Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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