For $20 bucks, fans can stream a couple Universal films from their home starting Friday.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and with cinemas being closed, Universal Pictures is planning to release some of its newest films that are currently in theaters to be streamed later this week. Reports say starting this Friday, films like The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma will be made available on various platforms to rent for $20 US dollars. The studio’s forthcoming animated film Trolls World Tour, set for a theatrical release on April 10, will also be made to rent on the same day it hits theaters next month.
Universal announced the news after a box office weekend drought, caused much in part due to the overwhelming concerns over the novel coronavirus. The weekend brought in just $55.3 million USD for the industry, making it the worst numbers for the weekend since 1995. The Invisible Man and Emma both saw respective viewership dropping 60 percent and 72 percent from the weekend previous. Major theater chains like AMC have decided to cap its locations’ attendance by 50 percent due to concerns, with Regal just announcing today that it will close its doors until further notice starting March 17.
“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,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said in a statement.
The move from Universal in releasing these films early is the latest major impact that the coronavirus has had on the film industry. Multiple films, including massive blockbusters like Disney’s live-action Mulan remake, No Time to Die, and the ninth Fast & Furious movie, have already been delayed due to the virus. We'll keep you posted.