Last week, we published stories about "Bloodshot" and "The Hunt," two excellent new movies opening in theaters. This week, all the theaters closed, and a slew of current films just disappeared.
The studios are quickly taking aggressive action to bring those films to home video, but they're not all using the same strategy. Universal is hoping to rent now and sell you a home video copy later, but most other studios are just going straight for the sale.
Most everything will be available from your online video retailer of choice: iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, FandangoNOW, VUDU and many cable television operators are experimenting with new ways of doing business in these weird times.
The Hunt/The Invisible Man/Emma
Universal has released three movies as $19.99 rentals via most home video platforms. "The Hunt," "The Invisible Man" and "Emma" will be available for an unlimited 48-hour viewing window after your purchase.
Disney Pixar will release the digital version of its hit animated film "Onward" for sale Friday, March 20, at 8 p.m. ET, when you'll be able to buy the movie for $19.99. Disney+ subscribers can wait two weeks until April 3, when it will be available to stream as part of that paid service.
Sony will release the digital version of Vin Diesel's military thriller "Bloodshot" for sale on Tuesday, March 24, at $19.99.
I Still Believe
Lionsgate will offer digital rental of Christian music-themed drama "I Still Believe," starring Gary Sinise and Shania Twain, on Tuesday, March 24. No word yet on the price.
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Warner Bros. will release the digital version of the DC comics move for sale on Tuesday, March 24, at $19.99.
The Way Back
Warner Bros. will release Ben Affleck's tale of an alcoholic's recovery and redemption for sale on Tuesday, March 24, at $19.99.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Paramount will release the kids movie based on the popular video game series for sale on Tuesday, March 31, at $19.99.
Trolls World Tour
Dreamworks/Universal was locked into a massive advertising campaign that included promotional tie-ins with consumer brands like Oreo cookies, so they've decided to release the movie as planned on April 10 as an on-demand rental. If the theaters have reopened by then, it'll simultaneously play in both places. This will be the first time a major studio movie makes its debut as a home video release.
Even if the crisis passes, studios have delayed their biggest films. The James Bond movie "No Time to Die," Disney's "Black Widow" and "Mulan," Paramount's "A Quiet Place Part II" and Universal's "F9" have all seen their spring/early summer release dates canceled. "No Time to Die" has been rescheduled for November 2020 and "F9" moved to April 2021, with release dates for the other movies to be determined.
As of today, Warner Bros. still plans to release "Wonder Woman 1984" in theaters on June 5, but that could change if the situation doesn't improve quickly.
The impact for the movie business will last well into 2021 and possibly even 2022. Dozens of movies have shut down production and will likely miss deadlines for their release dates. Even films that have completed shooting are currently being delayed in post-production. The crisis for theater owners will continue if they don't have big movies to show once they do reopen.
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