How many ‘new releases’ will be released on VOD in the next few months?

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Since this blog is mainly about celebrity and entertainment gossip, I do think we can spend a little bit of time talking about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the entertainment industry. Personally, I think all film sets and television sets will probably be shut down for three months or longer, when everything is said and done. I think all premieres and awards shows will likely be cancelled or postponed for about the same frame of time. People are self-isolating, quarantining and home-bound. We’re going bonkers too. I would imagine Netflix is doing well, as are Disney+, Hulu and Amazon. Anything which can be accessed from home. So it’s little surprise that studios are going to start putting their recent theatrical releases on streaming services/VOD very quickly:

With movie theaters closing or reducing seating capacity due to coronavirus, Universal Pictures will make its movies available on home entertainment on the same day as the films’ global theatrical releases.

The initiative will kick off with DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour,” which is scheduled to debut on April 10 in the U.S. The company will also make films that are currently in theaters available on-demand starting as early as Friday, March 20. These films include the horror movies “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man,” as well as “Emma,” an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel from Focus, Universal’s specialty label.

The films will be available for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and for roughly the same price in international markets. The announcement is a blow to movie theaters, which have long resisted any attempts to shorten the amount of time that movies are available exclusively on the big screen.

“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. “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.”

[From Variety]

I think this is a really smart call, and it shows that at least one studio is willing to play with the punches and look to grow their market and get their films seen in one way or the other. I fully expect other studios to follow suit, and just after Universal made this call, Warner Bros announced that they would release Birds of Prey on VOD (Amazon and iTunes) months earlier than planned too – it will come out on March 24 (next week). I know studios and old-school “go to movie theaters!” peeps will rip out their hair about this, but… this actually is a special circumstance? And ALL of the new movies can’t be postponed indefinitely – I suspect many of the smaller “new releases” in the next few months will be released on VOD and perhaps even promoted entirely online, through social media and phone interviews and the like.

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14 Responses to “How many ‘new releases’ will be released on VOD in the next few months?”

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  1. Case says:

    I hope they make them a little cheaper to rent. A lot of these new releases on VOD are still like $20, which is crazy! If they’re a few bucks, though, or they go on streaming services early, that would be awesome.

    • sa says:

      I get that they may be concerned that multiple people can watch one rental, but still, $19.99 comes across as price gouging – unless some of that is going to the theaters that are being forced to shutdown (though if it was, I’m sure that would have been part of the announcement).

      Seriously, the overhead involved making a movie available on demand is nothing compared to showing a movie in a theater, so there really isn’t an excuse to make it cost so much more.

    • deezee says:

      It’s not a crazy price. It’s not per person. Households that have two or more individuals watching the movie are getting a deal.It’s

      • Rachel MST says:

        Yes, $20 is a lot for one person, but the assumption is that families and households of multiple people will be watching these movies. If a parent took two kids to see the Trolls movie in the theater, the cost would be way more than $20, especially if they bought any concessions. The studios are trying to make up for the fact that people won’t be paying movie theater prices.

      • sa says:

        But let’s not pretend that the studio gets 100% of the ticket price. That a family may spend as much or more going to a theater is not comparable, it’s a completely different experience. $20 for a VOD rental is extreme.

  2. Charfromdarock says:

    I went to the movies for the first time in 8 years and saw Emma last week. I paid $7.50 for the ticket, it was daytime so it was cheaper.

    $20 per movie for one person is too steep, that is almost two months of a Netflix subscription.

  3. Laalaa says:

    I am a musician. The concert season is pretty much over. People are panicked, they don’t have any income for at least a few months. And I have never been more thankful for getting an electrical engineer degree 10 years ago, and the fact that I got a day job a few months ago!

  4. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    I’ll be watching a lot more obscure stuff on the streaming services while we’re homebound. $20 is still too rich for my blood for a movie. I may not have a job if my small regional airline doesn’t get a bailout so I’m trying to hoard my money as much as possible.

  5. LLR says:

    People are already talking about pirating these movies. It is always strange to me to see people go online and say they don’t think they should have to pay to see movies and shows. I think 20 is too much if only one person is watching, I think they came to that number assuming more than one person would watch at a time.

  6. Leah says:

    $20 is too much for a movie you watch once and don’t even get to keep. I’m only one person and 48 hours is only so long.

    My local plex charges $10-$12 a film and like all movie theaters they make their money through concessions.

  7. Leriel says:

    It is inevitable. Every big studio either is making their own streaming service (like WB reinvents HBO go into HBO max right now) or already has one (Disney+ and Hulu which is mostly owned by Disney right now). So scheduling releases earlier than it was before is practically the future of cinema at least.

  8. Absurdist1968 says:

    Seriously, with AMC and Regal shutting down, what other options are there now?

  9. Melody calder says:

    $20 sucks but it’s understandable. 10+ a movie is normal now days. There are 5 kids and 3 adults in my house, we will definitely rent Trolls as a special treat for everyone or an adult movie for at least 2 of us. Im sure rental prices will be normal when it’s no longer new.

  10. Tammy says:

    We are a family of 4 so going to the movies easily costs $40 and that with popcorn and the matinee. I would love the vod for some of the new kids movies coming out. So happy that frozen 2 is now on disney+, finally something new to watch.