Sky team up with Universal to offer same day cinema releases

The big releases promised by Universal at the start of the week will be available to rent from Friday

Following Universal’s announcement that they would be offering a number of major releases on VOD this weekend, UK film fans were left unsure if this also applied to their territory. Sky yesterday revealed they are teaming up with Universal to offer these films via their online store from Friday, with more to come in the near future.

The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma. will be available via the Sky Store on March 20. Trolls World Tour, which has also been moved forward to a new release slot of April 10, can be rented on the same day as the current cinema release date on the Sky Store. Customers will be asked to pay £15.99 for a 48-hour rental period.

Anyone without access to a Sky Box will be able to rent the films via the Sky Store on either a desktop, Android or iOS app, or on NOW TV and Roku devices, LG Smart TV (WebOS1 or above) and Chromecast .

Stephen van Rooyen, EVP & CEO, Sky UK and Europe said: “We’re working hard at Sky to make sure we continue to look after our customers. We’re also introducing some things to help make life a little easier for anyone at home trying to work, stay connected to loved ones, or keep the family entertained.”

The deal makes sense as NBCUniversal’s owners, Comcast, are also the parent company of Sky after buying the media giant in 2018. Whether or not this will lead to further day-and-date releases later in the year remains to be seen.

Industry experts are keeping a close eye on how this move by Universal will impact the 90-day exclusivity window currently enjoyed by exhibitors. Disney opened the door for others to follow suit by bringing forward the release of Frozen II onto their Disney+ channel, with Birds of Prey and The Gentlemen also arriving on VOD earlier than anticipated.

Other studios will no doubt view Universal’s decision as a test case, while audiences currently on lockdown will be pleased to have access to new releases in the comfort of their own home.

Steven Sheehan

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

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