I have absolutely never heard of anything like this- and it could be a game changer for the industry. NBCUniversal will be making theatrical releases available on demand at the same time they are set to be released in theaters. You read that correctly- you will be able to watch a movie on demand while in theaters.
This unprecedented move will start as early as Friday, March 20th, when Universal’s The Hunt and The Invisible Man will be available to stream across a variety of platforms, along with Focus Features’ Emma. Trolls World Tour, which is scheduled to hit theaters on April 10th, would be the first movie to be released on demand and in theaters on the same day, breaking the traditional “movie lifecycle”.
The movies will be available 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.” Considering the prices of non-discounted movie tickets, this may actually be a much more cost effective way for families to see new releases.
This announcement comes from NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and is not meant to be a policy for the studio’s entire 2020 calendar. Decisions about other titles and how long this policy will run will be made at a later date. It’s a smart move, as theatrical releases are being pushed back due to COVID-19 concerns not only keeping patrons away from theaters, but causing some theaters to close altogether.
What do you think, are you willing to spend $20 to rent a movie the same day it’s released to theaters?