The Invisible Man and other Universal Studios movies are headed to streaming services for on-demand viewing in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Trolls: World Tour will reach theaters and "a wide variety" of streaming services simultaneously on its planned release date of April 10. Movies released by Universal that are currently in theatres – such as The Hunt and The Invisible Man – will be made available for streaming as early as Friday. The announcement follows shortly after Disney brought Frozen 2 to Disney Plus three months ahead of schedule.
Movies that are released in theaters typically have a window of theatrical exclusivity before they start rolling out to other mediums. However, many theaters around the world are temporarily shutting down in response to government self-isolation orders. Poor box office showings in recent weeks have demonstrated how theaters are having trouble attracting audiences.
“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,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said in a statement to THR. “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.”
Universal says each movie will be available at a suggested retail price of $19.99 for a 48-hour rental period. That's more than you would pay for a typical streaming rental – but the pay-off is you get to see a brand-new release from the comfort of your home. Universal was careful to note that this policy will not necessarily apply to any other films in its 2020 calendar as the studio has not made any longer-term decisions yet.
See how else the entertainment landscape is reacting to the pandemic with our list of every movie and TV show delayed by coronavirus.