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Universal, Warner to make in-cinema movies available early as $20 rentals

17 Mar 2020 | Rasmus Larsen |

Universal will make three movies currently in theaters available online this Friday, and debut Trolls World Tour online on the same day as the theatrical release. Warner Bros will release Birds of Prey early.

Breaking the theatrical window

New movies from major Hollywood studios premiere in theaters (the theatrical window) before they are made available on-demand at home. However, due to the escalating coronavirus situation studios are adjusting their plans. Universal will make three movies currently in theaters, The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma, available online as soon as this Friday, March 20 - much earlier than originally planned. - "The Hunt, The Invisible Man and Emma, will be available on a wide variety of the most popular 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," said Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal.

Trolls World Tour

In addition, Universal said that it will make upcoming "movies available in the home on the same day as their global theatrical releases", starting with Trolls World Tour on April 10. The movies will be available through popular video-on-demand services such as Apple TV (iTunes), Amazon, Google Play Movies, and Vudu. - "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," said 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." Furthermore, Warner Bros confirmed that Birds of Prey will be available for purchase online starting March 24, earlier than planned. It is expected to cost $19.99 on video-on-demand platforms. Also read: Global video entertainment market hit record $100 billion in 2019 The studios have not announced plans for an early release on Blu-ray or UHD Blu-ray. The news comes after Disney announced that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Frozen 2 will be available early on digital platforms. - Source: NBCUniversal, Variety

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