- The global coronavirus pandemic has forced Hollywood studios either shelve upcoming releases indefinitely or tentatively pencil them in for later release dates.
- Universal went in a different direction. They announced that they would distribute select theatrical releases for rental at home.
- As we move into a post-coronavirus world, could we see this approach replace the traditional cinematic release format?
With everything going on with the coronavirus, I wouldn’t blame you if the cinema was the last thing from your mind.
It’s very much a concern for those involved in the industry, though. And how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic is something for the decision-makers at the likes of Universal and Disney to tackle over the coming weeks and months.
Coronavirus forces studios to shelve releases
Anticipated movie releases such as Fast and Furious 9, Peter Rabbit 2, and A Quiet Place Part II have all been postponed for now, at least.
Some have pencilled in a release in 2021. Other companies are ambitiously planning for a release this summer, while some aren’t confirming dates.
These delays are hitting movie companies big-time where it hurts most. In the pocket.
Recent reports suggest that the movie industry is going to be hit to the tune of around $200 billion.
There’s also the need to pause production on future projects.
Sources claim that the likes of Disney, who have halted production on Shang-Chi and Little Mermaid, are losing upwards of $300,000 per day.
Universal and Disney are tackling the coronavirus in a different way
If you’d told me a few months ago that The Invisible Man movie would become part of movie history, I would have questioned your sanity.
However, it looks as though the release will be among the first to be made available for online rental before their theatrical release window closes.
This approach isn’t a blanket rule for all upcoming releases from Universal.
Disney for their part have also brought forward the release of Frozen 2 on their streaming service, Disney+. Parents the world over can rejoice!
How can people access these movies? And what’s the cost?
Reports suggest that these movies will be available on several on-demand services. Rental prices come in at $19.99, which provides the renter with a 48-hour period in which to enjoy their purchase.
The press release from Universal announcing the development read as follows:
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.
Could it be the future?
At the moment, this approach is considered nothing more than a coronavirus inspired stopgap. An attempt to try and plug the losses that the industry as a whole is currently experiencing.
Some would even argue that if this change is successful, it will only be because of the lockdown restrictions implemented by authorities in response to the coronavirus.
However, if successful, it surely warrants further investigation as potentially the next step in modernizing the movie distribution model?
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.